I have pulled away from everyone since I retired and don't know how to change this.
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Depression & Anxiety Support Group.
A question, if you don't mind. Why did you pull away? Did you relocate? Decide you had had enough of them?
I have burned more than my share of bridges in life. Others were burned behind me, some even as I was crossing them!
The next question is, what now? Having decided that there are people you *don't* want to associate with, whom do you want as friends?
Do have a hobby, or location, or faith/religion, or sport, or political group where you could meet like-minded people?
If you're a real introvert (like me), and going out is difficult, you can begin by contributing here. Share your experiences to help others. Or just read posts and offer encouragement or emotional support. (Nobody ever said, "Jeez, I got way too much encouragement today!")
Loneliness and isolation are the real pandemics in our world. Don't wait for someone to build a bridge to you. Everyone seems to be waiting for that. Start building your own. It doesn't have to be the Golden Gate Bridge; a little footbridge will get you started.
It's SO GOOD that you know this is a problem, and that you're seeking info on how to address it!
I grew up in a very dysfunctional family, and I've defaulted to intense isolation during / after times of crisis. After many such episodes, I can tell you the three things that have helped me, in conjunction with one another:
I worked with a really good talk therapist for a long time, I had occasional Rx support, and I changed my diet.
. . . . . I've tried 8 or 9 antidepressants over the years, and none of them helped me; what *has* helped is a low dose, not more than once daily, of an ADHD med called Zenzedi. It's very stimulating, so I took it not quite daily (4-5x per week), and I never took it for more than a few months at a time. Some people I know have had good results with Zoloft, a somewhat stimulating anti-depressant.
. . . . . Four years ago I adopted a variation of the Mediterranean diet — lots of veg, beans, and whole grains; protein; some fruit; a little dairy; not more than 10g of added sugar daily; and almost zero lab chemicals ( = almost no convenience foods). I didn't weigh or measure my food, I didn't count anything — I just ate what seemed to be an appropriately sized portion, and if I was still hungry then I ate a little more. (I gradually lost 36 lb, which I needed to do, and I've kept it off.)
Once you start to break out of your isolation — by getting together with relatives and friends; by joining a hobby group or political group or congregation that has meaning for you; by volunteering with a group whose mission you support — you'll find that each positive activity is a building block for the next one.
Fwiw, I feel strongly that a good talk therapist would help you understand why you defaulted to isolation and help you build strategies to do something constructive rather than self-destructive. In my experience, a therapist who combines a psychodynamic approach with a cognitive behavioral approach is the way to go.
ETA: If you've not worked with a psychotherapist before, pls keep in mind that chemistry can be very important; most people want to feel seen and heard and accepted by their therapist. Don't sacrifice credentials for chemistry, of course, but don't play down the importance of feeling safe, of trusting the person, of feeling accepted and not judged.
@mac413 Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You have already had a couple of great responses to your dilemma. Often the most difficult thing after recognizing you are facing isolation, is "what now". you have to decide you want to step away from that, first.
Retiring from a work life is difficult! I did just that in late 2015, after more than 45 years of working full time. All of the sudden the routine was gone, the coworkers weren't there, the output of energy wasn't there. It shocked my system! Everything changed. Finding a new reason to get up each day was paramount, and it sounds like that for you, also.
Start small, like @scottrl mentioned. What interests do you have? How would you like to proceed?
Welcome to Connect, I can relate to what you are going through. When life revolved around work and that is gone, it leaves a void.
I have done few things mentioned in previous posts.
– Joined a Fitness center with emphasis on seniors. Though most look older than me, found few actives that I attend. I like the education seminars, keep learning.
– Volunteer; I volunteer at local hospital 3 hours a week. Find something you like. I also watch for one time volunteer activities without long term commitment.
– Many things I like to do is not fun when do by yourself. It is very hard to make new friends as age. People move away, are busy with family, etc… I have to force myself to do things even if by myself.
– I see a therapist for variety reason, and she says this is very common problem among retirees.
I have started talking with a therapist and waiting on an appointment with another about possible medication. I have hobbies antique car restoration and woodworking . But unfortunately I just can’t get enthused , used to be I could loose myself in my hobbies but it’s just not there!My wife had several strokes several years ago , and while you would never know she did if you met her she has several mental deficits that put a strain on things as well.there are days when I just want to crawl into a hole !!!
I was forced to retire at 59 due chronic fatigue and brain fog. Something happened to me after I contracted Lyme disease a few years ago. I just can’t function like I used to. I used to be very active with my job and playing in a band. I had many friends and a good life. Now I’m isolated because I have such little energy. It’s a terrible place to be. I was prescribed Adderall when I was working to keep me going but it caused terrible crashes where I would have to just stay in bed. I wish I knew what to do. I did try volunteering a couple hours a week after I retired but had to stop because of bad days where I couldn’t drive. I don’t socialize much because I never know when I’m going to be having a bad day and would need to cancel. I’ll follow this discussion for ideas. Thanks for posting this.
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Join the club !!
My solution is move every few years–but at 72 im actually getting sick of it
All very well for people to say talk to "family & friends" but what if family are all dead ?? closest friends also died off over last 12 years ?? left with casual acquaintances & adult kid & his family a 4 hr flite away but he doesnt need or want you living closer ??
Joining clubs etc does fill the gap to a certain extent but after 65yrs of age its a challenge
If only there wasnt so much pressure to be 1/2 a couple
Theres a multitude of groups here–if you pop in & out if them as I do I find it helps to occupy your mind.
Think i will try remembering the jokes from the "have s laugh forum" to cheer up my low days would this work for you ??
Camera Clubs can be goid if introverted as you are amongst people at monthly meetings but then outings can be solo or you can choose to go with the group but on your own
Good luck fjnding what suits you
I agree with everyone's postings and I only add, Get Help! This comes from an isolater all my life, so I cannot give you advice in how to solve it, as I am still working on it. But, there is NO positive to isolating, trust me.
I agree with all of you. I'm 83 and it's only happened the past few years, after leaving a few Board posts I was invonved in. Get to your local Senior Center if at all possible. You can have coffee and read the paper, keeping an eye out for other loners. Most of us are just looking for some company. After some time in a Book Club, I asked if anyone would like to meet for lunch. It really took off. Now I've gotten to know more people and can go to the Center anytime. Watch a movie together, go to a couple of club meetings, etc. Make it your business to find something to go out for every day. Treat yourself to a 'date' if you can.
It's a very difficult time – sometimes you just have to turn on the TV and stay in bed for the day. But, get out the next one if you can. Wishing you all my very best – hang in there (not literally).
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