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Life Transitions: Toward the Light at the End of the Tunnel

Life Transitions: Toward the Light at the End of the Tunnel


Life Transitions: Toward the Light at the End of the Tunnel


Leaving high school and entering college, ending your single life and marrying the man/woman of your dreams, having a child, moving on after a traumatic experience or a painful loss—ready or not, changes will happen in your life.

There are many transitions in each person’s life. When these happen, you cut ties with what was familiar, which can make you feel awkward, alone, and sad as you settle into your new life. There are changes that happen as you reach the end of a milestone; there are changes that you make by choice; there are changes that bring opportunities; and there are changes that are thrown your way, even when you don’t want it.

Transitions can be daunting even if they are positive. They can present you with new challenges and issues as well as opportunities. Sailing across this gray zone will never be easy. Having someone to guide you through, like a counselor, can be providential for surviving a major transition.


Understanding Transition or Major Life Change

Living life means moving from one milestone to the next. It also means experiencing new challenges, meeting people, and leaving others. In each transition, some adjustments need to be made.

According to Theravive, “A major life transition literally closes one chapter of our life, and starts a new one, putting us in a new place and direction that we have not walked before. It is often a very difficult adjustment as we endure intense feelings of fear, doubt, and uncertainty.”

Humans, like any biological entity, have the intrinsic ability to adjust to changes. However, major transitions mean letting go of a life that you are accustomed to and embracing a new one. This can make you feel uncomfortable. Your ability to adjust can be impaired when the transition is intensely or deeply challenging, destabilizing your thoughts and emotions.

When this happens, the change can be extremely overwhelming and can come with resistance. This makes major life transitions inherently difficult.


Accepting That Major Transitions in Life Are Difficult

You may not be aware of it, but you could be resisting a life transition. Resisting change can make adjusting doubly difficult for you. Changes are inevitable, and you will have difficulty navigating through life if you resist them. However, when you know that going down a new path is daunting, you can make it easier for yourself by getting support.

Making the adjustment without help can be tough. You may find yourself calling friends from your old school or neighborhood, or calling your children who are now living on their own. Family and friends can serve as a support system, but they have their own challenges to endure and resolve.

Seeing a counselor is most important when you find yourself having so much trouble adjusting that it affects your everyday life.


Adjustment Disorder: Complicating Your Life Transition

As if the emotional difficulties during a life transition aren’t enough, adjustment disorder can further complicate your challenge. This is a possibility when the circumstances overwhelm your natural ability to adjust.

Good Therapy explains this using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as a reference: “Symptoms of this condition tend to begin within three months of the stress or change and often include a depressed or anxious mood, changes in daily habits, feelings of overwhelming stress and panic, difficulty enjoying activities, and changes in sleeping or eating.”

If your ability to adapt has been impaired by an overwhelming change, you may engage in risky, reckless behavior or show other symptoms of this disorder.

Crying incessantly after the death of a loved one to the extent that you abandon life, quit work, or break off relationships with the rest of the family is a sign that the change has been complicated by adjustment disorder. You need help.


Therapy for Life Transitions

When a life transition turns out to be bigger than you can handle, becoming overwhelmed is a real possibility. When this kind of adjustment is beyond your skill level, work through your life change with a counselor or therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services — Pittsboro, NC.

There is no specific therapy approach designed for people navigating life transitions. You may benefit from talk therapy or a combination of other well-suited methodologies or strategies to help you better adjust to the dramatic changes in your life. If you call CCS, one of our contracted therapists can help you accept the change and move on, instead of resisting it.

Talking to a CCS–Pittsboro therapist can be liberating, whether it’s about a painful divorce, a life-changing ailment, an accident leading to a disability, or a promotion or new job. Counseling can open up new ways to adjust in a safe and caring setting. Call now to schedule your appt.


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Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Chatham, Alamance, Durham, Harnett, Lee, Moore, Orange, Randolph, Wake, NC
Areas: Pittsboro NC, Gulf NC, Hickory Mountain NC, Hadley NC, Siler City NC, Wilsonville NC, Fearrington NC, Mandale NC, Bear Creek NC, Albright NC
Zip Codes: 27312, 27344, 27207, 27228, 27256, 27559


Gail Gustafson, MSW, LCSW

Specializes in: (Ages 9+) Adolescents and Adults, Individuals, Couples and Families. PTSD/Trauma, EMDR, Adoption, Drug/Alcohol/Substance Abuse addiction, Anxiety, Depression, Bi-polar, Life Transitions, Grief and Loss, Parenting, Family, couples and marriage counseling.
 Insurance: BCBS, Tricare/ Tricare Prime Tricare Select/Extra/Retired, Medicare and Cash (Credit Cards Accepted, HSA and FSA )
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