Tag Archives: depression



My 51st birthday was on October 19th.  The picture to the left is a triple chocolate cake with a chocolate glaze which is gluten-full, fat-full, chocolate-full, calorie-full and yummy.  Sadly 😦 , I am gluten-free but if you are not,  I thought you can make this and have a piece for me!

I have mixed feelings about this birthday.  I do enjoy the excitement of opening up a gift from someone who cares about me…actually, that is not true, I would love getting a gift from absolutely anyone because who does not  love presents!  What I seem to find more difficult as I age, is the fact that I am getting older.  Do not get me wrong, I am thrilled that I continue to have birthdays for obvious reasons; but, I do panic a bit when I think about how the years seem to go by more quickly now.  Why is that?

One of my sons is a nuclear physicist.  I know, being a nuclear physicist is crazy in itself, but he goes out, has fun, and has a girlfriend so we think he is normal.  I asked him about the concept of time seemingly moving at different speeds depending on our age.  If there is anyone who understands the theory of time it is him.  These were his answers.  First he told me time appears slow when we are old because life is more boring.  That makes no sense.  Wouldn’t that make time seem to go slower instead of faster?  When I challenged his answer, he gave it a bit more thought and told me that time appears faster because older people tend to need more naps so they are asleep for most of it.  Maybe he is not as normal as I thought.

I know time moves at the same pace for everyone; it is our perception that changes.  When we are young, time moves at a snail’s pace; we only want to be older.  We cannot wait until we can drive, vote, legally drink alcohol (stop, do not judge me, you know that is a true statement), make our own decisions, get married, work on our careers, etc.  However, as we enter into the 40 to 60 range, many begin to reassess their lives because they are more aware of their mortality.  One could call this the midlife crisis…I prefer to call it the midlife transition; a less harsh word and  more welcoming.  Besides, only around 10% of people have a true midlife crisis.  Most have a smooth transition; however, those with a poor support system may find it more difficult.

I know my transition to midlife is different from my mother’s, grandmothers and possibly even you because our life experiences are different.  For instance, the roles of men and women have changed significantly from what they were 40 years ago.   A major reason for this is that more women have entered the workforce.  In 1971, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found only about 43% of women worked.  The percentage of men in the workplace has decreased yearly since then; however, the percentage of working women has increased to nearly 60% today with a large percentage working in professional and business services.  Click this link to read an interesting article discussing the causes and consequences of the increased number of women in the workforce.

Women used to have the “feminine” roles such as being the primary caregiver of the children and most of the household responsibilities while the men had the “masculine” roles such as the money-maker and the fixer upper.  Many women developed problems when the kids left because they had no life outside their children thus losing a large part of their identity.  Many men would try to recapture their youth when they noticed changes in their virility and masculinity.  Once women entered the labor force, these roles began to blend.  The midlife transition at this time had its own transition.

With binders and binders of women working, responsibilities changed.  Now there are binders and binders of men who have taken an active role in child-rearing, being stay-at-home dads, and helping with household chores such as making dinner :).  Between our own life experiences, personal needs, family needs, and our ever-changing culture, how can we not transform?  This transformation does not have to be a “crisis”, it can be a personal growth; all you need to do is think differently.  In fact, I wonder if those 30 and younger will have a less difficult time with this.  They seem to evaluate their lives more frequently starting at a younger age.  They also take their needs into consideration more freely.  My generation is more apt to stay at the same company for years even if we are not happy, to work extra hours, and to put the job first over family.  I used to think the younger generation just had a poor work ethic; but now, I think the younger generation evaluates their life constantly and makes changes so that they can have their work and life too.  I wonder if the rise in health problems such as autoimmune diseases and cancer have something to do with the fact that those born before 1964 (end of the baby boomer era) rarely assessed their life unless a crisis occurred.   Baby boomers tend to strive to work the hardest, be the best, even when it was harmful to their physical and emotional health, not to mention their personal lives.  It appears the younger generation has learned a lesson from our history.  But, do not fret, here are some suggestions so that our midlife transition will be smooth sailing:

  • Change can be difficult and scary; but, the rewards are endless.  Pick a quiet time and just sit and relax.  Give your subconscious a chance to wake up.  When your mind is open, thoughts/feelings are easier to surface.  You will gain new insights about yourself and what you would like to change.  If you do not have a quiet time…you need to make time for yourself because no one else will do it for you.  I also journal which helps me bring my thoughts out of my subconscious.  The hardest part is you need to be honest with yourself.
  • Everyone has regrets whether it is with relationships, priorities, or careers.  There are things we can change, and things we cannot.  When you reevaluate your life, forgive yourself for the things that you cannot change otherwise it will drive you crazy.
  • Make a plan for the items that you can modify and prioritize them; your bucket list.  Everyone should have a bucket list.  I wish I started mine sooner; but I have one and have checked things off of it.  You can go back to school, reconnect with old friends, work on strained relationships, whatever it is, it is never too late.
  • Find a passion.  I love to cook for my family and friends.  I also like to write.  I started this blog 3 weeks ago and I just had my birthday…I suppose you can say this is my midlife transition new hobby.
  • If you find that you are having a very hard time with this transition and are experiencing symptoms such as weight loss, unusual fatigue, poor sleep, loss of interest in activities you have enjoyed, feelings of helplessness, guilt, irritability, or hopelessness you may be depressed and you should see your health care provider and a psychotherapist.  I am so happy the stigma of seeing a therapist is waning.  Therapists specialize in helping you work through life issues that have become too overwhelming and work with you to develop healthy coping strategies.   This does not make you a failure thinking that you should be able to do this yourself; on the contrary, this makes you a person who wants to live a life that is worthwhile, fulfilling, and with as little angst as possible.

What is your next birthday going to be—woohoo or boohoo?  I know this much, I can sit back and let the world turn while I stay stagnant; or, I can live my life with no would ofs, should ofs,  could ofs.  I know I will have some regrets; but they will not be from not trying to reach my priorities.  I hope to have many more birthdays ahead; time, though, only ticks forward so I will make each one of my ticks count, WOO-HOO!




The other day I was sitting with my girlfriend and she was telling me of a blog she likes to read.  She wanted me to take a look at it because she thought I would find it interesting.  She was giving me some background information on this blogger and said, “You will find her posts on postmortem depression very interesting”.  SAY WHAT?  (picture me with a confused/surprised face).  Postmortem depression?  Wouldn’t it be horribly cruel to not only be dead but still depressed?  What she really meant to say was postpartum depression.  I am still laughing.  This got me thinking. How often through the years have I said “say what”?  Although, I must confess, sometimes I say whatcha talkin bout Willis because that’s the phrase my generation said growing up in the 80’s.  Why am I bringing this up?  Well, I have lots of free time now while I recover from my shoulder surgery so I ponder everything.  Second, I have lots of free time :).

Everyone has heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine”.  I am not sure who coined this expression; but, I am confident it was said before anyone actually studied the effects of laughter on the human body.  The good news is that studies were done and found that laughter helps improve mental and emotional health, decreases stress, increases blood flow, strengthens the immune system,  and decreases pain to name a few.  Best of all, it’s free!  I have used humor with my patients for years and I have seen first hand what a positive effect laughing can have.  I bring this up because life can be hard, but laughing, that is easy.  Humor is everywhere; merely look around and listen to your surroundings.

I wanted to share with you some of the SAY WHAT? comments people have made that have made me laugh.  I find it interesting that when toddlers say something that is completely outlandish we laugh and think it is cute; yet, if an adult says something absurd, we do not always have that same reaction.   Here are a few remarks I have heard said from toddlers up to old age.  No worries, while these are all true stories, none should make you uncomfortable….I hope.  I should also note that if you are wondering when old age begins, I have no clue.  All I know is that as I age, my definition of old becomes older too.

My 2 year old son was with me waiting in line to order food.  This young man was in front of us waiting also.  He must have stood 6 foot 8 inches tall.  My son walks up to him, looks at his feet and slowly looks up to his face and exclaims “Big Bird”!  SAY WHAT?  If this man was a woman over 50, I am sure he would have needed a Depend® undergarment.

I thought it only fair that I should share a story about me.  When I was growing up, my parents liked to eat pork rinds which is funny since we are Jewish. They never called them pork rinds; they called them machdoomas (trying to spell it phonetically).  Now, I just assumed they were called this because who names something with a more difficult word (unless they felt guilty eating them, being Jewish and all, hmmmmm).  Sorry, I digress.  So, one day I was out doing errands with them. They pull into the parking lot of a liquor store (mind you I was around 14) and asked me to go in there and buy some machdoomas.  I walk in and look around to find them, but, honestly, I have no idea where these machdoomas would be. Finally, I give up and ask one of the employees.  “Can you tell me where your machdoomas are”?  He looks completely baffled– I am sure in his head he is thinking SAY WHAT?  He asks me what they are and I tell him that they are crunchy things that look disgusting and come in pieces.  Apparently that was a good enough description because he found them in a package that said “pork rinds”.   I went to the car and handed my Mom the bag and told my parents what happened.  Well, let’s just say my Mom may have needed the Depend® too if she were older.  I can tell you this; I know what pork rinds are now.

This story I am going to share is my favorite.  I hope when I am older and have problems with my memory, I will still remember this.  Oh, and for those offended by the word “cock” (male anatomy definition), please skip this story even though it is hilarious.

I live in a northern suburb of Chicago.  I believe I have no accent but that is probably not true.  When I was in my 20’s, I met a woman who was originally from out west.  She was telling me about this crick and it took me a good 15 minutes to figure out she was saying creek (I kept thinking crick in the neck but when she mentioned water I finally figured it out).  We became good friends and about 10 years ago she was telling me about a gift she was going to make her husband.  He drives to work a far distance and had this special coffee cup that would stay on his dashboard.  This cup broke and she wanted to buy him a new one that would not slip.  Sadly, she could not find one like that so she bought him a new mug and made it non slip.  I asked her how she did that.   She said, “I bought some cock.”  SAY WHAT, I was thinking.  But I have known her long enough to know she meant caulk.  I could not let her off the hook yet.  I asked her, “Where did you go for this?”  She told me she went to the grocery store but could not find it where she thought it would be so she had to ask someone.  That is when I really had fun with her.  I asked her if the person she asked was a man or a woman.  She told me it was a man.  I then asked her if she requested any specific color or possibly the quick hardening one.  Now she was suspicious.  She asked me why I was asking all these questions.  Through my laughter I said, “You are not saying the word caulk, you actually are saying the word cock; therefore, you asked that guy where his cock was”.  Silence ensued and then we both laughed hysterically.

My husband’s grandmothers lived long lives.  One died at 98 while the other one died just shy of 104.  I knew them as long as I knew my own grandparents and always considered them my grandmothers.  One day, the family was out for dinner celebrating my grandmother’s 101st birthday.  She was still sharp, just hard of hearing.  She always asked me health questions.  During dinner she asks me, “Nancy, I was reading the paper and there was an article stating that exercise and taking vitamins are good for you, do you think I should start that?”  SAY WHAT?   I was laughing inside but outside I was calm.  I said, “Whatever you have done seems to be working fine; but, if you want to exercise, I recommend only chair ones”.  This story reminds me of the time I went to visit my 98 year old grandmother in her assisted living place.  On her table was a listing of that day’s activities which included a kick boxing class…SAY WHAT?  I looked at her and asked if she was planning on going, we both laughed.  To be honest, I think the nearest hospital sponsored that class!

I hope I made you laugh today and maybe even reduced some stress.  Remember to keep your eyes open; laughter is just around the corner.

I love this time of year when it comes to food.  Here is a recipe for apple stuffed acorn squash (click on link).  This is a perfect fall recipe and it’s gluten-free too; but not taste free!

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