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MENTAL WELLNESS

MID-LIFE CRISIS

 

Mid Life Crisis

Midlife crisis is a normal part of life, generally occurring around the age of forty, but can occur at any time. It is a real experience of both men and women. For some it is a time of minor life adjustment. For others, when triggered by external factors such as hormonal changes and stress, the impact can be extreme. Common feelings associated with midlife crisis include:

  • Confusion about who you are, or where your life is going
  • Lack of sense of achievement compared to expectations
  • Discontent with life or lifestyle, even if previously happy with it
  • Fear of getting old
  • Boredom with people and interest previously dominating your life
  • Feeling restless and wanting adventure of total change
  • Questioning the meaning of life, decisions you have made in life

These feelings can occur naturally, or can be triggered by external factors.
Carl Jung identified 5 main phases of midlife:

  1. Accommodation - realising that we have become a false personal for the purpose of meeting others' expectations
  2. Separation – questioning who you are
  3. Liminality - a period of uncertainty and lack sense of direction
  4. Reintegration – finding and accepting the ‘real’ you and not ‘assumed’ you used to please others
  5. Individuation – identifying and accepting we are not perfect and life is not perfect. Developing a sense of balance and ease with the yin yan of life and your personality.

 

Midlife for Men

By fifty, many men have achieved most of their realistic goals and are unclear about their future direction. Relationships may also change, often adversely, especially when children leave the parental home. Once children leave the home, women often start exploring their own inherent talents. This new found sense of being and increase in interests outside of the home can be threatening for many men.

Men may feel a loss of masculinity and confusion about their future role. Divorce, insecurity at work, and normal changes in sexual function which come with getting older can add to the point of being unsettling. This can lead to a sense of loss of sexual attractiveness, which can lead men into pursuing younger women, and affairs.

Male Menopause - It is commonly thought that only women experience depression with menopause, however men also suffer from the mood changing effects of lowering testosterone. Testosterone secretion in men affects neurobehavioral functions such as sexual arousal, aggression, emotional tone, and cognition. Beginning at around age 50, the amount of testosterone secreted progressively decreases; about 20% of men over age 60 have lower than normal levels. This can trigger depressive symptoms.

 

Midlife for Women

Women at midlife are dealing with both the erratic mood swings common to perimenopause and menopause as well as their changing role. Their focus is no longer on the day to day needs of their children, and whilst this can be liberating and provide opportunity to seek work outside the home or pursue creative interests, many women also feel a profound sense of loss of purpose. Commonly referred to as empty nest syndrome, the loss of children from the home, coupled with the potential for their spouse to be attempting to ratify their sexual attractiveness elsewhere, this can be a pretty difficult time for many women. The sense of bad timing can layer another loss – now they have time to do things for themselves, the body starts letting them down, no longer having the fitness for some sporting or adventure pursuits.

This is where an antiaging program can be a significant support. Not only does it provide you with the knowledge and tools to retain and rebuild your physical strength, it also helps you reset your values and goals. Remember, at 50, having incorporated your antiaging principles into your life, you are only half way through. The best may be yet to come. And there are plenty more of us out there feeling the same way. So reach out and regroup.

Depression is NOT a normal part of aging and should not be accepted by such by either patient or doctor. Depression is a treatable disease and the treatment work.

 
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