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55 years old, unable to work

Hendrica

Active Member
#1
I am struggling because of major depressive disorder, anxiety, hypomania, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. I dread every day and cannot find purpose. I feel tremendous guilt and worthlessness because I am not working and on disability. I have five more years until I can get on full pension and off disabiliity and this brings on more anxiety. I know I do not have the vitality to work presently but this brings me no comfort or release from guilt. I can think of things to do but have no enjoyment when I do them. Anyone else in a similar situation?
 

Walker

Admin-a-monkey
Staff member
ADMIN
SF Social Media
SF Supporter
#2
Hi there
Im not in a similar situation (yet) but that day might come and I think of it a lot. Are you married? Single? I think about being a burden either on "a system" or on a partner. It's really tough to feel that way. The idea that you can't "provide anything", but the reality is if you're doing things in life then you are actually providing. Providing and being something arent necessarily about income - its a much larger picture than that. Sometimes that's hard to see.
 

Ruben

Well-Known Member
#4
Hi Hendrica,

first of all, I'm sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time right now. You want to have a purpose. You want to be able to work. But at the same time, you can't work. That must be tough...
You know, in my life I bought the lie that I have no purpose in life. But it's just a lie, nothing more. It causes us to feel depressed, worthless, fearful. But I can't tell you enough how much your life is worth. God put you on this earth, because you are worth it!
Have you ever wondered what is most important in our lives? What brings us joy and happiness. Sometimes we forget. But it's really not that complicated.
Our purpose is simply to love. That's it...

Don't beat yourself up because you can't work (Yet). Keep your greater purpose in mind! I hope this helps you a bit. You deserve peace in your hearth.
 

justrob

Keep on keeping on.
#5
Hello @Hendrica,

I'm fifty and not working by choice. I have been walking a spiritual path. i say that the hardest thing to do is nothing. The guilt and the feeling that I should be doing something was pretty big a few years ago. I need to do that, and forget that often. I need to take a break often to be well.

My spiritual director was mentioning that we have two parts of our lives. The first half of our life we are doing. The second half of our life we should be being. Here in the states we mess that up and continue doing non stop until we are dead. Richard Rohr talks about this also the two parts of our lives.

So I spend my time meditating, reading, responding to others from time to time on various discussion groups. I am looking for a grad school, but in no hurry. even though I am not working or being productive I happen to help others and part of the reason I can help them is because I am available, because I am not busy. There are a lot of people out there that need someone to talk to even if it is about nothing on particular. There are things you can do. Listen to people who have similar issues as you, they will be so grateful to have someone who understands. That is a big thing you can offer. People who are depressed, or have chronic health issues become isolated because those around them do not know how to handle it. Going to a support group IRL or online and offering your support is something you can do and it can change someone's outlook.

Also I had fibromyalgia and Savella helped. It seems to help a lot of people. i don't know what you have tried. I am guessing you have tried every mainstram and alternative remedy it there. And I know it can be frustrating when you tell someone you have a chronic health problem and they say all you need is more exercise, or vitamins, or eat a banana like you aren't trying to heal yourself or you haven't tried the meds and the yoga or whatever, even though you have and found that haven't worked.

I don't know if you have tried a TENS unit, but it can make the muscles feel better especially when placed on a knotted up trigger point.

I hope you find some relief my friend.

Oops, I know I suggested helping others, but i don't know you. I have noticed people that spend a lot of time doing for others find relief by taking some quiet time for themselves. On the other hand those that focus on themselves found relief by focusing on others. So if you are the first type of person and you are already helping others then maybe you need to take breaks for yourself instead of starting to support others.
 
Last edited:

Hendrica

Active Member
#6
Hi there
Im not in a similar situation (yet) but that day might come and I think of it a lot. Are you married? Single? I think about being a burden either on "a system" or on a partner. It's really tough to feel that way. The idea that you can't "provide anything", but the reality is if you're doing things in life then you are actually providing. Providing and being something arent necessarily about income - its a much larger picture than that. Sometimes that's hard to see.
Hello, thank you for your encouraging comment. I am married to a very supportive husband who also is on disability with various mental and physical issues. I envy him at times because he has a set schedule and seems to respond so much better than I. He seems to have so much more motivation and acceptance in regards to his circumstance. I perhaps am comparing myself to him and subconsciously attributing fault to myself, now that I think about it. I like what you said about providing; that is an excellent perspective, that I can see myself as providing as I am doing things. It doesn't matter how hard they are to do. We have a good income together, my husband and I but the pressure to have to deal with my work based insurance company is always there over my head and will be for the next five years.
 

Hendrica

Active Member
#7
Hi there. I've been on disability since 2009 the year I turned 50. Finding purpose and enjoyment in life is difficult.

Do you have pets or any hobbies?

Welcome here by the way.[/QUOTE

Hi, thank you for responding and welcoming me. I first got on disability at 51, after a major breakdown at work. I have a precious dog with whom I go hiking. I like photography, writing, drawing, painting, reading and I volunteer with an art gallery. I procrastinate with everything because of the guilt and worthlessness I feel in doing these things. I enjoy them somewhat. I have a French club that meets twice a week and the people that had asked me to do this love the club. I also have joined a woodworking class and so far, it is as enjoyable as I can feel. I go to an exercise class given through the physio department Mondays to Fridays. I have an online church fellowship every Monday as well. I think deep inside I am ok with being on disability till I retire. I think I may not be giving myself permission perhaps to enjoy the things I do and to believe that it is all purposeful. How do you manage?
 

Hendrica

Active Member
#8
Hi there. I've been on disability since 2009 the year I turned 50. Finding purpose and enjoyment in life is difficult.

Do you have pets or any hobbies?

Welcome here by the way.
Hi, thank you for responding and welcoming me. I first got on disability at 51, after a major breakdown at work. I have a precious dog with whom I go hiking. I like photography, writing, drawing, painting, reading and I volunteer with an art gallery. I procrastinate with everything because of the guilt and worthlessness I feel in doing these things. I enjoy them somewhat. I have a French club that meets twice a week and the people that had asked me to do this love the club. I also have joined a woodworking class and so far, it is as enjoyable as I can feel. I go to an exercise class given through the physio department Mondays to Fridays. I have an online church fellowship every Monday as well. I think deep inside I am ok with being on disability till I retire. I think I may not be giving myself permission perhaps to enjoy the things I do and to believe that it is all purposeful. How do you manage?
 

Hendrica

Active Member
#9
Hi Hendrica,

first of all, I'm sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time right now. You want to have a purpose. You want to be able to work. But at the same time, you can't work. That must be tough...
You know, in my life I bought the lie that I have no purpose in life. But it's just a lie, nothing more. It causes us to feel depressed, worthless, fearful. But I can't tell you enough how much your life is worth. God put you on this earth, because you are worth it!
Have you ever wondered what is most important in our lives? What brings us joy and happiness. Sometimes we forget. But it's really not that complicated.
Our purpose is simply to love. That's it...

Don't beat yourself up because you can't work (Yet). Keep your greater purpose in mind! I hope this helps you a bit. You deserve peace in your hearth.
Thank you so much. I believe it is a lie too. I am learning to meditate on how much God loves me and sees me as worthwhile. That is helping slowly because I have always felt God judged me all my life. That I am beginning to see is another lie.
 

Hendrica

Active Member
#10
Hello @Hendrica,

I'm fifty and not working by choice. I have been walking a spiritual path. i say that the hardest thing to do is nothing. The guilt and the feeling that I should be doing something was pretty big a few years ago. I need to do that, and forget that often. I need to take a break often to be well.

My spiritual director was mentioning that we have two parts of our lives. The first half of our life we are doing. The second half of our life we should be being. Here in the states we mess that up and continue doing non stop until we are dead. Richard Rohr talks about this also the two parts of our lives.

So I spend my time meditating, reading, responding to others from time to time on various discussion groups. I am looking for a grad school, but in no hurry. even though I am not working or being productive I happen to help others and part of the reason I can help them is because I am available, because I am not busy. There are a lot of people out there that need someone to talk to even if it is about nothing on particular. There are things you can do. Listen to people who have similar issues as you, they will be so grateful to have someone who understands. That is a big thing you can offer. People who are depressed, or have chronic health issues become isolated because those around them do not know how to handle it. Going to a support group IRL or online and offering your support is something you can do and it can change someone's outlook.

Also I had fibromyalgia and Savella helped. It seems to help a lot of people. i don't know what you have tried. I am guessing you have tried every mainstram and alternative remedy it there. And I know it can be frustrating when you tell someone you have a chronic health problem and they say all you need is more exercise, or vitamins, or eat a banana like you aren't trying to heal yourself or you haven't tried the meds and the yoga or whatever, even though you have and found that haven't worked.

I don't know if you have tried a TENS unit, but it can make the muscles feel better especially when placed on a knotted up trigger point.

I hope you find some relief my friend.

Oops, I know I suggested helping others, but i don't know you. I have noticed people that spend a lot of time doing for others find relief by taking some quiet time for themselves. On the other hand those that focus on themselves found relief by focusing on others. So if you are the first type of person and you are already helping others then maybe you need to take breaks for yourself instead of starting to support others.
Hi, thank you so much. I am encouraged by your comments. I am an introvert and very contemplative and I have reached out in the past by administrating a support group on Facebook and being part of support groups on Facebook but I found Facebook to be too much. I seem to get more depressed and anxious when I spend too much time online. I am open to helping others and I do enjoy that. That is a wonderful reminder. I am intrigued that you are not working by choice. I know I not only cannot presently go back to work but feel guilty because I know a part of me does not want to go back either. I believe the career in which I worked not only factored in the decline of my health but it was not a career for which I was suited. So I don't want to go back either. That seems to add to my guilt as well. I don't know what Savella is and I will look into both that and the tens unit, of which I have heard. I love learning and do want to take courses too. I just want to be able to say "I am ok, I can enjoy this!"
 

justrob

Keep on keeping on.
#12
@Hendrica

I was in IT for most of my working life. I did it for the money. I started looking into spiritual development 6-8 years ago, and now I spend more time on that. I help the few people around me that I can.

I had a moment of acceptance. I accepted that this is what life is and said how do I live like this. Marsha Linehan and Eckhart Tolle had a similar experience. Some on here have. I accompanied a friend to open AA meetings and every once in a while someone would say they had a moment of acceptance and a huge burden was lifted. Acceptance is not giving up or giving in (that's defeatism) but becoming aware of reality as it truly is instead of what we want it to be.

So I have spent some time looking at various religions/spiritual systems and came up with the following similarities:
  • Love everyone.
  • Forget the past.
  • Don’t live in the future.
  • Acceptance without judgement.
  • Serve others.
  • Reduce suffering.
  • We are all one.
  • Tell the truth.
Forget the past, don't live in the future, acceptance without judgement is psychology in a nutshell. When we dwell in the past we can become depressed or guilt ridden, when we live in the future we can become worried and anxious, when we are present in the moment accepting it as it is we are well.

A personal example, my gf and I broke up. In the past I would resist the hurt. We me, I don't want to feel this way, and similar thoughts. That thinking increase our pain, it causes suffering. Now I let the pain pass over me. I still have the stages of grief (denial, anger, etc.) and sadness, but I am not resisting it and I do not feel the crushing weight of the burden. I simply watch the emotions and thoughts as they come and go. I don't try and avoid or resist them, and I do not engage or indulge them. I simply let my mind process what it needs to. It's been interesting. My fits of anger have been relatively short and not directed at my ex gf. I don't want to throw her out the window or have anything bad happen to her. In fact, even as I am so angry at the situation I respond to her with loving kindness realizing she is hurt and wishing her to recover quickly. That response is just happening naturally and I think is a direct result of my spiritual work, and having a very healthy mind because of it.

What I want to say to you is that there is a path that is perfect for you and it may not involve working or work as you normally think about it. You do not necessarily have to earn a paycheck to be a benefit to society and those around you. Guilt will obstruct the view of your path.

Lastly and this is how I enter Zen, and everyone has to find how they enter it. I enter Zen through helping others. When I walk a path with another, I walk according to who they are. I mostly just listen, but when I do more it is according to what will help them as oppose what has helped me. I think I enter Zen this way because I when I walk with someone according to who they are and I have to leave my ego to do it, and I find peace.
 

1964dodge

Has a frog in the family
Forum Pro
SF Supporter
#13
I am struggling because of major depressive disorder, anxiety, hypomania, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. I dread every day and cannot find purpose. I feel tremendous guilt and worthlessness because I am not working and on disability. I have five more years until I can get on full pension and off disabiliity and this brings on more anxiety. I know I do not have the vitality to work presently but this brings me no comfort or release from guilt. I can think of things to do but have no enjoyment when I do them. Anyone else in a similar situation?
actually I am in a similar situation i'm a 61 year old male and have been disabled since 2003. I used to b a workaholic working 60 to 80 hours a week. when I became disabled and had to go on ssdi I was devastated, I was so depressed because I couldn't work I couldn't relax at all. I never felt guilty but I missed work every day and 15 years later still miss it. I've learned to get what I can for enjoyment and fulfillment out of life. try to focus on what you can do and build a new life on that. it can be frustrating but focusing on positives and trying to avoid the negatives can make a big difference. I understand, talk to me anytime i'm here if you need someone, good luck and all my hopes and dreams that you make a good life.
 

Hendrica

Active Member
#14
actually I am in a similar situation i'm a 61 year old male and have been disabled since 2003. I used to b a workaholic working 60 to 80 hours a week. when I became disabled and had to go on ssdi I was devastated, I was so depressed because I couldn't work I couldn't relax at all. I never felt guilty but I missed work every day and 15 years later still miss it. I've learned to get what I can for enjoyment and fulfillment out of life. try to focus on what you can do and build a new life on that. it can be frustrating but focusing on positives and trying to avoid the negatives can make a big difference. I understand, talk to me anytime i'm here if you need someone, good luck and all my hopes and dreams that you make a good life.
Thank you so much for your encouragement. I like what you said about building a new life and I am glad you are learning to do that. I imagine it can take time and some self compassion can help. I do feel somewhat good when I accomplish something, like my daily physio and my volunteer stint once a week at the Pictograph Gallery. It is when I look into the future with all my present activities continuing that I feel the sense of purposelessness the most. I also have been told by my union rep, who advises on disability insurance matters through my employment, to be careful in what and how much I get involved because the insurance company spies on me. It adds more to the sense of purposelessness as I have to keep myself under wraps, so to speak and that seems to be so defeating. I feel guilty when I do feel good and do have a sense of purpose.
 

1964dodge

Has a frog in the family
Forum Pro
SF Supporter
#15
Thank you so much for your encouragement. I like what you said about building a new life and I am glad you are learning to do that. I imagine it can take time and some self compassion can help. I do feel somewhat good when I accomplish something, like my daily physio and my volunteer stint once a week at the Pictograph Gallery. It is when I look into the future with all my present activities continuing that I feel the sense of purposelessness the most. I also have been told by my union rep, who advises on disability insurance matters through my employment, to be careful in what and how much I get involved because the insurance company spies on me. It adds more to the sense of purposelessness as I have to keep myself under wraps, so to speak and that seems to be so defeating. I feel guilty when I do feel good and do have a sense of purpose.
you are doing fine disability takes time to get used to try to remember that, and try to make that new life it will be worth it in the end all my wishes
 

Hendrica

Active Member
#16
@Hendrica

I was in IT for most of my working life. I did it for the money. I started looking into spiritual development 6-8 years ago, and now I spend more time on that. I help the few people around me that I can.

I had a moment of acceptance. I accepted that this is what life is and said how do I live like this. Marsha Linehan and Eckhart Tolle had a similar experience. Some on here have. I accompanied a friend to open AA meetings and every once in a while someone would say they had a moment of acceptance and a huge burden was lifted. Acceptance is not giving up or giving in (that's defeatism) but becoming aware of reality as it truly is instead of what we want it to be.

So I have spent some time looking at various religions/spiritual systems and came up with the following similarities:
  • Love everyone.
  • Forget the past.
  • Don’t live in the future.
  • Acceptance without judgement.
  • Serve others.
  • Reduce suffering.
  • We are all one.
  • Tell the truth.
Forget the past, don't live in the future, acceptance without judgement is psychology in a nutshell. When we dwell in the past we can become depressed or guilt ridden, when we live in the future we can become worried and anxious, when we are present in the moment accepting it as it is we are well.

A personal example, my gf and I broke up. In the past I would resist the hurt. We me, I don't want to feel this way, and similar thoughts. That thinking increase our pain, it causes suffering. Now I let the pain pass over me. I still have the stages of grief (denial, anger, etc.) and sadness, but I am not resisting it and I do not feel the crushing weight of the burden. I simply watch the emotions and thoughts as they come and go. I don't try and avoid or resist them, and I do not engage or indulge them. I simply let my mind process what it needs to. It's been interesting. My fits of anger have been relatively short and not directed at my ex gf. I don't want to throw her out the window or have anything bad happen to her. In fact, even as I am so angry at the situation I respond to her with loving kindness realizing she is hurt and wishing her to recover quickly. That response is just happening naturally and I think is a direct result of my spiritual work, and having a very healthy mind because of it.

What I want to say to you is that there is a path that is perfect for you and it may not involve working or work as you normally think about it. You do not necessarily have to earn a paycheck to be a benefit to society and those around you. Guilt will obstruct the view of your path.

Lastly and this is how I enter Zen, and everyone has to find how they enter it. I enter Zen through helping others. When I walk a path with another, I walk according to who they are. I mostly just listen, but when I do more it is according to what will help them as oppose what has helped me. I think I enter Zen this way because I when I walk with someone according to who they are and I have to leave my ego to do it, and I find peace.
Thank you so much for responding and encouraging me. I am intrigued and inspired with your spiritual journey as I have been trying to pay more attention to that as well. My counselor is big on acceptance and I have had moments where I have felt the burden lifted when acceptance has settled in. She has a quote: "Pain plus resistance equals more pain." I am unable to recall from whom that quote comes. I would need to look it up in my journal. I like how you said you let the pain pass over you and simply watch the emotions and thoughts come and go and you don't engage with or indulge them. I think that would perhaps also foster a sense of non judgement towards yourself and that is a form of self compassion and acceptance. I am glad you shared about how you are angry at the situation with your ex gf and still responding lovingly. How beautiful! I think I am seeing this start to happen with my anger towards my family. They are hurt too.
 

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