About two years ago, I began to notice something different in myself. I have been feeling depressed and emotional no matter what mood I am in. Everything in my life seems good and perfect but for some reason, I am still feeling down and discontented —like I want to run away and disappear somewhere where nobody knows me.
I tried to ignore the feeling at first. I thought it was just work stress and that family and other life issues were merely taking their toll on me but months and now two years have passed and I am still feeling the same thing.
Wikipedia defines Mid-life crisis as a transition of identity and self-confidence that can occur in middle aged individuals. It is a psychological and behavior observation that causes feelings of depression, remorse, and anxiety. Others may experience feelings such as the desire to achieve youthfulness or make drastic changes to their current lifestyle or atmosphere. A Mid-life stressor on the other hand is simply an “overload.”
A quick search online would confirm that mid-life crisis generally occurs between the ages of 45-64. I am just 32. I do feel like everything I have ever worked hard for is nothing compared to others. I feel like I have not done enough to prove my worth. I always feel inferior to some of my contemporaries no matter how successful my life is right now. I have read a lot of books and understand that it is normal to feel insecure about the achievement of other people but sometimes I realized it can’t be helped. I just dive into thinking what it is that I am lacking and if I get it, will I ever be contented? The answer is obvious of course. It is man’s natural instinct to never feel contentment. They are always searching, always looking for the better version of the things they want.
I googled the different types of mood disorders but unable to determine which of them exactly is pointing to what I am having.
According to Wikipedia, Clinical Depression or most commonly known as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), is a mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of low mood that is present across most situations. It is often accompanied by low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, low energy, and pain without a clear cause. Research shows that 2-7% of adults with major depression die by suicide and up to 60% of people who die by suicide had depression or another mood disorder.
Another type of mood disorder is Manic Depression or most commonly known as Bipolar Disorder (BD) where the patient experiences periods of depression and elevated mood knows as mania. During mania, an individual behaves or feels abnormally energetic, happy, or irritable. Individuals often make poorly thought out decisions with little regard to the consequences. Manifestations of depression in people with Bipolar Disorder include crying, a negative outlook in life and poor eye contact with others. The risk of suicide is also high at over 6% over 20 years.
Based on the online definition of MDD and BD, I evaluated myself and compared the signs I have found online with what I have been feeling. I realized I do experience a period of low self-esteem but I never lose interest in normally enjoyable activities. If it counts, I do have a very bad, almost anorexic eating disorder where I would stay away from food and can stand a day with just water or coffee. I know it’s a very unhealthy practice and I am working to alleviate myself from it by taking food supplements and multivitamins. I do experience elevated mood but not exactly similar to people suffering from BD. I sometimes make poorly thought out decisions but to be fair, I always own up to the consequences and I always try to do better after. I do cry occasionally when I feel things are far out of my control and I feel helpless without support from people I thought I could count on. However, I have never contemplated suicide in my life or anything that would harm myself or others. I know exactly the value of life and how to take good care of it. At least I pretty sure am far from suicide.
But I want to know how I am doing and what is it that is happening to me. Is it just stress at work? My work is very stressful and always under pressure. Is this just life taking its toll on me? My life has been a whirlwind and at times, I never would have thought how I managed to survive. Maybe this is indeed a Mid-life stressor or simply an “overload” which is by far the closest definition to what I am having right now.
Whatever it is, one thing is clear at this moment. It is under control. I don’t exactly fit the definitions of both disorders or even mid-life crisis. I am completely fine and can make sound judgments 100% of the time. The only reason I wrote about this topic is because I’d like to know if this is a normal phase that people my age are experiencing or is this an isolated case?
I know the best decision would be to consult a specialist or get counseling but life always gets in the way so it is a challenge to do just that. But sooner or later, I know if it gets worse, I would need to seek professional help.
In conclusion, I still think I am far from the mood disorders and mid-life crisis mentioned above just because the signs don’t exactly match with what I have been experiencing so far. I think I can get out of this if I do something right about now.
Life is beautiful and full of wonder. We are lucky to have been given a role to play in this world. I may be experiencing emotional setbacks right now but it is clear to me how I should live my life and how I should stay from things that would only bring long term repercussions instead of cure. I am lucky to have been fully equipped with education and all access to different types of information related to depression so I know I should not allow myself to succumb to it, let alone do something that I will forever regret in my life. You should too.
Have you been experiencing the same feeling of low self-esteem and depression as I do? Are you a doctor or psychologist who has professional experience on this topic? Can you add something to the conversation? Let me know in the comments.
King Ray, the Ninja