No one understands. Not our husbands, boyfriends, younger girlfriends or kids. Hitting our 40’s seems to be a multitude of whammies. Starting with the metabolism slowing down, hormones fluctuating, hair thinning, skin sagging, muscle loss and then comes what people don’t expect…DEPRESSION.
Call it a mid-life crisis or whatever else, but it is so much more than that. I was shocked to read in Woman’s Day Magazine that the odds of being diagnosed with depression or mental health problems peaked at the age of 44. Many factors play a role:
Many women suffer from post-partum depression. However, through therapy and medication, they are able to overcome it. That said, it can creep back up on you in the later years. Also, all of a sudden the kids are going off to college and with no one to “take care” of anymore, we are left with a sense of worthlessness.
As we are getting up there in age, it then means so are our parents. Taking care of sick or aging parents is extremely difficult. Watching our family members go through any discomfort is tough, but this is especially true for our parents. They were always so strong while raising us and now they are fragile. Seeing that on a daily basis tends to wear on us emotionally.
Maybe you have been at the same job for years and are bored, you recently switched careers and are feeling uncertain or have been laid off. Any of the above factors combined with our aging minds can cause depression to creep in.
It could be that your 20 year marriage is in a slump or you are single and unable to find a compatible partner. Whatever the case, it’s tough. Really focus on you and your individuality rather then absorbing yourself into someone else. It’s an easy way to get lost.
This is a HUGE factor. You may show signs of depression early on in life, but it doesn’t present itself to full capacity until our mid 40’s.
PRE OR POST MENOPAUSE
Another key contributor! Stepen Stahl, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry at the University of California in San Diego states, “When estrogen levels fluctuate, brain chemicals that regulate mood – serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine – also get disrupted, which can in turn lead to depression”.
LIFE THUS FAR
I am 100% guilty of this. Looking back on my life and thinking, “If I had only “ or “what if I didn’t” or “Man, did I waste a ton of time on.” Looking back on your life and analyzing or dwelling on what could have been or should have been will only drive you deeper into a depression. Life isn’t always how we plan it. We do the best we can with the tools we were given at the given time. It’s a learning process and life tends to throw many curveballs. Survival of the fittest seems to be the ultimate goal.
WHAT TO DO
I have made it a practice to be very keen of my surroundings and my moods. I will actually feel myself slipping into a “blah” state or stagnant repetitive lifestyle from time to time. I force myself to take a step back and nurture my needs a little each day.
If you don’t feel like “you “and find yourself not wanting to do normal things (i.e., going out with friends, date night, working out, etc.) on a regular basis, it may be signs that you are becoming depressed. Sometimes it will creep on you without you even seeing it coming.
Talk to a friend or go see a therapist. It could be something easily fixed through conversation and talk therapy. If it becomes more serious, other treatments may need to be explored (i.e., hormone replacement, nutrition changes, medication, etc.).
Whatever treatment you may need, GET IT. We are at a time in our lives where life should be fabulous! We are old enough and wise enough to make less mistakes, wiser decisions and simply be able to enjoy life. So let’s get busy taking care of ourselves and living the second half of our lives to the fullest. And remember, Age Is Just A Number!