Reply
Periodic Contributor

Very depressed since turning 65

I will actually be 66 in a few days but since turning 65 I have gone into a depression. The doctor has me on a mild antidepressant. It can't turn your life into Disneyworld but it can help with some of the some symptoms. Not all, and it can't really cure anything.  I was seeing a therapist who was not helpful at all and I did try a couple more but it was not beneficial. I learned that therapy is not for everyone. Even those in the profession say that. I get nothing from sitting across from someone who isn't a friend outside of the office and someone who would drop me a like a hot potato if my insurance ran out.  Again, even therapists say that therapy is not beneficial to all. As for joining groups, I do belong to a couple of groups bu tthey are not surrogate family members. They are members of the group that I see for an hour now and then. I did have lunch with one and while at lunch she critiqued me for not being a Christian. It ruined the lunch and was not polite. I long for the security of a family. I know now that the handsomse hunk I always wanted to win over isn't going to happen. Life had it such that I did not get married. And I will never have the children I wanted as I never had children. Those are major issues since all I ever wanted was a husband and children. But I was severely shy to the point of not even wanting to really get to know people. I did some dating and fell in love a couple of times but we were young and they didn't want to get serrious. Were too busy pursuing their educations. So I just stopped dating! Have not been on a date in decades.

 

I am surviving to get through the day. I have nothing to look forard to as I have no close connections with anyone. All my life was a  severely shy loner and now when I need people, I have no people experience. I find that when I do make conversation, it's always me doing the talking. People rarely initiate conversation with me as if they are interested in getting to know me. And that's a depressing way to live. Because you notice. You notice "why is no one finding me interesting enough to initiate conversation with? I have to take the lead". 

 

I could cover this up and tell you everything that's going right in my life. But it is this hidden secret, the side of my life I want no one to know about that needs the help. The side of me who has some good things going for her doesn't need support. 

 

When I was in high school it was easy to make friends. I don't drink or smoke and never much hung out at bars to meet people. I am not Christian but so many people tell me "join a church". What about people who aren't into a formal religion? It is as if we don't get acknowledged that in fact there are people who don't worship.

 

I am sad inside. Never in a million years did I think life would ever turn out like this. Ever!  I have told you everything I am sad about because it is this part of me that needs an audience. The part of me and the part of my life that is causing my so my distress. This is what should be talked about and not kept secret or hidden. I like to swim. What would would it have done if I said since turning 65 I have gotten so depressed...but "I love to swim". and then just talked about swimming. It wouldn't do anything for the hurts. And that's what needs support. Not the side of me who loves to swim. Incidentally, people who go to a pool to swim are there to swim and leave. Swimmers don't hang out in the pool..standing there in the pool as if they are at a party and attempt to make friends. It doesn't work that way. Not with me, not with anyone.

 

So yes, this is the worst of it. Like I said, the good stuff is under control.

 

Who here has successfully turned their life around at this late stage? How did you do it? 

Periodic Contributor

I read your post, I just recently turned 62, and I would love to be a pen pal and friend to you. Someone you can talk too and make a new friend. I spend a lot of time alone myself. And I know exactly how you feel. You can turn your life around, A Friend here for you. 

Gold Conversationalist

Thank you for being so transparent and vulnerable about how you are feeling.  That takes a great deal of courage to reach out for help.  It will also help others that are struggling with depression.  The statistics say one in ten people will deal with depression in their lifetime.  So you are not alone.  Depression can be caused for many reasons, and as such, there are often many factors that play into feeling better.

 

I have had my struggles with depression and have used many techniques to help me when it flares up.  The first thing, when it hits strongly, is to take small steps to move forward.  Sometimes that is simply getting out of bed and making it.  I had a therapist say, if you get up and take a shower, everything else is gravy.  This means a small accomplishment will build into the next one.  As you gain the momentum, you will be able to piece more things together resource-wise. 

 

An excellent book is "The Upward Spiral" by Alec Korb.  The best I've read on the topic of depression ( and I've read a lot! )  He is a neuroscientist who speaks in layman terms about depression and the brain.

 

You can do this.  You are capable.  Remember, if depression gets serious, reach out for professional help.   Take care, Christine

0 Kudos
513 Views
0
Report
Silver Conversationalist

The best thing that helped me over my depression was to change two things. Yep, that's right, I changed two things and like magic, my depression began to disappear. What were those two things that I changed, I know you're dying to ask, so I'll share what I worked for me.

 

I changed everything I thought and I also changed everything I did, or at least the way I'd always done things. That was it! Once I changed things about me, things began to change for me. It may be that it was just coincidence but it truly worked for me.

 

Your results may not be the same but I can pretty well guarantee that if you change nothing, nothing will change for you. It's like someone once told me, when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change! Simple? Yes but easy? Maybe not as easy as it sounds. But worth the try? What have you got to lose except the depression you're already in. Good luck!

 



It's nice to be important but it's more important to be nice.
Bronze Conversationalist

Sh,

I'm in my third marriage with 14 years under our belts, I have one son who is married and has two sons of his own, so far. My wife has a son and daughter just older than my son. Hers are both single in their mid-30s.

I, too, get depressed sometimes. Some depression comes from the weather. In the Winters, I am more likely to be depressed from that.

Besides that, though, some days I just have to talk myself into going somewhere and doing something. I might think of something to do, mull it over for a while, and reject it. Other times, I think about an idea, realize that it's a good idea, and start putting one foot in front of the other until I'm engaged in that activity. Yes, sometimes, it's that first step with the activity in mind to get me to do something.

I don't suggest church. I'm atheist, so I don't have to attend the meetings, and I cannot suggest it for anybody else, just like Ghandi couldn't tell a child to quit eating sugar when he, himself, ate sugar. He had to rid himself of that for 3 days, according to the story, before he could advise the child not to eat sugar.

So, where does that leave us? Do you have a senior center near you? Our county supports several centers, which are all free; although, some of the activities do cost a little bit depending on the center. Usually the costs are for materials or maybe certain equipment you might need, such as wood for wood carving, clay for the pottery classes, or yoga mats for the yoga classes.

I have two centers within 3 miles of my house. I tried the one in my town, which was the farther of the two, since I live near the South end of my town. Even after a few visits and after meeting several other attendees, I couldn't seem to click with anybody. Then, I tried the closer one, which is in the next town, but unless one notices the "Welcome to" signs, one cannot usually distinguish where one town ends and the other begins.

After just one visit or two, things started clicking at the closer one and I've been going there fairly regularly for 4 or 5 years now. If you try this, I'd suggest allowing yourself at least three visits, unless the experience is too stressful for you or the idea too repugnant in the first place. The three visits might give you enough insight on how things work there to make an informed decision about whether or not to continue.

Sometimes I go to play Euchre on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I was there this morning, but was informed when I got there that the others had called it off for today. So, I went into the cafeteria and visited with some of my friends who were in there.

Sometimes, I use the work-out facilities in their small exercise room. I've played pool, Texas Hold 'Em, and Mexican Train dominoes at various times. I've eaten lunch there. I've also avoided yoga classes, zumba classes, and many other activities that I don't enjoy. I've thought about the pottery classes and even wood carving, but I haven't done those, either. I guess I'm not ready for the commitment to be there at the times those classes are offered or when a dried pot needs to be smoothed and painted for firing.

One of the guys who plays Euchre goes to both of the centers I've mentioned.

Another thing you might do is consider joining a recreation center if you haven't already. I buy an annual membership at our town's public center for $135 a year. They have an inside walking and jogging track, basketball and pickle ball courts inside, a weight room with machines and free weights, and a good sized indoor pool, with water aerobics classes or swimming on one's own.

If you get involved in activities where others are involved, I believe you will have little trouble finding acquaintanceships, friendships, and maybe more. I can guarantee that it won't happen if you don't meet anybody, somewhere.

One key might be to act on thoughts you have about things you can do. Once you think of something - taking a walk, going swimming, or whatever - then put one foot in front of the other until you find yourself heading there to do just that. Even in my deepest depression, I can sometimes put one foot in front of the other toward something, even if it's just walking to a nearby park and going around it a couple times.

Good luck in your search for the next great adventure - or little one, who knows?

{{{{{Sh}}}}}

-Lynn

Trusted Contributor

My "humble" recommendation is to get involved in a volunteer organization, such as one working with mentally and/or physically disadvantaged people.  One I am familar with is PATH, International.  This organization uses equine therapy as a tool to help these people.  I think this helps the volunteer as much, if not more, than the disadvantaged person.

0 Kudos
3,483 Views
0
Report
Regular Contributor

"Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone."

Have you thought about getting a pet and doing volunteer work?

0 Kudos
3,586 Views
0
Report
Regular Contributor

I wrote a long reply yesterday and then somehow it disappeared.   So today I shall just write a shortened version.

 

First of all ((((hugs))).    I think depression and loneliness is more common among seniors than most realize.   Even if one had married, had a family, had a full work life, circumstances can leave us all alone all of a sudden.  We are left with a different reality than we expected.

 

Meeting new people is difficult if you are not active in your church, like sitting at bars, etc.  I tried Meetup Groups.  I volunteer with a number of groups and tutor students at a nearby school.  I have tried singles dances.   I even tried online dating.  In the end, you come home to an empty house and sometimes that is more depressing than had you not gone out in the first place.   I get it. 

 

Sometimes we have to take a different approach.  You mentioned that you like to swim, but people come in, swim and leave.  Too bad you aren't nearby as I too go to the health club to swim and would love having a friend to do so with.   Have you thought about taking a water aerobics class?   Believe me, the women in the class talk a lot and if you start chatting with one or two you will become part of the class quickly and may find a kindred soul.  I make small talk in the locker room as well.   At our health club, there is an area where seniors can sit and enjoy a cup of free coffee.  Sometimes I go there and enter into the conversations.  The point is, as difficult as it may be, you have to put yourself out there.  Things don't happen overnight, but at least at the moment, you are making human contact.

 

Volunteering gives you a way to share your experiences and talents and help others.  It also puts you in contact with others.

 

I am short, so I often have to ask someone in the aisles of the grocery store to reach something for me - BAM, human contact and a few words shared.


Depression can be due to chemical imbalances and as you have found, sometimes meds help, but exercise releases beta-endorphins which help even more.  Sometimes I just have to get out of the house and into the sunshine.  If the weather is too cold for a brisk walk I may even just got to the grocery store or a mall or coffee shop to get myself out of the house and around people.   After losing my husband a psychic told me to make sure that all of the curtains were open so sunshine would flood my house daily.  She knew that I was keeping the blinds and curtains pulled and was right about letting the sunshine in....sunshine lifts our spirits.   So does music.  Put it on the radio, etc., loud and lively and move to it.

 

Loneliness is real, but you are not alone.  AARP has suggestions for seniors all of the time.  And look, you have already made a friend here.   (((Hugs))

Gold Conversationalist

My dear sh58233857,

The reality of life hits us like a brick when we realize our life can't be undone; We all have to face the future.  Please do not fret too much about your situation.  Your life has meaning and purpose.  Your talents and knowledge will help you decide the direction that's right for your road ahead.  God bless....you will be just fine.

P.S.  Just smile and people will want to talk to you....Smiley Happy

 


@sh58233857 wrote:

I will actually be 66 in a few days but since turning 65 I have gone into a depression. The doctor has me on a mild antidepressant. It can't turn your life into Disneyworld but it can help with some of the some symptoms. Not all, and it can't really cure anything.  I was seeing a therapist who was not helpful at all and I did try a couple more but it was not beneficial. I learned that therapy is not for everyone. Even those in the profession say that. I get nothing from sitting across from someone who isn't a friend outside of the office and someone who would drop me a like a hot potato if my insurance ran out.  Again, even therapists say that therapy is not beneficial to all. As for joining groups, I do belong to a couple of groups bu tthey are not surrogate family members. They are members of the group that I see for an hour now and then. I did have lunch with one and while at lunch she critiqued me for not being a Christian. It ruined the lunch and was not polite. I long for the security of a family. I know now that the handsomse hunk I always wanted to win over isn't going to happen. Life had it such that I did not get married. And I will never have the children I wanted as I never had children. Those are major issues since all I ever wanted was a husband and children. But I was severely shy to the point of not even wanting to really get to know people. I did some dating and fell in love a couple of times but we were young and they didn't want to get serrious. Were too busy pursuing their educations. So I just stopped dating! Have not been on a date in decades.

 

I am surviving to get through the day. I have nothing to look forard to as I have no close connections with anyone. All my life was a  severely shy loner and now when I need people, I have no people experience. I find that when I do make conversation, it's always me doing the talking. People rarely initiate conversation with me as if they are interested in getting to know me. And that's a depressing way to live. Because you notice. You notice "why is no one finding me interesting enough to initiate conversation with? I have to take the lead". 

 

I could cover this up and tell you everything that's going right in my life. But it is this hidden secret, the side of my life I want no one to know about that needs the help. The side of me who has some good things going for her doesn't need support. 

 

When I was in high school it was easy to make friends. I don't drink or smoke and never much hung out at bars to meet people. I am not Christian but so many people tell me "join a church". What about people who aren't into a formal religion? It is as if we don't get acknowledged that in fact there are people who don't worship.

 

I am sad inside. Never in a million years did I think life would ever turn out like this. Ever!  I have told you everything I am sad about because it is this part of me that needs an audience. The part of me and the part of my life that is causing my so my distress. This is what should be talked about and not kept secret or hidden. I like to swim. What would would it have done if I said since turning 65 I have gotten so depressed...but "I love to swim". and then just talked about swimming. It wouldn't do anything for the hurts. And that's what needs support. Not the side of me who loves to swim. Incidentally, people who go to a pool to swim are there to swim and leave. Swimmers don't hang out in the pool..standing there in the pool as if they are at a party and attempt to make friends. It doesn't work that way. Not with me, not with anyone.

 

So yes, this is the worst of it. Like I said, the good stuff is under control.

 

Who here has successfully turned their life around at this late stage? How did you do it? 


 

Regular Contributor

Hello sh...I am sorry that you are blue.  I too never had kids and never married until I was 51...now I'm 64, still married and happy most days.  I met my husband through a dating website and highly recommend this method for meeting men, but it takes a lot of time and weeding through the players to find a good, honest person.  Putting yourself out there can't hurt, worked for me.

Good luck and remember, tomorrow will be better!

Lucy

cancel
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Users
Announcements

Try the new AARP Perks browser tool! Get timely reminders about AARP resources, discounts, and other member benefits as you browse online. Install AARP Perks now.

AARP Perks

Members Can Play More

Membership unlocks free online games and puzzles including classic Atari Games. Join today for just $12 per year with Automatic Renewal.

AARP Membership

AARP Rewards

Activate AARP Rewards to earn points for games, quizzes and videos. Redeem for deals and discounts. Get started with AARP Rewards now!

AARP Rewards Badge

Music and Brain Health

From soft jazz to hard rock - discover music's mental, social and physical benefits. Learn more.

Music and Brain Health