Monday, August 2, 2010

Ageing too young?

It's no longer about mid-life crisis, changing lifestyles and ambitions have led today's youngsters to experience something called quarter-life crisis

Sohan Sinha is an engineer and has reached the pinnacle of his career at the young age of 30. But his success isn't making him happy and he suffers from stress, anxiety and sleep-related disorders.

Sohan is a classic case of a person suffering from something called the quarter-life crisis. Mid-life crisis is heard of, but now people aged between 25 and 30 years of age, are increasingly facing this disorder, hence the term quarter-life crisis! Sohan wanted to study fine arts, but due to parental pressure, had to take up engineering and excel in it. But after eight years of working, he finds his job mundane and non-fulfilling.

Vaidehi Atre (25), an IT professional has a heavy pay package, but still isn't happy. "I find my work very monotonous and feel that there is no creativity in what I do. I don't feel 'useful'." She adds that apart from this feeling a recent break-up with her boyfriend has made things worse for her. "I don't get sleep properly and day dream a lot. It is difficult for me to concentrate on my work," she says.

"Disorders such as stress and anxiety are becoming common among the youngsters. Unlike earlier, youngsters now study till the age of around 24, then get a job and get busy with their careers. Therefore, the marriage also comes late in the picture. Then it becomes difficult to adjust to the long working hours and the family," says clinical psychologist, Dr Natasha D'Cruz.

And then are people, who put in long working hours without being attached to what they are doing and looking only for monetary gains. "The cases related to quarter-life crisis have risen over the past couple of years. There is a performance anxiety in youngsters coupled with fear of failure and increasing expectations from the near and dear ones," says psychiatrist Dr Suparna Telang. "Nowadays, when it comes to choosing a career, interest becomes secondary and people generally opt for high paying jobs," she adds. People also spend less time with family which leads in aloofness.

"The lifestyle that youngsters follow also plays a key role in quarter-life crisis. Late-night outings, irregular sleep and faulty diet lead to anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and acidity," says Dr Telang. She says that many couples come to her complaining of a troubled married and sex life. "Couples as young as 26 and 28-years-old, come to me for consultation. Mostly both of them are working and are very tired when they come home and do not enjoy the act. Even during weekends, they have to finish chores and meet family and friends, which again ends them up tired," she says. Erratic routine and lifestyle is a vicious circle, which engulfs the youngsters in it, adds Dr Telang.

Dr D'Cruz narrates a case of a 28-year-old married girl, who had to relocate after her marriage and look for a new job there. "After one and a half years of marriage, she became pregnant and things became very difficult for her. She suffered stress and depression as it was difficult for her to manage the new marital life, new city, job and the baby," she says.

This is also leading a number of youngsters to take solace in spirituality, with the hope that they can take better control of their mind and life. Amrit Sadhana, member, management team, Osho International Meditation Resort says, "Who is happy with their lives? Everybody is searching for something more than what they have." According to her, today's youngsters are mature and intelligent enough as they have to deal with a burden of responsibilities very early in their lives. "If they are stressed, they come here to meditate and forget all their worries."

(Some names have been changed on request)

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