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Ask Eleanor
Ask Eleanor, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1517
Experience:  Marriage & Family Therapist/Prof. Counselor for 20 years
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Im having a hard time adjusting to a new lifestyle. I have

Customer Question

Im having a hard time adjusting to a new lifestyle. I have been a very independent woman ever since i left my parents house at 18. Did everything for myself and over a year ago, i married my husband who is active duty and we moved to colorado. Military lifestyle has been quite a change for me and also just getting used to living with someone everyday. I also have some family issues that ive been dealing with for years. I have never been this far away from them and its nice at times, but i also feel like im missing out on so much by being in colorado with my husband. Ive been pretty down and depressed lately...not enjoying the things i once did and just not even wanting to leave the house. I feel like my life energy is gone. Help!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Ask Eleanor replied 2 years ago.

Ask Eleanor :

Hello, I am here for you and am sorry to hear you are having such a hard time. What you are experiencing is not uncommon. You are situationally depressed due to having to adjust to such a different lifestyle far away from home. I believe adjusting from an independent civilXXX XXfe to being a military wife is HUGE!! I assume you were not depressed before the move, correct?

Ask Eleanor :

Are you there, dear?

Customer :

yes sorry, got distracted with a phone call

Customer :

No i dont think i was depressed before all the changes in my life. There were things of course i was unhappy with but i was relatively happy. Been a registered massage therapist for 9 years (since right after high school) and had my own business going on...not a ton of money but i was making it and living comfortably and was proud of my accomplishments. Had pretty deep roots back home in texas and have had the same friends since elementary school. Just been really hard having to "make" friends here becuz im from a small town and never really had to "make" friends before and kinda feel my social skills are kinda lacking in that department at times. I feel VERY anxious when i meet new people for some reason.

Customer :

When i say all the changes....i mean: got married in may 2010, moved outta my own apartment, left my business and clients behind not to mention family....moved to colorado in june 2010, and then my husband was deployed a few months after getting settled in....so it kinda seemed like a whirlwind of different emotions and experiences.

Ask Eleanor :

Oh my, that is a lot of change, dear. Is your husband still deployed?

Customer :

no he has been back for a couple months now...thank goodness! :)

Ask Eleanor :

Yes, that is good. How much longer does he have to serve?

Customer :

he is a career guy....he has 10 in...10 more to go!

Ask Eleanor :

I see. Air Force?

Customer :

army

Ask Eleanor :

Have you inquired about support groups for spouses on base?

Customer :

yes, i have taken part in numerous events on base but it just seems everyone kinda looks out for themselves and is in their own little world......didnt feel too comfortable seeking help on base, just didnt really work for me.

Ask Eleanor :

Tell me a bit more about your therapy.

Customer :

about the counselor i was seeing?

Ask Eleanor :

Yes

Customer :

umm, it was just pretty general stuff....i did most of the talking while she more or less just listened. Guess its always good to talk things out verbally but i was seeking more of a answer type thing...not that there is a easy answer to any of this but i was just wanting more guidance i guess

Customer :

I just talked about my feelings and how its been to be in a new place without anyone, including my husband

Ask Eleanor :

I understand. Are you working now, dear?

Customer :

yeah, part time...in my second semester of going back to school for occupational therapy. I work in housekeeping and bartend

Ask Eleanor :

Well excellent that you are in school. Do you miss being a massage therapist?

Customer :

at times, i miss my old clients more. I have been working with most of them for at least 6-8 years, so i had a pretty personal relationship with most of them....they tell you everything and you get to know their families and everything!

Ask Eleanor :

Yes, I know. You know dear, you have really lost your identity in many ways, haven't you?

Customer :

seems like it

Customer :

at times

Ask Eleanor :

Well, yes, certainly. Even though you are happy to be married and have your husband home, you are really grieving the loss of the life you had before. Do you realize this, dear?

Customer :

I think so....but it kinda makes me feel guilty for missing my old lifestyle and independence becuz i am so thankful for such an amazing husband, but yes, i do miss certain things about the old life....

Ask Eleanor :

Just because you are grieving the loss of your former life does not mean that you do not love your husband or want to make a new life with him. But we cannot short circuit our grief, we must allow it to happen. Do you know much about the stages of grief?

Customer :

no i think that is a big problem of mine....dad died 11 years ago when i was 16 and i think ive been kinda hangin on to that as well

Ask Eleanor :

THE STAGES OF GRIEF

Grief is an emotional process we all experience after a significant loss in our lives. Grief may be triggered by the death of a loved one, divorce, job loss, all of our children leaving home (empty nest), or even death of a pet.. No matter what the loss, most of us will experience the following sequential stages of grief, all though these can certainly vary in some people.

STAGE 1: SHOCK

The emotional shock of losing someone or something dear to us is really no different than the state of shock after physical trauma, in both we shut down. Shock protects our bodies/psyches, from what we are not yet ready to feel, a protective “timeout.” Shock is of short duration, measured in hours, days.

STAGE 2: DENIAL

We tell ourselves this can’t be true, can’t be happening, can’t be real, there must be some mistake. Denial, like shock, is usually of short duration.

STAGE 3: BARGAINING

We tell ourselves, God, that if we just do this or that, we won’t have to suffer this horrible loss, feel this pain. Bargaining is usually a relatively short grief stages unless we get stuck there by telling ourselves we can do something to avoid the pain of the next stages of grief.

STAGE 4: ANGER

We may get angry at the Drs. who could not save our loved one, angry at God, angry at ourselves for not doing something that might have prevented this loss, even angry at the one who died for leaving us. We may even displace our anger onto some innocent friend or family member. In anger, we often utter the words, WHY ME? The anger stage is not normally a lengthy process.

STAGE 5: DEPRESSION

We may not be able to sleep, have changes in appetite, not want to engage in activities with others, have no energy, have overwhelming feelings of sadness, cry a lot, and sometime even feel hopeless. Depression is usually the longest and most difficult stage of grief. Ironically, what brings us out of our depression is finally allowing ourselves to experience our very deepest sadness.

STAGE 6: ACCEPTANCE

We come to the place where we accept the loss, make some meaning of it for our lives and are able to move on. If we have lost a loved one, we often transition from a physical relationship to a spiritual one with that person and are able to remember and be thankful for the good times. If there has been a tragic loss, either from some horrible disease or an accident, people often find a way to reach out to others who are experiencing the same type of loss and give help and comfort. In this way we are able to make meaning of the loss for our lives.

Grief that last over a year is considered complicated grief and requires the help of a mental health professional. Therapy and/or a grief support group can help us move through the normal grieving process. It is important to reach out, for if we try to get through our grief alone, we may self-medicate. Unresolved grief is the root of many addictions.

ASK ELEANOR AT JUST ANSWER

Ask Eleanor :

Please read over the above and chat back when you have finished, dear.

Customer :

unresolved grief....root of addictions.....AGREED! Just need help figuring out how to deal. There are times when i feel like i have accepted things from the past but then they come back and i just get overwhelmed with it for a while and cant seem to get it out of my brain. I rely on anxiety meds at times when i feel like there is no other way. Would like to get to a point where i dont have to.

Ask Eleanor :

Benzos?

Customer :

yeah xanax mainly and herbal meds....

Ask Eleanor :

Okay, dear. I believe you need to be in psychotherapy weekly. Do you know if the woman you were seeing is a psychotherapist?

Customer :

no she wasnt, just a family life counselor on post.

Ask Eleanor :

Well, let's find someone for you. Where are you in Colorado?

Customer :

colorado springs

Ask Eleanor :

Okay, give me a few minutes and I will chat back with some recommendations for you.

Customer :

thank you!

Ask Eleanor :

Still searching. Back in a few.

Customer :

must go for a few minutes....will leave chat open tho...

Ask Eleanor :

Okay, I will add a few more while you are away

Ask Eleanor :

I believe any of the therapists above would be a good choice for you .I see you are now offline and I am leaving the site for the evening. If you have no further questions, please remember to click on the green accept button so that I will receive credit for my professional time and response. You may return to this Q&A for reference at any time after you accept. It has been my pleasure to help. I wish you healing, take care, Eleanor

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