New to the forum but long term carer

Hi, I have cared for my wife since our first child was born in 1985. She has suffered a variety of forms of depression starting with post natal depression moving onto something called reactive depression and currently exhibiting major social anxiety.

Neither of us work. I hate the term retired because we have plenty to do. When on forums we frequently use our pseudonyms, I am Jack and she is Kitty.

I was forcibly retired by the medics in 2010 owing to a rather weird eyesight condition which responded very badly to my job as a project manager. Retire or go blind was their statement although you actually have no choice once they sign the medical certificate.

Kitty’s current social anxiety has its origins in emotional abuse by her extended family. It is very limiting. As an example we own a narrow boat but can’t go on any navigation where you have to share a lock as she won’t operate the lock (too social) and won’t drive as she would have to talk to the steerer of the boat next to us.

She is a published author and we are currently working on the next two novels in a trilogy. As I said I don’t like retired as in reality I am an author’s personal assistant and publicist. The novels are another issue. She is getting better but will become quite depressed over then at times. She has 5* reviews on Amazon but this isn’t enough to overcome her desperate desire to be recognised as good at something as opposed to then image forced on her by her family.

She is having counselling and is on some serious medication. I to am having counselling and my counsellor suggested I talk to others who will understand.

So here I am.



@Jack_Coltrane Welcome & Hi to you & Kitty!
Lovely to see you here. Thanks for sharing and reaching out.

I completely agree - I don’t think retirement is ‘a thing’ anymore, perhaps it was…back in those old days but not any more. Congrats to you both on the novels and marketing them! It must be a rewarding teamship (the only pun I could think of!) to see the novels selling and achieving the 5* reviews! Nice!!

I hope you enjoy the friendship, camaraderie and comic relief that all the lovely people here share in bucketloads!
by the way you may want to join the conversation at roll call, a everyday general chat ‘over the fence’ on anything that comes to mind

Take care

Welcome to the forum. My son was brain damaged at birth 44 years ago, life changed forever. 18 years ago I had major cancer surgery, found my husband dead in bed, and was disabled in a car accident, all in under 2 years. Life changed again. In total, I’ve supported 10 different family members. I found counselling very helpful, someone to talk through things with who was non judgemental, helping me find solutions that were right for me, when my son and mum seemed to be in a competition for my attention all the time, leaving no time for me! What would you like most for yourself?


Welcome to the forum @Jack_Coltrane .
I’m retired too. I had one year of a happy fulfilled time before my lovely late husband suffered strokes vascular dementia and other health issues. Then bang. Life was so very different. He eventually needed a nursing home, no choice as his consultant wouldn’t allow him home for his safety and mine.
I’m so sorry your ’ retirement ’ isn’t how you hoped. You sound a devoted couple.
Please keep posting as hopefully you will find it a good place to chat.
I still do

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Thanks for the welcome. The question ‘What would you like most for yourself?’ is interesting. I guess it boils down to being me without having to worry about what will happen each day and what emotional turmoil will result.



Counselling made me realise that I always put others needs before my own, but I had a right to put myself first at times! I bought a book called Starting Again by Sarah Litvinoff after I was widowed, it helped me work out how I spent my day, and how I wanted to spend it. Whilst your wife is finding writing her books helpful, what are you doing to help your own wellbeing. Pub, swimming, walking? Time to unwind or self care is important, but not easy to find.

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Hello @Jack_Coltrane and may I add my welcome to the Forum.

I know what you mean about ‘retirement’ as when my husband, Graham, suffered a stroke two years ago we were forced to close our business very suddenly and ‘out of the blue’ I became his full-time carer. That coincided with my 60th birthday which went by like a damp squib (not that we made a big thing of birthdays anyway) but as that year we would have had family milestones (18th, 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, my 60th - G’s 65th, and 70th birthdays!) it meant we missed the whole lot. G started to make a recovery but has had numerous health setbacks since, so I have to be resigned to the fact I now have a new role and am ‘screwed’ when it comes to a ‘normal life’.

I looked forward to ‘retirement’ but when people try to make funny comments about me ‘enjoying retirement, are we’ it makes me really angry as I work harder and longer hours now than I ever have.

A ear ago I started trying some writing as an escape and I have found that words flooded out of e and it has been and still is a great release, as I lose myself in that ‘special world’ (not fantasy - real-life, but I try to make the characters as real and believable as I can, so they react to situations in a realistic way). Whether anything will ever get published remains to be seen (not sure I would know how to go about it or have the confidence) but who knows.

Sorry to read about Kitty’s socialisation issues. Graham has a wonderful personality, but is not a social person, so we have never been great at going out. He describes me as a Social Butterfly - flitting around chatting to everyone (something which fills him with terror as he ‘cannot do small talk’) and conversations tend to be quite ‘in depth’. It’s all down to his upbringing, but I won’t go there right now.

You will find this site very supportive and when you have ‘Black Dog Days’ it’s a great place to turn to find support - and a laugh too!

Making ‘Me Time’ is so important and I have not yet mastered that skill, so currently it consists of dog walks when I lose myself in audio books!) I want to get back to the gym but after a minor health scare of my own I am still reluctant - as well as lazy!

Hope you see you posting again. Take Care.

My counsellor is always trying to make me think about how I feel about things whereas I have a standard behaviour which is - How do I fix it? In truth some things are only fixable by my better half.

My other behaviour is to want to run away - probably from childhood experiences. A few years ago I was diagnosed with high cholesterol and given a choice of exercise and diet or drugs. On the exercise side of things I started cycling again and am now fitter than anytime since I was 18. I cycle long distance (currently up to 55 miles) in the Hampshire downs. It is amazingly good for my head, being far away from home and just thinking about pedalling.

Cheers Jack

Interesting isn’t it? Retirement particularly for carers is harder than work. The habit of work and the structure made it easy in some respects.

It is quite easy to publish on Amazon but a bit harder to do the publicity and get sales. It is a long haul. Kitty’s first book has been read by about 150 people now we make a small amount of money but as it was her life’s work we had it professionally edited and it will take some time to make a profit.

Cheers Jack

Hello Jack, I am a former carer, & sadly lost my beloved Husband 6th jan 2022. I suffer from Anxiety Due to my late parents drinking heavily when i was a child, being forced to go away to an all girls boarding school. {Lack of love} for me. Then we got married in 1980 & we cared for my late Father till 1987 I am on beta blockers for Anxiety. I have got osteoarthritis of hips & knees hands & toes. I am in surrey. I think this group are very helpful indeed. I have natural therapies like Reflexology & reiki & sound baths as this re tunes the body. I have joined carers uk for many years, & last year , carers uk helped to set up Former carers , so we meet every other month. I have also done several share & learn things . regards Amanda

Hi Amanda, I am sorry to hear you lost your husband so recently. It sounds like your anxiety has similar origins to Kitty’s. Kitty is a very emotional person who grew up in a household with no emotion at all. As an example - when she had her tonsils out as was crying, waiting for her mother, her dear mother threatened to leave her in the hospital unless she stopped crying.


Hi Jack
Hope you are finding the opportunity to talk here is helping a bit. I’ve already found it useful, getting me through a hard evening. Kitty sounds very creative. I sometimes wonder if the need to be creative goes hand in hand with depression and anxiety (or maybe the other way around). For my wife, it’s music and creative crafts. She loves to perform, but gets so anxious before hand and depressed afterwards, but for that brief moment, she is her old self. I hope you find some joy together in her writing. What genre of work do you create? Are you on Kindle?
Families can really mess people up. My wife has a very challenging relationship with her mother. You can choose your friends, as they say.
I love narrow boats. We went on one a few years ago but my wife couldn’t cope and wanted to go home after a few days. Pity, as I find canals very relaxing and I love the art and history. There can’t be many canals to cruise if you can’t do locks. We are hoping to go to a folk music recording festival based on a canal next year, which could be real fun.
Good luck with finishing the trilogy. I’m trying to finish the last of a five book novel series, and it’s hard work to bring it to a suitable climax, as I’ve been building up to it for the last 4 books. Still, writing is my escape. Have you ever tried, or are you solely dedicated to PA and publicist?
Best of luck and keep well.

Now that is something I’m sure all carers for someone with mental illness can relate to. Well said!
Best wishes, A

Andria, Creative people are an issue! I am a bit bipolar, not full manic but the next one down, I used to feel the lows were a price I paid for the highs that made me good at my job. I’m not so sure anymore but I fully understand the effect of performance. I had to speak in public to audiences, once of 400 people, That gets your attention. I loved it but once the adrenaline left the mood was rock bottom.

Kitty’s books are about a girl growing up in the Wild West - she would tell me off for that - in the American Frontier. Her heroine is larger than life can out shoot anyone and is also struggling with her bi-sexual nature. The first book covers her life up to 21. It is published on Kindle and has some very good reviews - more Sales would be nice. We don’t have a publicist as such but I am very open to suggestions.

In the end there will be 3 books. Five books? Wow that is impressive. So when you finish your 5th book - what next?

I saw a post today saying blood doesn’t make you family - just a relative. Trust, love, loyalty and acceptance make you family.

On the boating side of things Kitty can cope with single locks that only take one boat at a time so we can travel the narrow canals. Fortunately I can leave Kitty to her own devices at times and have a crew that can get me to places Kitty can’t go. The boat is moored south of Leamington Spa and this year we took it up north as far as Llangollen in North Wales the back via Cheshire and Stoke on Trent a total of 307 miles and 234 locks. Kitty joined us for the exciting bit in Wales. Unfortunately she struggled with having 5 of us on board.




Jack - I need to get myself organised. I have five books ‘finished’ and part way through a sixth. I only started in early December last year, so not bad throughput. However, struggling a little at the moment and am branching out with new characters. I have introduced new ones in each book but now need to diverge and follow a few of them instead of the original main characters.

I have spent this afternoon rearranging the room I use for writing. Dismantled the bed as it was there ‘just in case of visitor’ and has not been used in 3 years. Without it I have space to organise myself much better and am hoping to be more productive again. We have another spare so we are not desperate.

A post was merged into an existing topic: Feeling overwhelmed and unsure I’m in the right place

Chris, I have a bed in my office too! Just in case we need it for visitors. 5 books that is impressive productivity! Have you or are you going to publish them?

Cheers Jack

Not yet published and trying to decide how to go about it - via Amazon, other ebook platform, self-publish in another way… I will need to find someone to Beta-read for me and then I can decide if the writing is any good at all !! Not assuming I am the next Dennis Wheatley, Barbara Cartland (perish the thought) - or JK Rowling (even though she lived near here). I know a published author not far away and have had email exchanges with him before - similar genre - so thought I would see if he would meet up for a coffee and ply him with good cakes/pastries to get some advice!

We published Kitty’s book on Amazon.

The process was:
She wrote it and got it as good as she could.
I read it out loud to her and we fixed any obvious errors
It was then sent to an editor and we fixed anything from that (that process is expensive) - Kitty’s book is quite large at 110,000 words. You pay per 100 words usually.
We had a cover produced, you can do it yourself on Amazon but Kitty wanted quite a specific look - more money.
Then on Amazon it went - that is a bit of a process so which I can share if you like.

Cheers Jack