Feel like I'm going to lose my marbles!
November 2, 2012 2:28 PM   Subscribe

How do I plan for or learn to cope with huge changes in my life this year that include graduating university, getting married, moving cross country? (sorry long!!)

I'm in a time of what feels like (and is!!) huge transition and its leaving me anxious and feeling extremely unsettled with what's next I'm finally in the last year of my studies at university in Environmental science and indigenous studies and will be graduating in the spring", "and getting married about 2 weeks after I graduate in May. Due to the job market where we live now in Ontario for my partner D (he's trained as a teacher) and the fact that I love the Arctic we're thinking of moving to the NWT, Yukon, Nunavut or other northern region where we could both hopefully find work. I specialized with a scientific background and skillset that includes working with Indigenous communities on research and environmental issues.

I'm struggling to figure out what I need to do to make this all happen, with wedding planning, finding a job, and other things on top of a full time school schedule while retaining some amount of sanity! My partner is fully supportive of me and my anxiety, and has been great about making sure the things we need to do get done (especially with wedding planning). We've both been upfront that this is something that we are doing together and planning together as a team (which is frustrating when family and friends like to pester ME about wedding planning and assume he's not a part of the process). We both have agreed that moving is the best thing for us, finding a teaching job in Southern Ontario right now is next to impossible and we both have significant student loans that would make it difficult to stick around here and wait for the slim possibility of D getting onto a supply list.

I just started working with a therapist on CBT.

Trying to find work is tough, I don't exactly know where we would like to go and I'm really not sure when I should be starting to apply for jobs when I won't be available till June. On top of that, we're both trying to find work somewhere that would suit us both (with some comprise), but I'm worried one of us will find a great job and the other won't be able to find work at all or won't find what I'm interested in pursuing as a career.

I'm really struggling to feel engaged in life and stay the course as it is when everything seems to be changing and moving. I really just would like to be finished with school, start working and moving on with the next thing. On the other hand, the idea of moving far away from my support networks and best friends is terrifying. I'm having a really hard time with it now, and am worried with how I will cope with things as my last year comes to an end.

So my question is, do you have any advice on how I better cope with this huge amounts of changes without losing all my sanity? Is there anyway I could plan for next year (I'm a planner, D is definitely not). How do I stay engaged and grounded in my life here as it is now while at the same time trying to figure out what to do next? Any advice, stories, or resources would be greatly appreciated. I oscillate between being happy and excited about getting married, wanting to rip my hair out with stress, and crying.

tl;dr: I'm graduating university in the spring, getting married and then moving cross country and am having trouble coping with it all with my anxiety disorder. What can I do to cope better?
posted by snowysoul to Human Relations (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You're doing the top three stressors all at once.

Don't apply for jobs, send informational letters to companies, agencies where you'd like to work. Explain that you're finishing up your degree, with an expectation that you'll be available in June and see what they have to say.

Get on LinkedIn, post your resume in your profile, and in your summary, say that you're finishing your degree with an eye towards moving to the Arctic.

As for Wedding Planning. Set aside 2 hours per week to actually sit down and deal with it. Do a little blast email update every week or so. If people ask about it say: "Fiance and I deal with wedding stuff on Wednesday nights, want to be on the email list for updates?"

My mom was in Japan when I was getting married and luckily the lady who did flowers for our church (and consequently our wedding) decided that I was doing it wrong and she became my de facto wedding planner. She bossed everyone around and nagged me about not caring about what color the damn wedding cake was. Everything turned out fine.

If you have a church family (and my UU church family was AWESOME at my wedding) see if you can get them to help you with wedding stuff. We got our photographer, piano player, DJ, and florist straight from the church. They each charged me $100. I mean, how can you go wrong?

Do not let people boss you around into giving a shit about things that don't matter. You don't have to have a Cake Boss wedding cake (my cousin did for his wedding and it sucked.) A cake from the grocery store for $100 will be fine. It's only cake for fuck's sake.

Prioritize what you're going to be working on every week. If school load is heavy, then it's school. If you've got School squared away, work on wedding. Remember to give yourself some chill time.

Whoever gets the good job first, that's where you're going, the other one will find whatever when he/she gets there. You're not relocating for the rest of your lives. Just until things settle down. Your husband can be a receptionist for a while until a teaching gig comes up, so could you. Money coming in is the most important thing. Job satisfaction can wait. Besides, you might enjoy having a whiff of a job for awhile, something where you clock in at 8 and clock out at 5.

You do not have to eat the elephant in one sitting. Nor do you have to eat it alone. Can you delegate some of this stuff to familiy and friends? Perhaps your mom and sister can deal with the caterer, your fiance can deal with the minister and his Dad can hire the DJ.

I'll reiterate, you MUST find some time where you get to chill and have fun. Unraveling now is not a good idea.

You should enjoy all of this. If I lived in Ontario, I'd come up and help. I'm sure you have a friend like me.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:05 PM on November 2, 2012 [4 favorites]

I am a queen of doing this to myself - biting off a ton of big projects all at once. Two years ago, I was writing my thesis/finishing my masters, planning my wedding, starting to plan a major move [cross-country or international] AND working full time. I survived all of those things! (Along with buying a house and having a baby in the same time frame.)

Here are a couple of things that helped me:

Decide what's important to you, and ignore or delegate the rest.
I didn't care about chair covers or centerpieces at my wedding; my mom did. So I told her if she wanted them, they were totally up to her. I didn't try to micromanage or direct her; I don't think I even asked about them after we had the initial conversation. They were lovely, and I'm so glad I didn't have to deal with them. (Bonus: This also saved me all the time we would have spent discussing or arguing about them. If people are taking up your time with "suggestions", "suggest" to them that if they want it done that way they need to do it themselves.)

Make decisions once. Once I had settled on something for the wedding, or written the outline for my thesis, or updated my resume, I quit messing with that thing. Yes, I probably could have found a better officiant for the wedding, but the first person I found met my criteria and was available. I might have gotten more interviews if I'd truly tailored my resume to each job, but the job I got is just fine. You don't have time to second-guess yourself.

Make lists - not general lists but detailed lists. I still do this even when I'm not juggling eighteen plates at the same time. I make a long list of everything that's on my mind, and then I make notes for each one about the steps I have to take to get that thing done. For example, my car needs winter prep. On my list, there's "prep car". Next to it is scribbled "put paper towels in car", "oil change", "car wash", "rainex", "wiper blades", "vacuum", and "emergency kit". Prepping the car is too big of a project for me to tackle all at once, but today when I walk out of the house, I can remember to take some paper towels with me. Next time I get gas, I'll get a car wash and rainex the windshield. Maybe next weekend I'll remember to do the wiper blades and vacuum the inside. I know what I MEAN when I write down a general task, but it helps me to write down the small steps and cross them off one at a time.

Take time to do something fun. I know it seems like you really, really don't have time to take "off" and do something relaxing - but you need to do it anyway. It helps.

Good luck!
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 8:17 PM on November 2, 2012

Get help. We did a wedding, a move, and a new job simultaneously as well. It was... ambitious.

Wedding - my friends and family made a Google Doc for my wife and I, where they prescreened vendors and venues, and made notes about all the things we cared about. This meant that instead of visiting 40 potential venues, we visited five. And likewise for every vendor down the line; we had a short list for everything. It was still a lot of work, but it was a lot less.

Job Search - does your university offer assistance? If so, take it! University career offices are especially well-placed to help put you in touch with employers who are hoping to get somebody who can show up next Summer, rather than next week.

Move - try to start getting rid of things that you don't really want/need sooner rather than later. If you cull your possessions down closer to the essentials, you'll have more flexibility. And don't seek a perfect apartment, just find something tiny, centrally located, and with good access to transportation, so you can spend that first year learning the city and figuring out where you REALLY want to be once you've settled in, have favorite spots, know what your real budget is, etc.

Honeymoon - do something that doesn't require much planning.

It's stressful, but doable. Delegate heavily. If it's important, delegate screening to others and just do final selection yourselves. If it's not important, delegate it to others (but only if you can really live with it).
posted by grudgebgon at 9:32 PM on November 2, 2012

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