The Quarter-Life Crisis and How to Get Through It
Most of us know a little bit about the midlife crisis, but have you heard about the quarter-life crisis? LinkedIn career expert Blair Decembrele describes the quarter-life crisis as "a period of insecurity and doubt that many people in their mid 20s to early 30s go through surrounding their career, relationships, and finances."1 A quarter-life crisis can be debilitating. To learn more about the quarter-life crisis and its effects on mental health, read this article.
A Quarter-Life Crisis Can Start as Mild Depression
For people in their 20s and 30s, life transitions are inevitable. Experiencing some depression symptoms is normal. But if your symptoms last two weeks and negatively impact your career and relationships, it is important to seek help. Whether it be from loved ones or a professional, any amount of support can make a huge difference.
My Experience With a Quarter-Life Crisis
At the end of my senior year of college, I thought I would be immune to a quarter-life crisis. After all, I would be getting my degree. I was in my first relationship. Life was going well and I was sure it would only get better.
A few months after I graduated, my perspective on life completely changed. My relationship had ended, and I had still not landed a job in my field. I realized that life would never be as good as it was in college. This was my first quarter-life crisis.
About a year after college graduation, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. It was really hard to accept having these conditions. I questioned who I was and who I will become in the future. There were many times when life seemed downright pointless.
Thankfully, I am in a much better place now. Even though life is not perfect, I am trying to appreciate what I have and enjoy life as much as I can. After seeking professional help (and accepting it), I have gotten through several quarter-life crises.
The Most Important Lesson I Learned Was that I Was Not Alone
When I talked to some of my friends who had graduated from college around the same time as I did, I was relieved to know that I was not the only one struggling. Many of my friends had been experiencing breakups, job rejections, work conflicts, etc. When I finally opened up about my anxiety and depression diagnoses, my friends still accepted me. We could even have deep conversations about mental health. Sometimes we threw pity parties, and they kind of helped. Those pity parties were better than crying in isolation.
3 Ways to Get Through a Quarter-Life Crisis
Perhaps you or a loved one is going through a quarter-life crisis. Here are three things you can do to get through this difficult time.
- Ask a loved one to monitor your behavior. Before I realized that I was having a quarter-life crisis, one of my friends pointed out to me that I was isolating myself more, and I sometimes had a bad temper. Shortly after I sought counseling, my friend noticed a positive change. It helped to have someone point out my actions during my crisis.
- Talk to a therapist about a quarter-life crisis. If you currently talk to a therapist, you might have talked more about depression than a quarter-life crisis. It can be really helpful to ask about the differences between both of them so that you can learn to handle all of your triggers and emotions.
- Schedule a time to do something you enjoy. During a quarter-life crisis, it is not unusual to lose sight of your identity. One way to rediscover your identity (and keep it) is to do things you enjoy. If you struggle with depression, it can be really hard to get motivated to do anything. So it might help to ask a therapist or a friend to help you schedule a time to do an activity you enjoy.
- Decembrele, Blair, "Encountering a Quarter-Life Crisis? You're Not Alone". LinkedIn. November 15, 2017.
Lueck, M. (2019, January 3). The Quarter-Life Crisis and How to Get Through It, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 9 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/toughtimes/2019/1/the-quarter-life-crisis-and-how-to-get-through-it
Author: Martha Lueck
I am so relieved to come across this read because I know there are so many young readers who will feel an instant sense of comfort to come across this read. This is very much a real occurrence that more and more young people are experiencing in today's high-pressure, fast-paced, constantly comparing world. Understanding that change is inevitable, and feelings of doubt and insecurity are perfectly normal during these times.
Lizanne, thank you for the reminder that my feelings are valid. I sometimes feel selfish for having negative feelings because some people are struggling more than I am.