Life transitions can be full of conflict. Talking with a therapist can help you process life transitions and the feelings associated.
Imagine that each of us have a balloon in our chest. Each time we feel an intense emotion (anger, sadness, frustration, fear, etc.), the balloon inflates a little more. If we speak with someone about our feelings, some of the air in the balloon escapes.
Buying a house, getting a promotion, having a baby, getting married, and graduating are all cause for celebration. However, these experiences can also cause intense emotion and stress. Change, whether positive or negative, is hard. Often, when faced with change, we feel tense, worried, sad, and even empty. Confiding in others about these challenges can be hard because of the fear that we will be perceived as ungrateful. Over time, bottling up these feelings can take a toll on our mental (and sometimes physical) health.
Falling into the trap of “all-or-nothing” thinking can make it difficult to fully express ourselves to those closest to us. Change leads to complex feelings. We aren’t typically simply happy or sad. We are often both.
It is entirely possible for two things, seemingly in opposition to each other, to be true at the same time. We can be ecstatic to have purchased a new house, and sad to be leaving our old home behind. We can celebrate the birth of a new child and grieve the loss of our free time. We can be eager to start a new job and feel nervous about whether we will be successful in our new role. This is also true of “negative” experiences. We can be disappointed that we lost a job and feel a sense of relief. We can be sad to have to attend a funeral and enjoy the fact that it enables us to reconnect with family members and friends.
How therapy can help
In addition to discussing skills, therapists frequently help clients learn how to calm their emotions by labeling their feelings and sharing their experiences. Adults often recognize the value of teaching children about feelings and providing them with a safe space to process their emotions, but are reluctant to express their own emotions. It is just as important to explore and process our experiences as adults. Labeling our emotions can help us move through them. One of the simplest ways therapists can help is by providing clients with a forum to share their complex feelings and validating their concerns.
The discomfort caused by intense feelings might linger, but it is manageable. If we ignore our feelings, the balloon in our chest inflates, and we may experience a gradual shift towards increased irritability, crying spells, excessive worry, or other mental health symptoms. Additionally, we may experience headaches, muscle aches, stomach trouble, or other physical symptoms.
Without an outlet for our emotions, our balloons will eventually burst. When this happens, we become overwhelmed by our emotions. This can cause outburst of emotion or it can cause feelings of numbness or detachment. Speaking with a therapist about our feelings relieves the pressure caused by denying our feelings and prevents our balloons from bursting.
Contact us so you don’t burst your balloon.
Perspectives Therapy Services is a multi-site mental and relationship health practice with clinic locations in Brighton, Lansing, Highland and Fenton, Michigan. Our clinical teams include experienced, compassionate and creative therapists with backgrounds in psychology, marriage and family therapy, professional counseling, and social work. Additionally, we offer psychiatric care in the form of evaluations and medication management. Our practice prides itself on providing extraordinary care. We offer a customized matching process to prospective clients whereby an intake specialist carefully assesses which of our providers would be the very best fit for the incoming client. We treat a wide range of concerns that impact a person's mental health including depression, anxiety, relationship problems, grief, low self-worth, life transitions, and childhood and adolescent difficulties.