What Is A Midlife Crisis, Really?

When we think of a stereotypical midlife crisis, the first thing that might pop into our heads include things like expensive purchases, extreme life changes, or impulsive decisions. Unfortunately, this experience that many people go through has gotten a reputation of being portrayed as somewhat comical, or even ‘crazy’ in some aspects. The fact is, though, that experiencing a midlife crisis isn’t very funny at all, and can be far more serious than we make it out to be. Many people have an unclear picture of what it really is, which can cause problems from the start. Let’s take a closer look at what a midlife crisis can really be, and how it can affect the individual going through it.

Signs Of Crisis

For some, there is actually a fine line between transition and depression, and a midlife crisis can be the very tipping point of that line, one way or another. A midlife crisis consists of a mixture of different feelings, physical changes, and events in someone’s life that indicates a change. These are natural changes that occur with age, and many people accept the transition seamlessly, understanding it as a part of life. However, for others it’s not such an easy change to accept, and they struggle with that transition. Here are a few signs that someone might be experiencing a midlife crisis due to these changes:

Bouts of depression
The desire to make more drastic changes: Quitting a job, searching for new religions, etc.
Searching for new hobbies in art, music, etc., or picking up a project you haven’t had interest in for years.
Feeling trapped, or even angry
An extreme desire to be healthier, and in better physical shape

There are dozens of additional signs that can come with a midlife crisis, and no two people are alike in how they might showcase those symptoms, but as you can see, one thing many of these signs have in common is their extremely impulsiveness. Someone going through a midlife crisis will likely want to change something immediately, to make the natural change they’re going through seem less drastic. It will be a change they feel they can control, so their transition doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

While a midlife crisis isn’t necessarily something that requires medical treatment, unless depression gets in the way, there are ways to respond to the effects that come along with the crisis itself, including the idea of a retreat, or a way to ‘pause’ and take a look at your life, if you feel as though you’re going through this type of crisis. There are coaching tools available to assist in that kind of ‘pause,’ that can otherwise sometimes feel a bit unnatural in our busy world. If you, or someone you know may be going through a midlife crisis, don’t be afraid to reach out for help, or assume you’ll just ‘get over it.’ The fact is, a midlife crisis is no laughing matter, and you don’t have to go through it alone.

To read more on Mid Life Crisis’ and other mental health topics visit, Dr. Lynn Alexander, Palo Alto Therapy & Counseling