The years between our fiftieth and sixtieth birthday make for, yet another, transitional period. Some of you may have noticed, by reading my earlier articles, that life is essentially one transitional period after another.
In our fifties we are going from middle-age to what some might call “old age” and our mental health will vary, during this time period, depending on our willingness to accept this.
If we don’t accept this, we grow bitter and resentful and this, over-time, develops into a depression.
Here are a few life problems that can lead to depression in your fifties!
Depression Triggers at 50
The years between our fiftieth and sixtieth birthday are a time of momentous change both in terms of our physical and mental health.
Not only is our body well past its prime, we are at the beginning of a long cognitive decline. This affects our workplace performance and inevitably leads to clashes with the younger generations who are developing in the opposite trajectory.
Our physical and mental frailty is also mirrored by our friends of a similar age, who themselves are dealing with the same ailments. Some may even fall ill or die of disease which of course reminds us of our own mortality.
These are just some of the triggers that can lead to depression during our fifties. Let’s dive deeper into two of them.
Getting Outpaced At Work
Whether we like our job or not, our performance at work is strongly linked to our ego.
Our thoughts of ourselves, and in so our self-esteem, are forged in our relationships to others.
Therefore, if we, due to the physical and cognitive decline that we experience during our fifties, are not able to perform as well as the younger members of the workforce, our ego weakens.
We react to our weakening ego by being bitter. Over time, this bitterness is turned inwards and becomes resentment which eventually develops into a depression.
Also, the fast nature of the modern work place makes it difficult to hide our insufficiencies with compensatory measures. As we age, we tend to take more to make decisions. If we worked solely with people in their fifties, our cognitive decline would not be noticeable and we would be able to present our slow decision-making as thoroughness. But the modern workplace does not allow for this.
Being in our fifties also puts us at a higher risk of losing our job when the economy is bad and being passed up for advancement when the economy is good.
Not only does this have an affect on the ego, the economical implications of losing a job leaves us more vulnerable to a depression.
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Being Left Behind
The notion of being left being isn’t something unique to the workplace environment. It spreads across all aspects of our lives, not least friends and family.
In many cases, we’re reminded of our depreciating value when we find out how much our children are earning at their first job. During our time in the workforce, salaries for entry level jobs have increased at a higher rate than our own salary and the difference adds to the bitterness and resentment otherwise experienced during this age.
Our children also remind us that we’re not as up-to-date or well educated as the younger generation. Whether it be our ability to keep up with technological advancements or our sensitivity towards the cultural nuances of the time or our academic experience, our insufficiencies are constantly being exposed by the younger generation.
This coupled with the harsh reality that our friends and co-workers of a similar age are experiencing the same physical and cognitive decline as we are and that some of them are even falling ill, reminds us of the inescapable injustice of time.
The stark contrast between the two makes us feel like we are being left behind by society and the loneliness that is experienced thereafter leads to the development of a depression.