I’d worked in racing all my life and always joked with my colleagues about how much I was looking forward to retirement; but as the moment drew closer I was surprised to find that the thought of it was making me feel apprehensive.
I have family close by and several hobbies that are outside of racing and also thought I enjoyed my own company, so didn’t think I would struggle to fill the hours. However, the first few months of retirement were a really strange time and I felt as though I had been put on the scrap heap. I also began to feel anxious and found that I was thinking a lot about dying, which might have been because I had lost a few friends around this time too. I was just so used to being busy and around people and horses that my days felt empty and I felt worthless.
I initially spoke to my GP who recommended counselling but if I’m honest I didn’t think counselling was for me. A friend suggested I contact Racing Welfare as they were aware that they help retired people who have worked in racing. I called Racing’s Support Line one night and chatted through things with the advisor. They put me in touch with a local welfare officer who got me involved with a coffee morning where I met up with other retired racing people.
The Be Friendly telephone service was also recommended which I agreed to try. I’ve been having a weekly call with a Befriender ever since and now look forward to the opportunity to chat to someone who understands. It’s made such a difference to me and I’ve realised just how lonely I was feeling after giving up work. Working in racing is a way of life and when it’s not there anymore it can be extremely isolating as your friends and colleagues are all still busy with their jobs and lives. I would recommend the Be Friendly service to anyone who feels disconnected for any reason. Loneliness was the root of my issues and it doesn’t have to be that way with all of the great support that Racing Welfare provides.
If you are feeling lonely or isolated we are here to provide support in a safe and secure environment, click here for more information.