How do you know if you’re having an early midlife crisis?
When you’re 35 and experiencing what seems to be signs you’re having an early midlife crisis, no one wants to believe you. Heck, you don’t even want to believe yourself.
How could a woman in her mid-30s, with a wonderful husband, great kids, a nice house, and loving friends and family be having a midlife crisis?
This is the question I asked myself over and over again when I was in the very thick of my own early mid-life crisis.
I felt isolated and alone. I felt as if I had no right to be having such regretful thoughts about my life, but there I was feeling this way nonetheless.
No one–not my mother, my aunts, my older sister or friends–ever talked to me about the possibility of having a midlife crisis as a woman…let alone an early midlife crisis.
As I have discussed before, I truly thought the “midlife crisis” was something that men (more specifically white men lol) experienced.
So when I found myself experiencing these feelings, I was in complete denial. At the time, I did not have access to any therapy options, so I struggled alone.
I found comfort in educating myself on mental health issues, like the early midlife crisis, and how women often experience them differently than men.
My hope is that by sharing some of the signs, maybe I can help another woman out there who is dealing with these same emotions.
You don’t have to be a male or white, or in your late 40s/early 50s to experience a midlife crisis. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, it hits you early.
Here are 7 Signs You’re Having an Early Midlife Crisis
1. You’re constantly thinking about your regrets
In my case, I suddenly felt regrets about having quit my job (years prior) and moved to a different part of the country to get married and raise a family. The regret over the idea that I had “given up” or “sacrificed” my life and livelihood to instead make a husband and children my ultimate priority was daunting.
2. You are overwhelmed with the idea that you should be further along by now
Rachel Hollis has an entire chapter of her book dedicated to the topic of feeling you should be further along by now and rightfully so. I’m not the only woman who has wallowed in this thought after putting a career or dreams or certain goals on hold for marriage or motherhood. The idea that I should have more in my life at 35 was a nonstop thought that was driving me insane. Which brings me to the next sign.
3. You feel like you might actually be losing your mind
Does it feel like you’ve shifted into a completely different person? For me, I realized that I was no longer the bubbly, positive thinking woman I had prided myself as for so long. It felt like an invasion of the body snatchers. I was a different me–one that I didn’t recognize or like for that matter.
4. You feel as if a piece of yourself is lost…like forever
This is one of the hardest parts of experiencing a midlife crisis. It can feel as if you are mourning the loss of a piece of you. You realize that something about yourself that you loved or enjoyed is possibly gone forever. It’s a hard pill to swallow.
5. You feel isolated and alone, despite having a supportive circle
Again, the loneliness that comes with feeling as though 1) you’re crazy and 2) no one can possibly understand how you feel is a heavy burden. Even having a supportive partner, spouse, family, or friends is sometimes not enough.
6. You feel like you’ve wasted a large portion of your life and that you will never get that time back
You start to believe that many of the decisions you made in recent years were a complete waste of your life. Maybe, if only you had taken a different path, your life would be different…this is the thought that plays on a loop in your mind. But now it’s too late and you can’t take back that time wasted.
7. Your thoughts about your future are bleak
This one might be hardest of all to deal with. It becomes difficult to think optimistically about the future. You start to believe the lie that if things are bad now, they will only continue to be bad. It can be so hard to see the light through the darkness.
What do you do if the signs you’re having an early midlife crisis are present?
First, know that you are not alone. Talk to someone about how you are feeling. Confide in a close friend. Find a support group. Make an appointment with a licensed therapist who has experience with what you are going through. Letting yourself suffer through it alone doesn’t make anything better.
Second, remind yourself (daily) that your life is full of change and that’s okay. It’s okay to not be the old you anymore. There is a new version of yourself that is trying to emerge from the chaos.
It’s okay to be unhappy and unsure about your life. What you are experiencing is real and so is the pain of losing yourself.
But it’s also an opportunity for rebirth. It’s a chance to rediscover who this “new you” truly is and what it is that she wants out of life.
You’ll make it through this rough time and there will be joy again. All hope is not lost. Just hold in there sister!
*Please note that I am not a medical professional and this post is not meant to be medical advice. I’m simply sharing my positive experience with you. Always do your own research and seek advice from a qualified licensed professional.