You hear it all of the time from middle-aged people (from the ages of 39 to 56). If you are younger than 30, they tell you to live your dreams, don’t rush into having a family, and don’t settle for anything you will regret later on. That is because these middle-aged people have regretted the choices they made when they were younger. It had brought them to a place of dissatisfaction, a lack of fulfillment, and regret. They are only giving you the advice that they wish they had gotten. Or, maybe they did get that advice and ignored it, and they are kicking themselves.
Let’s give you an example of someone who is between the ages of 39 and 56, and is full of regrets. Let’s use a woman who is in that age range who did not like how her life turned out.
When she was very young, her passion was to become a chef. But, her family had discouraged it because she may not make much money with it. Or, she would have ended up going to one chiropractic appointment after another from the effects of standing on her feet for too long. Either way, she went to college and didn’t have a clear direction. She became a receptionist. She also felt pressure to get married and have kids before she turned 30.
Fast forward to her hitting the middle-age bracket and she wished she had become a chef. She hates her job. She wished she had waited to have kids, especially after she just had to break up another sibling fight with her kids. To make it worse, her youngest was holding onto her leg during that time. She wished she had traveled more, done other things she had wanted to do, and so on. She is also feeling bored in her marriage.
Yet at the same time, she has no motivation to do anything. She is tired. She is full of regrets but has run out of another care. She has also let herself go appearance-wise. What she is dealing with is a lot worse than just having typical regrets during the middle-age period. What she is facing is midlife depression.
There are a lot of things you don’t know about midlife depression. Now let’s go over the 5 key signs of midlife depression:
Midlife Depression And Midlife Crisis Are Different Things
When you were reading the paragraphs above, you were probably thinking that this woman was going through a midlife crisis. Yes, she was, but that is not the same as midlife depression.
Men and women from the ages of 39 to 56 often go through a midlife crisis. It is expressed in different ways. However, whenever someone is experiencing a midlife crisis, they feel unfulfilled, they are bored, nostalgic, and have many regrets. That is normal. However, oftentimes those who are having a midlife crisis will make changes in their lives for the better (as long those decisions are not rash such as committing adultery or buying a Porsche). That is a time of transition.
When it comes to midlife depression, the sufferer will have negative feelings that come with a midlife crisis. And just won’t have the motivation to make changes. They are unhappy with their lives but don’t have it within them to change anything.
There Is No Feelings Of Hope For The Future
Someone who is having a midlife crisis without depression will be hopeful for the future based on changes they are making. However, if the sufferer has depression as well, then they will resign to being ‘trapped’ and wasting the rest of their lives. There are no feelings of hope at all. There isn’t anything to look forward to and will continue to go through the motions.
In fact, if they had missed their chance to go on a trip of their dreams, they would assume they would never have that chance back. Even if they end up with the opportunity at a future point. They would find reasons why going on that trip would not work out.
They Isolate Themselves From Others
People that go through midlife crises often will find a new group of friends. Remember that they are going through changes and that includes their social circles.
However, those that are experiencing midlife depression will pull away from their friends and family. They also will not have any desire to meet anyone else. They believe that no one would want to be their friend anyway.
Their Self-Esteem And Self-Worth Are Nonexistent
Men and women, mostly women that go through a midlife crisis tend to compare themselves to others. That is just a sign that they are not happy with how their lives turned out, but they do intend to make changes for the better.
However, those who are suffering from midlife depression don’t believe they are worthy of anything. They don’t believe they are worthy of having the career that they wished they went for. They also don’t believe they would be good at it. Going back to the previous point, they don’t believe they are worthy of having friends. Sadly, there is nothing that can convince them otherwise when they are in such a bad mental state.
Mood Swings Are Intense
Moodiness comes with midlife crises because of having those intense feelings of unhappiness, boredom, and having that need to make a change. However, women that have midlife depression often have crying spells and intense emotions in general. Men that have midlife depression often have fits of anger and are easily irritated.
Hormonal changes don’t help, especially in women as they are perimenopausal during the time they hit the middle-age point. Men go through hormonal changes as well and experience andropause. That is when the testosterone levels begin to decline but it is quite gradual. Women would be more likely to be affected by hormonal changes.
Depression whether it is midlife or depression in general also are marked with extreme and prolonged feelings of sadness, changes in sleep and appetite, as well as anxiety. And some will have it quite bad to the point that they have suicidal thoughts. That is when they need to see their doctor right away. If that is the case then they must visit Suicide Stop and look for their local hotline.
Midlife crises are normal and some will experience it more profoundly than others. However, midlife depression is not normal and the sufferer needs treatment for it right away. Those who are close to someone who may be experiencing midlife depression must be on the lookout for the signs so they can get the help they need.