The mid-life crisis era can be one of the most challenging stages for a gay man. As you transition into the second stage of your life, challenges, heartbreaks, age-related illnesses, or changes in circumstances can trigger a midlife crisis. The midlife era is a significant stage for most men because they are mature enough to evaluate their achievements, mistakes, and disappointment, meaning the period is rote with anxiety, stress, and depression that can lead to a mental breakdown. Learning how to deal with a midlife crisis can help you go through this tumultuous period with dignity and without causing major havoc in your life. In this article, we will discuss what midlife is, its signs and triggers, and how to deal with a midlife crisis as a gay man.
What is a mid-life crisis?
Are you anxious about facing your transition period from the first half of your life into the next? Have you thought about buying a gold sports car, dating a man barely out of his teens, or ditching a career you have spent decades building? At some point in your life, you may experience certain mood swings, rash decisions, feelings of helplessness, or dramatic lifestyle changes that can make you question your sanity. The reason for your weird behavior might be because of a mid-life crisis. So, what exactly is a mid-life crisis?
While a mid-life crisis is a personal experience, it contains certain elements that make it a common condition for most people transitioning from the first half of their lives into the next. A mid-life crisis is a broad term representing the turmoil most gays experience as they transition from their youth into the latter stages of their lives.
Although a midlife crisis is not formally recognized as a mental condition, it’s pretty common because a significant number of people experience it at a certain point in their lives. Different people experience midlife crises at varying stages, so you can experience a midlife crisis around your 40s, 30s, 50s, or 60s. The trick to overcoming your midlife crisis is understanding the symptoms and learning how to deal with them with kindness.
What triggers a midlife crisis for gay men?
The gay lifestyle is not for the meek, nor is it meant for the weak at heart. From experiencing stigma, homophobia, and persecution to experiencing exclusion, being gay can be challenging. While being gay can be tough, it’s not all doom and groom for your entire existence. As a gay man, you are fortunate to belong to one of the best communities globally, interact with open-minded individuals, and go through life in your most authentic self. While being gay is awesome, it doesn’t save you from the turmoil of experiencing a midlife crisis. To better understand the midlife crisis, it’s prudent to learn what triggers it.
Some of the most common trigger points for a midlife crisis include the following:
Not living out your dreams and goals can trigger a midlife crisis. The shame and self-loathing of not achieving everything you want can push someone into a concerning mental state that makes them make irrational decisions.
● Comparing yourself with others
Developing a perception that you are underperforming in life compared to your age-mates can trigger a midlife crisis. If you keep a scorecard comparing your accomplishments with others, you will become depressed. The pressure to keep up with other people’s lifestyles can cause you to live above your means, which can be stressful.
● Fear of mortality
Once you reach midlife, you start to experience the loss of friends and family members, which makes you start reflecting on your mortality. The fear of dying and leaving your kids, losing your partner, and living without your parents can cause someone to panic, triggering a midlife crisis.
Signs you are experiencing a mid-life crisis
How can you tell when you are experiencing a midlife crisis? Because there is no universal parameter on how to diagnose a midlife crisis, knowing when you are experiencing it can be challenging. Fortunately, you can spot some of the most common symptoms of a midlife crisis, which include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Recklessness lifestyle
- Impulsive decisions
- Feeling helpless and dissatisfied
How to deal with a midlife crisis as a gay man?
A midlife crisis can be scary, especially if you don’t know how to overcome it. Once you become aware that you are experiencing a midlife crisis, it’s important to take action to overcome it in the fastest time possible.
Some of the best ways to deal with a midlife crisis include:
● Admit you are in a crisis
Having a midlife crisis is nothing to be ashamed about. Virtually every man goes through a midlife crisis, and most end up okay. Recognizing that you are experiencing a midlife crisis is the first step toward getting you back to normal. Whether you are making irrational decisions because you are dissatisfied with life, have an unhappy relationship, or are disappointed by your career, admitting that you are not at your best mentally makes it easier to ask for help.
As a gay man, it’s important to constantly reflect on your thoughts to ensure a midlife crisis doesn’t catch you off-guard. Reflect on your situations with the understanding that the past is gone and you can’t change it no matter how destructive you become.
● Face your triggers
You can’t successfully deal with a midlife crisis if you don’t know what caused it in the first place. What pushed you from the straight and narrow and made you a reckless, irrational, or dissatisfied person? As you transition from the first half of your life into the later stages, you will undoubtedly experience mental and physical changes that can trigger a midlife crisis. Numerous factors can trigger a midlife crisis, from changes in your family, health problems, professional stagnation, and facing mortality to losing loved ones. Knowing what triggers your midlife crisis helps you know what concerns to address to return to normal.
● Confide in a loved one
No matter how strong you are, you can’t face every challenge alone. If you have a close-knit family or friends, talk to them about your situation. Share your fears, challenges, mood swings, or whatever feelings you are experiencing. If your friends have gone through a midlife crisis, you can use their guidance and recommendations to sail smoothly through this tumultuous period.
Sharing your feelings with your gay friends about your midlife crisis experience can be a great way to bond. You can use the experience to talk about your challenges as a gay man, offer support, or trade the Dos and Don’ts of your midlife crisis experience.
● Take care of your mental health
A midlife crisis has a significant impact on your mental health. Stress, anxiety, and depression are some of the byproducts of going through a midlife crisis. A midlife crisis can be frustrating and isolating, leading to a mental state that can ruin your social and professional life. Taking care of your mental health during a midlife crisis can help you maintain peace of mind, a job, friendships, and relationships.
Meditating is one of the most effective ways to deal with a mental crisis. Meditation can improve your self-awareness, reduce stress, and enhance your concentration, helping you get better mentally. Contrary to pop-culture stereotypes, meditation is more than sitting in a room with weird objects and chanting till your worries fly away. You can meditate in bed, when walking your dog, swimming, or creating art. The best way to meditate is to do something that helps you become self-aware, reflect, and find a way forward.
A workout program can help you escape the mental pressure, emotions, and irritability that manifest during midlife crises. Working out enables you to maintain a good physique, boosting your self-confidence as you age. Physical exercises keep your health in check, helping you avoid most old-age complications, which can trigger a midlife crisis.
Depending on your preference, you can work out at a home gym, outdoors, or at your local gym. When going through a midlife crisis, working out at a local gym where you can socialize with other gym enthusiasts is ideal. A communal gym allows you to interact with people, which is essential when fighting off mental health problems such as stress and depression.
● Get professional help
Talking to a therapist can help you quickly get over a midlife crisis. Therapists are professionals that can help you go through mental issues in a loving and non-judgmental approach. Depending on your location, financial ability, and comfort, you can book a one-on-one therapy session or an online program to get the help you need to get back to normal.
Alternatively, you can talk to a counselor or a mentor to guide you through the midlife crisis. Ideally, go for someone older or an age-mate that has experienced a midlife crisis.
A midlife crisis is a pretty common condition that most men experience regardless of their sexual orientation. While a midlife crisis manifests differently for different people, it has pretty common symptoms, including a dramatic change in lifestyle, lack of sleep, depression, impulsive decisions, or mood swings.