Advice for this girl on leaving the nest (again)?
March 20, 2009 11:48 AM   Subscribe

Help me move out of my family's house.

I'm 26 and currently living with my family but I would like to move out. This wouldn't be a problem except three years ago I had a very bad breakdown (I was diagnosed bipolar; it's medicated and I'm talking to someone). Before that I had been relatively independent; I was getting my degree and did not really need them for anything. However, after the breakdown I was forced to move back in with them. Even though I technically did (my belongings were moved back), I spent the next year or so trying to avoid them as much as possible by basically living with my boyfriend (my family and I don’t know how to get along). After an attempt at moving in together that failed miserably, I found myself at my family’s again.

Currently: I am back in school (full financial aid) but my financial situation is bad (I don't have a job). I don’t have any friends I can crash with until I find a job; they’re all living with families or boyfriends. My family wants me to move out too. Even though we live together, interaction between us careens ridiculously between “of course you can stay, we’re your family” and “get ouuuuuttttt!” I’m seriously considering living in my car…

Normally, pre-breakdown, I would have been confident and independent enough to move out, get a job, and figure things out on my own. But post-breakdown and since all attempts at moving out seem to have failed miserably, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to do it and I don’t know what to do next.

Can anyone give me some concrete, practical encouragement or advice or share your experiences about how you finally got a job/moved out, especially if it took you a while? I am fully willing to…and have been for a long time! But I don’t know why I can’t get my act together and these repeated failures are really discouraging me -- especially since I'm 26 and I should've figured out how to live on my own already.

posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How much have you looked into loans and student housing? At 26, I'm going to guess you're in grad school (even though I was still in undergrad at 26), and grad housing is usually pretty decent. The next suggestion is to start looking for other places on craigslist near your campus.
posted by klangklangston at 12:14 PM on March 20, 2009

Can you elaborate on where you feel that your efforts are breaking down? For example, you don't know where to look for housing, can't figure out how to afford housing, etc?
posted by crankylex at 12:19 PM on March 20, 2009

from the original poster:
Klangklangston: No, I’m still in undergrad myself, I took time off after my breakdown. Craigslist doesn’t make it all the way into central NJ actually, but my school is actually good about listing off-campus housing here Re: loans – I’m not sure if it would really be worth it to take out money just to pay for rent. If I had to do that, I really would rather just live in my car and get a job until I can afford a place.

Crankylex: Where it breaks down is that I’m now lacking total confidence in my ability to even be independent at all. I’ve been either working or going to school (or both) since I was 16, even though I’d been struggling with depression for years. I moved out at:

- 18-19 (before being sidelined by depression for the first time)
- 21-23 (and then breakdown/stayed away from family)
- 25 (until relationship ended)

I’m turning 27 soon and to own up, I’m ashamed that I seem to be failing so badly at something that seems fairly straightforward for so many other people. I’m tired of feeling like my depression’s stronger than I am; I dread that even though I move out again, the same thing will keep happening. I’m getting to the point where I feel like when I fail again, people say, "Duh, she's totally unfit for life on the outside. We never expected she'd be able to manage it on her own." “I told you so. That was pretty presumptuous of you.”

(It might sound like exaggeration, but it’s not uncommon for people in my culture to go from family to family and never actually live on their own. They live with their family until they start a family. I DO NOT want to do this.)

That’s why I’d appreciate hearing from people who for some reason had a tough time breaking away from their families too.
posted by mathowie at 3:50 PM on March 20, 2009

"Re: loans – I’m not sure if it would really be worth it to take out money just to pay for rent. If I had to do that, I really would rather just live in my car and get a job until I can afford a place."

It's your call, of course, but one of the nice things about student loans (and you may want to contact your college about housing scholarships as well, though I don't know Rutgers' policies at all) is that you're taking them so that you can focus on your job: doing well as a student. A difficult home life, or living in your car, those things (especially while concurrently dealing with mental health issues) will affect your grades. Taking an extra couple hundred dollars a month to get a school-year pad that you share with some other folks is a way of investing in something that's important to you and that will, hopefully, pay dividends later on. My other advice would be to make sure to look for internships over the summer that come with housing or a housing stipend, so that you can live on their dime somewhere fairly distant from your family.

I love my folks, but I remember a period in-between leases where I had to live with them again, and we went at it hammer and tongs. I couldn't imagine doing that while being in school too.
posted by klangklangston at 4:52 PM on March 20, 2009

What is it about your depression that makes it impossible for you to live alone? Do you get suicidal and need supervision? Do you lose motivation and stop going to work, thus not having enough money to support yourself?

Does your school offer counseling that you can take advantage of to rebuild your confidence in yourself?
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:58 PM on March 20, 2009

Apart from advice already given, just keep on keeping on: Put resumés out, study, interview, keep the distance that you need to. The stuff you're doing is the stuff you need to be doing. The way you're looking at it may be overly pessimistic, and maybe you should bring these feelings up with your therapist.

A good friend of mine, bipolar also, sometimes struggles with very similar notions of being a failure and/or an impostor, of doing everything wrong, of being doomed to an endless perpetuation of the present. Other times she knows it's just the chemicals talking—the chemicals, and the thought habits they've shaped—and that they'd be saying the same thing whether she was (understandably) living at home, or partway through PA school (which is where she is), or successfully traversing Eurasia without purse or scrip, or whatever. And from time to time she is incredibly right about things that are easy to neglect, because her experience has helped her see them more clearly (I am NOT telling you to just 'talk yourself out of it').

Peace. You'll get there.
posted by eritain at 7:11 PM on March 20, 2009

you need to make a plan to save money. decide, i am going to put this much away every month, week, pay-check. saving money is like losing weight, or going to the gym. you have to commit to it, stick to it, and do it.

if you a worried about living alone and are low on funds, you should be looking into getting a room to rent. rent a room in a house with others. places like craigslist have tons of listing for rooms for rent.

start looking into the rooms for rent market in your area. make yourself a budget. i will need this much to eat, this much for transit, this much to rent a room. save up at least two or three months (sound financial advise is six months).

start making your plan. i can save x amount of money by christmas (or whenever). start thinking about it, visual your self doing it. as you save the money, the plan will come into focus.

start preparing, make a plan, then carry it out. you can do it.
posted by Flood at 7:38 PM on March 20, 2009

Craigslist doesn’t make it all the way into central NJ actually

Here's craigslist for Central Jersey. You can narrow down in a search by town where you're willing to live given which Rutgers campus you're currently at.
posted by dancinglamb at 8:46 PM on March 20, 2009

you are on the right track. i took out student loans in order to be able to focus on school, loans that paid my rent. if you are getting a degree for something that will make decent money and have good opportunities for jobs, then do not worry about it. you will be able to pay back the loans after you graduate. it is worth it. the peace of mind to focus on school and be away from your difficult home life is worth it.

you are really in touch with your feelings. that is good. i have suffered for years on end with depression myself (i am now 40, no kids, single). I understand how you talk about your feelings and know how you feel about feeling like you failed.

once you get out of school and get a money-making job, you will barely remember the days you struggled though school.
posted by bananaskin at 2:45 PM on March 29, 2009

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