Casebook: Retired and needing a new model for living
What should you do if retirement leads to depression and a loss of purpose and control?
Mike needed to change how he saw his life, with retirement
Newly retired Mike came to me chronically depressed, having been slowly sinking over the three or four years, since his retirement.
He was in his early sixties and had an eventually successful corporate career – beginning as an engineer but involving at an increasingly senior level, in overseas operations for a well known US multinational.
His career had been hard work and insecure at times but ultimately rewarding – as he enjoyed much of it and he managed to provide substantial security and opportunity for his family.
This had always been his major objective. As a result, he would say that his natural caution and predisposition to work hard and to plan carefully had been justified. And this was despite a difficult and fractious time at retirement when he felt that he had not been treated very well, particularly financially.
This caution and care had very much stayed with him in his retirement. It was as if he could not relax and let go – for being retired seemed to bring ever more problems around his living circumstances and the management and uncertainty of his financial resources.
A classic depression resulted, in terms of increasingly disturbed sleeping patterns, worrying and mental exhaustion – that seemed impossible to resolve as he “normally” would have done.
What emerged when helping Mike, was that he needed to work out a very different way to see the world newly retired and how he could best live in it. The old corporate model no longer worked.
And this became our main focus once we had relieved some of the exhaustion. Thus he listened carefully and regularly to my Lift depression MP3 and we did some good relaxation trance work, notably around the period just before and after he was retired.
And then we conducted a couple of extended sessions which in many ways were one on one reruns of a wellbeing workshop that I used to run.. It was very important that Mike could work out the Human Given’s ideas himself. He was particularly taken by my Pagoda Needs formulation – which made a lot of sense to him and which he could clearly relate to his life now and indeed to his corporate life also.
He began to be much better after this and in a follow up session three months later, he was completely recovered. Not only was he actively enjoying his retirement with his wife and family and his many developing interests but he was also dealing in a completely different way with the inevitable tribulations of his week by week life.