Am I having a midlife crisis and how do I handle it?

What is a midlife crisis?   

The definition of a midlife crisis is a period of transition in life where someone struggles with their identity and self-confidence. It happens anywhere from 40 years old to 60 years old and affects men and women. A midlife crisis is not a disorder but is mainly psychological. It occurs when someone looks at where they are in life compared to where they think they should be by a certain age. 

Who is affected by a midlife crisis? 

Men and women can both experience a midlife crisis, but it may look different for each. On average, most people experience one between the ages of 40 and 60 years old, but you may have it before or after those ages, as well. 

Am I going through a midlife crisis or am I depressed? 

Sometimes it can be confusing to know if you are feeling depressed or if you are experiencing a midlife crisis. Both have similar symptoms and they can be confused with one another. A midlife crisis happens periodically and may last for a short time. Depression will last much longer and be more consistent. Either way, both conditions can be emotional and confusing, which is why it is good to look for help or advice.

How do I know if I am experiencing a midlife crisis? 

What are the symptoms?

Below are common symptoms of a midlife crisis in men and women:

  • Feeling sad or a lack of confidence, especially after a big milestone accomplishment or birthday  
  • Feeling bored; Loss of meaning or purpose in life 
  • Feeling unfulfilled 
  • Feelings of nostalgia 
  • Excessively thinking about the past 
  • Making impulse actions 
  • Feelings of regret  
  • Constantly comparing yourself to others 
  • In women, these symptoms may be made worse because of menopause 
  • In men, emotions may be more angry or irritated 
Man feeling depressed going through a midlife crisis

Symptoms of a midlife crisis and depression are similar and can sometimes be the same, which is why it is good to talk with a doctor if you think you are depressed. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, white men between the ages of 45 and 54 have the highest rates of suicide. Also, women between the ages of 40 and 60 years are at their highest rates of depression. 

It is important to know the difference between depression and something like a midlife crisis. Read more about seeking help for depression here. 

How to get help for a midlife crisis 

Treatment options 

A midlife crisis can be emotional, frustrating, and confusing. However, there are things you can do to help get through a time like this: 

  • Seeking professional help – Seeing a doctor or therapist can be very beneficial. Therapy is a great way to talk about your feelings and emotions healthily and safely. 
  • Couples Counseling – If you and your partner are experiencing these symptoms, it can help to try couples counseling. A therapist can help mitigate challenges and give helpful tips on how to help your partner going through a midlife crisis. 
  • Try something new – Picking up a new hobby or getting back into an old one can bring you joy and excitement. It is good to think through your decisions and take your time, though. Picking an extreme hobby or doing something too new to you could be unhealthy or reckless. 
  • Take your time – If you are going through a midlife crisis and it is not depression, it will get better with time. It takes time to get through a situation like this. Be patient and be kind and understanding to others who may be going through something similar. 

If you are feeling depressed or suicidal, seek help or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. They provide 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 1-800-273-8255. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. 

2021 Reading Challenge – Join us in our 2021 Reading Challenge on books about mental health. These may help you as you navigate a difficult time.