Quarter Life Crisis + Indecision Paralysis: How to deal & move forward?
January 16, 2014 12:14 PM Subscribe
I'm a 26 year old female "Commitment Phobe" seeking advice on 1) How to feel ok making a temporary/final decision about what to do with my life and 2) When to scrap, adjust, or follow through on my decisions when the going gets tough? Messy details inside.
posted by anonymous to Education (12 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Hey there! I've been lurking these forums for years, having read some amazing bits of wisdom, but only recently found the courage to discuss my predicament with you lovely, wise and caring people. Basically, I'm stuck in a life of analysis paralysis and I feel like I'm about to give up on the idea that I can ever be happy with a career in the future. That's why I really need your advice on this. I know you won't let me down hive mind. I'm really sorry that this post is an eyesore and rambly in advance.
A little backstory: I currently live in Toronto, Canada with an older sibling in a home my parents bought. I am grateful that they are allowing me to pay reduced rent as cost of living here is very expensive. I decided to quit my two part-time jobs and go on Employment Insurance because I couldn't stomach the thought of being stuck in a dead-end retail job anymore. At the same time, I feel guilty about this because I have friends who struggle to make rent working menial service jobs and don't have the time to "soul search" like myself. This makes me panic that I need to find something as fast as possible because I'm taking advantage of a privilege few have that I don't actually deserve. I feel like a parasite and that I haven't earned the roof and warm bed I have over my head.
If all that wasn't enough, I also have been questioning my sexuality and that's a whole other soul searching situation that I'm not dealing well with. I'm so stressed out about finding a career that my dating life is practically non-existent. I've tried online dating with girls (only in the past few months) and guys. I just can't muster the strength to go on dates where I don't feel like I'm putting my best foot forward. I also feel like I need to get my shit together first because who would want to date someone who doesn't? My social life has also suffered from as far back as I can remember and I don't have any close friends that I can hang out with regularly. Everyone is busy with their lives and jobs and I don't like inviting myself to things I'm not invited to. Most of the friends I've talked to about this are online, but I'm trying to put myself out there with meetup groups and whatnot and socializing at activities I enjoy like the gym or soccer.
As far as choosing a career, I dropped out of college/university twice in two separate programs. One related to art and the other related to health science. I was a terrible math and physics student (never took chem, found biology was okay) in high school and university was no different. I don't know what I was thinking when I chose the science degree because I've never really had an interest in math or the hard sciences. I don't know if being good at math would have changed my interest, but it's possible. It's just that I didn't care enough as a kid to learn it well since I was too busy being addicted to video games.
I chose the art program because I enjoyed video games, specifically real-time strategy games or action rpgs, and thought it'd be cool to work in the industry. I was so addicted that I failed my Math class and barely passed French and Physics. I escaped into video games because home life was rocky with my parents and I didn't enjoy any classes except the ones where I enjoyed the teachers like English Lit and Art. I was accepted into an art program in my hometown as well, but ultimately moved away to Toronto because I wanted freedom from my parents.
At some point, I decided I couldn't deal with the workload in college. I also had just gotten out of a messy fling with someone and later on was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder although a doctor I went to said she thought it was possibly situational. My anxiety persists these days in stressful situations like extremely tight deadlines, conflict situations, and thinking about my life. Also, I've been having a lot of thoughts about mortality and how my life is finite and I'm wasting it away. In fact, I feel dizzy and light-headed just typing this out and I just realized that I've been holding my breath. I don't know why I get like this about stuff.
After being diagnosed with GAD and later GERD + Costochondritis, I sought help from my school's permanent disability program, counselors, doctors, a psychologist and even went on medication for what they said was anxiety/depression. The only psychologist I went to would yawn when I told her my problems. I attributed that to her being really old. A doctor I saw would get flustered about how there was no way I could feel extremely tired after taking her prescribed meds because the dose was so small. Even with extended deadlines in school I couldn't meet them because of how I felt. I was burned out and wanted to curl up into a ball and just shut out the world and sleep. This made me feel worse about myself because she made it seem like I didn't know my own body, that I was pretending to being affected via placebo effect. I always felt off.
I sought advice from another professional who also gave me different meds and those also made me feel numb and tired. I felt like I was just existing. Getting off of them was hell and ending up damaging my working relationships with my coworkers at the time. I almost got fired when I was weaning myself off the meds until I explained what was going on. I kind of feel like that still except I'm not on any meds at this moment and would like to keep it that way as long as possible. I'm wary of going on meds again or seeking help from mental professionals because of my past experiences with them. Could it be possible that I have ADD/ADHD and that's why those meds aren't working? People I respect have told me it doesn't exist or that it's actually a symptom of an underlying problem (diet, sleep, exercise, etc)
I want to get serious about life, have meaningful friendships and relationships, and obtain skills that would help me "level up" so to speak. However, I feel like none of that has happened. I feel disgusted with myself as I am nowhere closer to knowing what I want to do now than I did when I quit school a couple of years ago. After some encouragement from a family relative, I am half-heartedly pursuing an online education of self-learning and self-teaching myself how to code. I honestly don't know if this is the right fit. I don't even know if I want to be a designer or a front-end developer. My insecurity and self-doubt plague me and it's making it hard to really put my mind to anything these days, fearing that I've picked the wrong thing. Again. For the third time in a row.
Please help me not be afraid of life. Please :( If need be, I can provide a list of things that I think I'm good at and think I'm bad at, to narrow down potential careers I should be looking into. In fact, maybe I'll provide that later when I'm not so stressed out about typing this post out.
Thanks again for your patience, your time and kindness.