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Handling change. Friday February 20, 2015

One of the hardest things to handle or accept for a person with a mental health condition is change, even if the change is good.

My husband will be retiring in a matter of days. How wonderful, you might say. Of course, in the logical part of my mind, I am looking forward to the event. My emotions, however, have me in a tizzy.

What on Earth might one be anxious about at retirement, you might ask.

I worry that we won't have enough money each month. Have we planned well enough? What if the market crashes again and our investments aren't worth as much? What if one of us gets sick and we have enormous health care bills?

I worry that he will get tired of being with me all day; I'm not exactly good company most days. I drag myself from bed whenever I am able; many days it's almost noon. I take forever to perform the most menial of tasks. I change my plans minute by minute according to what I think I can handle. Some afternoons consist of my moping on the coach, grateful at least that no one can see how horrible I look and act.

The biggest worry I have is trying to perform our daily rituals while sharing the same space. For almost all of our 33 years together, we have had different times to prepare for the day, for our morning routines. He likes music and TV in the background to keep him company. He is cheerful (but not sickly so, thank goodness), and enjoys chatting and whistling a tune.

I, on the other hand, am quiet. Not surly or grouchy, but silence definitely reigns my morning schedule. I do not talk, play the radio, or listen to TV. I avoid my cell phone. I need to ease into my day. In fact, this routine has governed my morning behavior since I was in junior high school having nothing to do with the rest of my mental state.

How ever will we cope?

I suspect the coping will come from our mutual commitment to one another. It's how we've stayed together for over 30 years. He is so gentle and understanding about my mental and emotional state. I bet he'll offer to make changes to his routines. And we do live in a house big enough for each of us to have our own space in the mornings. I might even learn to benefit from exchanging morning pleasantries with the one I love.

Somehow, this change doesn't seem so ominous as it first did when I sat down to write. Now, maybe I can work on my distress over my beloved son moving away with his wonderful little wife so that I can share in their joy and anticipation.

A Moodscope member.

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Di Murphey Fri, Feb 20th 2015 @ 1:46am

Dearest Kelley ~
As you can gather from your process, you already have all the answers. And your inspiring authenticity allows you to share this process with this community. A richly-growing community who relishes your shared post is, for me, one the many things I adore about "Moodscopers."

Your commitment to your marriage, your abiity to love after all these years, and your calm analysis of the situation all give me hope, for myself and our world.

Many thanks for this excellent post and the thoughts it inspires. It is a lot to think about .....hmmmm. Congratulations!
Di Murphey

Hopeful One Fri, Feb 20th 2015 @ 6:36am

Hi Kelly-an inspiring and insightful post.You have actually answered most of your own questions or are working through it.What sort of person would you like to be? Only you know.But you have a priceless asset which you do appreciate. Your love for your husband and his love for you.Hold on to it.It will get you through whatever life has to throw at you.Best wishes xx

DawnC.Ritchie Fri, Feb 20th 2015 @ 7:31am

I agree with Do and Hopeful One. What stood out for me along with you realising you might cope well when the time comes was your husband's gentleness and his understanding of you. I think you'll do nicely.
I have also learned over the years that worrying about something is always worse than the actual event.
Sending you heartfelt love for your companionship over the next few years xx

Anonymous Fri, Feb 20th 2015 @ 7:46am

Dear Kelley, like the others above, I feel you have answered your own questions brilliantly. Sometimes if we speak 'it' out loud, or write 'it' down, we actually find the answers ourselves - and you have found this too. You must be so thankful to have a loving, kind husband to help you daily through your mental you will benefit even more, as he will be there to help you through the dreaded tasks you cannot face getting up for. He is a most generous man.
I have recently been listening to Ajahn Brahm, and he says 'this too will pass'. This can mean the dreadful state of mind we find ourselves in...daily or the happy we must cherish them and enjoy the goodness of that moment.
I always worry about plans I have made...the day comes to meet up with a dear friend or we are setting off on a day trip or holiday, and suddenly, I don't want to go...I want to stay home, safe. But my dear One manages to persuade me there is nothing to fear, but fear itself, and I go and do the trip...and now I am trying to keep 'this too, will pass' in my know that it really will!
Hope I'm not droning on too much, Kelley. Well done for a thoughtful and thought-provoking post! Enjoy your time together :) Karen x x x

Anonymous Fri, Feb 20th 2015 @ 9:24am

I can sympathise with your concerns as I am going through a similar situation. My husband retires in 3 weeks time. I have started to worry about how we will balance the books, primarily. But we will face this together and that's the positive. Life will change and I am nervous of change. Your post inspires me.

The Gardener Fri, Feb 20th 2015 @ 9:34am

kelley - go for it. My husband and I had an incredible retirement - changed countries, new language, learning high tech, visiting un-thought of lands. Now the chips are seriously down, debilitating illness and he has become a limpet, and I am struggling to have a life at all. I've watched good marriages self-destruct when retirement proves impossible - neither can tolerate the other 'close up'. Good luck to you both, enjoy. The gardener

Anonymous Fri, Feb 20th 2015 @ 10:34am

Hi Kelley - Your blog is so honest. Sounds like you've got wisdom and hope and i send my good wishes along with everyone else. The timing seems to be so fortunate.....your husband will be near during the day to help you deal with the sadness of having your son and his wife move away. susan xx

Anonymous Fri, Feb 20th 2015 @ 11:22am

Hi Kelley

I do feel for you; having faced this a couple of years ago; yes a period of transition which can be difficult;
It depends on whether your husband is walking away from work because it has become too tough, or whether he is walking towards retirement;

In our case darling hubby was leaving (two years earlier than planned) because we were worried about the stresses his job was creating for his own health and our family life. Frankly I was just grateful he walked away before the stresses caused a major health problem; it's making me cry as I remember this now ...

He needed time to decompress. I found this challenging as I need routine and order; he couldn't handle any routine or plans ...

So, here we are nearly three years on ... and, as has been said above and as you yourself recognise, it is the mutual commitment to and acceptance of each other which carries you through. Oh, and being open and up front with each other about your needs and concerns. Since he has recently started going for long walks most days, things have improved no end for both of us; for him because he gets good exercise and comes back with a more positive mind set; for me because I can have some essential alone time (I so missed this when he first retired and was "there" all the time).

I too worried about the financial implications, but in the end we simply adjusted to the reduced income.

I am now contemplating my own retirement ... with the same concerns about finances and new life style ...

It has brought us much closer which is lovely; there is less to get in the way now; and we seem to enjoy doing simple things together which cost little or nothing - which is a bonus!

Oh dear, I seem to have gone on somewhat ... hope it helps; I think it has helped me to reflect on this ...

Wishing you both wonderful times together and ongoing strength for the journey ...

Julia Fri, Feb 20th 2015 @ 11:55am

I like to spend time on my own; it's essential for my sanity. So it's great when my husband works away from home. I know that when he is here throughout the summer months, I long for September when he will start working abroad again. I become anxious, stressed and depressed after say 8 weeks together all the time. What I do Kelley is I tell him I need some time totally alone in the afternoons to read and relax. It doesn't always work. Sometimes even him interrupting me and asking if I want a cup of tea irritates me. I am not so sure how I would feel if I were not depressed much of the time. I suppose I would have more energy to insist on keeping to the two hour minimum time on my own. I also know that when he was away for 6 weeks once, I missed him! I know exactly how you are thinking Kelley. I am sure you will handle it well in time or just muddle through like me. It's not easy but it could be worse!

Julia Fri, Feb 20th 2015 @ 1:46pm

I also think that men must feel pretty much the same about us. I am sure my husband likes to have his space too where he works. He wouldn't admit this to me though but at the same time, he doesn't mind when I express to him the sentiments I have just written about above. I guess one just has to have a sense of humour. Mine can be non existent at times but overall, I like to see the light hearted side of relationships when they work. But I do get very bogged down with feelings and moods so I am not easy to live with.

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