How to deal with big changes in your life
Updated: Apr 9
To some change is anethma. Others can’t tolerate a predictable, consistent life. But for most of us, change that is thrust upon us, change that is outside our desire or control feels stressful. And the more of it, the higher the stress level.
What drove me to therapy in my 30’s was a move to another state, quitting my job and having a baby. As my therapist said in my first session, almost to himself, was “lots of change, poorly managed” as an explanation for my state of distress. Adjustment Disorder, the official name for psychological difficulties that result from significant change, was the diagnosis he gave me.
“There’s a name for that?” I thought incredulously. It had never occurred to me that I could break from too much stress, let alone simple “change”. In my family of origin you pulled yourself up with your bootstraps no matter what. We were people with a strong constitution; you don’t complain and for sure you don’t show weakness in the form of anxiety or depression (which often accompany Adjustment Disorder). But broken I was. And for the first time in my life, had reached out for help.
For me therapy was a lifesaver at that time. An objective expert who could put what was happening in my life in perspective and support me when I was unable to reach out to anyone else. That relationship, and the empathy and understanding he afforded me were the right combination of medicine for me at that time in my life. It’s what motivated me to enter the profession, and for that, I will forever be grateful for my “lots of change, poorly managed” period of transition.