When I'm not in school, I feel like my life has totally dead-ended. I'm starting to think that stress and anxiety are the only things that motivate me. How do I stop delaying (and being terrified of) reality and finally become a real (adult) person? The details inside are super long, and I apologize for them in advance.
posted by timory to health & fitness (17 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
I'm nearly 27. I just graduated from (a new, accredited but unranked) law school and passed two state bars. I have a (part-time, temporary) fellowship at a prominent legal aid organization (with zero possibility of getting hired afterwards) and spend the rest of my time pulling documents at city hall. Or sleeping.
Since the anxiety/rush of college and law school has worn off, I have no energy or motivation for anything at all, even things that I enjoy. Both of my jobs are very low stress -- probably a result of the whole temporary/part-time thing. Occasionally I have bursts of deadlines that get me going (in a horrible, anxious and freaking out sort of way), but other than that I do nothing but lie in my bed, watching TV on the internet. And sleep. I used to be an insomniac of the highest order. Now I sleep 12-14 hours per night, unaided.
I want to do things. I want to keep a clean apartment, hang out with my friends, read books, take yoga classes, brush up on my Spanish, write, volunteer, apply for jobs... but I can barely force myself out of bed. I have MDD and anxiety, but so much of my stress and sadness has just vanished after finding out I passed the bar. This isn't what depression feels like for me. This is something new and different.
I sort of had this lost feeling after college, but I only took a year off, knowing I'd go back to school. Law school was a predictable last resort, but I am genuinely in love with public interest work and do think that this is as a suitable a career path for me. But there are no jobs, and I'm totally petrified of Huge Life Changes like moving somewhere else for work. (I know this is a death sentence, but just moving four blocks away to a new apartment a few years ago sent me into a 6-month depression spiral.)
Things I've tried:
-going to a doctor (clean bill of health)
-taking vitamins (D, B, omega3s, you name it, all worthless)
-exercise (it exhausts me more and I hate it)
-therapy (once a week, and it's helpful)
-medication (currently prozac and klonopin, but these are not side effects. I've been on both much longer than these symptoms have been around.)
-forcing myself to do things (this works in short bursts, especially if somebody else is relying on me, thus creating a stressful situation. I do send my resume out into the ether, and even follow up, with no response. Ever. I recently wrote a short article for an ABA newsletter. I joined the expansion committee of a local food co-op. I take CLEs. I reach out to people I admire for informational interviews. I am sort of a functional person, but anything I do just comes from panic about my future.)
I feel too old and too young at the same time. I'm exhausted like an old person, but have the life skills and drive of a teenager. I'm pushing thirty, but the thought of marriage or children horrifies me (but of course, not being on track for at least the marriage part makes me feel like a failure). Honestly, I feel like a total fraud -- I know NOTHING about law or the practice thereof, and the fact that I'm licensed is laughable. I love school (liberal arts, not law) and I yearn to be back, but I'm trying to face facts: I'm delaying real life, I have nothing in particular I'm passionate about that would merit something like pursuing a PhD, and I'm probably just lazy.
How do I snap out of this rut? Is creating stress for myself the only way I can move forward in life?