I recently sent my first child off to college and my second will not be far behind. With the reality of becoming empty nesters looming, my husband and I have discussed moving from our home we have raised our children in for the past seventeen years. This has prompted me to begin the process of cleaning and purging clutter that has accumulated in our house over the past two decades. I am a sentimental person and have a hard time parting with items that feel special to me, but as I began emptying out closets and boxes I began to realize that I might actually be a bit of a hoarder! Books and papers from grad school, cards from my wedding [both of which took place over 20 years ago!], finally found their way to the dumpster. I carefully weighed the value of each item I came across as I asked myself… “do I really need to keep this”?? As I opened each box I felt like I was reliving a chapter in my life, it was like the story of my life was unfolding in front of me. I found items from first jobs, graduate school, mementos from dating my husband and our engagement, notes from planning my wedding, information from buying our first house, keepsakes from having my first then second child, reminders of my life as a stay at home mom, papers pertaining to reactivating my license once I made the decision to return to work years later, the list could go on and on.
I went through each box and cabinet revisiting the different phases of my life, carefully choosing the items that felt important enough to follow me to the next phase. I could not pitch everything. I did not throw away all of the priceless papers, mementos, or wrinkled drawings that my now grown children brought home from their early days of school. The numerous letters and stories from my children when they were young declaring how much they loved me, definite keepers! As anyone with teenagers knows, it is highly unlikely you will hear much of these sentiments as they enter middle and high school! I came across letters from my husband when we were dating, gentle reminders of the past and what brought us together so many years ago, things that are sometimes hard to recall when dealing with the struggles and changes that come with a marriage or long-term relationship. And I can’t forget the box of completely unnecessary random “stuff” from my own childhood, old stuffed animals, old clothes, pictures and keepsakes.
Life presents us with many twists and turns, and even some of the most joyous moments paradoxically come with stress, anxiety, sadness and grief. As I experience and adjust to a new major life change, I can’t help but reflect on my journey and the previous major transitions in my life, the joys, the struggles, and how I have experienced and gotten through each one. I look back on my relationship with my husband, who I have now been married to for over 20 years, and reflect on the ups and downs we have had, the good times, the bad, and the struggles we have experienced and overcome as we have lived through many life stages and changes together. It’s a joyous time to be celebrated when two people get married, but very few people tell you how hard this relationship is going to be, and how much work is involved on an ongoing basis to sustain the relationship and the changes you will go through.
Becoming a mom was without a doubt one of the happiest moments of my life, but along with this also came some of the biggest changes and challenges I have experienced. Deciding to become a stay at home mom, and not only reinventing my day to day life but reinventing myself in the process, was no easy task. Many people who have not experienced this role may assume the life of a stay at home mom is a life of leisure. While I loved being available to spend my time with my young children and am thankful I had the choice to do so, I will tell you it is definitely not a leisurely life! It is a role that also comes with learning to navigate many challenging dynamics of its own.
Flash forward years down the road I found myself contemplating how to get back into the workforce. Having not worked in my field in 10 years the thought of putting myself out there was scary, overwhelming and very anxiety provoking. But put myself out there I did, and while going back to work and setting the goal to get my LCSW seemed almost impossible, here I proudly sit today as an LCSW in private practice, exactly where I had hoped I could get to so many years ago.
And now, I begin to face and deal with one of the most difficult things I have had to do in a very long time, sending my children out into the world on their own. This is not only a huge change in my day to day life, but also a major identity shift for me as my role in their lives changes drastically. Once again, I find myself facing this new challenge with mixed emotions, while there is a lot of sadness over this shift in my life, there is also a sense of curiosity and interest to see what the future holds for me and what is yet to unfold.
I find great joy in working with people trying to find new avenues in life, people who may be struggling with a major life change and identity shift, and enjoy helping them create their vision for the future. If you are facing a major change in your life it can help to have an objective ear and some added support to get through the challenges that come with these transitions. My personal and professional experience provide me with a great deal of knowledge when dealing with some of life’s major transitions. If you are struggling in your relationship, are getting married or adjusting to being newly married, ending a long-term relationship, contemplating divorce or going through a divorce, starting a family, becoming a stay at home mom or returning to work after years of staying home with your kids, contemplating a career change, sending a child off to school or becoming an empty nester, give me a call or send me an email. I would love to help you navigate this challenging yet exciting time of your life that is filled with many possibilities. call: 706-425-8900 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ever thought to yourself “I have the winter blues”? The combination of shorter days plus colder temperatures means that many of us are exposed to less sunlight during the winter months and it is believed that this could be one of the things that can contribute to some people experiencing seasonal affective disorder.
What is seasonal affective disorder?
It is a type of depression that is strongly associated with specific times of the year, most commonly autumn or winter. The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are similar to major depressive disorder with the exception that they usually abate when the seasons begin to change. These include feelings of hopelessness and/or sadness, reduced energy level, weight gain, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and more.
How do I treat seasonal affective disorder?
There are various things that you can try if you’re experiencing the “winter blues”. Some possible things that you might do for self-care include getting more physical activity. Exercise is one of the best “natural remedies” for depression of all kinds. Increasing your sun exposure may also help. Keep in mind that any change in medication or physical activity should be done under advisement of a medical professional. Of course, you can also make an appointment to a see a therapist. This may be something short-term just for the season and that’s okay. Here’s a link with more information about seasonal affective disorder.
If you believe you have a case of the “winter blues” and would like to talk to someone about it please give me a call to set up an initial appointment today. I can be reached by phone at (706) 534 – 8558 or by e-mail at Aaron@ca4wellbeing.com
It’s that time of year again. The stores are packed with parents and students shopping for all the necessary college accoutrements. Some are back again, having already been through this process a time or two. Others are wide eyed with anticipation and trepidation. College is a time of growth and joy for many students but for others it can be incredibly stressful and can trigger new psychological problems or exacerbate already existing issues. It is not uncommon for students to experience overwhelming anxiety and/or depression. I recently spoke with someone who talked about coming to UGA for the first time as a student and during the first day of their first class they realized that there were more people in that one class than had been in their entire high school graduating class. That can be pretty daunting, and rightfully so. Even at smaller schools the issues of trying to learn to live out from under parents’ roofs, navigating a new social scene, and feeling exposed to larger issues of life can seem overwhelming.
Students aren’t the only ones who experience stress, anxiety, and depression during this time of year. Parents also experience these same issues. This can affect parents individually but also impact their marriage or other relationships. Some parents want to “let go” but can’t seem to quite figure out how. Other parents have managed to let go at the cost of considerable worry and anxiety.
Whether you’re a first-time student, a returning student, or a parent the beginning of the college school year can be difficult. Here is some helpful information about college adjustment. Read more about one students experience when first going away to college here.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety or depression, or just want to act preventatively to avoid these pitfalls, give me a call today and set up an appointment to talk about these issues.
Phone: 706 –425-8900 ext 712
E-mail: Aaron @ca4wellbeing.com