Having four month old twins at home I can honestly say I have been privy to a fast-paced education in “life transitions.” Of course this is not the first life transition that I have experienced and not all of them were happy. But as I am still going through this one it is ever present in my mind.
From a psychological perspective what does a life transition mean? Basically, it refers to a big change in life such as: a new job or losing a job, buying a house, moving, starting a new school and divorce. Those are just a few examples but you get the idea. For some people it feels like a shift in their identity. This is especially true if what you lost something that felt like a part of your identity. A good example of this is when someone retires; initially they might feel lost and unclear about what to do with themselves. They might even feel depressed or anxious. These are very normal experiences of a life transition.
The word transition implies a process and that is very true. It is a continuum between knowing that there is a change, having that change happen and finally accepting and assimilating it into daily life. The first two are generally understood, however acceptance and assimilation are much more subtle and often unexpected. Many people don’t anticipate the emotional issues involved in a life transition.
A life transition is not a diagnosable condition. Rather, it is a description of an event. However, if that transition causes emotional complications like depression or anxiety that are interfering with daily life, an “adjustment disorder” is a likely diagnosis. If you are having a hard time adjusting to a recent change in your life or even a not so recent one, please reach out for help. Often talk therapy goes a long way in resolving symptoms related to a life transition.