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Finding the way from a midlife crisis
Navigating from a life-challenging period of depression and suicidal thoughts to purpose and vitality—strategies to help.
My father’s surprising revelations.
When I was a teenager, my father shared with me, as we were walking one day, that he was amazed at an encounter earlier that day with a friend of his who had come to him for support and guidance. The friend told him he had been having suicidal thoughts and was very upset with what he thought were significant losses and challenges in his life. I don't know what my father told him, but his friend felt relieved and left in an improved mental state, feeling that he had been listened to, supported, and unburdened by his deepest worries and fears.
What my father told me left me surprised. I felt special that my father would share his unimaginable and personal stuff with me. He, too, until his friend had unburdened himself, felt hopeless with downward turns in his business and other losses.
My father, surprisingly, like his friend, had had suicidal thoughts that were part of some depression, doom, and gloom he was feeling. With a bit of humor, my father told me he was so taken aback by his friend's complaints, which he thought were frivolous, to be so upset over when compared to what burdened my father’s mind. Whatever took place with my dad's encounter with his friend, jolted him back to clear reality and sensibility.
My dad saw how he had gotten caught up in negative feelings, thoughts, and emotions, out of context with the broader picture of what happened, and had underappreciated all the positive possibilities and meaningful things readily available to him. He now realized how his isolated thinking and worry, dragged him down into the abyss of a felt place of no return. My father's new clarification was a blessing in getting things back into perspective. Perhaps he was sharing his close call and learning to begin my education for my journey into adulthood and its challenges.
The tragedy of depression and suicide
I had two relatives who, under entirely different circumstances, died from suicide. Also, several friends have lost a parent, sibling, or child to suicide. In my professional career as a psychiatrist and internist, I have been present when people struggled to survive their grief and emotional pain after an unanticipated loss. The occurrences were after the suicide of a loved one or a significant other.
A valued education encounter with the founder of the American Association of Suicidology.
I was fortunate to take courses with Dr. Edwin S. Shneidman at UCLA while doing my graduate work in Preventive Medicine. Shneidman was an American clinical psychologist who studied suicide and its prevention. In 1958, with colleagues, he founded the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center, where research was done on suicide that led to the development of a crisis and treatment center to prevent deaths. Shneidman founded the American Association of Suicidology and a journal for suicide studies, Suicide, and Life-Threatening Behavior, and was the Professor of Thanatology at the University of California for many years. Shneidman published twenty books on suicide and its prevention. Wikipedia -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_S._Shneidman
Melissa Howard is a contributing writer who provided the accompanying article below.
She is a talented writer who advocates for suicide prevention. After losing her younger brother to suicide, she felt compelled to create the website Stop Suicide https://stopsuicide.info/
Melissa is dedicated to helping prevent suicides and offering alternative ways to adapt to life challenges or losses. When possible, being informed and aware is to be available for suicide prevention or intervention.
By providing helpful resources and articles on her website, Melissa hopes to build a lifeline of information. She attended school at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and works as an executive assistant. Her dedicated work is a valuable resource to anyone faced with life crises that experience depression and suicidal thinking.
The article below was published originally at https://parksmd.com/resources-articles-by-guest-writers/rediscovering-lifes-brilliance-navigating-a-midlife-crisis-with-purpose/
“Rediscovering Life's Brilliance: Navigating a Midlife Crisis with Purpose”
by Melissa Howard
During a midlife crisis, finding inspiration and positivity might seem like a daunting task. But fear not because we've compiled key points to help you reignite your passion for life. Let's embark on this transformative journey together.
Prioritize Your Well-being
Start by taking steps to improve your health. This includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep. A healthier body often leads to a clearer mind. When you feel physically well, you're better equipped to face the challenges that come with midlife transitions. Prioritizing your well-being is the first step towards rediscovering positivity.
Explore New Places
Venture beyond your comfort zone. Travel broadens your horizons and sparks new perspectives and experiences that can rejuvenate your spirit. Exploring new places, cultures, and cuisines can reignite your sense of wonder and adventure. So, pack your bags and embark on a journey to rediscover the world and yourself.
Give Back Through Volunteering
Find fulfillment by contributing to your community or a cause close to your heart. Volunteering benefits others and brings a sense of purpose to your life. The act of giving back can be incredibly rewarding, helping you find inspiration in the positive impact you make on the lives of others. It's a win-win situation that can lift your spirits during a midlife crisis.
Overcome Substance Use Disorders
When facing a substance use disorder, seeking assistance demonstrates great courage. Taking this step is instrumental in the journey toward healing and reconstructing your life. By directly confronting addiction, you open the door to a fresh beginning, enabling you to regain command of your life and uncover newfound positivity along the path to recovery. To find treatment, research in-state addiction treatment options, paying special attention to a facility's staff, accreditations, and patient reviews. Many centers accept health insurance, and there are also government-run facilities as well.
Embrace Gratitude Daily
Practice gratitude daily to shift your focus from what's lacking to what you have. A thankful heart is a gateway to positivity and contentment. Start each day by acknowledging the things you're grateful for, whether it's your health, family, or the simple joys of life. Cultivating this habit can significantly boost your outlook during a midlife crisis.
Consider embarking on a career change through entrepreneurship by launching your own business. Entrepreneurship provides an avenue to pursue your passions and establish something meaningful. Through this endeavor, you can harness your creative prowess and visionary ideas to reignite your professional life, infusing it with a fresh sense of purpose. If you're starting a business, craft an engaging and imaginative text logo using online templates to leave a lasting impact on your audience.
Set Work-Life Boundaries
Maintain a healthy work-life balance. Setting boundaries ensures you have time for personal growth and relationships, fostering a sense of well-being. In the hustle and bustle of midlife responsibilities, carving out moments for yourself and your loved ones is essential. Balancing your professional and personal life can lead to a more fulfilling and inspired existence.
Disconnect from Technology
Take breaks from the digital world. Unplugging allows you to reconnect with yourself and the real world, fostering inspiration and mindfulness. In today's hyper-connected society, constant notifications and distractions make it easy to get overwhelmed. Stepping away from screens and devices can provide clarity and a renewed sense of purpose.
During a midlife crisis, finding inspiration and positivity is not just a possibility but a powerful opportunity for personal growth. By following these key points, you can navigate this phase with purpose, rekindling the brilliance of life that may have dimmed over the years. Remember, your journey toward positivity starts with a single step. Embrace these strategies, prioritize your well-being, find addiction treatment, explore new horizons, and give back to the community. Overcoming challenges and setbacks is part of life's journey, but with determination and a positive mindset, you can emerge from your midlife crisis stronger and more inspired than ever. So, seize this moment to rediscover life's brilliance and make the most of the years ahead.
Thanks to Melissa for her valuable and dedicated advocacy, website, and for providing this article for Mind Wise readers published originally at: https://parksmd.com/resources-articles-by-guest-writers/rediscovering-lifes-brilliance-navigating-a-midlife-crisis-with-purpose/
Melissa Howard’s prior contributed article to the parksmd.com website: https://parksmd.com/resources-articles-by-guest-writers/self-care-for-introverts/.