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(35 Posts)
cathybee Fri 14-Feb-14 15:33:28

Hi everyone, I am new on Gransnet and looking for a little help. My husband has had to retire early due to ill health. I currently am looking for work, but I am feeling extremely un motivated, down and stuck in a rut.

My husband doing absolutely nothing all day, except watching TV is driving me crazy. I can not see a way out of this situation at present and is a pretty dark place to be.

I am hoping for a little outsider looking in

Nonnie Fri 14-Feb-14 15:38:54

cathy is your husband able to do things around the house? Perhaps you could start by asking him to do a specific task while you are at the jobcentre/supermarket/wherever? I doubt you will get him to suddenly start doing a whole load of things if he has not helped before.

Is it possible he is depressed? If he has always worked and suddenly had to stop he might be finding it hard to deal with. Many men almost feel their identity is in their work and if that is suddenly taken away he might not be able to cope.

Grannyknot Fri 14-Feb-14 15:43:34

Oh CathyB, I'm sorry for you. I often think of my poor MIL when my FIL stopped working he had the TV on from morning till night, tuned to the racing channel. She would stand in the door of the lounge, literally wringing her hands. (What we didn't know at that stage, was that she was struggling with early onset dementia too).

I can't give you advice, I don't know what I would do in your situation, but you will find lots of help on here.

cathybee Fri 14-Feb-14 15:49:00

Thank you for your messages, yes he is able to get around quite well, I do not know how to cope with any of it to be honest, he probably is depressed but I do not know what to do to help that. He does not get out of bed til 1-2pm.

Rowantree Fri 14-Feb-14 15:49:11

Hugs, cathybee. It sounds a horrible place. No wonder you feel so down. I wonder if a trip to your GP might be in order first of all? I agree with Nonnie that your DH might be depressed, but I am wondering about you, too - you're having to act as carer and look for a job, so there's a great deal on your shoulders. Your GP might be able to refer you for some supportive counselling, which could boost you a little, and you might possibly need short-term antidepressants to help you over this.

Do you have any family or friends who live nearby who could give you some support?

You don't say what the health condition is that your husband is suffering from, but he might benefit from some light activity even if he can't do much. Are you able to talk to him about how you feel, and suggest that you find ways of getting through it together? You could have a brainstorming session together, with a cup of tea, and encourage him to put forward some suggestions of what he could do instead of watching TV constantly - both for his own wellbeing and yours.

Let us know how you're doing. flowers

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 14-Feb-14 16:09:28

Do you have a spare room that you could put a television in especially for him? Get him a comfortable chair to go with it. Make sure he is warm enough. And shut the door on him.

cathybee Fri 14-Feb-14 16:23:55

Thank you for your messages, I do not have family near by, we have all drifted apart and I do not see anyone anymore, I do have a brother near by but have not had any contact with him for a long while.

When you are younger you just seem to take everyone around you for granted and think that they are always going to be around, and then when you find yourself alone, it feels quite daunting.

We tried the brainstorm thing but found a massive obstacle and that just died a death.

Grannyknot Fri 14-Feb-14 16:41:59

I'm going to stick my neck out a bit here - I think the GP
should be a last resort (there is no "magic bullet"). I think you two are undergoing a huge transition in your lives and feeling down is part of and entirely appropriate in a situation of change where you have to let go of what was familiar and make the leap to what is new.

There is a lot to be said for avoiding the "medicalisation of misery".

Clinical depression of course is something else altogether.

kittylester Fri 14-Feb-14 16:45:30

Hi cathy and welcome. smile

How difficult for you and for your DH. It is well known that some men become depressed when they retire, even when they know it's coming, so your DH could be depressed it he was forced to retire suddenly and ahead of time.

I expect this retirement was a shock to you too, and as Rowantree said, a trip to the GP might be a good starting place from the point of view of talking about how you feel but also to let him know that your DH isn't coping.

It would also be good for you to get out and do something for yourself (maybe a little volunteering?) while you job hunt.

Good luck and let us know how things are going. flowers

rosesarered Fri 14-Feb-14 16:52:40

Welcome to the forum Cathy sorry you are having a bad time. I agree entirely with grannyknot, that you can't just catapult into new things, it all takes time.Even without any illness, most men take a while to get used to retirement. Your DH is using the tv at the moment as a kind of prop, but that's alright, for a while at least.Playing games on the computer, crosswords, reading books and papers may come next. Then a transition to a bit of going out, helping you generally if he is able?Men usually like us to ask them to help, it makes them feel better.Can he do the finances?If you do find a job for yourself, leave him a small list of things you would like him to do. He is probably feeling very down in the mouth just now, like you are. Men often define their own worth by their job and feel weak and powerless when they are ill. Good luck with this, you will find support on here flowers

Rowantree Fri 14-Feb-14 17:37:31

Sensible advice, rosesarered, kitty, granny etc...

I guess it all depends on how long it's being going on...the longer it has, the more of a rut it can be to get out of - but not impossible. It does take time to adjust to new situations, that's certainly true, especially when one's former role is no longer workable for reasons of health or redundancy and so on. And you both need time to adjust to the resulting sadness. However, if you feel that DH isn't responding to encouragement or suggestions, over a period of time, I still feel the GP might be a good bet. And no, I know there's no magic bullet for sadness; it's the listening ear, the understanding, the different perspectives which might make a difference. And before anyone adds the obvious......all of that you will find on here, in shedloads, but only you know whether your GP will be able to provide some additional support or help. Keep posting, though smile - wishing you plenty of sunshine

cathybee Fri 14-Feb-14 17:48:30

Thank you for your messages. To be honest retirement is not an option for me, as financially we are not ready for retirement, the mortgage is still not quite fully paid up yet, we still have five years left, that is what is making this situation extra difficult.

It is a frightening place to be and I have many regrets about our finances now. I tried telling my husband many times that we should be saving more, he just wanted to live for the day, now we are having to pay the price, I am a little resentful towards DH as my attempt to prepare for the future was quashed by him time after time, and now we are vulnerable.

I do feel angry at myself for not taking more control. It was difficult for me because ours was a very traditional, man goes out to work, women stays at home kind of a relationship. DH was mostly in control of the finances.

Still I feel I should have done something.

Stansgran Fri 14-Feb-14 17:55:50

Always put the alarm on for dawn or thereabouts and crash round ,draw curtains,comment on the weather. Make a cup of tea for him and have one yourself listening to the radio in bed. Make him want to get up. Fry bacon and ask if he wants some. You don't have to eat it but it does lure people out of bed. Hoover daily crashing into things. If you have sky tv and that's what is keeping him in bed watching tv then forget to pay. All this obviously when you have explored other avenues. For some people retirement is painful. I have every sympathy for you.

Paige Fri 14-Feb-14 18:11:58

yes the worse thing you could do is ignore him and let him spend too much time alone. sad let him know you like to be around him. flowers for Valentine's

cathybee Fri 14-Feb-14 18:39:22

Thank you for your messages. It is not all doom and gloom, DH has said that he will try and find something that he can do, small business or part time work. I am sorry to have been a miserable bumble.

KatyK Fri 14-Feb-14 18:54:02

Glad he has said he will try to find something Cathy. My DH was very unhappy when he first retired (and consequently so was I). He got himself a job as a tour guide for the National Trust. He chooses his days and hours and it has given him a new lease of life. He has always loved history and it suits him really well. It is not far from where we live and he goes on the bus or train, using his bus pass. We are both much happier bunnies smile

FlicketyB Fri 14-Feb-14 19:21:38

Are there small things you can do together that take you both out of the house? Going for a walk, a drink at a pub or a simple meal out. I do appreciate funds may be limited. Despite the weather, spring is on the way and some places are open to visit snow drops.

Perhaps if you can gently break the day up so the TV has to go off for a while and you do something else.

Do not be apologetic about how you feel, you would be quite remarkable if you bounced through times like this like Tigger. Look after yourself, find something that takes you out of the house doing something he is not included in. Even if you have no long term interest the Women's Institute or Townswomen's Guild will take you out of the house, give you a cup of tea and give you people to talk to about other matters.

...and come back and talk to us when you feel down or something eciting happens. we are with you, rain or shine

BlueBelle Fri 14-Feb-14 19:24:19

Cathy as someone who has always bounced along life bumping off the sides of problems. After losing both parents one after the other and then told my job had virtually disappeared I have spent a year in limbo not even realising it, but totally unable to do anything different to ordinary everyday stuff, couldn't push myself AT ALL I was walking in treacle My head was making loads of arrangements and then I never could carry them through so ended up doing nothing It was on this site seeing others talk about depression that I started to think 'I may be depressed' I am now on my second bottle of St Johns Wort from the health shop I m not going to pretend I m back to my old self but I do feel a lot better still finding big decisions hard but doing more and can see how hopefully when the weather stops teasing us that I will be able to start living again Good lucksmile

Rowantree Fri 14-Feb-14 20:07:39

Cathy, don't fall into the trap of blaming yourself for what you did or didn't do in the past. You coped as best you could in the situation you were in - that's all any of us can do. So a leedle bit of self-compassion, ja?

And no apologies for being mis - of course you are fed up and feeling low! And that's what we're all here for: sharing, supporting, listening.

Glad DH is at least talking the talk - it's a start smile I love stansgran's bacon suggestion (assuming you aren't Jewish or Muslim, that is ;) )

With us, it seems to be 'tother way round - DH is totally happy with retirement - it's me who is struggling, but there are reasons for that.
He spends a lot of time doing family history research, or tweaking his photographs on the computer (he takes photos of birds and other wildlife when we go out). Other than that, he's happy to take me out to places in the car (I don't drive very far). I need to work on myself though - with depression and anxiety you are constantly fighting the feelings of 'what's the point?' and that isn't how I want to live, so I try to plan ahead so there are people to see and things to do during the week.
I used to LOVE doing textile art but the creative urge has waned considerably. I'm trying to re-kindle it, with some limited success. It does help to have interests, and some are discovered only when you retire.
KatyK, I'd like to do what your DH does - and I would, if I could get to a NT property by public transport. Our local ones are only accessible by car. It must be a very fulfilling thing to get involved in!

Cathybee - I hope your DH can find something he can do from home - what about tutoring, for example? Just a thought.

cathybee Fri 14-Feb-14 20:28:17

Thank you for your messages--I feel much better than I did this morning. I am very grateful for every comment.

Rowantree please do try and find out more about the NT property thing, its great that you have a strong interest in it and know that it will make you happy..after all were there is a will there is a way, thank you for your post

Deedaa Fri 14-Feb-14 20:37:07

Cathybee I recognise so much of what you are going through! DH also had to retire early because of illness and we were left with two year's mortgage to pay. I had already retired to look after our grandson so I only had my pension. Fortunately with help from Macmillan we were able to get enough benefits to get the house paid off, which was an enormous relief, but I am still stuck with a chronically depressed invalid who doesn't want to do anything and never wants to be left alone. He spends most of the day in front of the computer, but he's even losing interest in that.
I have no idea what the answer is, but I know there a a lot of people in the same boat! At least we can come on here and find someone to talk to.

cathybee Fri 14-Feb-14 21:11:21

Thank you for your messages, yes it really does help being able to share things. I hope things get better for you Deedaa thank you for your post.

margaretm74 Fri 14-Feb-14 22:58:33

There are some very helpful comments above, so I can't add much except to say that I had to retire early through ill-health. It is a tremendous shock if it happens suddenly, and, although I was not the main breadwinner I worked fulltime and my salary made a good contribution to our income; for instance funding our youngest through university, paying for holidays etc. Our mortgage was still not finished either. It took a while to get used to it (and getting medication sorted out etc).
A friend suggested a painting group which I went to for years before acknowledging that I really wasn't artistic. But it was fun and I met new people. I researched our family history (ongoing) and have tried to get my life back on an even keel despite another major health setback. I think women find retirement easier than men, they seem to find more hobbies etc.

DH didn't retire for some time after, and he did not take to it very well, by that time I had found myself a routine. Whenever anyone asked if he was enjoying retirement he would say 'NO! I'd rather be working'. It took him a couple of years to find things that he enjoys at my suggestion (voluntary work, so he feels useful).

I hope you can both work this out together. Unless he is feeling ill I think staying in bed is not good. Does he like animals? Perhaps a small dog that needs attention and he has to take out for walks if possible? Something else to concentrate on which needs him

margaretm74 Fri 14-Feb-14 23:09:51

Bel Mooney wrote a book called 'A Small Dog Saved my Life' (Amazon)

It may not help your husband cathybee, but perhaps it may help someone who reads it. I have not read it myself but I understand it is very helpful.

Eloethan Sat 15-Feb-14 00:01:21

Cathy I hope things soon get better for you both.