midlife crisis real, or is it a common myth that you may feel
significant uncertainty or discontent at a certain point in
your adult life?
often wonder if someone can have a midlife crisis," says
Jennifer Wickham, a licensed professional counselor for Mayo
Clinic Health System. "It’s a good question to ask, as
all of us go through personal issues and transitions in our
"midlife crisis" was coined in 1965 by Dr. Elliot
Jacques, a Canadian psychoanalyst, to describe challenges
during the normal period of transition and self-reflection
many adults experience from age 40 to 60. During these years,
adults may commonly question who they are in this world and in
their life, what their purpose is, and how have they used
their time thus far. These questions can be triggered by the
realization of the passage of time or changes that may occur
with the physical body, such as a health scare or a diminished
ability to perform physical tasks.
midlife crisis, or transition, may occur around significant
life events, such your youngest child moving away or finishing
college," says Wickham. "You may feel it when you’re
entering a new decade or after the death of a parent."
explains the emotions these questions and changes prompt may
cause you discomfort, stress and confusion, and may lead you
to feel that you are in a crisis. Despite this stress, you
might experience this time as the beginning of a new and
exciting stage of life.
midlife transitions might invoke depression, and Wickham says
it’s important you recognize these symptoms if you’re not
feeling quite like yourself:
your eating or sleeping habits changed, or are you feeling
tired and run-down?
you have feelings of pessimism or hopelessness?
you have feelings of restlessness, anxiety or irritability?
you feeling a loss of interest in activities that you once
enjoyed, including sex and hobbies?
you having thoughts of suicide or attempts at suicide?
you have physical symptoms, such as headaches or other
physical aches or pains, that don’t respond to treatment?
offers tips to help:
for daily walks and get some fresh air.
engaged with friends and family.
a yoga course.
this is a normal transition of adult development, if you or a
loved one believes that you are engaging in out-of-character
behavior or making sudden changes to major life areas, such as
work or relationships, it can be helpful to seek the support
of a professional," adds Wickham.