Help for Anxiety in Major Life Transitions: Shock
Major life transitions are often a very important time for individuals to seek out help with anxiety .
This often includes help with the sense of shock and overwhelm that can surround such events.
What Is Shock?
Psychological shock is not the same thing as physiological shock, but it can have a profound effect.
Shock occurs in highly emotionally laden situations in our lives. Situations where shock comes together with major life transitions can include:
- death of a loved one, or loss of a key relationship;
- a traumatic event, such as accident, or serious crime, large financial loss, or sudden loss or dramatic change of employment;
- sudden discovery of major life changing illness, or learning of the serious mental or physical illness of a loved one;
- spiritual crisis; or,
- suddenly feeling the emotional impact of apparently positive or neutral major life transitions (e.g., moving to a new community or country, finishing a serious program of academic study, empty nest, retirement)
What Happens in Us When We Experience Mental Shock?
Numbing. When people confront the kind of overwhelming emotional impact that can be associated with major life transitions, it can often result in a kind of mental numbing. We may simply find it hard to feel any of the emotional impact the event is causing for us.
Detachment. Akin to numbing, we may find ourselves completely removed from the event, as if it had happened to someone else.
Derealization. Even more, we may react to the overwhelming character of major life transitions by a strong sense that the whole event is just unreal. Events can seem as if they were in a play, or happening to someone else.
Avoidance. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we simply avoid the situation, or avoid contact with others that might bring us to acknowledge what we have been through.
Moving Beyond Shock
It’s essential that I get the help with anxiety that will enable me to move beyond the shock that can be so powerfully associated with major life transitions. Shock is a kind of a liminal state or “between” state where I stay until I am ready to absorb and accept the emotional impact of major life transitions. Ultimately, I need to incorporate these events and to make meaning out of them, as a part of my journey into the mystery of the self. But the immediate need may be to acknowledge that I am in shock, which often reflects the magnitude of the impact of major life transitions.
Next post in the series: Denial.