Are you at the peak of career, wondering what next, or tempted to have an extra-marital affair? A mid-life crisis can strike at any age, warns Seema Sinha A32-year-old bright IT professional, a topper from Orissa, suddenly stopped attending work when his colleagues attributed his rise to sycophancy. This passing comment was enough to cause distress and send him to a psychiatrist’s clinic. Dr Harish Shetty labels this a mid-life crisis. “I discovered that his relationships were based on utility or on awe and admiration.
He was the golden child of the family who was never reprimanded. He wasn’t taught to share his feelings and was emotionally underdeveloped. ” According to experts, men in their 30’s from the IT industry are worst hit by the mid-life crisis as compared to the professionals from other fields with poor EQ (emotion quotient). They have difficulty keeping pace with technology in their professions. Analyses psychiatrist Rajendra Barve, “In trying to keep up with youngsters in their career, professional in their 30’s start feeling obsolete.
The crisis also strikes the most who are successful academically and in their careers, but have a poor EQ level. ” Explains Barve, “These are Type A personalities, who are also more prone to heart problems. They are smart, intelligent, achieve too early, too soon. They work hard, rise fast, but lack the skills to handle a personal crisis or manage people. They also lack introspection skills. ” Traditionally believed to strike in the 40’s now mid-life crisis hits both men and women in the mid-30’s.
With many careers on a fast track, individuals tend to “burn out” earlier these days and are suddenly faced with crises earlier in life. It begins with individuals questioning their objectives in life and realising that they have been chasing the wrong goals which has been causing more stress than a sense of well-being and happiness. Sometimes this is compounded by a diminished sex drive as well as a sense of physical and psychological aging. According to psychiatrist Samir Parekh, “Life is a constant transition and stresses have gone up, but coping mechanisms have not.
Competition, h i g h pressure jobs, high financial investments, a nuclear family make for difficult transitions in the 30’s. ” “Having illicit affairs, taking high risk decisions, buying expensive and unnecessary toys like speed boats and race cars and of course, embarking on cosmetic surgery in an attempt to look younger than their chronological age are the symptoms,” adds Dr Rajesh Parikh. A 38-year-old successful businessman felt vulnerable when his colleague died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 36. His grief compounded into depression and he could not come to terms with his own mortality.
He decided to live “life to the fullest” which involved a futile relationship with his young secretary and splurging on unnecessary items. All this only compounded his problems including a marital crisis. Comments psychiatrist Ruksheda Syeda, “They have achieved all that they set out to, but are still not happy, and scared that they will never be. They crave a change, but don’t know what. With puberty, adulthood happening early and with mortality rates going up, they have that much more life to lead, and are looking for that elusive something. Says Dr Harish Shetty, “First kiss, sex, addictions, heart attacks… everything’s happening early, pre-poning mid-life crisis by eight to 10 years. ” “Very often, at 35, one may look back and reassess their career and a dissatisfaction can lead to a mid-life crisis,” adds Dr Kersi Chawda. The definition of mid-life has definitely changed over the years. It can happen around 45, at 35, or not until 55. It depends upon how you plan your career and manage your life. It is in our hands to let a mid-life crisis remain a mere psychological term rather than have it affect our lives.
Coping with mid-life crisis Plan your future. Invest more thought into the years ahead than behind you. Think about what you’ve learned about yourself so far. Consider your strongest abilities and things that please you, as opposed to what your parents or society expected of you when you were young. Don’t be afraid to make changes. A new career choice is not an unreasonable move. You have a better chance of succeeding, if your choices are based on knowledge and experience, rather than youthful blind ambition.
It is absolutely necessary to make use of a support network; individuals should discuss major life changes with their colleagues, friends, families, professional therapist or counsellor. Be alarmed if you are… Self-questioning your achievements ; usefulness Fixating on your mortality Making sexual overtures or have desire to start an affair with someone younger Feeling trapped or think you are in a rut Making dramatic change in style and appearance Displaying the classic signs of depression – sleeping more, loss of appetite Frequently changing jobs Getting overly nostalgic, constantly reminiscing of youth, or first love