Gransnet forums


Anxiety about ageing

(21 Posts)
lippyqueen Sun 31-Oct-21 09:20:53

Good morning everyone on a very dark Sunday morning. I have been retired for about 3 years. I have a lovely life and loving husband. My daughter and grandchildren aged 13 and 14 live not far away but my son and other grandchildren live in Australia so I have not seen them in person for a while.
I often wake with a feeling of anxiety which I cannot really understand why. I am aged 65 and I think it may be due to getting older and a sense of becoming “invisible “ which I know many people feel as they get older. Does anyone else feel this? I would love to feel content where I am now. I keep pretty busy and have a great relationship with my husband so there is no justification for this!

Peasblossom Sun 31-Oct-21 09:24:45

Get up as soon as you wake up. Immediately have something with carbohydrate and a bit of sugar, like toast or cereal.

I don’t want to minimise your anxiety but I’ve found this works for me.

Above all, do not lay in bed and think!

M0nica Sun 31-Oct-21 09:26:18

You are as invisible as you want to be. I am 78 and invisibility has yet to descend on me, because I am assertive and do not let it happen.

luluaugust Sun 31-Oct-21 09:36:48

I can understand this feeling of anxiety which I have noticed has increased since we went back into the world again. Like you there are no obvious reasons for it but thinking about it I wonder if it is to do with hearing all about other people's problems again in person and feeling helpless to do much about most of them. During lockdown I was talking to people on the phone but not sitting with them. For instance over the weekend talking to friends who have moved into small cosy bungalow and woke in the early hours wondering what we should or could do about where we live which isn't entirely suitable for older people. Small things can cause anxiety.

Shelflife Sun 31-Oct-21 10:00:50

lippyqueen, I know exactly how you feel! I am in my early 70s and have had morning anxiety for some years. I agree with prachblossom- I get up as soon as I wake up . I used to enjoy a cup of tea in bed but no longer do that. Like most people I do have concerns but when I wake in the morning I carry the weight if the world on my shoulders!!! My mood is low and I feel the day ahead is very daunting. Do get up when you wake. I have also discussed on another thread about purchasing a SAD light, not bought one yet. You may find sleeping with the curtains open helps, daylight makes a big difference to me - although I recognize they may inconvenience a partner! I was advised by a GN poster that if unable to get outside because of bad weather to stand at the door as often as often as possible to face the daylight. I hope that like me as the day progresses your spirits lift. Dark winter mornings don't help! I send you good wishes and remember you are not alone in feeling this way , many people feel the same. It is not a good feeling , but get up , eat, shower, take a walk or sit outside , or sit by an open door and bathe in the daylight! It has a positive effect on me. Good luck !

muse Sun 31-Oct-21 10:04:22

I do understand your feeling. Retirement shocks some of us.

After 11 years of retirement there is a part of me that has changed. As a deputy head in very large school, my feet rarely touched the ground. There was hardly a quiet moment in the day. Constant energetic buzz around the place. Instant decisions were quite often the order of the day!

That went and despite enjoying 'not working' and the freedom retirement it gave me, I slowly found I was not coping with some situations that would never have troubled me.

By changing my lifestyle around dramatically, I've lost much of that anxiety. I met and moved to live with my now DH. Together we have a focus and that's building our new home. I also took up a new craft and joined a local club to learn more about the craft. I also joined Gransnet at the beginning of this year.

You say your life is busy but is there room in it to change something. Perhaps voluntary work? Something you would like to learn?

I do hope that feeling diminishes lippyqueen. Enjoy that retirement😀

timetogo2016 Sun 31-Oct-21 10:07:01

I think Covid has alot to answer for as alot of people feeling the same as you are.
The advice you have been given makes good sense.
I wish you well.

maddyone Sun 31-Oct-21 10:23:19

lippyqueen as you can see here, lots of people have morning anxiety, as I do myself. I’ve never particularly liked early mornings, and I find it worse now since Covid, since my daughter and family went to live abroad for two years (who knows if they’ll come back) and since my mother became extremely elderly and needing a lot of attention and work. She wasn’t a particularly good mother and I didn’t really think I’d still be doing what I have to do for her at pushing 70 (I’m 68 now.) At least I know why I feel anxious and I take antidepressants to help me cope. You say that you’re very happy and you don’t know why you feel anxious. It could be your age, your situation, or the Covid situation. Maybe you should have a chat with your GP, a phone appointment would be fine for such a chat and isn’t urgent. That’s what I would do in your circumstances.

Hetty58 Sun 31-Oct-21 10:38:12

lippyqueen, I don't think the anxiety is directly related to age. Perhaps you feel that there's something missing from your life, yet to be done?

Maybe you've delayed things due to family commitments - and now's the time to try something new?

Nell8 Sun 31-Oct-21 11:14:00

lippyqueen I'm sorry you're struggling a bit.
There are interesting articles online about the digestive system being thought to be our "second brain" and influencing our moods and emotions. When I wake in the middle of the night with that awful sinking feeling I get up and microwave some porridge. It's very comforting and raises the spirits. A friend in his nineties was advised by his GP to keep digestive biscuits at his bedside for the same purpose. (I think the crumbs would bother me!)
At this time of year it can be hard to avoid seeing life through "gloomy glasses". There are all sorts of unseen forces working on us as the season changes and we enter hibernation. Roll on Spring!

aonk Sun 31-Oct-21 11:25:57

I find it helps me if I plan ahead a little the night before. I jot down any necessary jobs, people I need to contact, what we might eat, etc. I find this gives my day some sort of structure before it begins. I also plan ahead for the week and try to include things I will enjoy. For me that might be meeting a friend, making a cake, seeing my family.

NotTooOld Sun 31-Oct-21 17:56:47

I often wake in the early hours and worry away about something or think about how much better life was when we were young. I also have bad thoughts about how I might die, or how I would cope if my dh dies before me, or I think about my parents and wish I had been a better daughter. The list is endless and yet I have been very lucky in life really, still am, in fact. I find keeping a radio by my bed with an ear plug helps. If I can't get back to sleep I stick in my ear plug, so I don't disturb dh, and I listen to Radio 4. I find this takes my mind off my worries. If you don't like R4 you could tune in to some music instead. Another good piece of advice is to read humorous or light hearted books, nothing miserable or dark. I do find that what I am reading can affect my mood so nowadays I stick to light-hearted literature as much as I can. The same applies to TV programmes - avoid the gloomy ones. Getting old is a b****r, isn't it? The alternative is even worse, of course!

M0nica Sun 31-Oct-21 18:35:50

NotTooOld Have you ever tried planning rather than just worrying? For example, planning how you would manage if your DH died before you rather than just worrying about it, Any queries can be researched and papers could be gathered and filed together in daylight.

I obviously know nothing about the pair of you, but statistically there are far more widows than widowers around.

Kim19 Sun 31-Oct-21 19:03:24

I'm rather enjoying the ageing process. Currently freer from worry than I've ever been. Minimum responsibility and maximum freedom. Admittedly I am blessed with very reasonable health at the moment and I believe that to be king at this stage. Fully aware this can change at any moment so try to capitalise.

Jenz48 Sun 31-Oct-21 19:56:55

Like previous comments I too lie awake for ages in the middle of the night worrying about everything and nothing, particularly health issues. I often think it’s lack of purpose but struggle to find structure in my life. My dh and I try and exercise every day, cycling, walking or a keep fit class on YouTube , as I know the benefit of exercise and fresh air. I do try and have something specific to look forward to each week. We have limited income so education classes are out of the question as is the gym membership. I fret about my family too who are scattered around the U.K. and don’t often contact us (too busy is the usual excuse). This forum is good though as you realise it’s not just you!! We can all help each other.

Pepper59 Sun 31-Oct-21 23:48:57

I would just like to thank people here for all suggestions. I was diagnosed with anxiety many years ago. Had been coping quite well until Covid. It's been really bad lately. Im on a wee break trying to de- stress and came across this thread. Very helpful even just reading it and finding you are not alone.

crazyH Sun 31-Oct-21 23:58:22

Yesterday at a family evening, I acted silly and started crying about getting old and dying and not seeing them, and wondering if they will miss me etc. etc. I think I was masking my real feelings - my daughter wasn’t there because she wasn’t invited. The get together was in my son’s house, and they don’t get along, and I had a glass or two of wine. I think we all have anxieties as we get older. You are not alone ….

Redhead56 Mon 01-Nov-21 00:21:25

We have all had an extremely difficult last two years because of Covid. With any additional personal problems we have all endured. I don't think it's anxiety about ageing I think it's how we cope and deal with family situations as we age.
We are struggling now with a problem within the family that I cannot cure. It has to be dealt with by medical professionals but makes me feel a let down.
As a parent it's easy to think you can fix things but we can't always.
Sleepless nights and stressful days are now routine.
You will get through this difficult time as we all do and you have support here.

lippyqueen Mon 01-Nov-21 07:15:40

Thank you everyone. It is really heartening to read your posts and helpful advice and realise you are not alone. I think the lack of purpose and structure to each day as you say Jenz48 is probably my biggest problem. I do try and plan things every day but on the days where there isn’t much is when I struggle.
My husband and I walk most days and I try to do other exercises. Generally keeping busy is definitely the way forward.

bookwormbabe Mon 01-Nov-21 17:40:28

I can totally relate to this. My sleepless nights started in 2018 when I had terrible worries about my elderly mother and stepfather. My favourite time was in the middle of the night, then when morning approached I had a feeling of dread at the thought of the start of another day knowing the day would be spent on tenterhooks waiting for the phone to ring. Things are a bit more relaxed now, but I still wake at around 4am and start worrying and fretting. I like the idea of getting up and having a piece of toast, I might try it tonight.

Rosa44 Mon 01-Nov-21 18:30:37

Hi lippyqueen, I too am 65. I retired at 60 (lucky me). I too have moments of anxiety - sometimes on waking, sometimes late at night. In the morning I tell myself to stop ‘ruminating’, get up and make some tea. I sit in bed, drink tea, and somehow the moment passes… The late evening moments I try to deal with via simple mindfulness phrases like ‘just breathe’ etc.
Not sure if any of that helps. Retirement is a whole new phase; it took me a while to grasp this! You sound very grateful for your lot. I think your search for contentment is the most natural thing in the world! Good luck x