"Change can be hard, but it can also help you realize how strong you really are." - allison kidd
Just 6 weeks ago, I made a major change in my life. I transitioned from working at Marillac full-time to being solely at Resolve, my new home. Although I think of this as making a huge leap, it was really a gradual transition for me. I wandered out of my comfort zone of working a regular schedule, around colleagues I felt at ease with, in an environment that I had known for the past 6 years (plus 1 additional year as an intern). I made this choice, weighed the pros and cons, created expectations, and thought I knew what this would look like. However, adjusting to change can be hard. Resolve allows me to have the flexibility I had craved, the creativity I needed, and the outlet to grow professionally and personally. But, just because I made this positive choice, doesn’t mean the adjustment to it has been easy. In the past 6 weeks, I’ve needed to create my own schedule and routine, have worked on self-discipline, spent time learning as a clinician again, and definitely gone out of my comfort zone to spend more time in the community.
Adjusting to change can be hard.
Sometimes we make a personal choice for change, sometimes it happens unexpectedly or out of our control. When we are able to plan for change, the expectations we make of the outcome aren’t always realistic. We like to “hope for the best” in terms of how we manage it, but it doesn’t always play out the way we would like it to. For those times where change happens to us, we can often feel confused and powerless with how to process it.
We’ve all experienced some form of these stressful times in our lives. This ranges from the ending of relationship or marriage, losing or changing jobs, getting married, having a baby, retiring, having an accident, death of a loved one, developing a serious illness, being a victim of a crime, living through a disaster (fire, flood, hurricane), etc.
When change happens, people often feel lost and overwhelmed. They might go through the Stages of Grief (Denial, Anger, Depression, Bargaining, Acceptance) or process it in their own way. However, when they are unable to maintain stabilization through this course, they might experience what is known as Adjustment Disorder.
According to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic Statistical Manual), Adjustment Disorder is defined as the presence of emotional or behavioral symptoms in response to an identifiable stressor(s) occurring within 3 months of the onset of the stressor(s).
Symptoms of Adjustment Disorder
The most common symptoms include:
That’s not to say that everyone who struggles with adjusting to change would be diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder, but I’m sure we can all relate on some level. If symptoms are beyond the normal part of bereavement or grief that is to be expected, that is when seeking some assistance would be beneficial. A therapist can help to understand how the stressor affected their life, support in reducing the intensity of symptoms, and develop better coping skills to manage.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with adjusting to a recent stress, please reach out. Resolve clinicians are here to help you get through this difficult time. Change can be hard, but it can also help you to recognize how strong you really are.
Allison Kidd, LSCSW, LMAC