Making the change into a private counseling practice has me thinking about life transitions.
Whether they’re transitions we welcome or are forced to take part in, periods of change can be an unexpectedly emotional time. I frequently see clients in the midst of a life transition who are confused as to why they cry more frequently or are more irritable with their spouse. It’s not usually because they’re secretly depressed about having a new baby in the house or that they really can’t handle the new position they’ve just begun; simply put, it’s because they’re human.
Think of the amount of stress you can take (before it takes an emotional toll) as an empty glass. Living, loving, and working in a comfortable, familiar environment, means there is relatively little water in the glass, therefore, you feel like your mood is good and relatively predictable.
Now consider the stresses (of all sizes) that occur when you’ve undergone a life transition.
For instance, a new job:
– Trying to navigate the ins and outs of your new job – add a little water to the glass.
– Figuring out how to deal with the interpersonal dynamics of your new office – add some water to the glass.
– Designing and carrying out a new budget with your job’s salary – add even more water.
– Balancing your new work/commute schedule with your spouse and/or kids’ schedules – more water.
You’re now carrying around a significantly higher stress load than before and are likely more emotionally sensitive. Carrying around a glass of water that is nearly full, may only require a small bit of additional stress (e.g., forgetting your credit card at home) to cause it to overflow. That could result in crying, losing your temper, or “breaking down” (sometimes in the parking lot of Publix).
The great news: As you adjust to your new environment, you will likely become more comfortable and the water will slowly drain from your glass. Then the “new” will have become the “normal.”
While other people can’t make the transition for you, talking to a supportive person about the change, can helpful during this process.
I hope you enjoyed my first blog entry. I’m off to the grocery store.
*If a lot of time has passed since a change has taken place and you don’t feel any better or you begin to feel hopeless, that is when you need to contact a mental health professional.*