I'm not even 30 yet have I got mid-life issues?

"Mid-life" issues can arise anytime from our thirties into our 70s! It is really more about reaching a point in our lives when what we thought was important to us just isn't any more and we have lost our sense of meaning and purpose. Maybe you feel you spent too many years being the person you thought you "should" be and somewhere in the back of your mind there's a prompt or a nudge towards living another way and it's getting louder. An indication might be that you've started to think that the ladder you've been climbing is against the wrong wall or you just aren't sure who you are any more.

What counts as a mid-life issue?

You might become over-focused on seeking short term distractions to relieve a loss of purpose, boredom with life, irritability, periods of depression or anxiety or just a feeling that you need rewards and compensations to put up with a job you don't like or a relationship you feel disconnected in.  Somehow the future you anticipated just didn't pan out, the fairy godmother hasn't delivered.  You start to believe veryone else has got a better life than you and that you missed out somewhere along the line.

How might mid-life issues affect me?

The distractions you've used might have become the source of even more painful problems. Most will affect your relationships, not only with life partners but also with family members, friendships and work relationships. It becomes tempting to simply throw in the towel and "opt out" of our jobs and relationships to try alternative lifestyles or adventures. The highest incidence of divorce is in our 50s.

How can I deal with all this?

Although this can be a very difficult time - often described as the "dark night of the soul" or the "night sea journey" it is filled with potential for greater joy and a deeper sense of meaning and purpose than you have previously experienced. In therapy some of the work may be to deal with the practical difficulties that distraction behaviours have created.  We also focus on learning what you really need, want and desire in life and this means rediscovering a sense of who you really are and what your meaning and purpose truly is, to bring zest and savour back into your life.