Change is an inevitable part of life’s journey, but it can be a profound and challenging experience. For me, the decision to transition from my role as a psychotherapist to pursuing a full-time mental health consulting business has been nothing short of a transformational rollercoaster. It feels like I’m navigating the murky waters of grief, bidding farewell to a part of my identity, and confronting the unsettling question: Who am I without this?
Grieving my identity as a psychotherapist has been unexpectedly heavy. It’s like saying goodbye to a dear friend, one who has been a constant companion throughout my career and personal life. As I have made the decision to forge a new path, it has been accompanied by a sense of loss and mourning that I could not have prepared for. It’s normal to question if this journey is worth the pain, but deep down, I know I am where I’m meant to be.
Transitioning to full-time mental health consulting has led me into what feels like an existential crisis. It’s that moment when you’re standing at the edge of the known, peering into the abyss of the unknown, and wondering if you’ve made a colossal mistake. It’s a crisis of identity, purpose, and self-worth colliding together in what feels like an accident.
On one hand, it feels like I am having to start all over which feels very reminiscent of the months it took me to find a job straight out of grad school. A strange mix of excitement and trepidation comes with starting over. It’s rejuvenating, invigorating, and terrifying all at once. I try to remind myself that it’s okay to be a beginner again at 35, to learn and grow in uncharted territory but on the other side of the coin there’s a persistent voice, a nagging critic that whispers unkind words. It labels me a bum, a loser, and predicts my impending failure. It suggests that I should go back to what I know best, to the safety of the familiar. But I’m learning to see this voice for what it is—an echo of fear and uncertainty. Recognizing, this part also needs tending to just as much as my excitement.
Despite the internal struggles and external uncertainties, I’m reminded that the path less traveled often leads to the most profound discoveries. I’m crafting my own narrative, taking ownership of my career, and embracing the autonomy that comes with it. This journey may be uncertain, but it’s undoubtedly mine. Embracing change means embracing the unknown. It’s about allowing ourselves to grieve, to question, and to feel the discomfort of transformation. It’s acknowledging that growth often arises from moments of discomfort and vulnerability.
So, as I journey through this period of transition and grieving, I hold on to the belief that it’s okay not to have all the answers or have it all together. I’m reminding myself that even though I’m retiring a part of my identity, I’m also saying hello to the endless possibilities of what’s to come. And maybe, just maybe, the unknown holds the most beautiful surprises of all.