It is said that if you spend a prolonged period of time in midlife transition, it can turn into depression.  It did for me and I want to make others aware of what it looks like and what they can do to help themselves move beyond it.

 

Defining Midlife Crisis

 

The term “midlife crisis” doesn’t fit most mental health experts tell us, because while 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 a depression so you can get the help you need.

 

Whichever term you would like to use, the crisis or transition tends to occur around significant life events.  Typically events such as your youngest child going off to university or college, a “zero” birthday announcing to the world that you’re entering a new decade or the death of a parent can be a marker for these midlife events.  Also, we as women often get validity through our relationships, so at midlife, we are likely to evaluate our performance as a wife, mother, or both.

 

Midlife Transition is a Normal Stage in Life

 

Midlife transition is a normal stage in life.  It is also a time where we re-evaluate our priorities and goals.  It is a time for us to follow up on some dreams that we  might have been abandoned due to family responsibilities.

 

There are times when we may even feel “selfish”.  Although at our core we value our relationships, there will be times when you will feel you have “paid your dues” and not be willing, say, to babysit the grandkids every time you are asked.

 

midlife depression

Symptoms of Midlife Depression

  • Extreme change in eating habits
  • Consistently fatigued and exhausted
  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • A feeling of hopelessness, guilt or worthlessness
  • Irritable, restless or unexpected bouts of anger
  • Thoughts or attempts of suicide
  • Decrease or increase in desire and ambition
  • Compulsion for alcohol or drugs
  • Desire for a sexual affair
  • Feeling overwhelmingly trapped by responsibilities, such as financial, family and job
  • Consistent desire to run away from responsibilities
  • Doing things out of character that could lead to trouble

 

While midlife transition can be enlightening for some it can also be tough on others.  Whether a midlife transition will develop into serious depression or into an opportunity for growth depends on a number of factors, including support from your partners and other loved ones.

 

Check Out This Video:

 

A Story:

 

This is told by a counselor named Sherman……

 

Sherman recalls a woman who came to her for counseling. She was in her late 40s, married to a man about the same age that had traveled extensively for his job throughout their marriage. That left her with full-time household responsibility, raising the kids.

 

She had been a nurse, but gave that up to be a full-time parent. When the kids went off to college, she thought, “What now?” Sherman says. The woman told her she felt she had lost her whole identity.

 

The husband, who also talked to Sherman, became concerned after his wife spent nearly a week sleeping and crying.

 

The next time Sherman saw the woman in therapy, she offered her an alternative thought: “You’re not losing your identity. You have an opportunity to create a new one.”

 

Yes, her parenting role would change, but having much less responsibility — as her kids were now in college — would free her up to develop a new image and identity. The thought appealed to her. The next week, she went to a college placement service to explore her options.

 

Fighting a Midlife Depression

 

A depression, regardless of  age, could require professional support.  Making rash decisions while clinically depressed could have devastating effects on your relationships, financial stability and overall health. Depression can be triggered from many life events, such as illness or death of a parent, being overworked or feeling overlooked in the job market, anxiety of growing old or hormonal changes brought on by menopause. Addressing these overwhelming feelings of sadness, frustration and anger as well as coping challenges with a medical doctor can be an important first step to fighting middle age depression.

Depression can be triggered from many life events, such as illness or death of a parent, being overworked or feeling overlooked in the job market, anxiety of growing old or hormonal changes brought on by menopause.

 

 

In Summary…

 

If you have been in a prolong period of transition or feel that you are depressed, please seek professional help.  You are not alone and if you need to talk to someone, we are here to help you.

Your turn…

 

Have you suffered from depression while going through your midlife transition?  What did you do to overcome it ?  If you could share your insights with us to help others, it would be greatly appreciated.  Share your thoughts in the comments box below or join the conversation on social media. Also,please  share this article with anyone whom you think would benefit from it.

 

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Helpful Links to Check Out:

 

Dealing with Depression:  http://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/dealing-with-depression.htm

 

How to Overcome Depression:  http://www.wikihow.com/Overcome-Depression

 

15 simple ways to overcome depression and sadness:  http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/fifteen-simple-ways-overcome-depression-and-sadness.html

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