I’m Aging….And I’m Not Handling It Well

Remember in our 20s when we could work an entire full week, attend grad school after work, do a happy hour during the week, spend Friday and Saturday night partying or in Vegas, coordinate dance practices during Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoons and then go back to work on Monday, maybe only slightly worse for the wear?

Yeah, I’m not there anymore. The hardest part about turning 40 is that I keep hearing that things are going to keep popping up and it’s just part of the aging process. It’s probably the part of this transition I was completely unprepared for. I try to take care of myself to the best of my ability (short of a perfectly healthy diet and not drinking at all). But it doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. Genetics and plain old age seem to play a more important part now. And the stress of being the Middle Generation.

I don’t feel like I’m “middle age”. I’m still quite physically active. I sleep better, probably eat better, and definitely drink less than I used to. So my body is breaking down more than it used to and mentally and emotionally, I’m completely unprepared for this. I’m just starting to ask my parents questions about our family history of disease because it seems like a good idea to be aware. I’m having to come to terms with the fact that the things my body feels aren’t the same as how I feel. The difficult part about that is that I don’t know what is a normal change and what is something I need to look into. It sends me down a rabbit hole of questions.

There is a part of me that wants to have a discussion group on different physical challenges people are going through now at this age. Maybe others are talking about it, but this general aging process isn’t something I’ve had discussions about until now. I’m hoping that learning that we are all going through all of these transitions together will help me lower my stress levels about what I’m going through.

For now, I write and I try to find ways to accept my body’s transitions.

The Positive Of Social Media

When you scroll through social media, it’s easy to be jealous of what you perceive other people’s lives to be like.

I get this way all the time especially since my life at the moment revolves almost completely around my kids.

Then, I realized something. The person I was consistently wishing I was like is someone I could talk to because she has been through what I’ve been through. So I did. I messaged her and she and I spoke for a bit about what I’ve been feeling and where I was stuck.

This is someone I knew entirely through social media so I had no idea if she would be someone I could confide in or if she was someone that would get me. But she did. She told me about how she felt when she was in the same life situation as me and how she moved on from there. She told me about her coping techniques. It was helpful.

I know there are a lot of negative things you could pull from social media but there are a lot of positive things as well. If we see someone doing something positive, instead of being jealous, we can try to learn from them. We can find a way to use other people’s experiences as resources and help ourselves get through whatever we need to get through.

 

The Next Step

Last week, I wrote about mental health and yesterday, I mentioned how it’s important to be able to¬†cope with the feelings that you might be having.

I also wanted to dedicate an article to what the next step is.

If you don’t feel like you figured out ways to cope and actually feel better, it might be time to seek help. There is nothing wrong with needing professional help. As I mentioned before, if you are willing to see a doctor for your body, why would you feel bad about seeing a doctor for your mind? It is a part of who we are and it also needs to be taken care of.

So what’s the next step?

When I finally admitted that I needed help, I literally just got on the phone with my insurance company. A lot of insurance companies have a phone number for mental health on the back of their card. And when I say I got on the phone with the company, I mean that my friend and I got on the phone because I still needed the support. It was a hard decision to make. It made me feel like I failed at something because I wasn’t able to deal with my issues by myself.

Sometimes, you need someone to help you stand yourself up again. And it’s okay.

So I called the insurance company’s mental health line and asked them who they covered in my area. They literally started at A and gave me 5 names and numbers. I called the first number on the list and made an appointment.

It’s important that you like your therapist and feel like they can help you. I needed someone to listen and to help me navigate my murky feelings. I needed someone who could help me take steps to become me again.

I was lucky that the first name that I called was the first person I saw was the therapist I ended up seeing for the next 4 years. Even when I felt better and more like myself after a year or two, I kept on seeing her every so often just as a tune-up. I saw her as I went through a few other phases in my life and she helped me get through them.

The only reason I stopped was because I moved away and physical distance made it difficult. I haven’t found another therapist because I haven’t felt the urgency to see one yet. After having 2 kids though and not quite feeling like myself for a while, I am thinking about finding one near me.

I want to be the best version of me I can be and be able to give that to my family. So I’ll do what I can to find that person again.

Coping

Life is hard sometimes.

I don’t want you to feel like just because you have everything you physically need that it can’t be hard as well. Many of us deal with emotional issues on a daily basis. And it’s just as important. It’s easy to argue with ourselves and list down the positives that we have and therefore, ignoring the things that are difficult for us. I believe that you should definitely acknowledge the positive but instead of ignoring the negative, find a way to deal with them. Find a way to make it better.

Me, I’m constantly struggling to feel my value in this world. My brain can argue with my heart and list 100 different ways I am valuable to many people. But I really need to feel that contentment. I have been diagnosed with depression at least once in my life. I haven’t felt the need to see a therapist again about it but I am aware that I probably am fighting against it constantly.

I cope with this struggle by exercising. Not only does it help me get out from inside my head and heart but it makes me feel good about myself physically. Dance is also a big one for me. Just being able to fall into the music and leave myself for a few hours is really helpful. I’m not thinking about anything except what my body is doing. I’m not really thinking about anything. I’m just feeling.

I have a sister who does a lot of coping by being out in nature. It helps her to deal with whatever she needs to deal with in her life. Whether it’s hiking or traveling, just being outside helps you to realize how much positivity there is in the world. I once did a hike where I had no cell service the entire time. It felt good to disconnect and emotionally recharge.

There are a lot of ways to cope with the emotional anxieties that we face. These are just a couple of examples that work for my family.

I hope you find whatever helps you cope.