First, let’s establish what a midlife crisis is. According to Yale psychologist Daniel Levinson, all adults go through a series of stages in their lifetime. At the core of his theory about adult development, is the life structure, which he describes as the “underlying pattern of a person’s life at any particular time”. He goes on to say that for most individuals, the life structure involves mostly family and work, but it can also include religion and economic status.
In midlife, people often revaluate their priorities and goals. According to his theory, the midlife transition is simply another, normal transition to another stage of life. “A midlife crisis might occur anywhere from about age 37 through the 50s,” he says.
So how can we spot the signs of midlife crisis in a woman? These seven signs will help you determine if a midlife crisis is taking place or is about to take place.
1. Unusual Physical Pain
Are you having unusual physical pain that you didn’t have before? This could be a sign of a midlife crisis. For example, you may start to experience headaches and gastrointestinal issues that don’t have any physical cause, and usually, don’t respond to medication. Or you could start having severe migraines. If migraines are the case, it’s recommended to take prescription medication to alleviate the signs of midlife crisis in a woman.
2. Weight Loss or Gain
Have you been losing or gaining weight for no apparent reason? If you’re experiencing drastic changes in weight, it could be another sign that you’re having a midlife crisis. According to the American Psychological Association, weight gain or loss is one of many disruptive factors that may point toward an emotional crisis (also known as a midlife crisis).
The signs of a midlife crisis often get mixed up with the emotional feelings that one experiences during depression, so it may be hard to distinguish between the two. Whether a midlife crisis will develop into serious depression or an opportunity for self-reflection and growth depends on a variety of factors. For example, the more support from you get from your partner, friends and family, the better.
It’s especially important to pay attention to your feelings so you can try and realize when the transition is developing into depression so you can get help from a registered psychotherapist.
4. Changes in Mood
Just like depression, some other changes in mood may happen when you’re experiencing a midlife crisis. It’s believed that on top of feelings of depression, ageing leads to feelings of remorse and anxiety. Many people experience these feelings because as they approach midlife, they struggle to come to terms with the knowledge that their lives are now half over.
These signs of midlife crisis in a woman can lead to a period of mood disturbances like anger, worry, fluctuating between happy and sad, and more. These feelings eventually start to dissipate. If not, you may want to seek out therapy to help treat your symptoms.
5. Asking Yourself Deep Questions
Are you starting to ask yourself deep questions? Like what is the meaning of life? Or are you starting to evaluate the life you’ve lived thus far? This is yet another sign of a midlife crisis in women. “One of the things that can happen and identify the onset of a midlife crisis is feeling ill-fit for the life you’re leading,” says Dr. Ludwig, a psychotherapist and author of Your Best Age is Now.
She goes on to say that “there’s a tendency to stop and pause during midlife and question whether you’re on the right track.” This is why many people experiencing a midlife crisis start to evaluate their lives. You start to think about where you would have liked to be in life versus where you actually are at this moment.
6. Dark Outlook on the Future
Does the future seem bleak? “One of the wonderful things about youth is that you really think you have all the time in the world and the future is where all your dreams will come true. That shifts at midlife, so the future isn’t necessarily where all of these positive things are happening. In fact, it can potentially be a scary time,” says Dr. Ludwig.
Just because you’re at midlife, doesn’t mean you don’t have many more wonderful experiences ahead. As hard as it may be, we need to hold on to those positive feelings we have in our youth, and it will surely make this rough patch easier to get through.
7. Trouble Sleeping
Another common sign of a midlife crisis is having trouble sleeping. While most of us will go through these periods throughout our lives, this is more common during a midlife crisis, due to hormones. The National Sleep Foundation states that “waning levels of estrogen during perimenopause through menopause can make a female more susceptible to environmental and other factors, which can further disrupt sleep and lead to insomnia.” So, don’t worry, you’re not alone and this too shall pass.
Just remember that a lot of the feelings you experience during your midlife crisis are only temporary. If you feel like you need a little bit more help, consider consulting a therapist.