Aging and Mood Disorders
Too often, I hear older clients say that they just expected their mood to drop once their children were out of the home and their own illness and the deaths of friends and relatives began to weigh on them. After all, at some point, “it’s all about loss,” as one retired engineer told me.
Sure. These challenges do bring us down, but our later years can hold great bounty and freedom, IF our moods can remain steadfast. With fewer commitments, we are free to engage in any activity that may lead to social connection or self-discovery. We can try new activities and fail, fail, fail as much as we want because our children are no longer dependent upon us and we no longer care what our friends think of our endeavors. We no longer hold illusions of what life is; we know the struggle we’ve been through and can be proud of ourselves for gutting through it. Most of us have given up “keeping up with the Joneses.” In fact, most of us have never met the Joneses and thank heavens for that!
(Any of you who would like to share the new activities or challenges you’ve discovered in your later years, please share them by responding in the comments below!)
Every stage of life has its opportunities and disappointments, its peaks and valleys. Would you really want to have three kids under five again? Didn’t it get a little noisy? To take advantage of all of life has to offer at this stage, make sure you’re sufficiently supported. And yes mood disorders can begin in our later years. Researchers are still studying just why. You can get your mood evaluated through a healthcare professional or any number of online informational sites. Once you have your diagnosis, your mood can be treated by medical professionals, therapists and supportive organizations like CBF. A mood disorder diagnosis doesn’t mean life as you know it is ending. With your symptoms treated and improved, self-awareness could take you to greater joy than you have known. It could be just the beginning.