As a note of explanation, I am one course away from a BA, and I am taking that course this semester. The rest of my time this semester will be split between part-time babysitting, and hopefully an internship. I have had a horribly long break from the babysitting because the family is traveling, so my main excuse to get out of the house, get exercise, and get $$ is absent until next week.

Today was my first day back in the classroom after over a year away from it due to physical and psychological health problems. This summer I took an online course, and that was a good first step since I did well in that class. (I have spent the last year working full time as a nanny; fortunately my health allowed me to work as long as the job didn’t trigger my academia-specific anxiety!) But today, leaving my apartment to go to the first in-person class meeting since the last time I blundered and failed spectacularly? I felt like I was going to throw up, like I couldn’t breathe, like I was going to faint right there on the street—class has been over for an hour and my stomach STILL really hurts!

It went fine, of course—it was the first day, and we didn’t have any assignments to do or anything because the professor hadn’t finalized the syllabus yet, so all I had to do was show up and listen to her talk about the course.

But just setting foot back on campus, walking back into a classroom where I’ve sat consumed by panic before, going back into that environment that makes me irrationally terrified of failure until I can’t concentrate on a word anyone is saying—God, it was horrible! I really am much better these days, after my long hiatus, and I am pretty sure I can do this, but all the pain and panic is coming back to me now and holy crap is it overwhelming.

The first thing I did once class was over was go back to my old standby, the university counseling center, and make an intake appointment for tomorrow morning. I am hoping to find a group that works with my schedule, because I have found group therapy really beneficial in the past.

The problem is that I don’t know what my schedule is going to be for this semester, because I really really REALLY need to get my shit together and find an internship like, yesterday. But I haven’t done it yet because I am in a stress paralysis spiral ever since I got back from my trip to Egypt a couple of weeks ago. I was all ready and excited to start sending my resume out there and then—well, my new roommate has never lived on her own before and she has basically fallen apart since moving in with me this month. I got back from Egypt on the 21st and it has been such a struggle. First I couldn’t get her to talk to me about when she is going to start applying for jobs, finally we had it out—and it turns out the answer is that her therapist wants her to deal with her anxiety first, and worry about getting a job later. She is unemployed and anxious and sometimes she’s depressed and I feel like it all falls on me to keep her occupied and cheer her up, and as a result I am getting dragged down with her. Being there for her is exhausting, tbh.

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The thing is, I have anxiety! I barely have my own life together! I can’t be there for somebody else without bleeding myself dry, and sometimes I feel like she thinks she is the only one in the world with mental health problems. She is just always there in the house, she hardly ever leaves (unless I force her to go for a walk with me), and she always wants me to do things with her! I NEED alone time, I NEED my own space (we share a bedroom because the rent is too damn high)! When she is feeling down, she mopes about with the lights out and she makes the whole apartment feel depressing and sad, and I can’t focus on my own stuff. She says stuff like, “I wish I could work from home. I wish the two of us never had to leave the apartment.” And I feel like I am being suffocated to death.

I told her that what she does affects me, and her response was “am I supposed to help it when I am depressed?” I know she can’t help being depressed—but can’t she be just a leeeetle bit more self-sufficient? I want to be a good friend to her—we are close generally, and this is not a balanced portrayal of our friendship as a whole—but I also really miss having a roommate who has their shit together in life (like my last roommate, who was awesome and I miss her).

WHAT DO I DO?!