I am depressed at the idea of turning 50 (Help!)

In this article we will be discussing how you can cope with the experience of turning 50 and what are some steps you can take to flourish during the period of late adulthood in your life.

We will also discuss what are some of the reasons you might be having trouble accepting your move into late adulthood and what are some mental health changes you can expect during this age.

What do I do if I am depressed at the idea of turning 50?

Turning 50 can be a terrific milestone for many people as it signifies a turning point in your life- you are gradually coming closer to another phase of your life- older adulthood. 

However, with turning 50, you do come across many changes in your physical, mental and social health which is often not welcomed. 

If you are depressed at the idea of turning 50 or you lack that excitement everyone seems to have at the prospect of growing older, here are a few things you can do to help yourself flourish:

  • Connect with others
  • Develop a routine. 
  • Try something new. 
  • Give back 
  • Get your finances in order
  • Seek new meaning 
  • Engage in things that bring you joy
  • Set yourself to new heights.

Let us take a look at some of the possible reasons why you might be struggling to accept or get excited about turning 50 and what are some of the things you can do to flourish in your 50s.

Challenges one faces at 50

Change in roles.

At the age of 50, you might be noticing some changes in roles in your private and professional life. At home, you might be turning from a parent to a grandparent or you might notice that ever since your children left home you are no longer parenting as you once did. 

You begin to experience the “empty nest syndrome” due to this change you might experience loneliness as well as some lack of purpose. 

Similarly in your job, there might be challenges in keeping up with the younger generation of how things are done in the office. For many of us, work can bring a sense of purpose and boost our self-esteem. If your role at your workplace gave you a strong sense of identity, these changes might impact you greatly with a loss of purpose and identity.

Bereavement

At this age, you might start losing friends and loved ones to old age complications. You might struggle with grief and bereavement. 

You might also start to experience loss in terms of your own agility and independence.

You may feel sad, angry, anxious, guilty, shocked or hopeless- there is no one way for you to feel.

This grief can also impact you physically and take a toll on you mentally- affecting your sleep, appetite, focus etc which can be difficult to overcome. 

Physical changes

At this age you might start noticing some changes in your physical appearance and agility. You might also be having a hard time accepting the way you look, and feel about your body which might be causing a lot of distress. 

You might also start to notice that you are developing some illnesses that often popup at this age related to bone health, heart, diabetes, and vision- all of this can be hard to accept especially when it makes you dependent.

Loneliness

While we all feel lonely at all ages, some experiences of older age may make it more likely. You might experience divorce, seperation, death of a loved one, and also your social circle might also become smaller and more preoccupied with their own aging. 

The fact that your health no longer allows you the independence you once had, meeting and connecting with people and friends might also become harder which might make you feel isolated and lonely. 

Becoming a carer

At this age, it is possible that you might become a Carer for someone- possibly your spouse- which can be rewarding but also exhausting, time consuming and costly. 

It might lead you to neglect your own health, mental health, and needs which can cause stress, depression, and anxiety making you miserable at this age. 

Life dissatisfaction

At this age, you might also take a look back at your own life and all that you have done for the last 50 years and notice that there is not much that you have done that has made you happy or satisfied. 

While success is subjective, there is a possibility that you feel ashamed or disappointed of the life you have lived so far and this can create a sense of anxiety or regret which when ruminate over can cause psychological distress.

The challenges listed above can be overwhelming and anxiety evoking which might get in the way of you celebrating this achievement of making it to your 50s.

Here are some things you can do to flourish and enjoy your life at this milestone.

Steps to flourish in your 50s

Acknowledge the way you feel about your aging years- if it is anxiety, sadness, regret etc- take the time to allow yourself to feel that way without any judgement. Acknowledgement is a form of self-love, it is you taking notice of what you want to tell yourself. 

Accept that there will be changes in your life- things you have to let go of in order to move forward however, you also have to understand that these changes will also bring so much goodness into your life. Even if you have to let go for physical agility, you will have so much more wisdom about the ways of life.

Develop a routine that allows you enjoyment- let these plans and routines be set around a work/life balance if you are still employed in such a way that it allows you to experience things that you love. 

Connect with people you love. Let go of toxic friends and family members and choose the family you want to and the people you want to share your milestones with because who says you can’t? Your age comes with independence and unspoken authority so make use of that power to set boundaries in your relationships. 

Give something back- let this age be one of kindness for others by giving back. It doesn’t have to be materialistic or financial. You can if you want to but allowing yourself to be a person of support and wisdom to others- especially younger people can be your way of giving back. You can give back by babysitting your grandkids or being a support to the younger interns that come into your workplace. 

Try something new, be it travelling to new places or picking up new hobbies. Do what you have wanted to do for a long time but always set aside for whatever reason no matter how odd it might seem- Like learning how to ride a motorbike or skydiving, if your doctor permits. 

Getting your finances in order because you might be reaching retirement soon and having money to fall back on is a good way to relieve some stress during this golden time in your life. 

Seek new meaning by getting spiritual or by reflecting on new purposes. If you are disappointed with the life you have lived, who is to say you cannot start living the life you want to know. Start by making the changes you can make to meet your purpose. 

Engage in things- people too- that bring you joy. If you love animals but have never allowed yourself a pet, go to the pet store. If you love spending time with your husband, do more of that instead of watching TV. Choose to engage and carry it through. 

Set yourself to new heights because turning 50 doesn’t mean your career is over. A sense of accomplishment is very important in finding meaning and purpose too as well as for well-being. So, as a marker that you have reached 50, set your sights on that promotion or make career changes that allow you to grow in your career.

Age gracefully even if that means making a few doctors appointments, or dying your entire head of hair pink. Do whatever you think will help you get used to the effects of age on your appearance, do it with mindful intention and acceptance that you cannot stop aging but yo9u can have fun as you age. 

Conclusion

In this article we have looked at some of the challenges you might face when you turn 50 that might be causing you distress and what you can do to flourish in your older age. 

References

www.mentalhealth.org.uk

Frequently asked questions related to “I am depressed at the idea of turning 50”

Are you considered a senior at 50?

The actual age of a senior citizen can vary depending on where and how the term is used. Some organizations consider age 50 to be a senior while others may define the age at 60 or higher.

Is turning 50 a milestone?

Turning 50 is a big deal, a major milestone. Of course all birthdays with a zero on the end are significant as they mark entry into a new decade of your life but somehow 50 represents the Great Divide, a sharp line between young and old has definitely been crossed.

What are the four major old age problems?

Common health conditions associated with ageing

Common conditions in older age include hearing loss, cataracts and refractive errors, back and neck pain and osteoarthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, depression and dementia.

What are the mental changes in elderly?

Most older adults report good mental health and have fewer mental health problems than other age groups. However, one in four older adults experiences a mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or dementia. The suicide rate for men over 85 is higher than that of any other age group.

Why is an aged person more prone to mental illness?

There may be multiple risk factors for mental health problems at any point in life. Older people may experience life stressors common to all people, but also stressors that are more common in later life, like a significant ongoing loss in capacities and a decline in functional ability.

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