This oldie has a blip - Sept 2023

 A blip meaning a flare in anxiety and a downturn in mood. No photographs because I couldn't be bothered, despite successful visits to Butlins, Skegness with the family and Bridlington with the choir.

It's been on its way since lockdown 2022. Difficulty reading for pleasure, poor concentration and not enjoying much other than beer. 

Erickson suggests over 65 is a time for reflection 'if we see our lives as unproductive, feel guilt about our past, or feel that we did not accomplish our life goals, we become dissatisfied with life and develop despair, often leading to depression and hopelessness.'

... 'feelings of fear and dread about their mortality.'

Late life is thus characterized by both satisfaction and despair that must be balanced.

All very well, but it's more complex. I have lived with anxiety/high funtioning and generalised (described alsewhere) for ever. An angry father back from the war, a bright older brother. I did well on reflection. Good at sports, very good at medicine and always open to new learning and experience. Grumpiness and mild paranoia kept me solidly on the ground. So professionally reasonable and socially inept - I've lived with this and it's okay now, not at the time. Try to live in the present, enjoy nature and take exercise, keep friends close and have a hobby (singing) are all part of my lifestyle and went well, up until earlier this year.

So what's gone wrong? Lockdown I've mentioned. A mild covid episode. Hernia surgery left me with a lower abdomen resembling a ploughed field. It has also changed the signals for when I need the loo. My 75th birthday came and went - geriatric now and aware of things wearing out. When things go wrong it's tiresome and time-consuming to put right, for instance losing the internet on my so-called smart TV. There is a background feeling of most things being broken - natural disasters, climate change, AI, racial injustice, cost of living, wars. Some call resulting tiredness and lack of motivation a spiritual PTSD. Everyone seems to be getting on with their lives whilst I'm 'In the sidings' to quote Louis Killen. And finally an alcoholic son with dreadful behaviour - not all the time.

Everyday stuff can also be huge things to achieve. Best example is driving, brought on by more and more bigger cars which take up more and more parking spaces. The garden is hard work, ivy especially. Doing the budget, getting a will (third), keeping up with photos and writing take a big effort when I'd rather be solving the crossword. Reading still difficult otherwise. Helping out, housework and cooking.

Keep up with the recommendations. I have another - do things in small bite pieces and pat your back when it's done.

The tides might be a helpful metaphor - regular ebb and flow. At worst flood tide is cataclysmic and all hope is lost during the ebb. Yet the daily recurrence provides another chance, just as good, coming soon.

And, there are a lot of people a lot worse off.

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