Mid-life crises arrive without warning, crashing right into your life at the moment when you seem to have so much going on. If you find yourself getting snappy or weepy without notice, with your moods on a roller coaster ride, you might be facing a midlife crisis called depression.
Why You Might Have Depression Even Though You Have a Great Life
I can practically hear you protest, “I’m successful, and I have a great partner, what reason do I have to be depressed?”
One of the great myths about clinical depression is that it can only happen to people who have reason to be sad. The truth is that anyone may develop depression, and the trigger may be a life event that happened a long time ago.
The midlife depression might be caused by any factor. There might be a stressful event, like having to change jobs, or it might just be the realization that you don’t have the life you expected in your teens and twenties.
Dealing with Depression: Step 1
Depression has a number of symptoms. A few of them are shown here:
- Ongoing fatigue
- Constant negative feelings, like guilt or anxiety
- Sudden change in appetite or weight
- Physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment like headaches or chronic pain
- Suicidal thoughts; attempts to commit suicide
The best way to deal with it, if you even suspect you have depression, is to make an appointment with a doctor. An early diagnosis helps, and it may take time for them to be able to diagnose you accurately.
Despite suspicions that hormones play a role in depression, there is no reason to believe that menopause by itself causes depression. But women have been seen to show tendencies towards depression during this period.
Dealing with Depression: Therapy
Therapy is absolutely vital in dealing with depression meaningfully. Interpersonal psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are both used in helping with depression and have been found to be helpful.
IPT is both limited in focus and aimed to be completed in a short span of time relatively speaking. It is used to alter how patients interact with others, where the patient was depressed partially due to change in circumstances or interpersonal conflicts which could be better managed.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is longer term and is ‘talking therapy’ designed to help the patient break down their problems into solvable portions and learn how to deal with them.
Dealing with Depression: More than Medical Care
Medication is often effective to some degree in battling with depression. Therapy is extremely important. It can even replace medication in some mild cases of depression.
However, depression cannot only be dealt with as a medical problem. One of the important things to learn in therapy is the changes you will have to make in your daily life.
These may be vast, like daily exercise, or may be small like complimenting yourself instead of thinking mean things about yourself.
Tackling depression takes time and persistence. There may even be patients who are never entirely ‘cured,’ but who manage to live their lives happily.
Pursuing treatment early is very helpful in dealing with depression. Accepting that it is normal and many people face the same problems is also helpful, as it lessens the stigma around mental health problems.
To tackle depression effectively means to be patient and be satisfied with baby steps instead of leaps. Celebrate the small improvements as well as the large ones.