I am so sorry. It's a huge thing to stop doing what we do.
I'm a nurse and had to quit that type of work long ago. I languished for a while kind of in depression before I realized I wasn't "dead" yet and I might be able to morph my background into something related. It turns out there is demand for pain management using hypnotherapy and that nurses do well in that field because of background so I decided that would be good for me.
This required going back to school and extensive learning as I was suddenly "in business" and an entrpreneur needing an office equipment, yellow ads, a phone etc rather than a staff nurse.
Looking back there are several things I would do differently if I could go back in time; First I'd get on the education part sooner, I spent too long stuck in woe mode and missed several good years to work in my new sedentary field. Second, I'd take the best, even if a little more expensive, classes right off the bat. Third, I'd have taken a class on small business because I spent way to much time on trial and error re: business stuff.
If you have retraining dollars available, take advantage! In a wierd way you may be lucky
because you may be able to get money for that. It is probably true you'd eventually had to make a shift, so maybe this is good that it comes as a layoff with all the "beneifts" that gives. We paid out of pocket for my retraining because I was not laid off, but to be honest there may be retraining dollars for disabled people too I am not sure about that.
Is it possible to get unemployment and go to school? I do not know about that, but then again--gee-- if you have trouble because you fail interviews because you disclose....................................
Might as well be going to school same time, eh?
my timeline for reference was: I quit working as a nurse in 96, went back to school in '02 and just quit this year due to a broken arm. If I get better than I am now I will go back; as a pain management specialist. It turned out to be a great job for me! I've had MS for 18 years, and I am grateful that I have this sedentary job to fall back on.
Good luck Lew! I hope you find a new direction for yourself that feels exciting and good and new!