Identity crises can call into question core aspects of our humanity, such as gender, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs. The effects are different for everyone and may include depression or anxiety. Counseling can be helpful to rule out mental illness and to explore your identity in a confidential space.
Signs of an Identity Crisis
Feelings of aimlessness or emptiness
Preoccupation with identity-related questions
Emotional distress or irritability
Lack of motivation and/or decrease in daily functioning
Social withdrawal or possible relationship conflict
Coping Tips for Identity Development
Assess. Ask the big questions! Take inventory of your ideas on life, gender, spirituality, politics, values, relationships, and more. Identify areas that may be unclear or ill-defined for you.
Explore. Engaging in a process of exploration in your area of confusion will either reaffirm long-held practices from your childhood or introduce you to new facets of your developing identity.
Consult. Let someone in on your thoughts. Confide in a close friend, family member, or a counselor to help refine your ideas.
Commit. When something feels right, own it! Bring your values into everyday practice.
Adjust. Recognize that while some parts of our identity may be constant, others are contextual and may change over time. Changes in our social, cultural, vocational, and familial lives will result in personal changes. Revisit this process in the future as needed.