Midlife crisis symptoms are feeling of depression, hopelessness, low self esteem, etc. This crisis affects people between the age of 40 – 60 and can lead to impulsive behavior and irrational decisions like quitting the job, separating from one’s spouse, etc.
A midlife crisis is a common phenomenon occurring in people when they hit their late 40s and 60s. This concept was first identified by a psychologist Carl Jung and can be found in various writings of his. He termed midlife crisis as a normal part of the maturing process. However, the term ‘midlife crisis’ was coined by a psychologist Elliot Jaques in the 1960s. A midlife crisis is that emotional transition taking place in a person’s life, during the late 40s or 50s. People going through middle age crisis will make some changes in their life, however, in most cases the changes will not be quite drastic and life will continue to move on smoothly. But, this middle age crisis is not easy for all people. For some, it can pose to be quite a challenge and can conduce to an emotionally trying and depressing time. Depending on a person’s emotional quotient, the symptoms of midlife crisis can vary.
General Symptoms of Midlife Crisis
These midlife crisis symptoms can be brought about by internal or external factors. The external factors like debt, divorce, empty nest syndrome, bereavement, etc. can cause one to intensify symptoms of midlife crisis. The internal factors would comprise the changes taking place in one’s life during one’s 40s or 50s, such as ill health, job loss, infertility, etc. If one fails to espouse the changes in a positive manner, one can react irrationally by taking impulsive decisions, such as quitting the job, separating from the spouse and so on. The symptoms are as follows:
- Overall unhappiness with life
- A feeling of boredom and discontentment towards people or things, that earlier brought contentment to life
- Feeling suffocated and tied down by family commitments
- Seeking adventure in life, with an urge to do something different
- Seeking an exciting intimate relationship in life
- Doubting if their spouse ever loved them and resenting marriage
- Questioning decisions made years ago
- Developing a feeling of insecurity
- Doubting one’s identity
- Feeling stressed and going through anxiety symptoms and depression
- Low in self esteem
- Wondering which decisions to take in the future
- Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of doing all that has to be done.
- Questioning the true meaning of life.
- Trying to find out more about religion and God.
- Pondering over death and its nature.
- Pondering over unresolved issues from the past.
- Woolgathering about days of the youth and fearing imminence of old age.
- Fearful of old age and mortality.
- Feeling the current job is very boring and wanting to quit working.
- Making impetuous decisions about career and financial investments
Symptoms of Midlife Crisis in Men
The causative factors of midlife crisis in men has been debated quite a bit by therapists. While some believe it is brought about by psychological factors, others believe it is caused by physical factors like production of less testosterone, as the person ages. Then on the other hand, some defy the existence of a crisis such as this one and blatantly call it a myth. Nevertheless, let’s have a look at the symptoms experienced by men.
- Quitting a job and looking for more exciting and fulfilling career options.
- Spending money on items like toy cars, boats and electronic gadgets.
- Feeling depressed about their past and current lifestyle.
- Giving priority to things they never gave any importance before, such as exercising, etc.
- Lower sex drive
- Wanting to have an affair.
- Urge to have new sexual experiences
- Conscious of getting older.
- Indulging in excessive drinking.
- Sudden obsession with the way one looks.
- Getting rid of the old style of dressing and espousing a new look.
- Finding one’s family, friends and colleagues boring and uncool
- Finding it impossible to live with a nagging wife
- Wanting to do something different and worthwhile with one’s life
- The desire to break free from the responsibility of having to provide for the family.
- The feeling to relive the carefree life of bachelorhood.
Midlife Crisis Symptoms in Women
A midlife crisis can inflict any woman from married, married with kids to single, single mom with kids. The fact is that, it can affect any woman between the age of 40 – 60. The most common symptoms they will show are as follows:
- Unhappy with the way one’s life is headed
- Loss of vision and clarity in life
- Losing interest in taking care of the family
- Loss of self-confidence and having low self esteem
- Self condemnation
- Desire to get a break from current life by going to a place far away for an extended period of time
- Not wanting to be in control of the house and not wanting to take care of the family all the time
- Wanting to break free from all the responsibilities and flying off somewhere far from every known person
- Getting extremely depressed if ignored by spouse and kids.
- Lack of confidence to face old friends
- Feeling unpopular in the friends circle
- Getting depressed easily after mocking comments from family and friends.
- A feeling that all efforts invested in family and career was actually a waste of time and useless.
- Unhappy with one’s skill set and regretting spending lots of time doing household chores rather than making a career
- Getting a tattoo done or a nose job, etc. just to comfort oneself
- Going on spending sprees
- Having an affair with the longing to have a new, exciting intimate relationship
- Becoming suddenly conscious of one’s appearance
Now that we’ve had an in-depth look at the different midlife crisis symptoms, it’s important to know how to handle a midlife crisis in the most appropriate manner. Each and every individual at some point of time will go through the phase of aging. It’s a phenomenon of life! However, the way we handle it is crucial. Take the change with a positive stride and don’t cling on to the past. As my mentor says, ‘the best of your days are not behind you, but ahead of you!’