Hey-o. It’s me again. I know I haven’t been around a whole lot, save for occasional OTs, etc. Mainly because I’m wading through my I-turned-30-now-what crisis. Anyway, re: title of this post, my friend and I have started saying this when depression or anxiety rears its ugly head and we need to relate it to each other. Cut for talk about mental health.
I’ve felt like a total broken record for the past six months. I’ve made a bunch of posts here around 1. being depressed 2. not knowing what to do with my life 3. feeling overwhelmed post-college, but it just has hit me this past week that I’ve been out of college for 5 months now. The next batch of graduates have gone through and I’m still feeling stuck, and I’m annoyed with myself, and know fully that something has to change in order for me to dig out of this hole I’ve found myself in.
My mind has been all over the place since the beginning of the year. I started out in total burnout- I couldn’t take any time off after graduation due to job requirements, then jumped into 50 hours a week at work, and signed on to sing soprano with this community chorus to fill the spot that college music activities had taken up (which ended up being a lot more time intensive than it originally looked), and lost touch with a lot of my college friends quickly. In the middle of that, my grandfather (who raised me)‘s health starting shooting downhill.
For awhile I was looking for a job in mental health, (which is what I concentrated on in undergrad) but didn’t have any callbacks, and then decided I needed to take a break and shelf it until my mind was clearer.
Then, I took a trip to Oregon last month, which was a good experience, and came back feeling like I had some clarity around wanting to move out of my state, but as I’ve started crunching numbers, there’s just physically no way I can do it by the end of the year, which was my plan. I can’t swing it financially unless a wealthy relative I’ve never heard of leaves me a tidy sum out of no where, and I am way against trying to move cross country without enough of a safety net at this point in my life.
Basically, I’m at this place where I’ve been really shaken in terms of what I thought I wanted and what’s going to be best for me going forward. This is what I do know:
1. I’m considering grad school, and if that scenario plays out, would like to be done and graduated before I’m 36 (I’m 30 right now). I have a few fields I’m curious about, but I need some more research and work experience under my belt before I am willing to commit. If I get into a job that I enjoy, has good prospects long term and won’t require a grad degree, all for that too.
2. I’m not 100% sold on mental health as my long term career goal anymore. I’d like to do something that allows me to connect with people and help improve their lives if I can, but I’m also weighing the pros and cons- pay and the burnout of emotional labor are two items on the con side. If I can use my communication and people skills in a meaningful way somehow, but also comfortably pay off my loans and catch up on retirement savings...I think it might be better. Don’t know what that would look like or what jobs would fall under that category.
3. Still don’t want kids. Thought I would by now. Don’t. Would like a partner, but now is not the time for that either.
4. I need a better paying job. As it stands, I’ll be lucky if I clear 18-20k this year. The job search is where I have felt most frozen, if I am being honest. I feel clueless about how to market myself or what’s even expected as a recent graduate, or what I should look for or expect in a new position, or where to start. I’ve talked to my school’s alumni center and gotten resume tips...I just have to push through and fucking do it. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just felt so overwhelming and like there are so many trap doors that I could possibly fall through. But, on a thinking level, I know I am a reasonably smart person, a dedicated hard worker, and a quick learner when I apply myself.
5. I’m starting a new medication to help with my hormone issues I’ve written about here before, which will hopefully help with my stress levels and overall outlook.
6. I want to go back to therapy on a more regular basis again. I am going to reach out to the community counseling center at the university in my area and see what they can offer that’s on a sliding scale until I’m in a better spot financially. One of the things that’s been running circles in my head and fucking me up is that I don’t feel I have a script at all for this part of my life. No one I knew as a kid/adolescent had a college degree or was trying to make steps in the adult world it’s like, I just kind of blank out when I think about what comes next. Honestly, there’s some tie to me being thirty as well- my mom was widowed twice by my age and she just kind of stopped moving forward at that time. There’s no image to reference, no one I can think of immediately to emulate, and I’ve been stuck on that.
7. I want better self-care to have a larger role in my life. Not just in the sense of using bath bombs or getting manicures- but general physical upkeep and emotional support for myself. I’ve already started by catching up on doctor’s appointments and getting my physical, and having my hormone levels evaluated. Once my back has healed up a little more, I want to work steadily on getting my home cleared up. I look at my apartment and it’s clear that I’ve been in a bad place- just really messy. I’m trying to not beat myself up- my energy levels have been rock bottom low. I did make a google doc of cleaning tasks broken up into small bits that I have been working on. I deep cleaned the oven today, and the day before I cleaned out and wiped down the inside of the fridge, and then bought healthy groceries.
8. I need more social support and stimulation. I’m honestly an extrovert, but depression pushes me way back into my shell, and then it’s a cycle of feel bad, stay at home, feel bad because I’m alone at home all the time, etc. I am working on that some- I invited a friend over to help me sort through some of the things in my apartment that are making it feel overwhelming, and before the summer, I want to go to a meetup group for something I am interested in. Like learning how to knit, or a book club, or something of that nature.
9. I need to reassess where I’m at in about a year from now re: the move. That timeline may change, but I want to be here for my grandfather and also put my feet on the ground more before I’m looking at that. I’m not saying it’s off the table, but it feels right to hit pause and work on getting more financially stable right now.
Anyway. Looking at all of this- I know I haven’t just been sitting around wasting my time. I’ve been sorting through a lot. I’m also just struck with this feeling that it’s time to get the ball rolling. Like I’ve been sucked up inside myself, introspective and thinking really hard about everything, and now is the time to start making moves that will help me feel better and set me up for a better future. If you have any good vibes you can send my way, I’d appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time to read this, if you made it all the way down here!