In my therapy room, I often hear men and women talking about the mid-life crisis; from a very different point of view.
Whether we see it as a stereotype of crisis or a change, it’s still a challenging time.
Some common behaviours are showing around midlife. Talking in extremes is common, and comes hand in hand with black and white thinking, let it be about failure or success, depressing or thriving.
In therapy, we discuss where the client is at the moment, their issues, where they wish to go, and their goals and motivations.
We often mock this age, pointing at the immaturity and testosterone-fuelled profligacy. However, this part of life focuses on one crucial topic, the awareness of mortality. This is the time of life when we become aware of our limitations and become scared of our limited time. And, yes, many people become visibly motivated to remain young, healthy, and even reckless before the “big closure”.
But what is behind these mid-life feelings?
Fear and anxiety.
Feeling afraid is very much a part of the experience of being human. And, when we are scared, we respond by either flighting or fighting it. This fight-or-flight response is behind the behaviours of mid-life anxieties. The flight response often represents avoiding connecting the past to the present or withdrawing from others. But on the other hand, the fight often manifests in frustration and anger.
Blame and guilt are also common emotions at this time.
How can therapy help with mid-life feelings?
Therapy can help you notice and understand these overwhelming feelings and help you go through the change with acceptance. Then, we can find the goals and means to achieve those goals in a healthy way.
Eventually, we can see this age as an opportunity for self-realisation. We can stop and evaluate the achievements, celebrate the accomplishments and experiences, and build on them whilst moving forward until finding purpose, peace and satisfaction with the self.