The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
Everyone has heard of someone getting accused of having a midlife crisis. This may be because they purchased a fancy sports car, or they start getting emotional about turning a certain age. It’s common to make the decision to have more fun in your later adult years. But a midlife crisis can be very concerning if it is severe. Although this is not a diagnosable mental health disorder, it should still be taken seriously. So, how do you know if you are having a midlife crisis? Continue reading to see some of the warning signs.
How to Know You’re Having a Midlife Crisis
In terms of having a midlife crisis, for the most part, people typically experience feelings of panic between the ages of 40 to 60. Usually, people have a midlife crisis because they feel as though they should be further in life. Or, they may realize how short life is, and panic that they are already halfway through it. It’s important to realize that these realizations are normal. However, it’s not normal for these realizations to consume you for weeks or months. If they do, they could turn into the behaviors listed below.
You’re Feeling Low
If your age has made you feel low in general, you could be having a midlife crisis. Feeling depressed about being in your 40s or 50s is a serious concern. You may think to yourself, “It doesn’t matter, life is almost over anyways.” Or, you may think, “I should have been more successful by now. What’s wrong with me?” No matter what you’re telling yourself, having feelings of depression about your age or stage of life is a sign of a midlife crisis.
Sometimes, turning a specific age can spark feelings of depression. If you are feeling depressed about your life, consider talking to a therapist. There are many options, including online platforms, for mental health care. A licensed counselor or therapist can talk you through how you’re feeling. They can also help ensure these feelings don’t get worse over time.
You Make Irrational or Wreckless Decisions
The stereotypical symptom of a midlife crisis is often irrational purchases. Many people make large purchases when they are in the midst of a midlife crisis, such as designer jewelry, high-end handbags, expensive cars, and even bigger homes. This likely comes from the realization that they aren’t as far in life as they had hoped for. For example, if a girl grows up wishing to have a large shoe collection one day, then when she hits 40, she realizes she only has a few pairs, a woman may feel compelled to purchase more. Although this example may not be detrimental to one’s life, some irrational purchases could destroy their financial situation.
Irrationally spending money is not the only poor decision people make during a midlife crisis. They may decide to do risky activities they normally wouldn’t do. For example, skydiving, dirt biking, or cliff jumping. Many people do this because they feel as though life is so short, and it’s halfway over anyways. In the correct circumstances, these activities aren’t always bad. If there is a professional training and assisting them, that is responsible. But, when the person having the midlife crisis does these things on their own, it can be concerning.
You Feel Anxious and Overwhelmed
If the mere sight of a clock makes you feel anxiety, this is another common sign of a midlife crisis. The thought of being halfway done with your life can be scary. It can feel as though time is running out. This is a normal reaction, but feeling anxiety often is not good. Getting older can spark anxiety disorders or high levels of stress. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible to realize you should live out the rest of your years to the fullest. You can realize that you don’t have to put up with anything that doesn’t make you happy. You can realize what doesn’t make you happy and what brings you joy. All you need is the right tools to get in this mindset.
What to Do if You’re Having a Midlife Crisis
If you can relate to the examples above, it’s time to take a step towards feeling better again. The best thing to do is to talk to a counselor who specializes in adults with anxiety. It may be a shock to hear you may need counseling if you have never experienced anxiety before. But, the root of a midlife crisis is anxiety. Whether it’s that you’re afraid of your life ending or your lack of progress, your feelings are likely anxiety. So, get in contact with a counselor or therapist today if you are having a midlife crisis.