Women and Mid-Life Depression

How can Psychotherapy Help with Mid-Life Depression?

Journalist Allison Pearson, in an article in today’s edition of the Daily Mail, writes of her struggle with depression and suggests that women hitting their middle years, and of this generation, are prone to the condition. Emma Thompson and Fiona Phillips are cited  as high profile women who, having hit mid-life are experiencing depression.

What hits many women approaching mid life is multiple loss and with loss, comes depression.  Loss doesn’t have to be about death – it can be about a loss of identity, a loss of purpose or meaning in life. Women who have had a career may be plateauing at this point, realising that it’s not all they want and, indeed,  that there are a hundred younger women behind them, snapping at their heels.   Of course looks and youth are a loss to the mid-lifer – the demise of youth and beauty, and the premium society puts on appearance, means that as they age, women can experience a kind of bereavement.  As mothers, moving into middle age there is  also a loss to negotiate; that of  the dependent child. Watching children separate and move away can be a tremendous loss to a mid-life mother; the purpose and focus of life has changed. Fertility is also on the decline and for the mid-life women, this too may be experienced as a loss – a point in life where women may re-evaluate who they are.

These life changes that middle aged women come up against go largely unacknowledged. A mid-life woman presenting at a GP with depression will be frequently sent home with a prescription which may well make them feel better -but not understood.  Therapy with a professional psychotherapist, such as those at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice in London, can help explore the feelings of loss,  reduce the depression and help the individual move on to explore new opportunities.