Emma’s opening line as she plopped down was, “I need your help I’m feeling stuck, overwhelmed and depressed and I’m done with feeling this way. I’m on my third different antidepressant and I’m not feeling any better, I’m feeling worse.”
I’d heard this comment expressed in many ways over the years. As a pharmacist I’d dispensed endless boxes of antidepressants and very few of the patients had experienced a miraculous surge of happiness.
Emma sat across from me slumped in her chair, pale, drawn with a deep sadness. Downtrodden, lost and overwhelmingly stuck were words that came to mind. I’d seen that look many times before.
She’d just turned 50 and taken a life stock take, that scared the hell out of her. Marriage limping along, energy 3/10 most days and she’d given up work a few years back because of a shoulder injury that wouldn’t mend and her parents needed constant help to desperately cling onto their independence at home. Her two teen boys were testing boundaries in their quest for freedom as they became young men. She was going from crisis to crisis.
After years of experience, I feel antidepressants may push the reset button if you’re in a crisis, for some people and situations but for others it makes them unable to process their feelings, increases anxiety, crashes their libido and dials up their appetite.
I feel the real answers lie in more than a pill. We’re complex being in our own microcosms. Life is a series of choices and some things we have control over, others we don’t.
Real solutions lie in addressing these microcosms and underlying problems we have control over, which may be low energy, diagnosed thyroid problems, relationships problems, poor boundaries, poor self care, bad diet and lifestyle, low iron or B12…..the list goes on.
Emma was sick of her antidepressant merry-go-round and wanted to see what other options were on offer. She wanted results, something that really worked long term. The emotional pain had become so great she couldn’t stay there any longer. She was on a life decluttering mission.
I identified Emma’s problem areas through thorough case taking, blood and salivary hormone testing, life coaching, reviewing her daily habits and patterns. I crafted a plan unique for Emma and within 2 visits I had a beautiful 50 year old woman with energy, hope, spirit and optimism. She had a plan, momentum, tools, energy and a new perspective on life. Yay
Ever reached a time in your life when the pain was turned to a 9/10 and you asked yourself how did I get here? And at that point realized it was a series of choices you’d chosen over time and doing nothing is a choice as well.
Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step to addressing them. I start at the foundations.
Here are 4 antidotes to feeling stuck, overwhelmed and depressed:
Have you come to accept feeling tired and exhausted as normal? Jackie had.
Her doctor had told her being tired was part of being older and a grandmother and she’d do better if she lost the extra 10kg she was carrying, to reduce her risk of getting diabetes. If only it was that easy? Like clicking your fingers….10kgs be gone.
Exhausted? Craving sugar? Sex drive zero? Gaining kilos around your middle? That was Jackie. It’s a common story.
Jackie walked through my clinic with dark circles under her eyes and edged up the stairs slowly with a sigh. She looked like she was dragging herself through the day with gumboots filled with concrete. I could almost hear her say, does life have to be this hard. She didn’t look well.
Jackie had retired from her teaching job one year ago and was busier than ever with grandparent duties. She loved looking after her grandkids but was so exhausted and it was getting worse. Every night she craved ice cream and had a stash of lollies and chocolates in her bag, just in case she needed a boost. Her sex drive was zero, she could hardly make it to bed most nights, opting for the couch since the bed seemed so far away.
Her waist was expanding every month, the numbers going up, up and up.
Have you come to accept feeling tired and exhausted as normal?
More autoimmune sufferers, but specifically rheumatoid arthritis sufferers are looking for natural alternatives to a bevy of hardcore drugs that don’t seem to be working – prednisolone, plaquenil, methotrexate and more.
Alice at 43, could barely get out of the car to see me. She was on Plaquenil for your swollen, aching joints (ankle, knees, finger, hips….) and it wasn’t working. Methotrexate, a chemotherapy drug was the next option. Alice was keen to try other options before she went there, googling the side effects had shaken her. She was trying to look after her two young boys and keep her part time receptionist job.
Was there a safer, kinder and easier way of addressing her faulty immune system that was attacking her joints?
Three weeks after seeing me Alice’s inflammatory markers had halved and three months later she was reporting 2/10 on pain scale with no flare ups. Life was good, much easier with less pain. Alice was also feeling the benefits of what we were doing in all areas of her life. Her energy had tripled, she was sleeping better, her brain fog had cleared and wasn’t constipated or bloated anymore. Alice had started her daily swims at the local beach again. Now that brought a huge smile to her face. She was living again, not just getting by.
Detox is certainly not a new concept. There’s hundreds of ways out there to cleanse and detox your body, anything from juice fasts, sipping bone broth to comprehensive programs. Many of which, may or may not tickle your fancy.
As a society more and more chemicals are in our food chain and environment. On a daily basis we’re exposed to pesticides, herbicides, BPAs, preservatives, artificial flavours and the list goes on. Our genetics haven’t caught up with the onslaught of all the chemicals and inflammatory and autoimmune conditions are on a steep rise.
The question is not should I do a detox, but when. So start listening to your body and if you’re experiencing any of these signs, think detox time now.
11 Signs it’s time for a detox:
A midlife crisis can be sign posted with a loss of your confidence, feeling anxious and disappointed in the middle years, often questioning your purpose and direction. Did you know the best indicator of a midlife crisis is big lifestyle changes? Being discontent and looking for change. Often friends, family or co-workers will notice it before you do.
What is a Midlife Crisis?
A midlife crisis or transition is a time when you naturally change biologically and physically. It’s an active process of transformation using play, exploration and flexibility.
Did you know every 7 to 9 years we change who we are? Think of how you changed from birth to age 7, then 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, 56….
Your most significant seven year cycles are adolescence & midlife. Adolescence you’re getting into society and there can be conflict about the release process of you entering into the world.
Whereas midlife is about being old enough to become your own person and the ending of reproductive years to free up energy for other things. There’s no fixed age, rather a range often from 35-55. A Midlife Crisis can be induced by stress, death of a loved one, divorce, separation, job loss, family dramas, social circle, menopause or feeling inauthentic to who you really are.
During your midlife crisis you will have new found energy that’ll attract new friends and fuel your desire to explore life and find yourself once again.
11 Top Signs of Midlife Crisis
- Desire to run away to somewhere new.
- Feel like quitting a good job.
- Unexplained periods low mood or depression
- Feeling trapped in current family relationships or leaving the relationship, either physically or mentally
- Keep asking yourself, ‘where am I going in my life?’
- Feeling trapped or tied down by fiscal responsibilities.
- Desiring a simple life.
- Recent trauma or stress can trigger a Midlife crisis – Death of someone close, experiencing a health crisis, changing jobs or divorce
- Irritability or unexpected anger.
- Doing things out of character often, to mix it up a little.
- Sudden desire to get fit, healthy and look good.
Why do Midlife Crisis Happen?
A Midlife Crisis or Transition shakes things up and gets you back on track to where you really want to be in life. The more off track the bigger the transition.
In midlife transformation you are becoming two people at the one time. There’s your –
- Mature self – dealing with job, family responsibilities
- Younger self (8 year old essence) – exploring life, playing and growing.
Midlife is about merging your younger spirit, full of dreams and desires with your older responsible self. A midlife readjustment can be needed if you’ve got off track.
There’ll be times when you switch between your younger and older self. Your younger self often doesn’t have the words to explain what you’re doing and can often be overwhelmed by responsibility. This can be hard for people around you to accept.
Ideally, allow time for the two parts of you to integrate so you can find peace, joy and contentment moving forward.
Play, movement, experiences and flexibility are essential to test, rebalance your body and integrate emotional and spiritual changes.
This time can made painful by viewing it as a midlife crisis. Better to view as a midlife transition, acknowledging and owning your feelings and processing them bit by bit, allowing you to make a transition in steps, realigning as you go.
How to Make your Midlife Crisis a Midlife Transition –
- Graceful awareness, acknowledging and owning your feelings. Repressing and denying your feelings and emotions until you blow like a volcano, with lots of collateral damage is not a good idea.
- Take moderate steps. Small mistakes are easier to recover from than big ones.
- Remember the lessons are in the doing. Start somewhere, you learn by making mistakes and autocorrecting to find your way.
- Running away isn’t your answer, rather reducing pressure bit by bit to allow the space for you to grow into a new person
- Ideally, release in staged amounts interspersed with holding on to keep you more stable long term.
- Embrace exercise and movement (yoga, swimming, dance, belly dancing, gym, paddle board..) as an essential part of re-integrating your life.
- Express yourself through journal writing, art or being creative to allow you to discover new words and expand beyond your boundaries.
- Be selective about who and how you talk about the change going on inside to others. It can scare them, elicit judgment and resistance, which can feel like they’re holding you back.
- Release self-judgment, so you have more options to change. Beginning to change creates less conflict internally.
- Foster opinions rather than judgments. Opinions can be changed, judgments can’t.
How long will Midlife Crisis Last?
Often 3 to 5 years, as you work through incongruencies in your life. There will be highs and lows, false starts and tangents before the dust settles. Roughly 30% will be disappointed with the outcome. 25% of these will often repeat the crisis roughly 7 years later, without help.
Getting help and guidance can mean resolving a midlife transition in less than 2 years with a great outcome and less traps and tangents.
Words of wisdom – release, go slow – learn, grow and thrive.