While age brings wisdom, it is also often accompanied by countless complicated issues which can be very overwhelming and may lead to midlife crisis - an emotional crisis of self-confidence and identity that can happen to middle aged men and women. For some people it is just a matter of priorities and changing their lifestyle to match their emotional needs. But for others, midlife may bring about a real crisis that causes people to question what they've been doing during their early years and start making decisions that can either improve or ruin the rests of their lives.
Midlife crisis has often been blamed for some of the positive and negative things that middle age persons make. A 50 year old man who suddenly decides to buy a new sports car, or a middle age housewife who chooses to undergo elective plastic surgery are among the stories you will often hear when speaking about midlife crisis. Usually, these actions don't really have negative effects unless the behavior becomes destructive like a man who engages in illicit love affairs as his way of recapturing his youth.
Those people who spent almost half of their lives fulfilling their aspirations and goals are less likely to experience midlife crisis and growing older is much easier for them. On the other hand, those who lived their lives on autopilot and suddenly realize that they're getting older and haven't accomplished very much tend to be more vulnerable to the stresses and pressures of midlife. This can leave them feeling regretful and frustrated which often triggers the symptoms of midlife crisis. The symptoms often may take various forms, from mild to dangerous and may affect health, well-being, family and finances.
Midlife crisis can also turn into a full blown depression if not handled properly. By learning how to deal with the stresses of midlife can help avoid a crisis from becoming a major depression. Some people consider going to a psychotherapist or a counselor to help them make sense of their midlife confusions. Counseling provides a short-term solution and focuses on immediate issues and goals. On the other hand, psychotherapy involves a more long-term process and looks at deeply rooted patterns of attitudes and behaviors to develop an understanding of why people make destructive decisions in life and what they can do to counter their disruptive behaviors.
Midlife is possibly one of the most stressful phases of our lives. It forces us to face the most complicated issues of life and pushes us to take a closer look at who we are and the direction we are taking at this point in life. But midlife can be a good turning point, a transformative period that can lead to a significant growth, reach new goals, embrace new life patterns and find a new meaning in life.
With the support of your family, friends and by acquiring professional help, you can turn midlife into a great opportunity to let get of the younger image of yourself and put behind your past disappointments and failures. In order to survive midlife crisis, you need to remember the problems and issues that you had during your younger years and acquire the skills and wisdom you need to deal with the new obstacles that life is yet to give you.
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To find out more about midlife crisis and depression, read "The Midlife Transition: The Experience of Twenty Men", a book written by Frank Luzza. You can also visit the VCPS website at www.vcps.com.au.
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