We can surely think that all human beings will struggle with their identity at some point. Even the people who appear to know who they are have had to face a couple of life transitions like an identity crisis.
As people and social beings, we’ve learned how to determine ourselves differently. We do this partially to provide others a faster way – a way to place and comprehend us. However, we also do it to attempt to make sense of ourselves.
Some individuals connect their identifications to their job and occupation, while others tie their identities to their families, relationships, or parent. And other people link their identities to their enthusiasms, hobbies, and fantasies.
Yet life doesn’t often play well with the best-laid plans. So when life tosses you for a loop, it can place your identity on the line. With an identity crisis, it’s natural to wrestle with it. It can be rattling and upsetting. Yet it can also bring a completely new and fantastic phase to your life.
In this article, you’ll discover what specifies an ID. You’ll also find out the signs of an ID and how to deal with an identity crisis.
What is an Identity Crisis?
Initially, let’s try to understand what an identity crisis indicates.
An ID is specified as a period of unpredictability or confusion in an individual’s life. This situation happens when an individual’s sense of identification comes to be troubled and unpredictable.
An ID usually happens when there’s a change in an individual’s life. However, an identity crisis can happen at any time.
What is Identification?
Identity is a challenging principle because, at its core, it’s pretty subjective. As an added complexity, we frequently define it ourselves (though external aspects have influence).
According to Psychology Today, our identities offer memories, experiences, partnerships, and values. These elements all assist in producing our identifications and also our sense of self.
Psychotherapist Erik Erikson researched identification and the idea of the identity crisis. In Erikson’s concept, he found there are developing stages of identification. The vision outlines eight steps, with each phase catching a particular virtue.
Stages of Psychosocial Growth
- Basic trust vs. mistrust
- Initiative vs. guilt
- Autonomy vs. shame & doubt
- Identity vs. role confusion
- Industry vs. inferiority
- Generativity vs. stagnation
- Intimacy vs. isolation
- Ego stability vs. despair
Why is Identity Crucial?
As humans, identity offers a couple of purposes that aid us live and be well. Having a feeling of identification provides itself with a sense of belonging. If we understand how we specify ourselves, it’s simpler to find areas and places where we feel like we belong.
Identity can also be a method to structure some parts of our lives and selections to make them extra workable. Suppose I consider myself an enthusiastic accounting professional. In that case, it is more obvious to select an occupation with a substantial expert solutions company and organize my time to pass the certified public accountant exam.
If my identity is being an extrovert, I make travel plans and purchase equipment that lines up with backpacking and a journey. I can do this because it enhances my identity. Yet it is vital to recognize this can be handy but additionally limiting.
Identity is essential for social connections and general wellness. Identity can frequently be connected to communities, like religious beliefs, political or social values, shared language, cultural experiences, etc.
With solid neighborhoods, you’re better positioned to construct solid social links. And as a result, solid relationships can assist enhance your mental fitness, resiliency, and physical health.
7 Signs and Symptoms of Identity Crisis
In some cases, we do not know we’re going through an identity crisis until we’re currently in the middle of it.
So when it comes to detecting the symptoms, it is necessary to check in on your own. These seven signs could be an indication that you’re experiencing an identity crisis:
- Low self-worth
- Questioning your value or worth
- Feeling lost or aimless
- Not feeling a feeling objective or comprehending your values
- Emotionally spread (or difficulty regulating your emotions)
- Raised feelings of instability
- Increased sensations of anxiousness or anxiety
How an Identity Crisis can Lead to Anxiety
It should not be shocking that an identity crisis can lead to clinical depression, mainly if you’re living with anxiety currently.
Studies have found that identities are more prevalent in people living with depression. Negative self-reflection is generally a consistent sign of depression. When your concept of yourself (including how you define yourself) suffers, your mental health will likely suffer.
If you are fighting an identity crisis, find these symptoms. Talk to a mental health professional about what you’re experiencing.
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Loss of interest in things once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Difficulty concentrating
- Low energy levels and low motivation
- Difficulty in sleeping
Top Causes of an Identity Crisis
No cause can be called the identity crisis trigger because we all feel about ourselves differently, and different events can trigger an identity crisis.
Here are the top causes of an identity crisis:
- A new long-term relationship or Marriage
- Losing a loved one (parent, child, spouse, sibling, family member, loved one, friend)
- A divorce or separation
- Losing a job
- Getting a new job
- A traumatic event (like an accident)
- Mental health issues
- Physical health issues (chronic illnesses, a primary diagnosis, and more).
- Being a parent
How to Deal with an Identity Crisis?
If you are facing an identity crisis, you are never alone. There are ways to cope with what you’re experiencing – and communities that can help provide support. Here are ways to cope with an identity crisis:
1- Ground yourself in your values
You might need to revisit your core values. Or, perhaps you’re ready to recreate or redefine what values are important to you. No matter what stage you’re in, ask yourself: what’s most important in life right now? What values do you care about? What values do you want to care about?
2- Be aware of your emotions
And permit yourself to feel those emotions. An identity crisis is rattling your mental health and mental fitness. It can feel scary, intimidating, and numbing all at once.
But if you let yourself experience the emotions you’re feeling; it’s better than bottling them up. Get in touch with how you think. You could also try journaling or writing down your feelings to help the process.
3- Create a mental fitness plan
If you find yourself in your identity crisis, it’s time to ground yourself in your mental fitness practice. Are you making space for Inner Work? Are you spending life in a way that brings you joy? Do you care for your mental health? In what ways are you prioritizing yourself?
4- Enlist the help of a coach
A coach is your guide to navigating what life will throw at you. If you’re experiencing an identity crisis, seek the use of a coach. They will help you in your identity crisis and create a roadmap for the path forward.
5- Stay Optimistic
Try to stay optimistic about what the future holds. It might just be that an identity crisis will be one of the best things that can happen to you.
You’ve lost your job as a lawyer, but you’ve always wanted to write a book? Follow your dreams. Are you going through a challenging divorce or breakup? Someone else might come along when you least expect it. Your career takes a turn, and your entire job seems to have turned upside down? Maybe that’s the push in the direction your career needs to go.
Stay positive. You never know what the future holds. While life happens, you can dial into your locus of control. Hard things are hard for a reason. We typically learn a lot from the hardest experiences.
Seeking Treatment for an Identity Crisis
It’s important to know when you need professional help. For example, my husband and I sought professional help after experiencing a traumatic accident. It was critical for our mental health, especially amid an identity crisis.
If you’re seeking treatment, there are options out there. Always keep these things in your mind!
1- Talk therapy
Talk therapy can help when experiencing an identity crisis. I’ve been in treatment for nearly 16 years – and I don’t think I could go without it.
Talk therapy gives you the space to talk vulnerably and openly with an unbiased third party. You can talk about your challenges, identify your strengths, and build confidence. It can help re-center and re-ground you in who you are, regardless of the identity you might be fighting with.
2- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Sometimes, more evidence-based therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy are needed. With CBT, you can work with a trained therapist to help identify and change thought patterns. If you feel an influx of negative automatic thoughts, talk to your doctor or therapist. It might be worth exploring cognitive behavioral therapy.
3- Support Groups
Lastly, there’s power in numbers – literally. Support groups can offer you a sense of community for those who might be experiencing something similar. These organizations host a variety of types of support groups that can help you weather an identity crisis. For example, if you’ve recently had a traumatic loss of a loved one, seek out grief support groups.
Start Finding your True Self
Identity issues aren’t uncommon. And sometimes, it feels like that existential crisis is looming. We might feel the signs of an identity crisis after a significant life event or traumatic experience. Some might get it off as a midlife crisis, and young people or adults might dismiss it as a growing life pain.
But the reality is identity crises have a massive impact on our mental health and wellbeing. And at one point, we might all ask ourselves, “Who am I?”.
Tap into your self-awareness. What about your personality development has changed? What about your identity development has changed? And in what ways can you use this crisis as an opportunity for growth and development?
A coach can guide you through your emotions, thoughts, and feelings. And with some support, you can find a stable footing at the core of who you are.