Feeling empty and dissatisfied?
With today’s work and life pressures, it is not uncommon to feel like life has become a pressure cooker and tolerating it can seem more and more challenging. Many of us can identify with feeling anxious on a Sunday night, waking in the early hours with your mind racing as we have jobs characterised by deadlines, pressures to perform and workplace competition. In addition, difficulties in relationships and a stressful home life can add to feelings of exhaustion.
Sometimes you know that something about the way you feel just isn’t quite right, but you can’t quite identify what the problem is and there may be no clinical diagnosis for the way we feel. To the outside world everything might seem fine, even great. You may have a good job, a nice house, a partner and friends and ‘everything to live for’. So externally there is a reasonably functioning sense of self.
A Crisis of Meaning
Despite the external appearance, sometimes life can start feeling empty, there can be a feeling of life passing by, feeling trapped, feeling captive with perhaps a feeling of wanting to rebel against this. These feelings can sometimes lead to a crisis of meaning – confusion around our role in or what we want from life.
This crisis of meaning is not unusual but can be serious in that it can trigger painful symptoms such as anxiety, depression and a difficult sense of internal disorganisation. If left to build, these symptoms can become extremely disruptive to our every day lives and can lead to a great deal of suffering.
Therapy as a transformational space
Certain types of psychological therapy can be very effective in helping to get to the route cause of a crisis of meaning and facilitating the growth necessary to overcome it. Therapy doesn’t just help those who are psychologically unwell or have a diagnosis, therapy can provide a space where we can tune into our internal world – rather than the external world – and be supported in the search for an authentic self (with our deepest internal needs and longings) which we may not even realise we have lost.
Over busyness in our life can stop us connecting with ourselves fully – it’s hard to tune into our feelings, needs and inner wisdom if we are constantly rushing and distracted. Psychological therapy can create the space and structure to connect with our feelings and inner wisdom again which can in turn help guide us to feeling fulfilled again.
Written by Dr. Olivia Thrift – registered Counselling Psychologist and founder of The Psychology Company.