I'm feeling pretty low, and it's taking a toll on my sleep, my eating habits, and causing general mental and physical fatigue. I'm 74, been extraordinarily healthy all my life, never any illnesses, always quite successful and fairly accomplished in sports, music, civic and public involvement, technological and executive work, with a loving family and large extended family. Up to a point. about
15 years ago, the rockslide started.
Lost a love through inattention in the one and only extramarital affair ever. Retired early at my career peak earnings to start a business within my specialty niche. Quite successful for the first seven years, then lost all my retainers and contracts in the aftermath of 9-11. Divorced (after her asking for divorce a dozen times over the previous 20 years) and filed in such a manner as to provide that spouse of over 40 years the bulk of all we had earned and owned - I felt I didn't need equity from a courtroom, that I'd always find a way to sustain, and to sustain well.
It began. Resumes received glowing commentary, but as soon as I followed up with an application, possible new destinations went silent. My age *might* be and have been a factor, but of course that's seldom provable. I learned (better said, recalled) how to live on one seventh of my previous income. Experimented fairly successfully with varietal cooking for one (portion control failures notwithstanding). Continued to help adult children and their families as best I could. Didn't pay much attention to a growing sense of failure, or at least self disappointment.
Had a TIA/mild stroke four years ago - it did no discernable damage, wasn't off my feet longer than 5 hours. That resulted in the first medication I've ever been prescribed. All precursors and consequential symptoms are now under control, and have been since the event.
I'm comfortable in living alone, but honestly like some time alone, but don't want to BE alone. This thought has grown in significance pretty constantly over the last eight years. During those eight years, I located in apartments close to a major highway to facilitate looking after my brother and sister in law, both on disability. He was a career military retiree, service related disability, and needed periodic care from a VA Hospital here in the city, but lived 185 miles out of town. He passed away on October 1, a loss I felt deeply - he was my little brother, younger than I, and I did my best to help him sustain. Then last Sunday morning my closest cousin, one I grew up with (we were termed 'the terrible twins', one month younger than I, passed away after a two year bout with cancer. I had handled my parents' passing, as well as aunts and uncles and friends, with cheer and aplomb - you know, the one who still smiles and braces others up. I can't do that any more.
This set me to thinking about
all the times I've lost friends, loves, military buddies, teammates, classmates, family members - a continuous stream since 1941. And for the third time in the last 55 years, I have to stop and self examine. For which, of course, I'm not qualified. The first, a lovely young woman that shared a most intimate relationship with me, came to me pregnant with child that was admittedly not mine. I turned her away. 2 months later, she died by her own hand trying to abort the child. The second time, at the end of my single illicit affair, with news she had moved on and would not wait for me to divorce - I had failed to do that in order to care, pay for, and continue medical/surgical support for my wife and my daughter. I shut myself in my office and was in tears except for restroom breaks for 90 hours. Contemplated suicide, dismissed the notion after alarms went off causing my son, my brother, and the lady in question to phone and talk me down from that gloom and sense of despair. The third, was my brother's passing after 29 years of remarkable recovery from recurrent brain tumors, skull replacement, plastic surgery, 3 of the 4 times uncertain he'd survive the procedures. When his wife called to say he was in terminal decline, I went out back and spoke aloud, "God, please don't take my little brother - he has fought for his life so long and hard, and there's no replacement". It began to rain, seemingly from nowhere, with a large bolt of lightning. I told his children the next day that I had made God cry.
Now I'd love to move close to the rest of my family, got moving estimates (sticker shock), and simple arithmetic tells me I can't do that. So I'm feeling broke, unable to be the go-to parent, brother, cousin, and friend others relied upon in days past, age-limited for work as well as recreation and exercise, and generally unable to be "me". And I truly hate that sense of inability. I'm afraid, as well. Afraid of further decline, loss of pension, loss of the use of skills, and incipient loss of even more of my family.
Is this depression, or am I just having a pity party chock full of gloom at things I can't control no matter my efforts?
Post Edited (eaasy) : 12/10/2011 12:28:01 AM (GMT-7)