When Menopause And Midlife Crisis Collide

04/12/2015 08:43 am ET | Updated Jun 12, 2015

I was crumbling inside and did not know what to do with this unsettling emotion.

During my 20s and 30s, I had so many dreams. For 12 years I was able to combine work with travel. I worked in the USSR while it was behind the Iron Curtain, in West Germany while the Berlin Wall was erect, in America as a private nurse to the Queen of Saudi Arabia (at the time) as well as working in remote Uganda as a missionary. I lived life to the full, making the most of every opportunity that came my way.

Marital Bliss

At the age of 35 I married, had 2 children and took on the role as a businesswoman running a successful health food business in my husband's native Ireland. The spontaneous life was no longer a possibility and life took on a different focus, one of business mixed with family life.

For the next 13 years I enjoyed the new challenges and thrived in the business world. I love being an entrepreneur and being able to choose hours to suit my family life. Life was great.

On the Road Again

At the age of 48 I found myself traveling again.

This time, it was with my husband and two children. I was homesick for Australia (as well as other issues prompting the need to move) and uprooted my whole family to begin a new life back home in Victoria, Australia.

I pictured a tough transition but being the adventurous type felt everything would fall into place once we had ourselves established.

Starting anew at 48

When I first arrived back in Australia I found it very tough having to start all over again.

In my 20s and 30s, I thought the world was my oyster and life would continue to be one big opportunity after another. Being single at the time meant that I was able to take risks. Now that I was 48 and with a family, risks were no longer an option.

My husband had to take on a mundane job, as he found being 50, jobs were harder to find. I choose to start a business from scratch again hence money was a little tight. The financial crisis in Ireland meant that we could not sell our family home. The business is still going strong but any money it makes stays in the business.

We were starting anew but this time we were a lot older and with two children to raise and educate.

My Midlife Crisis

The realization that my life had taken a side road from the "Highway to Paradise" happened at a friends' 40th birthday bash.

The party was to show off their newly built home with wonderful views and stunning interior. The champagne was flowing and everyone was super excited to be there, including me. I was very happy for my friends and very thrilled to be a part of the evening.

Halfway through the evening, the reality of where I was in my career and personal life hit me like a steam train. It was so unexpected that I was in shock at the intensity of the moment.

At the party, conversation was in full swing of overseas trips, corporate meetings, house renovations and upcoming joint ventures. Everyone seemed to have their life in order and I was floundering.

My business was still in its infancy. Money was tight and I felt like a fish out of water flapping around from one conversation to another. I ended up making a pathetic excuse and left soon after the speeches.

I was crumbling inside and did not know what to do with this unsettling emotion.

When Menopause and Midlife Crises Meet up.

I will admit that I felt anger and resentment when I left the party. From all accounts it looked like everyone there had it all. Great homes, great jobs, the most perfect families. But everyone creates an illusion that they want us to see.

One friend confided in me afterwards that the job she had may sound great but the politics and the long hours that she had to endure left her angry and frustrated. Another friend confided that the mortgage payments on their family home meant that herself and her husband would need to work full time for another 20 years, making them eligible for retirement at 75.

Midlife Transition

Once I acknowledged my midlife crisis for what it was, I stopped dwelling on what I had not accomplished, and best of all, I stopped comparing myself to others.

Working with many women coping with the menopause has made me think twice before stating that anger, tiredness and feeling of worthlessness should be dismissed as a hormonal issue, but rather an issue that occurs at a time of midlife transition.

I had to take a good hard look at where I was in my life. I could have descended into a depression of worthlessness if I had not confronted my fears and acknowledged what was really happening in my life.

Midlife Crisis is not just for midlife

Everyone of us can experience a midlife crisis at any time in our lives.

My son felt that his life was at a crossroads when he had to leave primary school. Six months later we were walking past the school when he exclaimed how small it looked. He also was able to remember how scared he felt when he left it and that that feeling was in the past. He now loves his new secondary school and the new challenges it possesses.

Most of us will meet a transition of some sort in life, and usually it occurs when we least expect it.

Next time when you come across your "mini crisis" take a step back and break it down.

When a Midlife crisis coincides with menopause.

For many women in their late 40s and early 50s a midlife crisis may collide with a disruption of their hormones leaving them in a quandary as to what is the correct approach in handling issues such as anger and resentment, coupled with lack of sleep and hot flashes.

Labeling everything as "just another menopause symptom" may be preventing a woman from moving on in her life.

Talking about any issues, symptoms and having blood tests (to asses hormone levels) can help women to know exactly what they are dealing with and what the best strategy is to move forward.

Rather than wallow in misery when confronted with "successful" friends, I chose not to compare myself to them nor judge my success on material things. I reevaluated my life and appreciated what I did have rather than what I did not.

A lifetime of great memories, two healthy, wonderful boys, a caring and supportive husband, a roof over our heads and food in our bellies is something the majority of the world's population is not able to appreciate.

Midlife crises averted, for now anyway.

Julie Dargan is a Nurse, Naturopath (BHSc) who helps women lessen their symptoms of the menopause through dietary and lifestyle changes. Julie has a FREE 5 DAY Kickstart Guide to help you get Rid of the Hot Flushes & Wake up with with less aches and pains. If you would like a copy of this FREE 20+ Day Guide click here to sign up.

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