Whether you've lost a job or a girlfriend, it won't take long before someone tells you, Dust yourself off. Time heals all wounds.
Yes, but how much time?
Experts say most people should give themselves a good two years to recover from an emotional trauma such as a breakup or the loss of a job. And if you were blindsided by the event—your spouse left abruptly, you were fired unexpectedly—it could take longer.
That is more time than most people expect, says Prudence Gourguechon, a psychiatrist in Chicago and former president of the American Psychoanalytic Association. It's important to know roughly how long the emotional disruption will last. Once you get over the shock that it is going to be a long process, you can relax, Dr. Gourguechon says. "You don't have to feel pressure to be OK, because you're not OK."
Some experts call this recovery period an "identity crisis process." It is perfectly normal, they say, to feel depressed, anxious and distracted during this time—in other words, to be an emotional mess. (Getting over the death of a loved one is more complicated and typically will take even longer than two years, experts say.)Two years. That sounds about right, even though I have no real experience with something as painful as job loss or a divorce. (I wonder if there is a similar emotional toll from a particularly long job hunt -- probably not.)
I wonder if the HR counselors who show up during site closures and layoffs and the like tell people that: "I know today sucks, and yes, it's going to be hard for you to find a position. But keep your chin up, and 2 years from now, you'll feel better."