I’m a 32-year-old guy from Australia. Your segment on TMS has been one of my favourites and has opened my eyes to a lot of stuff.
Now for my question. I am currently going through a lot of changes: 1) My wife and I just had our second child. So we have all the changes that have come from this. (Lack of “us” time, lack of sleep, and so on.) 2. All my close friends have moved away recently. I don’t have anyone close by to spend time with anymore. I have been online a lot more due to this fact.
3. I have been pretty overweight for a while now. I have changed my life to try and fix this. While I have noticed good things in terms of my mental health it still feels like a big change.
Given these changes, I have been feeling more down than usual. Is this normal with these kinds of changes? Should I try to find a therapist or is this just something that goes away or that I just have to deal with?
Cheers for everything,
Hi Marty –
Congrats on the second little one and hopefully sleep is a commodity coming back your way soon.
Let me first answer your most important question. Yes, this is normal. Totally normal to experience a period of feeling down with so much change happening. It happens a bit with all change. The weirdest time it happens is when we have good positive changes happening in our lives. Whether it is getting that promotion at work, losing a bunch of weight or achieving other milestones, it still creates a type of stress. Of course, there is “distress” or negative stress, which usually accompanies a difficult or negative change in the status quo. But we also have what is called eustress, the positive kind of stress, like having a new baby at home, planning a celebration or moving to your dream home. All the “good” stresses in life actually give us a bit of energy at first, but as time wears on, can mean more to do and more stress in different ways.
Here’s a nice definition of eustress from our friends at Wikipedia: Eustress refers to a positive response one has to a stressor, which can depend on one’s current feelings of control, desirability, location, and timing of the stressor. Potential indicators of eustress may include responding to a stressor with a sense of meaning, hope, or vigor. Eustress has also been positively correlated with life satisfaction and well-being. Eustress is uncomfortable, but leads to personal growth.
New baby, weight loss and regaining physical health are in the eustress category. Having a bunch of your friends move out of town all at once, would be in the distress category. So of course, this has thrown you off your game.
Don’t be alarmed. Once you are able to get some much-needed sleep and time to rejuvenate, you’ll get some energy back and can work on building more friendships and connections in your community. If you feel like you could use someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to set up a couple of appointments with a therapist. It can’t hurt and could actually act as a nice preventative tool against depression. It’s always a good thing to gain new skills and talking through all these changes and challenges, can be, well, therapeutic. 🙂
Best of luck in your ongoing parenting adventures.