Anyone Else Falling Apart Or Is It Just Me?

So I'm pretty sure I'm going through a midlife crisis. I feel like I'm falling apart. I feel like the more I try to keep from falling apart, the faster I fall apart. I feel like I'm drowning and I can't breathe. And, on top of all that, I also feel numb. I'm not positive that's a midlife crisis, because when I Google midlife crisis or signs of a midlife crisis, so much of the information points to how men feel or how men can cope. There's not a lot of information out there for women.

I thought, Maybe it doesn't happen to us? No, I think it's more like we don't talk about this stuff. 

I was reminded of a story about my overwhelmed great-grandmother asking her doctor for some help and he told her, "Nice women don't discuss such things."

Nice women don't discuss such things.

I guess it's a good thing I'm not a nice woman? Because I'm ready to discuss this uncomfortable topic.

I'm miserable. I've been feeling this way for about a year now and I was afraid to say anything even to my closest friends and family. It's a really shitty thing to say out loud, because I know it hurts the people close to me, plus it just sounds like typical suburban angst. If I was a refugee somewhere, I wouldn't get the luxury to say, "I'm just not happy." I'm not running for my life, I'm not watching people around me get murdered, I don't have any real strife in my life, so what the fuck? Buck up! Right?  

I don't know, though. Don't I deserve to be happy? Don't I owe it to myself? Isn't that what I'm always preaching? Or am I supposed to keep this all to myself and just muddle through and not make waves?

Yes, I'm really unhappy and dissatisfied with my life. I've passed forty-five and I feel like it's all downhill now. I find myself asking on a daily basis, "Is this it? Is this all there is?" 

Which, again, is a really shitty thing to ask, because I know my life is not horrible. And then that makes me feel even worse. Like I'm not grateful for all that I have or all that I've accomplished.

I am grateful, I just ... want more. I expected more. It's just that by my mid-forties I expected to be further along in my career. I expected more security. I expected a different relationship. And I'm not a perfectionist or a high-achiever by any stretch of the imagination, but I guess I set some lofty goals for myself and when I didn't reach them it sort of sent me into a spiral. I feel like I'm constantly scrabbling to hang onto what I have and I can barely advance. It feels like every time I get it figured out, someone moves the finish line on me. I feel like I wasted my twenties doing stupid shit when I should have been working harder, smarter, faster, whatever. Maybe if I'd done that, I'd be in a better position now? I don't know. I keep reliving past decisions and fretting over the choices I made. And that's not helping. I used to be able to take those regrets and that fear and turn it into something productive, but now I just let it drag me down.

My husband founded a start up a few years ago and he's been working really hard at that, but it's not taking off as fast as either of us would like. It's very demanding on his time and he's not able to help me as much as he used to. He's also not able to work at his "real" job as much, so the pressure has been on me to produce even more and support the family. I've been dealing with health problems for the last year and a half and it's been financially and emotionally and physically taxing. After twenty-plus years together, I feel like the passion is gone from my marriage. Don't get me wrong, the Hubs and I were never tearing each other's clothes off in public, but lately, my marriage feels like a business arrangement. We're great partners but we don't talk about anything other than our work. That's not how it used to be. Maybe we've run out of conversation? My kids are getting older and I worry if I've done a good job raising them. I never had doubts about my parenting before and they're not doing anything to make me question their upbringing and yet, I can't shake that somehow I've fucked them up and they won't be contributing members of society. When my kids were small, I felt like I lost my identity because I was suddenly "Mom" and no longer "Jen." I wasn't young or interesting anymore. Now that my kids are older, I'm losing my "Mom" identity. What will I be in a few short years when they go off to college? Do I go back to being "Jen"? An even older and less interesting person? 

I don't sleep well anymore, I cry and I'm irritable. I haven't felt funny in months. The last time I felt this way was years ago. And that's why I started this blog. I was feeling a ton of pressure and incredibly overwhelmed by my life and I started writing here. I found my sanity, I found my people, and I found a career for myself. 

Writing is my way to deal with stress and pain in my life, but this time I've kept it all bottled up inside of me. I haven't hardly blogged in a year and when I do, it's always about frivolous bullshit rather than what I'm really feeling. I've always said I didn't care what people thought about me and what I write, but this year I cared. I've always said I'm an open book and I tell it like it is, but this year, I kept a lot to myself. Because for the first time I was ashamed of how I felt. I was worried about hurting the people I care about most with my honesty. I was worried about what strangers will think of me. I was worried about looking like a failure, or worse, a complainer. 

Well, I'm done doing that. I'm sitting here, spitting it all out on the page through tears. I am releasing everything here and letting it all go because I think I will explode if I keep this inside any longer. 

Last week I told my friends how I was feeling. It was with trepidation that I asked if anyone else was feeling like they were losing their shit. I was terrified they'd tell me I was crazy. That I have a great life and I need to suck it up and stop feeling sorry for myself, or whatever. Instead, they opened up and shared their own feelings and I realized I was not alone.

I can't tell you the relief this brought me. 
I look around and I see men my age buying sports cars, getting hair plugs, and dating twenty-something women. What do women do when they're going through this? From what I can tell, we suffer in silence. 

We are the ones who plaster on fake smiles, or at least neutral faces, and go about the business of getting shit done, even though we're screaming inside. We're the ones who take care of our parents, our children, and our husbands. We're the ones who make sure everyone has what they need. We're the ones who care for everyone else, except ourselves. We're the ones who don't talk about our feelings of loneliness, fear, inadequacy, bankruptcy, or whatever, because we're afraid we'll sound selfish or we're afraid of being judged. And, frankly, we don't have time to wallow. 

I finally broke down and told my husband how I was feeling. It wasn't some big revelation. He's not stupid. He'd noticed the change in me. He'd felt me pull away from him, from our life. I was disengaged and going through the motions and he could tell, he just didn't know what to do to help me. The advice he gave me was, "You need to write about this." His advice was solid.

Even now, as I come to the end of this post, I'm feeling better. It feels good to be open and honest and to be truthful about my feelings of sadness. I'm not cured by any stretch of the imagination, but I do feel better. Putting my thoughts and feelings onto paper has always been my form of therapy. It has always been how I process hard things. I'd gotten away from that this year and I want to get back to it. I won't worry about how many page views I get or the SEO I need to bring traffic to this post, because that shit doesn't matter. What matters is that the people who need to see this and hear this find this post.

If you recognize yourself in what I've written here, then just know you are not alone. You don't have to be miserable in silence. You are not broken or selfish. You are normal. I understand you and I see you. I know it hurts and I know that you worry about hurting those around you, but you have to make yourself the priority right now. It's time for us to put on our oxygen masks first. You're not helping anyone by keeping it all inside. And you're not fooling anyone. We have to speak up and we have to let the people in our lives know how they can help us. 

I'd like to wrap this up in a bow and give you all a happy ending and some great advice, but I'm not there yet. Right now I don't know what to do to help me. I know self-care is key. Figuring out what will recharge me and help me cope. Like I said, just writing this was an immense relief and that tells me that I need to keep doing that. Just getting back to writing whatever is on my mind is a comfort.

I also need to find my funny again. I used to be able to find the humor in everything hard, but right now I'm not finding any humor. I wrack my brain every day trying to come up with something funny to write about. I'm shocked when I actually laugh out loud and it's such an overwhelming sense of relief and a high, but it's fleeting. It's just tough to be funny or find funny right now, but I'm determined to do it again. I've always said, "You're going to laugh or cry, so you might as well laugh." Well, I've cried enough and I'm ready to laugh again.

In my searching I did manage to find one helpful article and science assures me that this too shall pass. That soon I'll be fifty and women who are fifty are happy again. Let's hope they're right because right now fifty sounds depressing as hell.

If you know someone who needs to read this today, please it share with them.

If you're feeling this way and you need a community that gets you, join Midlife Bites on Facebook.


M said...

Ok so therapy has been tremendously helpful for my husband and I. It's helping us find a direction again. Also take a bang trip. Lol No joke. Kids stay with friends for a weekend. Go to Denver (Fun, great food, legal weed ��) or anywhere and do fun stuff with your husband. Stay in an awesome airbnb in the city. Go out drinking like you were in college, go see a band you used to love. We do something with friends a DJ show called "emo nite" it's music from when we met in high school played at a dive bar complete with PBR. It's a blast we feel like it's our first date aagain. Much cheaper than a boob job or sports car.

Kate said...

I felt this exact way last year. I tried exercise, diet everything. I finally talked to my doc who gave me Zoloft. It’s not a miracle, and yet it kinda is. I still have down days and break thru helplessness if that’s a thing. But yesterday I yelled at my kids and they were SHOCKED and one said “you never yell anymore and it scares us now” which meant (to me) that I used to yell so much it DIDN’T scare them. Anyway, I’m amazed every day that a pill could change my life this much. Very low dose few side effects. Happy to answer any questions! Hope you find your magic answer (in pill form or not). Xo

Katherine said...

Thank you for sharing this. I love your writing, the funny and the sad and everything in between.

Yep been there said...

You're not alone. I turned 50 this year (not as bad as it sounds) and realized I've felt much the way you described. You've been doing so much for many others without taking time to refill. I completely understand. We blink and 20 years just went by. We have to make ourselves a priority. Can you delegate some things? Kids sound old enough to handle a lot of household stuff. Hubby sounds supportive. Do you need to get away for awhile by yourself? Even an over night to a hotel, jacuzzi tub, no laptop just a note pad. What do YOU want? What do YOU need. You have to make yourself a priority. And although we love our husbands and children (and grandchildren) they are only part of our lives. I woke up and realized I was boring. I had no personal interests anymore. I got up went to work went home took care of kids cleaned house made food went to bed. For years. Where did I go? We love our family but they are not the only thing that's important. We are a person, an individual with likes and dislikes of our own. Not just someone's mom, wife or employee. Today find something that brings you joy. Just one thing. Make it fit in your day. YOU are worth it!

Julie S said...

Better living through chemical enhancement, an anti depressant has been my God send, there is no shame. You don't have to be on it forever, just looking enough to get you over the hump. All my best!

Unknown said...

This sounds an awful lot like me for the last few years. Life came at me fast, and there was just so much that wasn’t at all funny. I had trouble seeing my way through, and I had lost my confidence. So last year, I decided to make myself a priority. I took short online courses on how to love myself, I read books about confidence, and I downloaded a mindfulness app. I bought a massage mat. I stopped worrying about not shaving my legs enough. I tried to eat more sensibly and not just mindlessly snack. I was already properly medicated for my depression (Zoloft), but there is just so much more to *thriving* than not being sad. The weird thing is, nothing seemed to be making a difference, and suddenly at the first of this year, it all came together for me. My confidence is back. My anxiety is drastically diminished. I feel more in control of my life. I’m more motivated. I am suddenly capable. I hope you find the things that bring your badass back, because you totally have it in you. I’m pulling for you.

Dml135 said...

Thank you. So much is the same for me. So much, except I dont have anyone at home. Kids grown and moved. Im almost 50 in a few years and i too expected more. I did make some changes this last few months with self care tho. I used to wash my hair and put it in a bun and not mess with it ever. One day a few months back i took it down. It was to my butt. When the hell did that happen? I had never been able to grow it before? Hmmm. Well that sparked some life so i hobbled my broke ass to a beautician and had it cut and colored. I was shocked it was actually pretty. Then i bought some tans and went on a diet and lost 30 lbs. I made it thru the holidays. Holidays are never easy alone and broke. This one was different tho, i had a flight i hadnt used for another reason not worth talking about that needed used so i used it. I Went to see my best friend from high school. Hadnt seen her in 18 years. I spent the entire visit just soaking up her family. It was amazing. I also quit my dreaded job in healthcare and found one that truly makes me happy. So why am i feeling this and writing it if i lost weight have great hair and a cool job? Well two weeks ago i broke my foot. So im back to miserable depressed and feeling like a failure. No money is coming in cuz i cant work till im healed. I cry and dont really get any sleep. I know it shall pass, but i too expected more. Thank you for sharing. It feels good to know im not alone.

Dml135 said...

Thank you. So much is the same for me. So much, except I dont have anyone at home. Kids grown and moved. Im almost 50 in a few years and i too expected more. I did make some changes this last few months with self care tho. I used to wash my hair and put it in a bun and not mess with it ever. One day a few months back i took it down. It was to my butt. When the hell did that happen? I had never been able to grow it before? Hmmm. Well that sparked some life so i hobbled my broke ass to a beautician and had it cut and colored. I was shocked it was actually pretty. Then i bought some tans and went on a diet and lost 30 lbs. I made it thru the holidays. Holidays are never easy alone and broke. This one was different tho, i had a flight i hadnt used for another reason not worth talking about that needed used so i used it. I Went to see my best friend from high school. Hadnt seen her in 18 years. I spent the entire visit just soaking up her family. It was amazing. I also quit my dreaded job in healthcare and found one that truly makes me happy. So why am i feeling this and writing it if i lost weight have great hair and a cool job? Well two weeks ago i broke my foot. So im back to miserable depressed and feeling like a failure. No money is coming in cuz i cant work till im healed. I cry and dont really get any sleep. I know it shall pass, but i too expected more. Thank you for sharing. It feels good to know im not alone.

Kimberly68 said...

Turned 50 last year. Has been amazing but only because I made some hard choices at 47 and got out of a loveless marriage. Kids were not thrilled at first and still struggle a bit with the back and forth between two houses, but I had to do something for me. I realized I was less lonely when I was on the road for work than when I was at home with my family. Work is still work. Am not where I thought I would be, but home life is magic. New husband is my best friend and I am beyond any measure of happy I thought I could have. It took brave hard choices that I couldn’t make for decades, but after I did, I found myself.

Ali said...

It sounds like depression and it sounds way too familiar. Sending hugs. I've been there and will be there again I know. Hang in there.

Judy said...

I also felt this way at 45. I took a lot of time wondering why I was so sad and felt so alone and useless. I spent good time in therapy and eventually got out of my verbally abusive marriage. Decided I HAD to put myself first, even though it is so hard with two teens. Keep talking and writing, I promise it will help. Hang in there. Xox

Anonymous said...

I'm 49 and feel like 50 is rushing toward me.
Recognizing your funk is a good first step. Don't be afraid to tell your doctor. Keep writing, even if it's not publicly. #sendinglove

Jena said...

I think we as women always feel pressure throughout our entire lives. While trying to be the best mom, best wife and amazing business owner, I lost myself. As in, I truly cannot remember a lot of my life back then. Stress and no sleep caused my brain to not remember. My “baby” adult kids laugh at me now and I laugh along. Because even though I don’t remember it all, it does provide for great laughs now. Jen, your personality is really close to how I have viewed my life for a long time. Trust me, you did NOT fuck up your kids. Because of everything you have done they will be able to grab the world by the balls! Today I have an amazing group of swim moms (our kids swim at the club, high school and college levels). We get together at least every couple of months. Just a simple few hours at a restaurant. I am sure we make others stare in amazement but we don’t [email protected] care! We all feel fantastic afterwards!!

Unknown said...

This is one is a must read: The Mid-Life Unraveling.

Joanne K Buffalo, NY said...

Great article! I can say this was my life from the age of 40 until 50 for 10 years I suffered. I had a great life, healthy children, good job, good husband, but I was just not happy, sad all the time worrying about my kids, where are they what are they doing, even though they were good kids I worried that someone was out there to get them and hurt them. I went to my doctor I started seeing a counselor and I too went on Zoloft and like the other reader said it wasn't a miracle drug, but it did helped me get through those rough times. I also was very overweight and in my late forties I decided to have gastric bypass surgery thinking that my weight issue was part of my sadness. However after 5 years and losing a hundred pounds I was still very sad. Then I found this great book called "the key to yourself" and it is like my Bible now it lets us know that we are so much in control of our realities our thoughts control our day, find it get it read it. I just recently turned 61 my children are grown and gone I still have a wonderful life and I have one of the greatest jobs you could ever have I am a pet sitter talk about changing your life everyone should have a dog or an animal what day do for you is unbelievable . I still read my book two or three times a year and I found out that God loves me so much that he has given me the ability to create a wonderful tomorrow. Thank you again for sharing and ladies know that you are not alone and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Kenno said...

Great story, great writing...I'm sorry for all the hurting people dealing with all this wonder and travail we call "Life".
I'm an old guy who went through many of the same things, so I can relate...(except for being a Woman, of course).
Here's a few realizations I've had...
Because almost every problem, disappointment, sadness and letdown comes from our unmet expectations, we need to be more realistic with ourselves and give ourselves a break.
That doesn't mean we should not do our best and just live mediocre lives, but almost every human being has some sort of "ceiling" in life that we will hit.
Some of us were born into wealth, but most of us were not. If you are expecting to live in a multi-million dollar mansion by the time you reach 40, but you work in a job that pays you a five figure salary, you will probably be DISAPPOINTED when that doesn't happen. There will ALWAYS be "Greater or Lesser" in life when it comes to health, wealth and wisdom.
And regarding the REALIZATION that most of us have, that we SQUANDERED our youth on foolish and unproductive things and people, it speaks to the old adage that "Youth is wasted on the young"...
But when you really examine this, you will realize that you were doing the BEST you could for yourself AT THAT TIME with the knowledge and life experience that you didn't actually say to yourself, "I'm going to do this to sabotage my life so I will regret this many years from now when I am older". Give yourself a break…FORGIVE yourself.
Also, many of us spend so many years putting our children above EVERYTHING else in life, that when their time comes to leave the nest, many husbands and wives are almost strangers to each other and that wonderful Love that made those beautiful kids in the first place is gone...and so is their marriage.
This doesn't mean to not Love and do everything you can for your children, but you should put your spouse and your marriage first. Your kids will ultimately be the winners and really appreciate you for being a loving example of what a good marriage should be, and the good choice of their future spouse will reflect that. If only we recognized this…
Also, even if you did everything right, made no mistakes or bad decisions, and know you have a great life and should NOT feel like you are falling apart, don't discount or distain "Better living through Chemistry", not the illegal or harmful kind, but there are quite a few psychotropic medications that help with the chemical imbalance some people feel with hormonal age (men get this too) or other changes in your body chemistry that undue stress can bring.
For some people this is LIFE CHANGING in a good way and all that they need to get back to their old selves.

DRE said...

I know I'm not a woman, but I totally feel ya on this one. I'm 45 and expected to be so much further along in my life. I guess I always thought I'd be more than what I am. Maybe we all do. I bought a motorcycle, but I don't know that it helped. It just added to my crushing debt, quite frankly. Lol. My wife and I sound like we're in the same boat as you guys. We talked in passing about how we both think we're depressed on some level. I don't know if it's so much depressed as much as I just can't remember the last time I was truly happy for any extended period of time. I think some of it is knowing that I'll never be any younger than I am now, and it's like we're waiting for some end goal that, as we age, we realize (my wife and I) we may never achieve. Are we going to work until our bodies have failed us and the kids are gone before we can try to enjoy our lives without the burdens of parenting/working? I fear that by that point, I won't physically or financially be able to enjoy my life. IDK. The point is that I'm with you. Thanks for sharing your truth. It's always nice to know we're in the same boat as others we like and think are doing so much better than ourselves.

thinkpos said...

I completely get what you are saying. I'm 48. For a long time I was everyone's caregiver, parents, kids, husband. In a very short period of time, 3 older relatives I took care of were gone and my teenager kids became assholes. I didn't, and still don't know what to do with myself or how to take care of myself. Like you, my life is good, but I totally feel like I messed up all my chances and ended up on a place that is less than my potential. I would love the idea of starting over, but I have husband, kids, mortgage, bills that need to be taken care of. I make just enough money that starting over seems impossible salary-wise and lifestyle wise, but the day to day of my job is boring as hell. I tried grief counseling that helped a bit, but didn't solve everything. I did a long weekend with some girlfriends and we all caught up and cried multiple times per day. It was awesome, but not a cure all. I feel like there are many things I could/should be doing, but have no freaking idea where to start. Thank you for your article. I'm sorry you are hurting. It helps to know there are others out there feeling the same, and even more who have moved past it.

Liesl said...

I read that article, and felt like it was pointed straight at me. You can. You will. And when you do, it shall be glorious. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

Unknown said...

Welcome back, and thank God. Most of the mommy blogs I loved sold out, and started to feel similar to the relationships I had with friends who joined MLMs. It's nice to read a post without feeling like I'm purchasing your brand.

Beth said...

Thank you. I needed this.

Shauna said...

OMG you are me. Thank you for writing this down for those of us who aren't as good with words. You said what I feel. I hate things right now. All things. It sucks. But knowing I'm not the only one is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Spot on. Everything. My husband I separated last year after 27 years together. We were both unhappy but didn’t know why, was there more out there? It was exactly like you said - a business arrangement. We don’t have kids but have stayed very close and recently started to work things out. I’m not sure if the year apart helped but we are both much happier now. Although I’m not ready to move back in together. I also take medication, there’s no shame in it. Like my doctor said, we treat people for everything but why is it looked at as a failure if you need some mental help?
I wish you all the best, this too shall pass. I hope. We’re out here and not alone. Hang in there.

Unknown said...

Jen, I totally get this and have experienced similar issues this year. I appreciate you and am glad we are together in this.

You're my brand of crazy and I thank you for your candor. Hang in there, we're all we've got.

Megan said...

This is going to sound hokey, but through a pretty big personal crisis a couple of years ago, I found myself turning to God, bc I didn't know who else could fix it.
Around the same time, I was at a business seminar and ended up reading Miracle Morning to help me figure out how to grow my business.
And so I am up before the sun and meditating and exercising and praying and writing. Oh and a gratitude journal every night (writing really does make a difference!) All the things I've been told all my life are important, but which suddenly became life or death for me. And God is the biggest part of it all.
And now that I'm struggling in my marriage bc I'm on this journey and my hubs doesn't care to be on it, we are trying counseling. I'm supposed to be looking towards fun retirement in 10 years and not a divorce. But, who knows where we will end up? What I do know is that God gave me the strength to get through the last crisis, so I feel like I can handle anything now.
Don't give up.

Unknown said...

As I read this I thought somehow you got into my mind my life my marriage and my home and wrote about what you saw. It is exactly everything I have been feeling for about the last 2 years. I was telling my husband last week we have no passion which he took as a joke but is really not and it bothers me. What we go through with our kids I worry we have completely failed and question whether they will be good as adults. I don’t know when things will get better because as of right now it just feels like one punch after another with each new day. I find more bad and sad in the day than happy. But it’s life and I live it

KBL said...

Thank you for writing this. I feel so much of this right now. I have a lot of pent up anger about just so many aspects of my life. Some of it really is my life, and some of it is just me, but either way it makes me feel horrible that I am not more grateful and happy.
My family wants to get a hamster right now, and I said no. They keep asking why and I just say “it’s not a good time for me right now.” But it’s because I know there will be so much fighting with my kids to put the hamster away and go to school/do your homework/don’t fight over the hamster; and that I will of course end up doing all the work for the hamster. I think to myself “I just have too much rage right now, a hamster will push me over the edge.” Which makes me laugh and want to cry.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for the words I have been unable to find.

Clairepcb said...

Love this response. I have become a nobody servant in my house and as my kids grow up I’m terrified I’ll just evaporate.

Clairepcb said...

Love this!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing about this and spilling it all. I feel like that a lot, and then i feel guilty bc i think I'm being ungrateful for the life i have. Not that is good, but it makes me realize im not crazy and I'm not the only one dealing with this and then my future doesnt seem as grim. I go back and forth about this unfulfilled dreams, and sometimes i see theres a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us, and hopefully sooner rather than later we will find meaning in our lives and these feelings won't be so overwhelming .

Be Well with Janel said...

First, bless you for sharing. Your husband is wise to suggest you write about it. I had a thought as I read this, how many comedians become great dramatic actors. I think that is sort of evolves from covering their pain with sarcasm and humor... then letting their pain out with an expression of tears. It’s almost as if the more we cover up the more we have to dig up later. So it is very brave and courageous of you to reveal. Here is my take on it from personal experience... I sense you are headed for a beautiful spiritual awakening. People may call it “mid life crisis” But that isn’t as pretty, positive, or spiritual as the truth of it actually is. You know how before any beautiful, incredible miracle happens, there is pain, angst, and trepidation, ugliness, fear, trauma, sadness, etc.?!?! Just like a birth! You are undergoing a re-birth of sorts. And I look forward to the amazing beauty that lies ahead for you! I am here to tell you it gets better. Sooo much better. But you have to allow it to unfold as the Universe or God (or whatever you say) would have it unfold. Can you do a private meditation? Just breathe and calm your mind. And know that “All. Is. Well.” You are safe. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Every single thing happening in your life right now is happening FOR you not TO you. It is all for your highest good. Good—-no—INCREDIBLE things are in your future! This I know!!!! Having said this, I worry you will roll your eyes or make a joke. I don’t want to come across as “woo woo”. This is real. This is life. And it is beautiful. Not to fear! Please reach out if I can help. ❤️������

Deborah said...

Jen,I feel like you know exactly what I am going through. I keep thinking is today I look for a therapist? Or do I really need a therapist? Thank you for writing this important piece and beginning the conversation. Kudos to you!

Tor said...

Oh my goodness Jen, we all go through this I am sure. I’m there right now and just seem to keep going. You are an amazing woman and I know people saying it doesn’t always help, it sure as hell doesn’t help me, but getting through it and looking back on it you realise they are right. It’s just going to take time to get through to the other side. Stay strong and don’t be afraid to speak about how you are feeling x

LesleyForloines said...

Wow Jen!! Look at all of these awesome responses......we ARE your people and you ARE NOT alone. While we know intellectually it will pass it doesnt make the walking through it daily any less difficult. I'm here for you, I SEE YOU and I hope maybe one day we can meet for a glass of wine on the other side of "this." ❤

Unknown said...

I think we live in a society that's pretty screwed up, and one of the ways it's screwed up is in how we're taught to feel personally responsible for everything that does or doesn't happen to us. We're taught a lot of stories about how things should be, that aren't real or won't help us be happy. Then we're supposed to feel that it's our individual fault if things don't turn out per the story.

It's time to give up the stories and build a healthier society (that by the way will stop killing life on the planet).

Unknown said...

I'm so glad you wrote this. Last night I googled "is there somewhere I can go to scream?" and as it turns out, there's a "scream room" near me that I can rent for 15-30 minutes just to scream, cry, and even break stuff (they provide it!!) But it got me thinking... why do i feel like this? Am I going crazy? I realized why i love roller coasters so much, because i get to scream and feel something again, if only for 30 seconds, and nobody is any wiser. Moments after I googled scream rooms, i read something on Facebook by Ada Calhoun on the Oprah Facebook page. Find that article and read it. She wrote literally everything you're feeling, and explained our generation and the "why" to our generation feeling so lacking and empty... down to the feeling of being under achievers, and how our generation was cursed by upbringing. It was super insightful. Now, reading your post, I feel like I'm in this small community instead of in a hole under a rock, afraid to waive at neighbors.
Find a scream room :) maybe I'll see you there. We'll all beat this shit together.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for writing this. So often the last couple years I have felt like things should be better or different but I beat myself up over that fact that I have it pretty good and I should be happy with what I have. I also dont have friends I can talk to. They all have other issues and I would look like a whiner... the others turn everything into a my life is better/worse than yours competition and that's just not my thing...

Anonymous said...

This is exactly how I'm feeling...and have been feeling for quite some time now. I turned 50 a few days ago, which only seemed to amplify my anger and sadness. I've been in a dead-end job for 20 years, with no raise for the last 11 of those years (embarrassing just to write that). My husband and I will mark 25 yrs married this year, but we haven't had anything remotely resembling a marriage in almost 10 years, if I'm being honest. If I could afford to make it on my own, I'd leave. I feel trapped and can barely fake putting on the "normal family" act any longer. I have 3 terrific kids, but I've been doing them a disservice lately because of how unhappy I am. I'm just not sure what to do to try and turn this around. I just want to be happy again.

Anonymous said...

So good and comforting to hear another woman articulate what I'm feeling. I get so annoyed when I hear commercials on the radio for ED - what about women and our health? I have very little sexual desire; it feels like a chore. After 25 years of teaching, I'm walking away from my vocation at the end of this school year. I'm going back to school for a career change. My littlest will leave for college in the fall so it's just me and the hubs. I'm hoping that taking back my life will help the other areas of my existence and I'll be able to not only survive, but thrive.

Kelz said...

Thank you for this! I have felt the same way over the last year. My life has had major changes, many I didn’t have much control over. Just the other day I decided enough was enough I needed to speak up. Much like you, I’ve started to share how I’m feeling and it helps. We all still have a long road to travel, but at least we can be open about it and rest assured that we are not alone. We are here for each-other! Thank you ❤️

Mel said...

Solid advice ♥️

Mel said...

Thank you- wonderful article.

Anonymous said...

I understand this completely and what Ken said above is oh so true.

I'm a man but I thought the last 13 years of working away from home was going to get us somewhere but it turned into misery I became stressed because the Bill's kept coming and so did the kids. The wife started falling into depression anand listening to everyone but her husband and resentment drove a wedge between her and I. A wedge I'm learning to overcome through counseling and self acceptance.

I love every inch of that woman, even the extra weight she put on. I love those curves I love what makes her HER. but the depression and self loathing she has for herself is beyond despairing.

I often times cannot find ways to say something constructive without it being misconstrued by the rampant negativity we have.

But in all of this. All this comes down to you as a person. It's not a MAN THE F UPthing. That doesn'tsolve a damn thing. Harsh criticismhurts more then helps. But you have to accept what you can and cannot do. Reflect on your successes and admit where you went wrong or made poor choices. But still love that you you once were because like Ken said. We make choices based off what we felt, know and believe in that moment. Not because we sought failure willingly.

Right now I only hope to repair the life I have with the woman I love and the kids who love me despite the terrible asshole I once was and chose to not be again. It's tough but they are worth it.

Anonymous said...

I am so grateful I decided to click on this and give it a read (it was reposted on a Facebook page) I feel like there is a tribe out there. I’m 47 and between health issues that are serious but not deadly and a marriage that is more than likely ending after 23 years (although amicably for the most part)...I’m wrecked. I am frustrated and fearful of my future, sad about my past and miserable in my present. And I just go through my days and smile and act like it’s all fine. Because honestly, in comparison to so many alternatives, it is..but I want my experiences to mean something too. Thank you for writing down what obviously many are feeling as well.

Theresa said...

I feel like you have been living inside of my head for the past 4 years. Thanks for this read, so glad I chose to click the link. Sharing in hopes someone else is feeling it too.

Poppymann said...

I've been feeling that way for a few decades and finally got some help in the form of a therapist and pharmaceuticals. We come from a family who believes in "always moving forward" and doing better. Your father channeled the Stoicism of my parents directly to you guys.There's a belief/rationale that providing material goods is an exact substitute for being present. My father wasn't present, bt I know now that he was probably suffering mentally as well. I never felt comfortable sharing feelings with my parents because I never recognized them as legit. Anyone who knows us, knows we are not a family that recognizes or shares internal feelings, nor one that is able to express feeling other than irritability. We just suck it up, internalize it and keep going until the inevitable meltdown. Then after the meltdown, we act as if nothing happened.
The good news is that it doesn't have to be this way. It took me awhile to break out of the swamp of emotional dysregulation that seems to be in our genes, but you can learn from my mistakes/insights.

Anonymous said...

I feel very similar to this right now. And I feel like because of my young age (I'm 28), that people will say I have no good reason to feel this way. My marriage is ending. We've been married for 6 1/2 years. We have 2 kids together. And everything was fine, until he suckered me into moving out of state. Then everything changed. He became a completely different person. I had no family there. We had no one to help watch our youngest so I had to stay home. I was used to working, couldn't do that anymore. I think he wanted it that way. It's almost like he was trying to control me. I couldn't do it anymore. I took the kids and left. Came back home where my family is. Told him we're just taking a break for awhile, to keep things calm. But I'm done. He never wanted to talk about anything, or put forth effort into our marriage. What was the point? The thing is, I'm a Christian, and an ordained minister at that. God hates divorce. Marriage is a covenant that is supposed to be for life. I don't want to upset God. Jesus only explicitly said infidelity was grounds for a divorce. Some theologists think abandonment by an unbeliever is also grounds. But there's some debate on that one. So what do I do? I feel like I'm doomed either way. I've tried for some years now to make things work with him, and have gotten no where. I'm fighting a loosing battle. I do not want to disappoint God, and be a minister who's been through a divorce. Lord knows the world will judge that. But I don't want to be stuck in this relationship anymore either. It's just not working anymore. He's not the same man I married. I don't know who he is anymore. And he accuses me of not giving it a chance. I feel like I've given us more than enough chances. The question now is where do I go from here? I never thought in a million years I'd have to be making this decision. Especially not this early in my life still. I tell you one thing, if we do divorce, I'll never be in another relationship again. I'll be single the rest of my life. It's just not worth it. Especially since people aren't who they say they are.

ziagrrl said...

I literally lost my voice after a botched throidectomy where they severed a nerve that controlled my vocal cords. That was 5 years ago, at 45. I’m still trying to find my literal and figurative voice. This article says it for me. I see you, I hear you. In a month and a half until my 50th, childless (a huge problem for me—where’s my womanhood?) and sad.

This will pass? I hope so, love. Some other commenter said that you’re her brand of crazy and I feel the same. Keep finding your voice, you’re putting into words what a lot of us can’t. Thank you.

Maureen Scott Altizer said...

Thank you for sharing and I hope this helps others. Speaking only for myself, I found that I held many expectations about what I thought life SHOULD be. Most of these expectations were fueled by the media, social structures and authority figures. When I started looking inside for the answers I found them. (How do I want to be, not what I think others want me to be) Nothing outside of us can bring us happiness, it truly is an inside job. I also realize there are times to be sad (or depressed, if you will) and with good reason. This world is an insane place and if you don't think so, you may not be paying close attention. The trick for me was to realize this and sometimes laugh at it but mostly ignore it (especially the media, particularly the news) Anyway, I am more at peace and as a result more loving. I am happy with that. It took me a while and I am still a work in progress at 66.

Unknown said...

Oh sweetie. Go talk to your Doctor about 10 milligrams of Citalopram. It saved my life. I felt exactly this way 3 years ago. Now I am holding steady.. with 10 milligrams of Citalopram on my side. And I bought a giant black pickup truck and named him Odin. So...yeah I get you. Hang in there.

Unknown said...

Don't feel guilty, afraid, or hopeless. It's a sign that you are coming to life that you feel this way, and that's a good thing. I'm turning 50 this year and there's definitely a mortality factor. But I believe this is a natural way to feel if you are human. Life can feel empty or pointless, and it's a tough feeling. I was divorced 12 years ago and have two boys that are growing up fast. I've lost my father, and even endured the loss of a best friend. All of this can add up, and I've spent a lot of time crushed under the weight of sadness, sitting on the floor of the shower crying while the water runs down. Not that I know how you feel, but I sincerely empathize. I'm not religious, but I can say with certainty that religious experiences lie in the most unexpected places.

Please know that this is my opinion, and that he answer could be very different for different people. But I'm not hearing from your cry for help that the answer is with medicine, an asshole doctor, or even Christ, but through opening yourself up to a soul search. Try to trust yourself and to trust life to lead you to the answer. Though in many ways the day-to-day of my life has not improved, I have not felt hopeless for a while, and I currently feel like the haze has lifted and the sun shines down on me every day.


Unknown said...


Here are some things that strangely helped me. Even on the chance that there is one small thing helpful you can take away.

* You're not alone.
* It's okay to be damaged. We all are.
* Embrace the pain, sadness, self doubt, PTSD, anger, whatever and don't be afraid to face it. It's okay to cry. We do those things for a reason.
* There is always hope and never a reason to give up.
* Let go of the things that feel toxic to your heart. People or things that hurt you. Even toxic expectations you have of yourself. That doesn't mean to quit your job or skip town. It means do your best and accept that is all you can do.
* You're not obligated to watch the news. Comes out that the world keeps turning.
* Don't let the negativity of others draw you in.
* This is normal for any feeling and intelligent human.
* This is what waking up feels like. It can hurt, but it's a path to happiness.
* Let go and trust life to lead you.
* Leap into something outside of your comfort zone and the self you've never met can emerge. There are parts of me I never knew existed until I let go and faced the the things I feared the most. The real you and your hidden talents or passions sometimes have to be found through challenging experiences. Go to a bar where you feel out of place. Spend time with the homeless. Take an improv class (chuckle, I trying to do this and its my biggest fear). Whatever feels unnatural.
* Open yourself up to criticism and embrace change on your own terms.
* Trust yourself.
* Forgive yourself.
* Let go of the notion that you can control everything/anything.
* Get back the person you feel like you left behind.
* Embrace your passions (again). Get back to your roots.


Unknown said...


* Engage with art. Watch performers, paint, see live music.
* Give. Giving can feel amazing and you're never too low to help another. Even giving love or compassion is giving. In fact, it's the most valuable thing you can give.
* Put yourself out there. What do you have to lose?
* Listen to music. Its therapeutic power is immeasurable. My father was dying and hopeless, but just a tiny bit of music he once loved would transform him instantly. It's very powerful.
* Cast away stress however possible. It's a fantasy.
* Don't take yourself too seriously. Or life for that matter. It is simply what you make of it.
* Know that the fundamental meaning of life is really just to live. That's about all we can even know about life.
* The woes of humanity are not your fault, and are out of your control. Mother nature will live on no matter what happens.
* Live for yourself. If you fear neglecting those around you remember that you cant take care of anyone unless you have taken care of yourself.
* Talk about how you feel. Write about how you feel. Facing/exploring it truly helps.
* Remember that things can always be worse, but they can always be better too. It sounds counterintuitive, but think how many people have turned terrible circumstances into strength. In fact, the more fortunate you are, the less fulfilled you can be. People who win the lottery are very likely to be more unhappy. While people who have endured the worst things possible often have a very positive outlook.
* Know that no person necessarily REALLY knows anything, no matter their credentials.
* The answer you find is more valuable than any one else's opinion.
* Seek out your true friends.
* Think about and define your values.
* Commiserate with someone else. Spend some of your time with someone who is unhappy and explore the feelings together. You'll be helping them and putting things in perspective.
* Know that things are not what they seem. The only thing you really know is that you exist. Everything else is filtered through perception and might not even be real. I know this feels scary, but preconceptions drive a lot of what makes us unhappy. Expectations, criticism, views on right or wrong, opinions. None of it can harm you if you don't let it.
* Laugh at every opportunity. Seek the things that made you laugh in the past.
* Remember that without the contrast of pain, there is no joy. Sometimes struggle is what keeps you alive. People who don't have risks or fears often feel the most hopeless.


Unknown said...


* Take a warm shower or a bath. It's the simple pleasures that can get you through.
* You don't have to compete, unless you take joy from competing.
* Walk or get some exercise. I'm not even slightly athletic, but holy cow can exercise affect how you feel.
* Extend unconditional trust. There's no shame in trusting no matter what the consequences.
* Don't judge, and accept no shame. Both are burdens you need not bear.
* There are many people who care, even if it is not apparent. You're never really alone.

Above all, don't give up at the low point. Those with the least actually have the most potential. I know that this all may sound like a self-help book or some other garbage, but these are principles that I have assembled independently through some very challenging and hopeless times. I don't purport to have the answer(s), but I do know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I don't know you but I'm unambiguously here to help.

Your friend Tom,
computer programmer and generally a regular guy who has faced (and faces) very similar struggles

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this. I'm almost 43 with 2 kids, 5 pets, a husband, and a career. I often feel like I'm the only one going through this/thinking these thoughts/feeling this way. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story. I'm always afraid that I'll burden the people listening if I speak up or that they'll think less of me. It's not fair for us to feel shame for something that is so natural and normal. I appreciate your honesty!

Anonymous said...

That sounds a lot like depression, which may or may not be a result of your age. Talk to someone-online or off- about how you're feeling. Grab some chocolate and a kitten. Take some time to love yourself. You're worth it.

GoodWitch said...

This is exactly my life. I could cry and am crying. I lost me somewhere and do not know how to get her back. I actually laughed with joy playing with my grand daughter who is two at her antics and thought to myself - when was the last time I truly was happy and laughed uncontrollably? I have been trying to be more aware of myself and what I need and not follow along the normal routine. Have made any great strides but I am optimistic. Finding out it isn’t just me has been a true bright spot.

Unknown said...

It's not just you. I can relate to so much of this.

Gayle said...

Sister I've been where you are. Hugs

Amy Green said...

Jen, I am so blown away and so grateful that you wrote this. You've been the only blogger I follow for years, for the humor, but this is a whole 'nother level because everything in your post is EVERYTHING I am going through right now. I just started counseling for all of this (just had 4th session this week). I'm so grateful for your vulnerability so that I and others could see that we are not alone... and like depression, we can be open about it and get help and support and commiseration!! I joined the FB group too.

I don't know if this might help you or others but I am just starting a depression lifestyle treatment called TLC that is supposedly highly effective, and is stuff that all humans need anyway so it's worth it regardless. Here's the website.

I wish you all the best in your journey through this. Lots of long-distance love and hugs from a stranger. <3

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melmelmel said...

Aww Jen. I feel you. This is a weird age. Old enough to look back critically on your life, not old enough to say “hey if I didn’t end up in jail or on the pole, I did ok”. It really sucks. I now grind my teeth constantly. It’s fracturing them, giving me headaches. My dentist does not seem to care. He actually asked how I was sure I did it. Hmm, because I have consciousness? His only suggestion is to wear one of those bite guards. Okay 24/7? At work? The constant waves of feelings, a roller coaster minus the entertainment value. It’s exhausting. Please see your doctor. Some talk therapy, maybe an antidepressant. Hormones definitely play a huge part. I wish you all the best. You have given me many hours of respite from my own relentless brain with your writing. I hope you can be kind to yourself. It can be better. I wish you peace.

Gayle said...

At age 62 I have gone through the same Fam. You will make it through. My heart is with y'all My Sisters��

dance teacher said...

With you on so many levels. Our generation of 50 year olds is really having trouble. Raised by the greatest generation who just followed tradition for women ( maybe not great but some kind of guidance was there). And the Boomers stick together and make everything they do a nation issue, so we're left trying to figure out how to make our lives work in the abyss.

gloriap said...

I am in my 70s and well remember what you are experiencing. Talk to your doctor/gyn about peri-menopause (Yes, it's for real and we used to be able to temper it with HRT before the link to cancer.) and an anti-depressant. They don't turn you into a grinning Bozo-the-Clown but help you to cope with every day annoyances without becoming a witch. I have a much better sense of priorities and have learned to deal with what's important and what I just need to let go. It's liberating and I hope you can say the same soon.

jillsifer said...

You're not obligated to be funny. You're not obligated to entertain us. You ARE obligated to take the best care of yourself that you can, and to an extent, to those close to you who love you the most. As to "making sure everyone has what they need," what if you just . . . don't? From what I've read over the years, your husband sounds like a good guy -- can't he pick up some of the slack in doing some of the heavy lifting for your kids? Are there things you do for them that they're now old enough to do for themselves? I think sometimes when we have tiny little kids, we set ourselves on autopilot and the next thing you know you're doing the laundry and packing lunches for people who are 14 or 15 years old. Maybe see if you can realign some of those rote tasks?

I'm going through a little upheaval myself. My son and his girlfriend just moved (yesterday! sob!) to another state, and I'm staring down the barrel of a hard reality. Once again, I'm having to teach myself that while he'll always (by his own admission) need my wisdom and perspective, he truly doesn't need anyone in the Mommy role anymore. I'm over the moon with joy for them -- they've found their dream house in their dream location and they're SO READY to start building their dream life. And I'm on the periphery. That's a hard gulp for the single mom of any only child who was, in essence, his only parent until he was 17 when his dad decided to step up.

I truly wish you peace and joy, and I honestly hope some color starts to push in around the edges of all the grayness you're in the middle of right now.

Garrett J said...

You are not alone. Even as a man I went through some of the same things you are going through now. There are milestones in everyone's life and sometimes in between them we have time to reflect on what has come so far and we are always the most critical of ourselves. As you said it will pass. As for your relationship with your husband I have a suggestion for both of you. I only suggest this because it worked for me and was like an epiphany. I struggled with trying to find a satisfying relationship for years. I went to counseling and tried everything. The relationship I am in now is the best I have ever had and I attribute it to a great partner how turned me onto a book. I never was one for self-help books but this one hit a chord with me and a light came on and has burned bright ever since. The book is called The 5 Languages of Love. It helped me, it may or may not help you but it is worth a shot. Keep the faith and know we are all in this together.

Jamie Miles said...

If honest, everyone can relate to something or all that you are feeling. I'm 57 (did I really just type that). I do have those feelings of not being able to get all the things I want to accomplished -- but as the years left shrink -- at least I have a renewed sense of urgency. And having traveled this road longer than you, my only advice (dare I suggest) is to monitor expectations. We all need to go easier on ourselves. Of course, this creates a continual pull between the urgency of time running out and an acceptance that what I'm doing and done is enough. Trying to enjoy the journey. I've learned that any happiness achieved by accomplishing goals is fleeting, if I don't feel that it is enough just to wake up each day, be grateful and try to do something -- no matter how small -- for someone else. Hugs.

Crazyd0glady said...

I just turned 53 two days ago...can definitely relate to everything you said, say, posted, etc. Thanks for the writing and all the feels! You ARE NOT alone!!!!

Juliet said...

I hit that wall about four years ago. I had a long-term relationship fail, followed in a few months by a job shake-up that I'd been re-assured wouldn't happen. One of my best friends and I had had a falling out, another one had endured a serious and personality-altering health crisis, while yet another long-time friend was suffering at the end stages of a terminal illness. I had no source of joy and just getting through the day left me raw. And that was on top of the sturm und drang of perimenopause. I got help. I got meds. I had to disengage from some of the social issues with friends, and that's still not back on an even keel. (But I can currently blame the pandemic.)But overall, it's better. Some things got fixed; some things were let go for now. There is still an amount of existential dread, but I think that that is true for most everyone.

Anonymous said...

Same here. I do wish that medical practitioners would ask us how we REALLY are (and not just in passing to check that box), actually listen to our responses and partner with us so we may be our best physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Too many of them are not doing that, and I'm also a healthcare provider: I know what standard of care is expected, but too many of providers are dismissive of these issues. For the last four years, I've played primary care roulette, trying to find a physician, NP or PA who would listen without rolling their eyes, respond without demeaning (being talked down to and called "sweetie" repeatedly does not foster a positive therapeutic relationship with any patient). I have described to them all of the same feelings you just wrote about, literally begged them for help. In response, I was told by multiple providers (at several different family practice clinics) that it was all in my head, that women have survived just fine for eons and that I need to suck it up, that I need a psych consult, that my labs are fine and that there was nothing wrong with me, that it's not good for my busy husband and daughters for me to be having a pity party. They dash out the exam room door before I can ask any questions and then the nurse comes in to continue telling me the same. I've read all these comments from women who ARE being listened to and taken care of, and I'm wondering...where did you ladies find your doctor/NP/PA? What do I need to say or do to have them believe me? It's not healthy for women our age to go without screenings but I've left every clinic so deflated that I can't bear to go back and be treated like that again. Thank you for writing about this topic! And I'm glad to know from the comments that professional empathy exists somewhere.

KaZ Akers said...

I have had a multitude of multi-species family. I have adored them all. I have worked with animals for years as a vet tech, educator, personal caregiver, and animal activist. That being said an animal is an animal. Mine are always treated with love and kindness, given excellent food, beds, care, cages, terrariums or aquariums. I train the ones that are trainable to be a good member of the family. BUT they are not spoiled, treat me like they are the leader of the pack, taught that they come first in all things, coddled, spoiled, doted on or annoy family and friends. They need to be cared for according to their species and/or breed. We are companions but not equals. Nor are they allowed to ever think they rule the roost. In that way they make a wonderful contribution to our lives. And don’t get me started with the fake service dog thing or the emotional support cat allowed to go anywhere and everywhere. We actually have a service dog in our home and he knows his job and does it without jumping, barking, whining, or annoying others when we are out.

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