Scripps Ranch and Bankers Hill Therapist Sara Cole.
Life is full of change. Some changes we desire and choose, others are unwanted, overwhelming or even devastating. Having a new baby, getting married or starting a new job are all major life changes that are usually seen as positive. he truth is that even happy and exciting changes in life can be overwhelming, can throw us off balance or result in questioning who we are. Events like the death of a loved one, divorce or the end of a relationship, serious illness or the loss of a job are not changes that we hope for in life and can be extremely difficult to cope with.
Our responses to changes are as unique as we are and can depend on so many factors. Responses to life changes can be joy or relief or they can be depression, anxiety, confusion, anger, fear, feeling overwhelmed or the feeling of being in crisis. Even the natural process of aging can be difficult for some people to cope with. This is especially the case for people entering midlife. Questions of self worth, identity and the reality of our own mortality begin to come up.
When life changes or life transitions happen it is important to be gentle with ourselves and allow time to adjust. Sometimes the changes can be so abrupt, devastating or disruptive that we may need to seek out support or treatment. Leaving serious reactions to change unaddressed can be dangerous, as they may not resolve without some sort of treatment. An example of this is if someone has the symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) they have experienced a traumatic event such as natural disaster, life threatening event or witnessing something scary or disturbing. Symptoms can include anxiety, anger, depression, isolation, even suicidality, drug or alcohol abuse, nightmares, insomnia and more. PTSD does not resolve on its own but can be successfully treated with therapy.
Getting a divorce or ending a relationship can be extremely difficult and is another example of change in life that can be so hard to cope with in the absence of support. Graduating from college is a transition for some people that can be overwhelming and confusing. Questions start like "what is my purpose" or "what do I do know" or " who am now that I am an adult" start to bubble up as young adults move away from friends and the safety bubble of college life and are expected to get jobs and live independently.
No matter the type of change, if you are feeling lost or overwhelmed by it, getting support is an important step toward feeling better. Finding a therapist that you easily connect with will allow you to find peace and energy and to feel proud of who you are.
Call it whatever you want, but if you have the symptoms, please get help. Things can get better.
Life does not have to feel like a painful struggle everyday. We are meant to experience a range of emotions in life, including sadness, anger, fear, joy, and so much more.
Do you ever look around and say "wow my life is pretty good" "why don't I act like it" or "I should be happy"? In other words, does it seem like your emotions or mood don't match with your environment or situation in life? That might be depression.
Do you ever find yourself crying and realize you are not exactly sure why it is that you are so sad?
Do you have a list of things to do, but cant seem to get motivated to do any of it?
Or, does anything extra feel like just too much to handle?
That might be depression.
Are you easily frustrated by things that wouldn't usually bother you? Do social activities sound more like work than fun? Have you ever felt like self care activities are sort of pointless?
That might be depression.
Depression and too much stress can often look alot alike in terms of how they affect a person. They often also happen together.
Do you feel hopeless that things can get better? Do you feel like no one would care if you were gone? Do you use drugs or alcohol to feel better or feel numb?
If you answered yes to these questions, stop what you are doing and get yourself some help. Suffering alone has not worked for you and its time to try something new. See a therapist, talk to your doctor, call a help line, talk to a friend or family member. Do something though. Don't do what you have been doing because doing nothing will not change things for the better.
A 7 days a week 24 hour a day, support line is theSan Diego Access and Crisis Line. It is staffed by therapists and interns who are trained to help. They can talk with you, listen and also help to find resources you may need. The number is (888) 724-7240.
Sara Cole has been providing mental health services in San Diego for 15 years. Sara specializes in working with women and teen girls to overcome trauma and major life changes, including postpartum depression and anxiety. She is also passionate about providing treatment to those whose lives are affected by the addiction of a loved one.