What Is A Midlife Crisis?

by Claire Raymond 2 years ago in advice / family

How serious is a midlife crisis?

What Is A Midlife Crisis?

A midlife crisis can conjure up so many images, but for most people, the most vivid image is of an aging balding man in a red sports car accompanied by a young, well-endowed blonde woman with whom he cheated on his wife. And as humorous as some people might find this image, it is quite unfair, because not only do women have midlife crises too, but a midlife crisis is no laughing matter.

What Actually Is a Midlife Crisis?

Do they really exist? Or are they just a way for people to claim diminished responsibility for their actions? Are they a convenient excuse to act like a hormonal teenager again? According to the NHS, a male midlife crisis is a form of depression (yet there is absolutely no mention of a female midlife crisis) and it is something that can be treated by a GP. The signs of a midlife crisis, according to the NHS are as follows:

  • No enjoyment of things
  • Low moods
  • Mood swings
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Lack of concentration
  • Increased sleep or lack of sleep (significant changes in sleep patterns)

All of these things are very serious signs of depression and should be dealt with as soon as possible.

What Does Society Think of a Midlife Crisis?

So why are the genuine signs of a real midlife crisis so different to the ones that society seems to think are real? Ask most people and they will tell you that the signs of a midlife crisis are:

  • Cheating with someone younger
  • Buying a sports car (male)
  • Running a marathon (female)
  • Clubbing and trying to recapture lost youth

And as common as these symptoms are, they are not the sign of a midlife crisis, they are the sign of a midlife panic. A sign that someone is scared because they feel as though they haven't achieved everything that they thought they would so they begin to try and live out their fantasies despite their obvious responsibilities. And it's not funny, it destroys families and leaves them ripped apart because of someone else's selfishness.

When we joke about the man having an affair with a younger woman, or the woman having an affair with the younger man, we tend to overlook the fact that they had partners, they had families that have now been left to pick up the shattered pieces.

How to Deal With a Midlife Crisis

Neither midlife crisis scenarios are funny, not for the people involved. So what do we do if someone we know is having a midlife dilemma of any kind? That is a tough question, nobody is going to admit that they are having a midlife crisis, so how does one broach the subject?

If you think someone is having a genuine midlife crisis, according to the definition above, then do your best to try to talk to them, they need your help even if they aren't yet ready to admit it. If you think someone is severely depressed and is at risk of harming themselves, then you need to speak to a medical professional and see what they can do for them.

A midlife panic is just as hard, if not harder to handle because there is nothing that you can really do. Telling them how selfishly they are acting will not help matters because all they will do is deny it. You can't stop anyone from acting the way they want to act, you just have to try to figure out why they are doing this, if it will be over anytime soon and if you still want to be there when it is.

You Can Get Through a Crisis

If you feel as though you are going through a midlife crisis yourself and you think you are acting differently, take a long, hard look at yourself and ask yourself what you are doing? Is anything worth throwing away what you currently have?

Midlife crises are difficult to deal with for those that are left to clear up the mess, but there are people out there going through the same problems as you and you can find plenty of help, advice and support online and in forums. You are not alone and you never have to feel like you are.

How does it work?
Read next: 'Chocolate Kisses'
Claire Raymond

I have been a writer for 14 years now, I'll figure it out one day.

See all posts by Claire Raymond