One thing that can always be certain in life (besides death that is), is that we will encounter many transitions. These can be developmental, social, societal, living circumstances, jobs, losses, wins, health, and on and on. There is absolutely no way to avoid going through the transitions. Of course, some are positive and make us feel good. Others are neutral, it just is what it is (that’s how I look back on puberty but probably not how I felt at the time!). And yet others are, of course, negative and make us feel crappy. So how do we deal with all these transitions? Especially the bad ones? There’s no perfect answer, and everyone is unique and individual, but here’s my take on it.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I am very drawn to existentialism. In fact, when I become a psychotherapist (almost done my masters!) I plan on practicing from an existential-humanistic-maybe-some-positive-psychology-thrown-in perspective. Why do I like existentialism?
1. we, as humans, have choice and free will
2. it’s normal to have some anxiety
3. we need to make our own life meanings
4. the only guarantee is nonbeing (death) – okay this one’s a bit grim but it’s also true
What does this have to do with transitions? Well, let me take you through some of the transitions I’ve been through in the last month (there have actually been too many for my tastes but sometimes that happens), and how I dealt with them.
1. My 11 year old dog, Spike, my little baby, had to be put down. I cried, a lot, for three days. The I decided to give some meaning to this and wrote a children’s book. My friend is currently illustrating it and we plan to self-publish. And the book, it goes with the theme of health issues and will be helpful for children with chronic health problems.
2. My old roommate (whom I adore) moved out and my new roommate moved in. This started off great, with us hanging out and going out for dinner. Then this less than happy situation occurred and to be honest, she may not be my roommate much longer… which would then be another transition. However, my choice was to do some investigating into the issue, talk to the appropriate people, and manage my anxiety through meditation.
3. Yesterday I left my job at the retail company I worked at for 7 years (I had taken a year off before that, and worked for the company for 6 years before that). made the choice to leave, and now I am making the choice to focus on school and my side projects (writing, podcasting, maybe making some cool merch).
4. I have an interview for a practicum placement this coming Saturday. This is like a pre-transition stage because if I get the placement (which I really hope I do) then I will be starting a new chapter of my studies and career come January, with just a few months to prepare for it. Again, my anxiety will be managed through preparation and meditation.
I tend to be someone who is proactive. If I see a problem I try to fix it or resolve it, and then just manage my anxiety around it. Since death is the only given in life, then I choose to try to make my life as awesome as possible (thus the title of my podcast, Chronically Living and how to make the most of it). The title of this blog is Jane Versus Pain, and pain can come in many forms. Physical (like my undifferentiated connective tissue disease, fibromyalgia, and labral hip tear), or emotional (grief, anxiety, sadness, etc.). Managing life’s anxieties and working through those transitions that we will inevitably face is something we best learn to do.
Have a good week, and stay safe.