Male Midlife Crisis
I often say this to my male patients (and it applies to any working men and women).
“In the first half in life, we spare health to create wealth,
Then in the second half of life, we spend the wealth to regain health”
While the terms “male” and “crisis” are self-explanatory, the term “Midlife” is a bit ambiguous because it varies from one man to the other depending on his lifespan. So, it is not a definitive age at which the crisis happens. The midlife crisis happens when a man thinks he has reached life’s halfway journey and this could be anytime between his 35th and 50th birthdays.
Every man has to go through the midlife situation and pretty much most of them have some form of challenges to face. But, not all of them consider it as a crisis situation. While some accept the crisis situation as part and parcel of life, for others it could be a distressing experience.
The distress could be from the job/career accomplishment, financial stability, family or any other personal factors. Making major financial commitments, kids final years of schooling, transition of kids into young adults, relationship issues (divorce, conflicts) – any or all of them could add to the distress.
The symptoms could be either psychological (stress, anxiety, depression) or physical (unexplained body pain) and/or sexual (loss of libido).
It is during this time of the life, a man is likely get diagnosed with chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and so on which can further add burden to midlife. Not only the medical condition but also the medications that we take to keep us healthy can also have side effects that take a toll on our life. One example, a certain type of medication taken for high blood pressure can cause erectile dysfunction. This in turn can make the man question about his sexual capacity. If he does not have an understanding partner, then it could lead to relationship conflict.
The best advice is to see your doctor and get help. Mental health conditions like depression can be triggered by a major life change, such as divorce, separation, long-term illness, bereavement or job loss. Sometimes there appears to be no obvious reason.
There are natural ways to fight back at depression such as taking regular exercise, which can ease tension and trigger brain chemicals that improve your mood (endorphins), eating well and sleeping well.
For all men in their late 30’s to late 40’s…..it is totally fine to seek help for your problems. Acknowledging and addressing a physical or psychological concern on time will not be considered less masculine. One small step to see your doctor/psychologist can save you big time.