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How major surgeries and terminal illnesses can cause depression in post retirement years.
So retirement has come and gone and now you find yourself advancing in years. Maybe your health has started to decline or you've had a recent health scare. It is also more and more common for today's senior community to undergo major surgeries such as heart surgery, bypass surgery or hip replacement. Maybe you've been diagnosed with a terminal illness or disease such as Parkinson's or Cancer.
With the recent passing of Robin Williams, many have been left wondering what can lead someone seemingly so strong to take their own life? Robin Williams was 63, still young for retirement age but still facing many of the same issues today's senior community face each day. First of all, Robin Williams had undergone open-heart surgery in 2009 and it was revealed after his passing that he had recetly been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. This is a double whamy in one's life, on top of already struggling to maintain sobriety after a long history of substance abuse.
What many don't understand about aging, disease/terminal illness and depression is that even in the strongest of individuals, health issues such as these incite many feelings of mortality, one's purpose in life and the meaning of past choices. Health problems inhibit mobility and may cause one to become wheelchair bound. When it happens in the younger spectrum of the retirement years, it can really impact someone's feelings of adequacy and usefulness. Feelings of usefulness correlate to emotional feelings of purpose.
With the diagnosis of such health problems, it is vital more than ever that individuals seek counseling or therapy to help them confront these issues. Staying connected with a social group of others your age or demographic (similar outlook and life experiences) is also key to helping to stay emotionally and mentally strong. Get the support you need to battle these issues that may arise.
Just because you may be wheelchair bound, have a terminal illness or a progressive disease does not mean that your life is over. It dosen't mean you aren't important to those around you or that you can't continue to live out the rest of your life enjoying what you have left. Some even isolate themselves emotionally. They don't open up to those closest to them to let them know how vulnerable they feel after such health scares. These are the ones more likely to suffer from depression or have major depressive episodes that can lead to suicidal ideation.
Mortality is scary and coming face to face with it after open-heart surgery is a real awakening. No matter how strong you are, it's very common to feel depressed after such major surgeries, the diagnosis of a major disease or terminal illness. The key is to get help and support to help you face the depression and the emotional issues that arise from this dark place. You are not alone. Your life is not over. You may experience new limitations with your health, maybe even your physical body, but it's not over for you. It's not time to throw in the towel. You too can still enjoy life and serve a purpose.
If your health issues stir up feelings about the meaning of life, I recommend you take time to explore activities. Take some time for the people that help you feel valued, like you have a purpose. Surround yourself with those who help you feel positive energy and stay away from those who drain it. Get connected in a social group and don't be afraid to open up to those closest to you, even if it's a nurse, about the difficult feelings you are experiencing. Seek a counselor or therapist who specializes in problems specific to your age group and life experiences.
Most importantly, remember, you are not alone. There's always a reason to live.