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Overachiever's anxiety - need advice

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by TG957, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    In the last 18 months, I had two major (by my measure, of course) accomplishments and I made one life-changing decision. It all came to head now, and anxiety hit.

    And today I told my boss that I am taking an early retirement this July, thus finalizing the decision that I made 18 months ago.

    My anxiety rose considerably last week, when I was done with my accomplishments. But it is now at a fever pitch. No pain symptoms yet, just anxiety and depression.

    In addition to the worries that I am setting myself up for a life much less comfortable financially, which worries me a lot (although I repeated my calculations many times and proved that I should be OK if I watch my budget carefully) I find myself lacking a goal or a purpose and that seems to be a big part of the problem.

    I spent my life going from one goal to another, and there were always goals to set and accomplish. The reason for retirement from my well-paying but not very rewarding job was that I always wanted to do many things: travel, volunteer, advance in yoga, do more hiking and trekking, read more, socialize more, join a choir, revive my long-forgotten French and many more things. My job sucked all the energy and time out of me and I was getting tired of it.

    But once I decided to actually retire, all those items from my bucket list seem to lose their appeal. I am anxious how it is going to play out. My achievements that seemed to be so huge, now look pathetic.

    I am meditating and going to the yoga class 2-3 times a week, I run, hike and do all the things that pulled me out of CRPS and dystonia - but I seem to be overwhelmed. I feel that I lost a guard rail that sustained me through my life before.

    Any advice out there? I know there are retired people on the forum - how have you dealt with yours?
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
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  2. nowa

    nowa Peer Supporter

    it sounds as if you are pushing too hard to me, could you slow down and relax into your retirement? remember, you said "My job sucked all the energy and time out of me" it seems that you are doing the same thing to yourself...

    and after you published your book, there was bound to be a reaction so if you can 'let time pass"
    for a little while, that might help.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
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  3. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi TG, I don’t have any great advice for you but your post struck a cord with me. I am also feeling anxious about retirement but still working part time. Not very satisfying work, below my capabilities and poorly paid. I scrimp and scrape as it is. I am reassured by a finance professional that I will be okay but it doesn’t sink in. I bought a lovely book about planning for one’s retirement over a year ago that I cannot even bring myself to read. Like you, I have a list of things I would like to do but find myself frozen, unable to make a start on anything. Everything is scary. I spend far too much time holed up in my bedroom. I look forward to hearing what others have to say.
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  4. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ah, my darling,

    Here is a great feeling of simpatico. While mine does not derive from achievement (I have always been more of a dreamer than a doer), I do understand the void, the twist, the change of life you speak of.

    I was plunged into it in my mid 30’s when himself first became ill and was later diagnosed. It was odd. Life shifted on its axis. The expected future was gone, intangible, in ways that would manifest surprisingly...beautifully...awfully. Even hindsight lends little sense but I can distill this.

    These life changes bring with them a strong measure of grief which frequently masquerades as anxiety. Also the guard rail has gone/will be gone and this does create fear for the future. The invitation is to craft anew, to find new guy ropes, to guide yourself onto safer, hallowed ground.

    Because this is sacred space.
    This is a seed time.
    A new chapter.

    Funny how we desire so much only to watch it fall away when the opportunity presents itself. I too have known this and have reflected upon why. Some were simple fancies, others idle daydreams, some very real and interesting and good.

    I am coming to see that this is the recreation of the self anew and we try on hobbies, passions, experiences as we would new outfits. Sometimes the longing is greater than the true need. Too fancy, too tight, not quite right. All it needs is a little tailoring.

    And a little patient, loving kindness towards the self. It is Winter. Let yourself be for a time. No need to fight your way out of this period. Spring simply comes. All living things, including the soul innately follow the Seasons.

    Life will find a way. Take heart from these images of the restorative power of nature.

    https://www.9news.com.au/national/thousands-share-heartening-photos-of-bush-regrowing-after-fires/bcf10b09-d2ef-4a03-a835-1842f3585c3c?ocid=Social-9NewsA (Heartening photos show how the Aussie bush is already regrowing)

    with my love,

    plum ❤️ xxx
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  5. nowa

    nowa Peer Supporter

    i have been very upset by photos of suffering koala bears, so it is good to know that their food is regrowing...
    plum likes this.
  6. HattieNC

    HattieNC Well known member

    I am at least 7 years away from retirement, but thinking about it gives me anxiety. Not just financial anxiety, but the stress of not having a routine, a purpose, the camaraderie of coworkers, a reason to buy pretty clothes and makeup. I worry about becoming obsolete when I'm away from technology on a daily basis. But to be perfectly honest, mostly I'm concerned about spending too much time with my husband. A negative Nelly that depletes my energy and soul when I'm with him for extended time periods. Will I fall back into the trap of chronic pain by repressing the rage that will inevitably arise when we are forced to share close quarters? So, since I really don't want to spend all of the precious time I have left on this planet working - I've decided to make a retirement life plan and oddly enough, ask for his input. How does he envision our retirement (aside from sitting on the recliner and watching Gunsmoke) while I'm cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry? (I do love him but we have very different personalities and goals.) I'm interested in reading comments from others on this forum who have found a successful and healthy way to transition from working full time to retirement. Especially those with a partner or spouse.
  7. nowa

    nowa Peer Supporter

    Well I am in my late 70's and haven't been able to work for the last 35 years because of my symptoms, so I live alone, on state benefits, so i would possibly welcome a negative Nelly, if I loved him...
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  8. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    vb44, I know. It was like jumping off the cliff. I hoped that anxiety will calm down after I told my boss about retirement, but it did not make it easier. Do you think that you will be able to find another job if you retire and find your financial situation worse than you thought it would be? Then it would be worth the try. In my case, I will not be able to get anything remotely close in pay, because of my age. My biggest worry is the never ending buzz that stock market is going to tank and it would be a huge drop. Then my savings would evaporate. And I thought life in retirement is easy!
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  9. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    My dear friend @plum, as always, you said it all: Funny how we desire so much only to watch it fall away when the opportunity presents itself.
    I could not wait to be free, but now I am afraid of my upcoming freedom and my brain feeds me with distraction in the form of anxiety. I will take your advice, I will go by this: Life will find a way.

    With gratitude and love,

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  10. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you, thank you! Even though I advise others to not be hard on themselves, I don't follow my own advice.... Trying...
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  11. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hattie, have you thought about joining a social club? I have an account on meetup.com. I see there quite a few women's groups who face the same problem with their husbands or are single, so they do things together, socialize and wear pretty clothes. Even becoming obsolete when away from technology can be addressed through the meetup groups. This particular one is my big concern, too, since I am in tech and I always prided myself for not being a tech dinosaur :=).
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  12. HattieNC

    HattieNC Well known member

    What a great idea! Thanks so much. I will definitely look into this.
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  13. HattieNC

    HattieNC Well known member

    Thank you for the gentle reminder to be grateful for what I have. My negative Nelly is handsome, smart, a great handyman, and adores our grandchildren.
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  14. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi TG957,

    I don't know you well, but knowing your hard-won success with TMS ---I wonder if there aren't some parallels with your growth in self-understanding and your reaction to "being less." And being more.

    From a sky view, I could see this:
    as evidence that there is an arising of a deep clarification in your life around what your life actually is. What is this life we have, this existence? We're identified with achievements, being seen, being enough, etc. Isn't this life in fact a gift, essentially unstructured at its core?

    I think we find things uninteresting when they lose what we projected on them (like our lovability or aliveness). The loss of projection feels disorienting, and like a loss. I would suggest you hang out, with what is, as you're doing with meditation, enjoyment of simple things.

    I think the unstructured nature of life may be coming into your awareness, and as such it is deeply unsettling. In fact, survival is a natural reaction to even a hint at this unstructured presence we are. And one of the ways we can solidify our sense of self is through self-rejection and anxiety.

    So reading this tonight, I am actually excited about where your life and awareness is taking you. Hanging out with the personal disorientation while being kind to yourself as best you can is a practice and a deep teaching your life is giving you. Not easy, but deep!

  15. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    God Bless my darling ❤️

    ...and you know, your retirement and life with your husband may be fantastic. It’s easy to veer into worst case scenarios (and this can help offset them), but there is a great chance you can make it good because you are emotionally intelligent and kind enough to put in a bit of ground work. Let’s face it, all relationships need a bit of regular tlc.

    It hasn’t been all roses and moonlight in my relationship. We’ve both changed/been changed by what has happened to us and as I sit here on this gloomy Saturday afternoon, I thank God for it. We truly love each other in ways I only dreamed of in the past. Sure we drive each other nuts sometimes but it’s held safe in the greater embrace of *us*.

    I’m sure you’ll find that balance between intimacy and freedom, and that you’ll take your passions into new ventures.

    plum x
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  16. fredb

    fredb Peer Supporter

    Hi Hattie. We exchanged about scapula pain about a year ago. I have had some small improvement, but still have tightness and tingling sensations in and around my scapula, even when there is no real ache. I was wondering how your scapula problems were now?
  17. TrustIt

    TrustIt Well known member

    your post is right on for me! i just posted something similar about having little to no purpose. as all of my physical issues are resolving, i find myself bored ( i guess that's the best word). i have things in my life that i love, but find no motivation to do any of them. i feel lazy and ungrateful, as my life is quite wonderful in so many respects. i have a lot of anxiety when i wake up feeling great with nothing to DO! what is this about??? it seems ridiculous when there are so many dire issues people are dealing with, a couple i have dealt with and successfully resolved myself with the tms information. believe me, i know how it must hit some of you guys who have dipilitating pain and such to hear such a relatively petty complaint, but the anxiety i feel with this is quite serious for me.
  18. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Having dealt with my anxiety for a few months, I have an update for you. As bad as it started, it eventually went away. Maybe, because I decided to delay my retirement by a few months, as there is nowhere to travel right now - and it was my #1 on the bucket list. But I think it is mostly because fear of new and unknown started wearing out as I got used to the thought. I am still going up and down in my moods, but the downs are not as deep anymore. The main thing is to try to settle into the new routines, routines help to tame anxiety. I also started working on learning things that I am not good at. I set an ambitious goal for myself in yoga, and moving very slowly towards it - and that calms me down a notch.
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