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Please read my story and I would be so grateful of some advice and support. I've recently slipped into depression after a major life transition. I hope I don't sound too ungrateful, because my situation may sound absolutely idyllic. I realise that people have far, far worse problems in life. But I still feel depressed.
I had it all - I was in an extremely well paid job at the top of my career, with a short commute and reasonable hours, excellent working conditions, a gorgeous little house in London. But I wasn't happy. I was constantly stressed by office politics that left me drained all the time. And I have always struggled to feel engaged at work. I had no energy left to do the things I really enjoy - photography, the outdoors and travel. It didn't help that the people I worked with weren't sociable, our neighbours downright unfriendly. We had no relatives nearby, and my wife and I have no kids. Almost all my old friends moved away from London long ago, and London demographics have changed so much in the past few years, I feel like a stranger there now despite living there over 20 years.
I am fortunate that, having been in a well paid job, with simple needs and no kids, I had enough money to retire in my late 40's. I also had built up a decent little business selling my photos online, and I could find consultancy work if the wheel came off.
So this year I quit my job with no regrets. We thought we would move out of London to a lovely house somewhere near Henley, work on the photography, and lead the "good life." Bliss!
Then it all went pear shaped. My wife's father died and she decided she wanted her mum to come live with us. My wife was adamant we needed a huge place to accommodate us. That limited our options but I went along with it. We ended up buying an old farmhouse further out in a very rural area. It's not the sort of thing I would have even considered, but again, I went along with it.
The house is certainly "impressive", but it's a complete fixer-upper and as soon as we moved in I regretted it. It needs much, much more work than I anticipated, it's very isolated apart from a few houses nearby, yet the road is much busier than I realised, and every lorry that thunders past just feet from our windows, shatters any illusion I had of an "idyllic" country lifestyle. I miss pavements and street lights, and having coffee shops and restaurants at the end of the road. And I think we actually enjoyed nicer countryside living on the edge of the green belt in London.
I quickly became utterly depressed. If ever there was proof that money can't buy happiness, then I am it. I struggle to face every day. I am desperately homesick and I've thought of moving back to London, but in truth I can't replace our little house that I loved so much. I renovated it all myself and it really was the perfect house and even the estate agents said so. I even want to go back to work for sanity's sake. But we're now so far from London it would be a really tough commute. I thought if I regretted leaving work I could do consulting work from home. But that doesn't get me out of the house so I'm not sure it will help.
And my wife and her mum both love it here. The neighbours are very friendly. My wife and her mum aren't bothered by the passing cars so for them it is really peaceful here. For me, it feels like my old life has ended and I am doomed to spending the next twenty years in a house I hate, miles from anywhere that inspires me, and with no job to get away from it all.
I really don't know what to do, how to settle, how to get into a routine. I am not productive and struggling to work on the house because every time we sink money into it, it feels like one more nail in the coffin. I'm just getting more and more down. Haven't done any photography either. London awash with things to photograph. Now I'm surrounded by fields. I know that both London and Oxford are reachable but I feel so disconnected.
After quitting my job and moving house I don't know who I am anymore, or what I am doing here. I practically had an anxiety attack when I had to answer the "occupation" question on a form. I struggle to get out of bed every morning and waste half the day procrastinating. It's putting a real strain on our marriage too as my wife is left picking up the pieces.
I guess I'm just looking for some advice... please help!
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