Yes, Women Get It Too
Say it loud and say it again. Women do suffer from the midlife crisis. There is enough evidence about to substantiate this. There isn’t anything wrong with us for going through the crisis. It’s perfectly understandable that when you reach a certain point in life – mid phase – you are bound to look back and re-evaluate your decisions.
The midlife crisis doesn’t just affect men.
I think it’s nonsense that the midlife crisis is the preserve of men,”… “I think there are lots of reasons why it doesn’t get talked about so openly by women. I think a lot of women prioritise protecting their families in a way that men maybe don’t. And also, for middle-aged women, it’s very common to still have a huge amount of caring duties. Even if your children are teenage, that doesn’t mean you haven’t still got a lot to do. Quite often you might also have elderly parents.”Women on the verge of a midlife crisis
Our lives play out in the decisions we make. If you think about it, by the time we reach the midlife stage we probably have made life changing decisions on super important issues. Most of these are about choosing our partners, whether to have kids, how to bring our kids up (feral or disciplined), wondering where to live and buying the right house. We make choices about careers and jobs to take.
In midlife the impact of our decisions is felt quite keenly. We may feel that a wrong decision, somewhere along the way, has led us to take a pathway which hasn’t brought us much fulfilment. Thoughts and regrets consume us. I know. I have been there.
The female guilt is something that is inculcated in us from a young age. We are told to be ‘good girls’. We are taught to care for our dolls and teddies. Caring for others is, of course, a wonderful trait but we are expected to carry out caring responsibilities to our detriment. I only learnt to pay attention to myself a few years ago. I am horrified at how I neglected my personal development while caring for an elderly relative and the family. I missed opportunities because I was too caught up in others.
I took ‘selflessness’ to another level to my detriment. Dealing in midlife with ensuing regrets has not been easy.
For many midlifers, these caring responsibilities become more acute as parents become frail and grandchildren appear. The female guilt causes us to place ourselves further down the pecking order of priority.
We crawl into bed wondering where ourselves are in the multiple roles we play.
Some Signs of the Female Midlife Crisis
- Neglect of personal hygiene
- Dramatic changes in sleep habits
- Weight loss or gain
- Pronounced changes in mood, such as increased anger, irritability, sadness, or anxiety.
- Withdrawal from usual routine or relationships
The menopause is known to cause the same symptoms so do please seek medical advice if you think you need professional help. In any case it is well worth undertaking a period of self-reflection in your midlife. Is there something that is particularly making you feel anxious? Is it your job? Can you do something to change your career path or, simply, applying for other jobs utilising your skills and experience? Can you rearrange your caring routine to give you some downtime?
The important take away from this blog post is to note that you aren’t alone in wondering whether it is possible for women to suffer from the midlife crisis. It is a question I struggled with before finding out that women aren’t excluded from experiencing it. This discovery freed me from feeling as if I was alone and allowed me to move on with dealing with my crisis.