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Are you going through a Mid-Life Crisis or a Mid-Life Transition

04 Mar 2015

“I wish I could go back in time and redo some things”

“This is not what I wanted from myself as professional”

Why am I running in this rat race of being on the top and minting money..this is not what I really need?”

“ I think my relationship has lost its spark”

“ My partner doesn’t find me attractive anymore” 

are some common complaints one may hear from women The term “midlife crisis” often brings up thoughts of a middle-aged man frustrated with intimate relationships or career or suddenly having a complete makeover. But mid-life crisis affects women too and is mostly considered as a time when the vulnerability for depression is high.

Being in mid-life or being anywhere in the age range from late 30’s to early 50’s, can be a roller coaster ride. You may experience all kinds of emotions and events ranging from  the joys of being professionally successful to seeing your child excel at school or college to heartbreaking events ranging from seeing self or spouse suffer from an ailment or seeing one’s parents lose their health or the death of a parent. Such heart breaking events at this age where we ourselves our contemplating our roles in the family or at work or our suffering from loneliness resulting from being single or experiencing emotional distancing partner may make mid-life appear as an age of crisis. Women often get validity about their being through relationships at home and at work. So at midlife, they are likely to evaluate their performance as a wife, mother, a daughter, a sister or a friend or employers and employees.

Midlife is also an important phase as adults come to realize their own mortality. At this juncture which begins in a woman s late thirties and stretches up to the early fifties, she may experience an existential dilemma. This dilemma may lead to chaos or growth. A mid-life crisis may be experienced as they realize that they are at a mid-point of their lifespan and thus experience conflicts or dissatisfaction within themselves because of unrealized goals, self-perceptions or physical changes as a result of aging or health issues.

 But this definitely is not the first crisis that you may be facing and you should give a pat on your back for reaching this point crossing different kinds of hurdles and crisis situation successfully. It’s actually the kind of perspective we have and the kind of coping strategies we have developed over from our childhood till we reach our midlife. Additionally, when we mindfully experience a mid-life crisis, that’s is we are fully aware and observant of what we feel and what is making feel those emotions we should reassess our achievements in terms of our dreams and unattained or unfulfilled goals.  As a result you may ignite a new fire within you to make the significant changes in areas such as career, marriage, romantic relationships, finances, or physical appearance.

For me, as a woman in my late thirties and a clinical psychologist the term crisis often doesn't fit as I feel that even though it can be accompanied by serious depression, it can also mark a period of tremendous growth. The trick, of course, is to realize when the transition is developing into depression so you can seek help and move on successfully to another unique phase of your life.

Some coping tips to face any crisis situations are 

  1. First and most important thing to remember that Mid-life crisis is purely a psychological experience and not a chronological event and its not necessary that you will go through a real crisis in your midlife years. Experiencing a crisis can happen at any point in life and your past experiences of coping with a crisis as well as your learnings from such experiences will determine how you would experience any other difficult situations at any point in your life.
  2. Like I mentioned above, be mindful about your experiences –both positive and negative. When you carefully experience an event it means you are aware about the associated emotions, thoughts and consequences. When you do this you are much more prepared to address a negative situation or emotion and sail through it more smoothly rather than get immersed and stuck in the crisis.
  3. Make a note of various questions that may arise in your mind at this phase in your life about yourself as a person or in a particular role-mother, employee etc. Note down the reasons for thinking such questions –it could be an unfulfilled desire, an unrealized goal or something as simple as being unhappy with your physical health. Move ahead by doing a realistic analysis of how you could move forward in attaining these goals or the at least the closest options to these goals.
  4. Discuss it with your partner, parents, friends or your kids as they may be able to suggest ways to overcome an emotional or situational crisis.
  5. If you feel it’s become difficult to handle by yourself and its starting to affect your physical and emotional health as well as quality of life, seek professional help before it turns into some-thing more unmanageable like depression. You could seek help from a counselor or a clinical psychologist to help you move on in life.

 

Always remember that you have sailed through a lot of ups and downs in life and by now you know yourself much better than you did as a teenager. A bit of soul searching and mindful behavior will help you avoid any impulsive behaviors like having an extra marital affairs or quitting a job in haste.

 

“Turn your midlife crisis to your own advantage to make it time for renewal of your body and mind rather than standby and watch them decline.”

Jane E Brody.


Tags: #Mid-Life Crisis #Middle Aged Life-changes #Depression #Low #Changes