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Got what I thought I wanted, things are worse

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  • #406939
    Mr. Ritz
    Participant

    If you have read any of my previous posts (most recently here: https://tinybuddha.com/topic/anxiety-attack-again-i-think/).
    You’ll see that my struggle with anxiety has been going on for a long time.

    There have been 2 major changes to my life and I feel worse than ever in spite of assuming that these changes would bring improvements.
    1: Since my wife was driving about an hour each day to work, and she totaled her car last January on the slick roads, we decided it would be better to move closer to her work. We moved this past July.
    2: Once we moved, MY job was now over an hour drive away. I decided to retire and start taking small distributions from my 401K. She plans on working another 5 or so years.

    The new house was bought in a bit of a hurry due to the housing market being the way it is. Our old house sold within a week and we had a month to find a new place to live. We looked at several houses that were either unacceptable or we sold before we had a chance to make an offer. Honestly we were getting tired of looking.
    We bought a house from an elderly person who moved to assisted living, and due to her age, she didn’t keep up with a lot of the maintenance, yard work, etc. It’s not in bad condition, but things like the deck are falling apart, some areas need painted, carpet is “vintage” as the wife says, and other issues.

    Ok, I’m “retired” now and will have plenty of time to fix things up. I also do the cooking & cleaning so my wife won’t have to since she’s still working.

    Even though we got a nice big check at closing, we have spent a lot of it on this house, and it will probably all be gone by the time all the things that we want fixed are completed.

    The problem is my anxiety is a bad or worse than ever!

    Some of it is stress over the house (for the money we are spending, we could have bought a better place). Some of it is loneliness, some of it is wondering what I’m supposed to do with the day when I don’t have a project underway.

    I told the wife, it’s going to be a really long 5 years for me (Until she retires). I feel better when she’s with me. It’s too quiet when I’m here by myself.

    I feel like I might need to go back to work at some point. I just turned 60 and maybe I bailed out of the workforce too early? (My wife and her friends are taking bets on when I get another job)

    I’m just not sure what it’s going to take for me to ever be settled and content without anxiety. I thought these changes would have done it, but I was wrong.

    #406950
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Mr.Ritz

    I wonder, do you practice any activities that help you reduce your anxiety? Some common suggestions include; meditation, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, exercise, hobbies… really anything that you find relaxing.

    I have anxiety too and I find that whilst events do trigger anxiety, I tend to jump from event to event. Ultimately, it is a habit for me to worry about something. A habit that I’m trying to break.

    It’s good that you can clearly identify some issues. You can plan to resolve them! But bear in mind there will always be new challenges to face.

    #406957
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Mr. Ritz:

    Today, Sept 14, 2022: “My struggle with anxiety has been going on for a long time. There have been 2 major changes to my life and I feel worse than ever in spite of assuming that these changes would bring improvements… I’m ‘retired’ now and will have plenty of time… we got a nice big check at closing… The problem is my anxiety is a bad or worse than ever!.. I just turned 60 and maybe I bailed out of the workforce too early? (My wife and her friends are taking bets on when I get another job). I’m just not sure what it’s going to take for me to ever be settled and content without anxiety. I thought these changes would have done it, but I was wrong”.

    May 14, 2016, your very first post (exactly six years and 4 months ago): “So here I am at nearly 54 years old and looking into yet another career change (real estate this time?) Long story, but try to finish it. To be honest, I’ve pretty much hated every job I’ve ever had. Started out working for my father as a machinist”.

    December 25-26, 2018: “I swear I just can’t figure myself out. It’s Christmas day, been off for the past 4 days and the boredom is terrible… I’ve been looking forward to not being at work, even stressing about the vacation  getting approved. Ok, got a week off with nothing to do and am hating it. Am I workaholic?.. I keep imagining retirement is going to be great…. Or will it? Why do I look forward to time off?..

    “the arthritis is worse (it’s never going to get better is it?) I’ve accepted it as a normal part of life. It’s been bad this past 3 weeks as I have been doing manual labor at work… Maybe I have to be working in order to feel useful and not be accused of being a lazy person (something I think is a holdover from my father). Even though he passed away 6 years ago, I still feel him over my shoulder sometimes”.

    I wrote to you the day after, Dec 27, 2018: “I hope you will do whatever is medically sound to feel better having arthritis, whatever is recommended to practice daily so to minimize further damage, discomfort and  pain… So it is  your father’s voice raining on your vacation parade,  I understand. It  is  amazing, no matter our age, really doesn’t matter, that  voice  is still there. But  as amazing it is, it really is understandable. We shed our skin, not our brain, so the neurons that  recorded his voice keep replaying  that  voice. There is a way  to turn down the volume  of that  voice, eventually silence it. It is a very  long process but you do have time now, being  on your vacation, to practice turning  down its  volume. First step to  do it  is to notice it when it starts speaking. Distractions are helpful, give  you breaks from that voice, but it  doesn’t  go away without attention and  intent, noticing it, then lowering its  volume, again and again. It also takes believing that  really, you are not  lazy, that he was  wrong. That takes time, changing  core beliefs that were  never  true to begin with”.

    Today, I say: (1) Take care of your physical health best you can, and  (2) Take care of your mental health: now, being retired,  you have time to work on what I believe to be the source of your ongoing, lifetime anxiety: your very difficult relationship with your father when you were growing up. His criticisms and mistreatment of you set your anxiety in place for decades to come and beyond his death. What do you think of my understanding.. far-fetched?

    anita

     

    #406964
    Mr. Ritz
    Participant

    No Anita, it’s probably correct as I still feel uneasy if I’m not doing/accomplishing something.
    Unfortunately, some of the jobs around this house are getting to the point of my physical ability and/or know how. Just mowing the lawn takes it out of me most times.
    Finishing out a basement or replacing a deck (which I’ve never done before) seems a bit overwhelming sometimes, but I’ll give it a try.

    #406967
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Mr. Ritz:

    It feels good to read that you don’t think that my understanding is far-fetched. About replacing the deck in your house, a few years ago, I sat on a chair on the deck while wood planks were stacked below on the grass, in preparation for replacing the deck. Somehow, I was sitting too close to the edge of the deck and fell backward, landing on the wood planks.. oh the pain. I screamed but no one heard, I thought I was about to die, moaning and groaning. Finally I was heard and taken to the ER. Point to the story: it can always get worse, so pay attention, be mindful. When it comes to fixing an old house, from the roof to the deck… there are hidden- and not so hidden opportunities to get seriously hurt, so pay attention. A situation that feels like it’s bad, can turn out so bad, that you’ll miss the times you thought it was bad.

    anita

    #407256
    anita
    Participant

    How is everything, Mr. Ritz?

    anita

    #407257
    Mr. Ritz
    Participant

    Wow thanks for checking in on me.

    I’m a little stressed after my doctor visit Yesterday. My A1C is about one point away from being fully, rather than pre-diabetic.  So I have that on my mind now.  It’s always something isn’t it?

    I was able to get some cleaning done in the basement this morning before a storm took out the power.

     

    #407258
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ritz:

    One day at a time, one moment at a time- is how I take life now. I remember that you shared that you used to think: when this happens, when that happens… when I ___,  when I retire, then I’ll be okay: no stress. But it never worked out that way. So make your present moment stress-free or stress less because you don’t know if you’ll have another moment, another day. Makes sense?

    What storm took out the power where you are at?

    (I’ll be back to the computer in an hour or so)

    anita

    #407262
    Mr. Ritz
    Participant

    Just a regular old Midwest thunderstorm. Power is back now.

    As for hobbies, I was glad to have a house with a basement, so that I could have a small workshop. Once it’s at least insulated, I can start getting my shop put back together.

    #407263
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Mr. Ritz:

    Midwest thunderstorms, not as bad as the current hurricane Fiona and the super typhoon elsewhere in the world. Starting your own shop in the basement sounds like an excellent idea to me, something for you to focus on, so that your mind doesn’t wander much where it shouldn’t wander.

    anita

    #407264
    Mr. Ritz
    Participant

    I’ll try, thanks.

    #407270
    anita
    Participant

    You are welcome, Mr. Ritz. Keep in touch, let me know how the basement project comes along.

    anita

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