Difficult Life Transitions

You’ve had a big change in your life, and the change might feel overwhelming. Even if it might be considered a “good” change.

Maybe it was an unexpected change that caused turmoil, such as the death of a loved one, an unexpected health challenge, sudden unemployment, or the end of a relationship. It’s never easy when these things happen, and it might not be easy to come to terms with the new world you find yourself in after such turmoil.

Or perhaps it was even a change you were looking forward to and planned ahead for. Perhaps it was a move to a different city, a diploma or academic degree, a new job, children, a marriage, retirement, or something else that seemed positive. It may have been something that you’d planned carefully for, or looked forward to.

The surprising thing is that even changes perceived as positive and exciting can be unexpectedly difficult. Even the most fortunate situations can be unfamiliar territory. You might still feel lost, like a fish out of water. You might have less of a sense of who you are now than before. You might feel less confident in yourself than you did before, and old problems you thought you’d resolved might resurface.

Sometimes the challenges associated with this transition might be clear, such as grief, getting used to life without a loved one, or finding a new job. Sometimes it might be trying to find financial stability, stability in your home, new friends, or other comforts you had been used to before the change. People in your life might be offering sympathy, but might not really understand what you’re going through or be there when you need them.

Other times, you might not be able to clearly explain what is happening, or why this particular transition might be more difficult than a similar one you’d previously experienced. Perhaps people in your life might not understand why you’re unhappy, and you’re not quite sure why either. Perhaps you feel you might have regressed a bit. Sometimes old issues you thought you had resolved resurface for no apparent reason. You might feel less confident in yourself than you did before.

There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s not unusual for life transitions to throw you off your game, even if these are transitions you consider to be positive and that you prepared well for. Life transitions may take you away from routines, friends, places and habits you were familiar with. Even if your transition involves a new job, a new home, or some other change, it’s okay if you don’t feel quite like yourself right now. You might feel less confident in yourself than you did before. Maybe there is something in your old life whose absence hit you harder than you’d realized. It might be something you might need to grieve.

As a therapist, I have been through many such transitions myself, and know that there are common patterns that people will encounter when making even “good” changes. I can walk with you through your feelings, and help you understand where they may have come from. I can help you come to a new understanding of yourself and feel at home in your own skin once again.