MidLife Crisis Answers

How do I get back to myself?

It isn't unusual to find yourself in this type of situation with everything that is going on in the world right now.  What we do know is that the surgeon general says he started doing research in 2013 or 2014.  He traveled around the United States engaging in meetings and having his staff engage in meetings asking people what they felt that a surgeon general needed and could do for them.  He did this for three or four years during Barack Obama's presidency.  One thing that he learned is that the people of the United States resoundingly responded that they felt an intense lack of community and were isolated.   The same surgeon general was sworn in this year 2021.  In March 2021 he released his book Together based on the material gathered from 2013 through its finalized draft.  He shares not only the present and past need for community but also his view of how isolation and disconnectedness were created in the United States and also on a global sphere but also how connectedness and community have been and continue to be created on a political and local level.  I would encourage you to read his words.  The head of organizational psychology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia wrote an article for the New York Times this year that lamented the loss of motivation or "flow" of people prior to the pandemic.  He opined that the loss has grown exponentially throughout this pandemic.  Sounds insurmountable probably but his work and Murthy's book lay out a plan to return us to a sense of real community.  It has already been tried in numerous settings across the country within the political, geographic, and diverse cultural communities I would suggest that you read Together.   I would begin my personal journey, if I were in your shoes, by making a clear inventory of where and when you last felt connected with a sense of community.  What created that sense of community for you?  What resonates for you from that point in time as critical to your life?  That may be your foundation upon which to build a new sense of community.  The sense of malaise or ensure that you feel can be surmounted with numerous methods of therapy.  A good starting point is to schedule an appointment with a counselor or coach who can lead you through a period of discovery.  Discover who you are.  Discover what your interests are in terms of life and career.  Discover what creates a stagnant feeling for you.  Then experiment.  Think of this as a time of rebirth where you slow down and discover the answers to these questions and challenge yourself to do only what matters to you and makes you and those you love around you grow in your sense of community.  Try new things and see what you really enjoy.
(Psy.D., LISW-CP/S, CACII)
Answered on 10/18/2021

Why can't I be happy where I am?

First and foremost, thanks for reaching out. As always, I believe in recognizing and verbalizing a client's courage to seek help. While it may not always feel like a courageous act, it is. The alternative would be to sit quietly myriad in self-loathing, discontentment, and unhappiness. You have chosen even if subconsciously a different path by reaching out to BH. So, congrats on your first step toward healing. As to what could be causing this dissatisfaction with "the life you have created," it could be a number of things/reasons. Being unfulfilled is an awful feeling and very exhausting as you mentioned. So sorry this is happening to you. It must be quite difficult to navigate life feeling so exhausted and running toward something that you aren't sure will fulfill you. Often times when we feel discontent/dissatisfaction it can mean that we are out of alignment with our core values. Sometimes we think our values are one thing when it is truly something else. Based on your message, I suspect that you have lived based on the value of achievement, career, or something along those lines. You are noticing that those things do not bring you the joy, fulfillment that you imagined they would. Exploring your values would be a great place to start. I often do a values assessment activity with my clients as a preliminary assignment when working with me. We compare those results to their lives and help them to move toward authentic living in alignment with their core values. The assessment is an algorithm-based inventory. I can see that you have some good awareness and insights about what is going on with you and how it is manifesting in your life. Keep this awareness, continue to notice when, where you tend to get bored. Notice things like how long it takes to get bored with something. I suggest starting a journal if you have not already. In this journal jot down the things you notice from my suggestions above, and then feel free to add anything else that you feel would be of note. I do something that I call "journaling therapy." I assign clients to journal then allow them to bring their journals into the session for therapeutic processing. It can enhance the therapeutic process greatly and offer additional awareness/insights for both the client and therapist. BH help has plans that offer an online journaling feature with the option to share with your assigned therapist at the client's discretion. If not using BH, you can use a number of apps for the same function and/or keep it simple with pen and paper. However you choose to do it, I advise that you begin that assignment quickly and continue it throughout your therapeutic process. To explore where this is coming from, what is actually going on, I would need several questions answered: * How long you have been feeling bored by things? (this is a very important question in understanding what may be going on). * Are you bored with everything or just employment-related things? * If with other things too, then what other areas of life do you find this bored, moving on the pattern? * When was the last time you remember being content, happy, satisfied in your life? What was going on at that time? * What has changed since that time that you felt content, happy, satisfied in your life? (put the answers to these questions in your journal).   Depending on your answers to the journaling questions there could be many reasons for your current experiences from very serious mental health diagnosis to simple life transition/stress. Some reasons might be ADHD, Midlife Crisis, Incongruent Values/Misalignment with core values, personality disorder, and/or overall life stress--a combination of any of these or none of them. Journaling and therapy will help to move you closer to understanding what is going with your life dissatisfaction. Thanks again for reaching out. I wish you the best on your healing journey! I leave you with a quote.  "IT IS DIFFICULT TO FIND HAPPINESS WITHIN ONESELF, BUT IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND IT ANYWHERE ELSE." - Arthur Schopenhauer -      
(M.Ed., LPC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

How do I get rid or pain that’s been buried for years.

I think that the best start and most effective start for you is EMDR as it is a trauma therapy which puts clients into a better position right from the start.  There are a number of ways to control the pain of the trauma and build peace and a sense of calm quickly with EMDR which is essentially the need of trauma victims.  You should be able to reach that point (including initial assessment) within 2 to 3 sessions and move into processing the problems that bother you.  In order to assist you immediately, I am giving you a URL to the usual client handout that I use to explain the uses of EMDR and its purpose.  https://bhr-llc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/EMDR-Client-Handout.pdf.  I would suggest that you read the material at the site immediately and then search for an EMDR clinician as quickly as possible.  EMDR is available and just as efficacious in person as in virtual settings.   I would also recommend that you take care of yourself.  Self care will put you into a situation where you are better able to spend quality tie with your child and family.  You will be less likely to be moody and lose your temper with people (anger you report) if you are taking care of yourself.  You may feel that I am only talking about your physical wellness when I say this but I am not.  I am talking about wellness as talked about by Ohio University.  There are 9 dimensions of wellness and this is a URL to access a piece about these dimensions https://www.rollins.edu/wellness-center/nine-dimensions-of-wellness/  I will address one of the dimensions which is often misunderstood and not addressed from a self care perspective - environmental wellness.  While one often thinks of the environment as the trees, solar system, etc. and that is correct as it does affect our wellness, I am also talking about one's home, work and community setting wellness.  They are extremely important to our emotions and adjustment to life stressor.  Please make sure that you are looking at your personal physical setting when you speak of your personal environmental wellness.  The other dimensions seem to speak for themselves and the document I sent you will explain it directly. Finally, schedule to see a counselor soon so that damage doesn't worsen as time passes.  You have the ability and resources available to you to address your situation.
(Psy.D., LISW-CP/S, CACII)
Answered on 10/18/2021

How can I identify what's wrong with me? I think I have a mental disorder/illness.

Therapy isn’t just for individuals with a mental illness. Many people think that therapy is either for people with debilitating mental health issues or for self-indulgent, wealthy, people who just want to vent. Since the media usually sensationalizes mental health issues, often choosing to focus on only the most extreme situations, public discourse on mental health is limited to these aberrations creating a false impression of the incidence and severity. Hollywood often reinforce this misconception.   Let's face it, life isn’t always easy. Between long commutes and juggling work schedules and family responsibilities we can barely catch our breath. Even the most organized of us need help managing life’s challenges. At some point, you probably have experienced stress, felt anxious, overwhelmed, sad, or depressed. No one is immune to these conditions. Sometimes, we can work these issues out on our own by changing our lifestyles, reading books, taking classes, or through talking with friends, family members, or mentors. Other times, we notice patterns that we haven’t been able to change on our own, or issues start to overwhelm us and negatively affect our lives, relationships, and work. In severe cases, anxiety, depression, and stress can put our health and lives at risk. Therapy is often the fastest, most effective route to overcome emotional and behavioral issues that keep you from living the life you want. Sometimes, you can get better on your own, but in most cases you’ll get better results, faster, with a therapist.   Professionally certified therapists are experts in how humans process thoughts and emotions. Whether you want to learn tools to manage stress, build skills to be a better leader, or treat clinical depression, they’ll help you do that. A good therapist is like a coach–a coach for your mind. Therapists are professionally trained to understand the connection between thoughts, feelings, and actions and can help you figure out you why you are doing the things you do and how to stop. Sure, you might be able to figure some of this out yourself-but how long will it take and at what cost-your health, your relationship, your job? Change comes not from therapy itself but from practicing the skills and tools you learn in therapy. You are the expert of your own life. My job is to meet you where you are now and help empower you to resolve your own issues during and after therapy. Drawing from cognitive-behavioral (CBT), solution-focused and rational emotive behavior therapies together we will strive to change a situation that no longer works so you can live your best life. Let's talk!
(MEd, EdS, LPC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

How can I be confident when everything seems to go wrong?

Thanks for taking the time to be so vulnerable and honest about how you are feeling at this present moment. As you alluded to in your question, we are certainly living through strange times, that impact us individually as well as economically. I do want to point out that I believe that being confident and learning to accept are two separate and different things, but also tied to one another. I think before we can accept anything, we do have to pause and acknowledge what it is is that is happening to us, and around us- there are feelings that need to be verbalized and acknowledged. There are tears to be shed, and grief that needs to be expressed. Oftentimes people equate with acceptance without acknowledgment. To put it succinctly, I would say that confidence is an extension of love, self-love that is. I think when we can again pause and acknowledge that we are good, good enough and that our current circumstances are a reflection of society letting us down vs letting down our own self, we can begin to extend kindness, patience, compassion, and love to a self that is hurting and not feeling cared for. I believe that when there is some healing of the self, the confidence will return. The lack of confidence protects us from getting hurt once again or even more than we may be currently feeling. When we can fully acknowledge the pain and the hurt, we will be able to become unstuck and move forward. Moving forward is always a radical act of being authentic, vulnerable, and courageous, despite all that could go wrong moving forward is the brave face that is supported by the compassion and love that we have for ourselves. The resilience and fortitude to persevere come from that foundation of knowing ourselves, being gentle with ourselves, and the radical act of self-love that helps us to continue to press forward despite setbacks or disappointments. Hope is contagious, and I hear in your question that hope is not lost. I can also only assume that there have been moments of being resilient in challenging times- so I wonder what has helped in the past? How did you get to overcome challenges in the past? Who the people in your life that can remind you of who you are? Be honest, be brave, and be kind to yourself- you got this! Be easy.
(LICSW)
Answered on 10/18/2021