Depression, Work and Retirement

17 Aug 2022
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I’ve seen a lot of people get very depressed about their work, for all sorts of reasons – unfulfilled expectations, high stress, sheer boredom, a dislike of some people at work… and a host of other reasons. Has there ever been a published study of how much work problems contribute to depression in the UK? For what it’s worth, I’ve noticed that getting depressed about work is more prevalent in men than women, and especially university-educated men, but that’s just my experience, some of you may disagree.

 

For people whose depression is at least partly rooted in work issues, it would be reasonable to expect that retirement should, at the least, make such people less depressed. But this isn’t always the case; I’ve seen several people slump into serious depression shortly after retirement, with a couple sinking into alcoholism, one so depressed he was on suicide watch, and two whose marriages went on the rocks within months. And, of course, there’s also the issue of money, especially in times – like now - when many people with limited pensions suffer from a mix of rising prices and low interest rates on their savings, and have to forgo many of the things they’ve spent years looking forward to – and sometimes even worry if they can afford to pay their heating bills..

 

With money problems, why people get depressed is pretty obvious. But what about the others?

 

I saw a survey a few years ago which suggested that around a third of recent retirees think they retired too early, and about a fifth went back to work within 3 years of retiring. The thing more recent retirees missed than any other was the social side of work – even just being with other people most days – but the loss of a structure to life and/or a sense of purpose was also quite common.

 

One of the best pieces of advice I got about retirement was this: think about what you are retiring to, not just what you are retiring from, several years before retiring. This advice affected me: I could have afforded to retire at 59 or 60, but instead I cut back on the number of days worked and the type of work I’d take (I was self-employed), until I was much more sure what I wanted from retirement. I am convinced that this was the right decision for me: having a lot of free days made me realise that I needed structure and purpose, that I couldn’t spend hours on end reading books and watching TV, no matter how good the books or TV were, and I needed a feeling of achieving things on a regular basis.  

 

Any comments? And: how many of you would say that work issues were a significant factor to becoming depressed?”  

 

Oldie But Goldie

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

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Comments

Paul

Aug. 18, 2022, 4:22 a.m.

Thank you for todays blog, one very close to my heart. I turned 66 in April as a self employed plumber I keep changing my mind about retirement. My health has not been the best and I was forced to have a month off with a kidney infection. The black dog is back with a vengeance and I can’t figure out if it the Health that has caused it, or the lack of interaction with customers which I enjoy. Like you say work can give you structure but can also create lots of worrying if you are of the worrying type. I will keep pondering on my decision. Self employment can be a lonely place but also offers a lot of flexibility. Paul

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The Gardener

Aug. 18, 2022, 9:11 a.m.

Paul, the important word in your reply is 'structure'. One friend had been in the FO, abroad 9 months of year, lived life of Riley. Home, did house, garden stuff, upholder of church. Once retired, lost soul. He once said to me 'life is so unstructured', I mentioned he spent half his life on church matters, 'oh, that's just duty'. He could have at least enjoyed it. He did have an unlikely passion, supporter of Arsenal.

Valerie

Aug. 18, 2022, 3:46 p.m.

I am so sorry you have been ill Paul,and now got depression again.It may not be relevant but I understand that kidney and UTI infections can cause some nasty chemical imbalances affecting mood.It's usually a temporary thing.Whatever the cause,sending hugs ***

Valerie

Aug. 18, 2022, 3:46 p.m.

I am so sorry you have been ill Paul,and now got depression again.It may not be relevant but I understand that kidney and UTI infections can cause some nasty chemical imbalances affecting mood.It's usually a temporary thing.Whatever the cause,sending hugs ***

Paul

Aug. 18, 2022, 5:28 p.m.

Thanks Valerie your not wrong UTI’s really mess with your head. I wouldn’t wish them on anyone. Hugs gratefully accepted. Paul

Lexi

Aug. 18, 2022, 5:46 p.m.

I hope you are feeling better soon Paul. Like you I am self employed. I switched careers at 40 so I may never retire lol. But I completely understand the loneliness. It can get very lonely working for yourself. Take care xoxo

Paul

Aug. 18, 2022, 6:28 p.m.

Thanks Lex

Orville

Aug. 18, 2022, 4:54 a.m.

Totally with you on all of this! Work has been behind all of my periods of serious depression over the years... yet I keep going, even though I could afford to stop, precisely for the reasons you identify: purpose, structure, and the social element - work, for me, has always been about achieving something as part of a team. And so I have not, as yet, called time on my career, though I cut down to 4 days a week about ten years ago, because for me one of the key lessons from Covid lockdowns is just how bad being isolated is for me, and without work life would be too empty of other people, at least until my friends also get to the point of being able to retire.

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Mary Wednesday

Aug. 18, 2022, 5:17 a.m.

I adore my job. I transform people's lives, giving them confidence and joy. Seeing the difference in them is incredibly satisfying. When I am in the depressive part of my cycle, it is made worse by the fact I cannot work. Not only is there a financial consequence, but I can't look after my clients in the way I want to. My husband wants to retire in 5 years' time and, inevitably, I must retire too; we call it hanging up our drapes. I'm not looking forward to it. The travelling will be nice and my husband is very good company - we get on pretty well - but the wrench of leaving what is not just a job but a calling, will be immense. I dont feel he quite understands the emotional attachment I have to my business; it's almost as dear to me as my children.

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Liz

Aug. 18, 2022, 6:35 a.m.

Hi Mary Wednesday, I understand that so so much re your work. It is a very precious thing to be able to have a job that is your calling - it's like my "baby" that I created all by myself as daft as it sounds. My husband gave me the idea but everything I have done came from me. I want to keep going until I feel that I cannot give any more. I'm hoping that I will know when that right time is. Your job sounds fantastic and fascinating! x

Valerie

Aug. 18, 2022, 3:54 p.m.

I think the therapeutic benefits of things like beauty treatments, make-up and flattering hair cuts are often overlooked. A neighbour has a salon,and she is trained in laser scar removal and special make-up for burns and birthmarks. She also volunteers at the hospice doing nails and facials.She loves it.You don't have to give up for good if it means a lot to you.

Lexi

Aug. 18, 2022, 5:50 p.m.

Mary, can you work part time? Or cut down the hours/number of clients, when the time is nigh? I have been thinking this too. I love what I do too and hope that I can continue to do it well in my 70s. It gives me so much joy in so many areas: creativity, social time, connection, structure...xo

the room above the garage

Aug. 18, 2022, 5:41 a.m.

An extremely valuable piece of advice, thank you. I’ve watched my parents lives get smaller and smaller without any plan for what they would do once retired. They seem to be ageing faster because of it too. Thank you for todays blog.

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The Gardener

Aug. 18, 2022, 9:15 a.m.

RATG, I have watched too many couples who seemed to age and lose their oomph, character whatever because they had no plans. Sadly, for so many, their marriages were successful because of their separate jobs/interests. The blog mentions marriage break-ups as an outcome of retirement.

Oldie but Goldie

Aug. 19, 2022, 5:45 a.m.

TG, "loosing their oomph" is a pretty good description of what my parents did after retirement, having no plan beyond watching a lot of TV and videos of old films. They really did become very depressing company.

Liz

Aug. 18, 2022, 6:31 a.m.

Hi Oldie but Goldie. Such an interesting issue. I do think some people become rudderless without their work. I wonder if it's a redefining of who they are that they struggle with, since work really shapes some people, it is their passion or raison d'etre. For the rest of us, it's a means to an end. Perhaps it's the disappointment that, at the end of the long tunnel, it's not quite the view they expected from the other side. Adjustment is key but I also think some kind of plan is needed. My husband jokes that we are both semi-retired. He works three days a week, and I work every day but only 20 hours a week but that doesn't include self-employment. Work contributed a HUGE amount to my depression. I'm not an office sort of person. Being confined to a box, sat in front of a computer from 9 to 5, having to be sociable with others and efficient and learn new stuff and navigate the sheer amount of personalities you will meet over a lifetime, exhausted my supplies. And having to mask all the time - anger, frustration, fear and calm the rising panic... coping with some seriously questionable bosses and colleagues. However, some of my best friendships were made at work, until you leave and then realise that maybe the work thing and the fact that you clicked was all you had in common. A respite from the mindlessness! And then there are some work colleagues that you have stayed in touch with because they are part of your tribe. But that is the negative side of things. I've had loads of jobs and I was also a temp for a long while, the latter which I adored as I was free to leave any time, somehow that free'd up my mind from thinking I was stuck. I think going from full-time to part-time is good, if you can afford it, and I am a cleaner later in the day and a celebrant as self-employed. Both fit around each other. Sometimes I am a real fast juggler and other times I can chill a bit more. I have a dog, and a house that needs doing up still, an interesting area to explore that always throws up new places and hobbies and pals that I meet up with - all these things are absolutely vital for me. And also to challenge yourself to learn new stuff. I am paddleboarding tomorrow after having the courage to go for it, and having had the gear for a while now. Each person is different but having your groove is so important, whatever you do, those things that make you unique and that you enjoy. My self employment is incredibly fulfilling and I wished I had done it earlier but perhaps I also wasn't ready yet. I needed more experience of life to be able to give to others. I think everything happens for a reason at the right time. My husband and I wanted a more spiritual way of life and through a lot of hard work (especially in the house) and re-adjustment to a very different way of life, and me establishing my business and trying to find a part-time job that fitted around that, those were the challenges. Without challenge of some kind, I don't think you can grow or learn, but not to be so negative that it drains you. Challenge can be a joy of discovery of something new or that you just aren't suited to a particular thing - but you tried. As always I have written way too much, but thank you for indulging me.

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Mortimer

Aug. 18, 2022, 7:06 a.m.

Well that’s struck a chord, great blog. Whilst echoing wholeheartedly comments various above, if one has successfully navigated the work environment for the 45 - 50 years or so needed to hopefully have a comfortable retirement one of the other feelings possibly contributing to depression is guilt. Guilt at no longer “contributing”, guilt at still being relatively hale and hearty in one’s late 60’s with plenty to do when so many friends and relatives fail to make sometimes even into their 50’s, or if so with illnesses various, guilt at lacking motivation to make the best of one’s good fortune, guilt at the periods of depression that shouldn’t happen because one is away from the stressors of work and comfortably off. Certainly sharing the problems with partners and friends, and the structure Moodscope brings to the party, are of essence to the depression survival strategy!

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Teg

Aug. 18, 2022, 7:15 a.m.

Hi OBG Thanks for raising a lot of issues in one Post! I worked for the same employer for 36 years, retired at 60 and have been retired for more than 10 years. I can remember having a few depressive episodes when working but I don't think they were work related. Most of the time I enjoyed working although there were stressful periods. However I appreciate people who suffer with poor MH can be affected by their working conditions. People, environment, nature of work activity etc can play a big part in how they feel. Equally home situations or poor physical health can badly affect people's MH. In retirement my MH has been variable. I joined Moodscope 4 years in, experienced a bad depressive episode following major heart surgery and had a mental meltdown 30 months ago. Sorry I have rambled a bit but I can't come to a definite answer to your question. In my life experience I would say there are a multitude of possible reasons for poor MH. Our working life can be a significant one. Txx

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The Gardener

Aug. 18, 2022, 9:21 a.m.

Teg, we had such a super retirement. Lots factors led to having a super house (cheap french) and sufficient income. My O/H, who had a 'proper' upbringing found that risktaking and fun, plus wide range of friends, was rather good. Only joined Moodscope when he started Alzheimer, and I had a desperate need for help. My own M/H stayed pretty good, but not without help here, family and my G~P. 'Never hesitate to contact me' he said.

Teg

Aug. 18, 2022, 5:29 p.m.

Hi TG Glad you have such wonderful memories of your retirement with OH. Most people need help at some point and you found the support systems that helped you. Well done. Txx

Oli

Aug. 18, 2022, 8:18 a.m.

Thanks Goldie, this blog speaks to me because (a) I’ve a birthday coming up which reminds me I’m nearer to retirement than I feel; (b) my part-time NHS work has become such a problem in the last year because of an individual — just one bl**dy person — but it’s pushed me towards (c) quitting the NHS, cashing in the pension, and basically doing a “take the money and run” — only it’s not that much money! As it happens I’ve always had self-employment alongside my salaried work, however I know that at some point this too will cease. It’s an odd feeling. I absolutely love my work, all three jobs, and I’ll miss what I get from doing it. Preparing for not-working is a good idea. I doubt I’ll sink into alcoholism or indeed any behaviour which is rooted in trying-to-squash-unpleasant-feelings. I learned how to stop doing that sort of thing and I’ve been teaching it to others for years, so I don’t think I’ll be going back to it. Maybe I should specialise in teaching it to retirees who are struggling! Thanks again for the blog. One's sense of identity can be tightly bound up in work and therefore, if we are not careful to appreciate the contextual nature of that aspect of our identity, work changes have the capacity to annihilate us. Or at least feel as if this is happening. Serious stuff for what should be a nice, well-deserved retirement.

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The Gardener

Aug. 18, 2022, 9:25 a.m.

Oli, can I put my name down for your course please? Just returned from a phrenetic visit UK, now need to cope with anti-climax. Think I will start psychology course with Uni which did a mindfulness course which helped me a lot. Trouble is, all on line - need to talk to physical humans as well! Told my neighbour of all my travel woes, she fell about laughing!

Susannah

Aug. 18, 2022, 9:03 a.m.

Hi OBG Thanks for the blog. I retired about 5 years ago - early. I had been in full time employment for about 30 years. Each job usually ended due to some kind of stress or depression. The last one was due to bullying - but I came out on top as a good friend, who is an HR manager, talked me through each step till I walked out with my head held high. It gave me pause for thought about what I wanted to do next. I chose a self-employed career, which I enjoyed. I purposely only took on few clients so that I had plenty of 'me' time. It wasn't well paid, but I liked everyone I worked with, so it was pleasant. It was such a relief not to have to deal with idiots and empire building managers any more. After about 5 years I decided to give that up as the returns were so low it was barely worthwhile, and my husband was/is still earning good money. I think I mentioned before that I gave up my clients gradually over the course of a year - so I left a couple at the end of March, a couple more in June etc until I left the last one at the end of October. This meant that I didn't fall off the cliff edge. I think this is so important if one has the opportunity to gradually wind down. So every month I had a few more hours to myself. There were two important key points: 1. My husband works from home, so I am not 'home alone'. We have tea breaks and lunch together. I know from bitter experience that if I am alone all day I can sink into a pretty bad place. But with his regular mug-filling and chat, I am happy to do my thing. And he also wins as I make lunch every day and do the shopping. 2. I have so many things I want to do. I wanted to volunteer more and learn more. I have banged on about MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in the past. These free courses have been inspirational for me, allowing me to dip into so many interesting subjects. Having been learning about Ancient Greece, we have decided to have a holiday there, so now I am learning Greek. Now the volunteering doesn't make me think that I'm using up my valuable free time - because I have plenty of it to give, which makes the giving more enjoyable. Enough rambling.

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The Gardener

Aug. 18, 2022, 9:31 a.m.

Susannah, Our retirement was 'sudden' due to a depression in 1991, and my husband's firm were offering high earners (for them) inducements for early retirements. Armed with my degrees, his DIY talents, we did up a historic house and became the town's historians. How lucky can you get? Done Future Learn courses successfully through Covid, running out of options, must look at MOOC. Thought of a MsC in disaster management, but age and cost against it.

Susannah

Aug. 18, 2022, 10:28 a.m.

Hi TG. What a wonderful gift you are to your town. You might like to check out coursera.org for lots of free courses. I found FutureLearn quite limited.

The Gardener

Aug. 18, 2022, 10:48 a.m.

Thanks Susannah, contemplating, throug Future Learn, a Psychology course with Monash university, found them good on Mindfulness, bit pricey.

Oldie but Goldie

Aug. 18, 2022, 3:48 p.m.

" I am alone all day I can sink into a pretty bad place." You are not the only one. Even meeting someone for lunch can make all the difference,

Susannah

Aug. 19, 2022, 8:30 a.m.

Absolutely. When my husband goes away for a few days with his friends I always arrange a definite booking for each day - even meeting someone for a cuppa. Of course, these days things are easier with FaceTime when I can have a chat each evening.

The Gardener

Aug. 18, 2022, 10:01 a.m.

OBG. could write a thesis on this, will spare you. My in-laws followed the 'classic' course which often ends in misery. Like hundreds of thousands, the work may have been pleasant, remunerative, trouble-free and good pension. But they hated where the had to live for their jobs. Knee-jerk reaction - move to country, sea, Spain cheap and sunny, Cyprus for golf, French Riviera for snob factor. Fine, but, people don't notice, I swear, but one gets old! Again, well worn old problems: railways shut, Post Office, local shop, friends die (my m-in-law lived to 100). You have to stop driving (just suffered that privation in UK). And YOU, have moved away from family and friends. It was not long before my m-in-law was nagging her two sons about being un-filial. One was a professor in a Northern University, my husband a farmer - we had 5 kids, I had responsibilities. Both of us, time, a long drive, stay in hotels when we got there (in-laws no room, m-in-law not welcoming). Then health and old age - real issue now. Not integrating, learning languge, huge issue. Enough, thanks, excellent.

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Daisy

Aug. 18, 2022, 10:47 a.m.

Hi OBG Your. Blog describes my situation I left my job last year due to ongoing bullying over a few years- I stayed because the work was fulfilling there wer some interesting people it was interesting work and I didn’t want to give into the bullying. I also worked very long hours particularly during Covid. So was chained to computer a phone all day. One day I had enough and resigned- it had been a long time coming. I didn’t miss it as for 2 years working from home all the work face to face interaction had gone I am a lot happier and definitely a lot less stressed and healthy not working. I flirted with idea of part time consultantancy but haven’t got around to it. I do notice lack of structure and I am not so productive and my social interaction has reduced . I have a few short term goals and plans— I not worry about money but it is at back of my mind I have used time to get fitter catch up with friends and family learn a language be outside and a couple of hobbies I don’t think there is an easy or right answer- but if somebody knows I would be very interested to hear Thanks for the blog

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Orangeblossom

Aug. 18, 2022, 12:12 p.m.

Thanks for the very well constructed,easy to follow blog which I found helpful.I liked my p/t job but it was coming to an end. I retired in the middle of Lockdown & wrote a blog called ‘Gliding to Retirement.’ Unfortunately this year I have suffered a couple of bereavements & illness this year so that my energy levels are very low.

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Lexi

Aug. 18, 2022, 5:53 p.m.

Thinking of you OB and hope you're doing ok today xo

Orangeblossom

Aug. 19, 2022, 9:20 a.m.

Thanks for your good wishes Goldie Oldie.

Patty

Aug. 18, 2022, 2:08 p.m.

Thanks for the blog OBG. I retired 4 years ago. I liked work but my position as a receptionist/office worker had just become nonexistent with automated phones and fewer walk in customers. I had nothing to do basically so since my husband was retired I decided to. He busies himself and I just haven't adjusted like he has. I have found it difficult because even though I had a lack of interacting with people at work due to the job change, I have definitely not been interacting with people even more so at home. I have found my MH is not good. I struggle daily with just getting through the day. I have not found my feet to just get myself going and I have found my confidence and motivation nonexistent. I blame myself and feel guilty for not doing something about it. I am just not myself. I am normally outgoing and friendly, an extrovert, and love people, but now I miss people yet am not doing anything to engage with them. I miss that. I have had bouts of depression throughout my life, but this has been the worst.

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Nicco

Aug. 19, 2022, 5:14 p.m.

Patty, i'm sorry you're having a diffixult rime of it just now. I can empathise - it took me a good few years to adjust & again when my husband retired - he hated me doing my usual routine, sulked if i did housework when he was around -i felt completwly at sea & my health suffered. He's found his feet with an allotment, his philatelly hobby & our garden, doing the weekly shop & popping omi to the local teashop a few times a week. I have my craftwork & running my little business from home when able & things are a lot better these days. I know how easy it is to slip down into feeling unstructured, overwhelmed, etc., & i do hope you start to find tour feet & feel better soon. Nicco.

Sally

Aug. 18, 2022, 3:11 p.m.

Thanks for this blog, OBG. You’ve aired a lot of interesting things and given us plenty to think about it. And I too wonder if there ever has been a serious study about how much work issues contribute to depression. Personally, work issues finished my career . An unfortunate error on their part led to me stopping work on a Thursday and deciding to never return. I took early retirement at 59, reducing my pension a bit but I have no regrets, 11 years on. It ultimately wasn’t about the money. It was no use battling an unfair and frankly unethical workplace, and my sanity came first . Stress is indeed a killer. I have known people die of it before retirement. And that I did not want. Planning for retirement is essential . In some workplaces, there are very good provisions made for this. The last thing you want to do is clear your desk on a Friday and have an empty calendar on the Monday! Holidays cannot constitute the entirety of a retiree’s free time, and minding grandchildren (where there are some ) shouldn’t really occupy the entirety of the week/weekend. We do support our daughter’s family but are not relied upon. We care for our adult disabled son, 37 now, from a distance ( his care home being 4 miles away) but he no longer stays as he cannot handle it or we him! We’d have to have a carer with us for night times as he doesn’t sleep. At 70+ we are too old for 24/7, tho we did it up until the age of 55….When he was 19, and working was becoming impossible for either of us, we had to let him go into a care home. Sad but the right decision for needs to be met. I have company on most days, and do hobbies that involve other people. It’s give and take. Share and share alike. I like it a lot. My mental health has improved ( though I’m ever watchful!). OBG, I hope yours is a contented retirement. Thank you, and do please write again.

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Patricia E

Aug. 18, 2022, 3:48 p.m.

I was blessed to be accepted for voluntary redundancy when I was 59, so my pension was made up. If I had stayed in that job I would have either had a complete breakdown or possibly killed myself. It was a classic situation of having to achieve more - Property and Estates department in a college - with less and less budget and fewer and fewer staff, whilst expectations rose and those lovely 'key performance indicators' became more and more unattainable . Every day I had to push my teams beyond what they were able to achieve whilst I was being hauled over the coals by the more senior management for failing to achieve the impossible. Thank goodness I was able to leave. That was 6 years ago. I have sold my house, relocated, bought a new home and renovated it, joined lots of local groups and volunteer for two local organisations. I am happier, healthier and in far better MH than I have been for years. I think that if you look on ending the working part of your life as an opportunity to be entirely yourself, with a lifetime's knowledge of your own character and all of the skills and experience you have accumulated, then it's got a good chance of being very positive. If you view retirement / finishing work as an ending, a failure, a closing down, a diminishing of you, then it probably will be. Good luck to everyone starting the leaving work process - Trust in yourself and I hope you have fun. Px

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Valerie

Aug. 18, 2022, 4:08 p.m.

This is not a blog that would have resonated with many until comparatively recently. The increased lifespan of men and women now means that retirement can go on for many years. I think the most important thing is to have something to get up in the morning for,even if that is a cat to feed or a friend to phone.Spending all day slumped in front of the television is a recipe for depression and disability.Use it or lose it makes a lot of sense. I read of a couple who had got into such a rut after few years of retirement.They started working the same weekend shifts at B&Q,and they feel so much better.The great deal of walking around the store has improved their health,and the extra cash allows them to enjoy their time off.

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Teg

Aug. 18, 2022, 5:41 p.m.

Hi Valerie I entirely agree with your comments. We all need some passion or purpose. There are many of us for whom Moodscope fulfils part of that function. As I have said before, I find this virtual group therapy forum rewarding in many ways. Txx

Valerie

Aug. 18, 2022, 6:02 p.m.

Yes Teg,Moodscope is now one of the things that gives me a reason to get up! ***

Sally

Aug. 18, 2022, 7:48 p.m.

You’re right, Val. For instance, 80 used to be seen as a grand old age….I remember my Grandma reaching it, and we had this huge family party for her with all four of her children, plus spouses, and all the grandchildren, youngest would be in teens.. we treated her like a fragile piece of porcelain, and marvelled at her appetite! Nowadays, three of my friends are 83, and simply carry on as normal, not as “ little old ladies” but “ women in their own right” who drive, travel, eat out, read and attend book clubs, cycle, walk, and so much more… How times have changed!

Oldie but Goldie

Aug. 19, 2022, 5:51 a.m.

Yes, even feeding the cat can be something to get out of bed for! My late mother went visibly downhill when her beloved dog died late in mum's life, and my father wouldn't get out of bed until late morning (he'd previously taken the dog over the local park 9-ish every day). Small things matter.

Lexi

Aug. 18, 2022, 5:59 p.m.

As I wrote above I am self employed and I love my job. I hope to be able to do it for many more years to come. In fact, I don't think of retirement so much as a "slowing down" - perhaps just a few, select clients. My daughter will be going to college in about five years and then I will be most likely home alone, so I will rely on my job to keep me connected. I even went back to school recently (at 53!) to further my studies for my career. I feel as if my work now is the retirement from a former life of miserable job choices, if that makes sense! xo

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Valerie

Aug. 18, 2022, 6:05 p.m.

To get paid for something you love doing is a real blessing Lexi. As far as I am concerned you are still a girl,so long may you continue ***

Lexi

Aug. 18, 2022, 6:51 p.m.

Aww, thanks Valerie xoxo

Nicco

Aug. 19, 2022, 6:27 p.m.

Thanks for your blog. I was forced to give up work in my late 30s due to ill health but prior to that i had given up my career as i could no longer stand the office envieonment. I slowly afjusted to not being able to work &, when my health improved, i was able to do some craftwork, having joined a local group, which led to interests in other groups so i met quite a few people who became what i thought of as friends. Work, for my husband, though, has been a blight on our 40yr marriage - he always put it first before his family &, in fact, admitted his work colleagues were more like family to him, which was really quite painful to hear. (I do think society has got it wrong that people spend more time at work than with their own family).He always got grumpy when i mentioned retitement & said he never would retire. But he was forced into it... He cut his hours & was working some of the time from home when he contracted pneumonia, necessitating a lengthy stay in hospital. It was while he was back home & recovering that he was told he would have to be 'let go'. He sank into depression but became very angry & quite difficult to live with. He hated my routine (that i'd established over the years through having to be at home alone from 5.30am-8pm every wrek day). He got annoyed & sulked if i did any kind of housework when he was indoors. I felt very much like i'd been cast adrift at sea as life for me became as unstructured as it was for him, & my health started to suffer even more. We were just beginning to feel sorted when the pandemic struck. All my groups stopped & as far as i know have not resumed, none of the people i thought of as friends have stayed in touch, despite my efforts, but i have my craftwork & now run a little business from home connected to it. My husband has found his feet with his allotment, our own garden, & his philatelly hobby which he's been able to give more time to since stopping work. So things are looking up - we also now share the housework, & we both say there just don't seem to be enough hours in the day. He's neaely 70 &, although i myself can't officially retire for another 5yrs as the govt seems to keep moving the goal posts, we look at our lives now as being able to do more of what we want instead of having to fit everything ar ound working hours. I think retirement is a time for taking stock, re-evaluating, adjusting routines & attitudes &, as has been said, looking at it as moving forward to opening a new chapter in life rather than an ending. That time of adjustment can take a while & is obviously different for everyone - some take to it like ducks to water, others take a little longer to adjust. I know that if i didn't have my creativity, i would find life quite tough & my mental health would suffer, but i can honestly say i don't miss work & neither now does my husband.

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Peter

Aug. 19, 2022, 7:01 p.m.

Hi OBG, excellent blog. I unfortunately suffered from depression due to work. It was only when my marriage started failing that I accepted that I was suffering from depression. I am retired now and believe that I am free from depression. However, I am not free from the effects of depression from the past. I still procrastinate and find it difficult to forget the past and still ruminate excessively. I really liked your blog because it is the first time I have read something so succinct and highlighting how work can destroy someone's self belief. Thank you.

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Tutti Frutti

Aug. 19, 2022, 8:37 p.m.

Hi OBG I found this a very interesting blog. Work is a major trigger for depression for me. I think this is because I got into the habit of tying my self worth to academic success (of which I had plenty as a child, particularly in the context of being at a relatively small comprehensive school). And in adult life I have ended up measuring my self worth in terms of work. But I still need to learn to accept that I won't get everything right all the time, that I won't be constantly praised to the hilts for what I do (in fact sometimes I will have to deal with people who are positively unappreciative and make unreasonable complaints), and that I am not going to excel in my profession because I am basically of very average ability given what I do. And I need to learn that all of this is fine and is just a consequence of adult life and how things are at work. This still hasn't sunk in over 30 years so not sure if it will before I retire! 3 years ago I nearly quit work to become a housewife because I was feeling so depressed and miserable (but still functioning unlike some previous occasions). Thankfully I decided to talk to a friend who had overtaken me on the career ladder to see if he had any suggestions before I quit. I ended up just moving team within my employer and things are currently going reasonably well most of the time. I have absolutely no interest in housework and would probably have really struggled during lock down if I had given up work before hand. I can imagine that I could also be in danger of depression on retirement because the basic problem is that too much of my self worth is wrapped up in work. Retirement is probably still a way off for me but I definitely need to plan something that will give me a sense of purpose and get me seeing some people. Love TF x

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