Thinking about leaving my job and going home to heal. Bad idea?
April 15, 2018 8:07 AM   Subscribe

I've hit an incredibly rough time in my life, and it's came to a point where I really want to go back home and heal, but that'd mean leaving my job and my life in DC. I'm not sure if that's a good idea.

This might be a bit long-winded.

Over the last few years, I've been struggling. A lot has happened in a relatively short time. My old landlord's home was raided in summer 2016, which was extremely traumatic for me, my family dog (who I was very close with) passed away in fall 2016, my grandma (who I was also extremely close with) passed away in 2017, my housing situation (I live in DC, my entire family lives in California) was in flux all of 2016 and 2017; it came to a standpoint in January 2018 where I was left with an ultimatum to either live at my former landlord's new condo in a room without a door, no private bathroom, etc., or live at a random condo with a random, Craigslist roommate, with my own bathroom. I chose the Craigslist roommate for a 6-month lease, and haven't been happy. I have anxiety. I'm deaf, he's hearing, he has postponed asking me to pay bills, he's messy, and not a great communicator (but he has been generally friendly so far). Then, recently, at my job (which was one of the last stable platforms in my life, amid my housing situation and friendships changing), my boss decided to leave. She was truly the glue that held our small office together and kept our morale up, despite low pay and a stressful environment. Our top-level boss, who she reported to, is not a great communicator, and we have been plagued in uncertainty since our boss left. Morale has sunk and another person is planning to leave, so my co-worker and I are suffering with a great workload and burden right now, and we literally have no mid-level boss right now, so this is a great deal of stress. On top of that, I'm still experiencing loneliness, even though DC has a great deaf community. In short, I have been unhappy, my anxiety has been at high levels, and I feel like I've been floundering without any foundation or true support. Oh, and my friendship with Amber and Diana finally came to an end, somewhat, after yet another fight (you can look at my history to see my previous questions about them over the years). I decided to cut them off. I think it was for the best, even though it was a blow to lose close friends. This was in March. So, yeah, I've been through a lot.

To the point... I talked with another close friend of mine, articulating my thoughts. It was a germ of thought over the last year, but we talked about self care and advocating for myself, and as hard of a decision as this is, I'm thinking about going back, soon, home, with my family in California, leaving my job and my life in DC behind. It's a really tough decision, and has a host of pros and cons, so I'd really like your help and insight. I'll break it down in a pro and con list to make it more readable (and quicker).

+I get time to rest and recover from how up and down my life has been in the past few years
+I feel safe at home, my family is my anchor, my parents are stable
+Can heal and establish a foundation again
+nice weather, environment (very green area and instrumental towards healing)

-Losing my job (I can go back on SSDI, though, I believe)
-Leaving the Student Loan Public Forgiveness program (I work at higher education)
-Lack of socialization (no deaf people in my parents' hometown, at all)
-No transportation (my parents insurance does not have me listed and in the past, they stated a preference not to let me drive their car)
-My parents may be resistant or even against this idea

As you can see, the cons list is a bit longer, but some of them possibly can be solved, and this is a temporary situation, not permanent.

The questions I've been asking myself are: am I foolish in doing this? I'm single and 32, so a fully-blown adult; I'm at a well-established job, which I've been working at for about three years now full-time, and DC has so many job opportunities, in which my parents' area does not (it's in the Sacramento area, but my parents live about an hour east of Sacramento, in a rural/somewhat remote area), and DC has so many social opportunities for me, especially as a profoundly deaf bisexual man... but at the same time, I need my family. I need my anchor. I feel like I've been floating aimlessly for years now, and while I go to deaf events and sap the socialization there, it often doesn't really lead anywhere. It's kind of like a temporary "happy drug" for a night of drinking and socializing, but my daily life often consists of me doing things on my own, eating out alone, not being invited to small events, etc. I also can't really afford a place of my own in DC, given my very low pay (it's very low now especially with the additional responsibilities I'm expected to taken on after my boss left and even the university ombuds agreed it was insultingly low).

Another wrinkle I may face: my parents themselves. While they are awesome people, they are also a bit "old school" and show tough love. They have with me in the past. When I was in college, about 7 years ago and more, they expected me to pay rent when I was home for the summer, they said they felt it was best I shouldn't be home for more than ~2 weeks during winter breaks (because sometimes, at the time, I'd have conflicts with them or my siblings, probably because I didn't have any friends in the area and went stir-crazy), and they expected me to hold a summer job when I was at home. However, this was more than seven years ago, and our mindsets may have changed. How should I convince them of this, to explain my reasoning, and to see if they'd be willing to take me on, at least for a few months? We all shared the tragedy of my grandma's passing, which is something that may help them to understand.

I'm also a bit scared to share my vulnerability with my family. For years now, I've put on a front that everything is okay, I'm doing well, DC is marvelous, etc., and didn't really share my struggles or internal frustrations with my family, because I wanted them to be proud of me, to think I was doing well independently as the only deaf member of the family... doing this would fly in the face against this. I hope that makes sense?

Additionally, I'm concerned and am thinking, what if leaving DC and everything to go back home actually makes things worse? What if I'm even more unhappy at home? What if I experience extreme loneliness, without the occasional DC deaf event to partake in? What if this is the wrong decision? Being deaf makes this harder, as I'm a social animal and in a deaf community... that'd be lost in the process of going back home.

At the same time, my friend liked my idea, saying that it was self care and that regardless of the fact I'm 32, I should do what is best for myself, and that's by taking a "gap time" to recover. As you can see, I'm in a mental tailspin!

So. This is where I am at. If I do go through with this, I'd have to give my landlord 30 days notice, and maybe leave in about a month or so, to give my job time to transition out, and for me to wrap things up. I'm just so unsure because there are many pros and cons, but I feel lost here in DC, has felt that way for a long time, and just want some relief from my anxiety and to feel safe again, to feel some stability again. There are so many questions and thoughts I have. Any of your input and suggestions would be very helpful.
posted by dubious_dude to Grab Bag (37 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Are you able to take a two week vacation or stress leave to go back to California and test it out? Sharing with your parents before you make a giant leap?
posted by nathaole at 8:20 AM on April 15, 2018 [6 favorites]

Is there a middle ground? It sounds like you need to leave DC, but moving back in with your parents sounds pretty stressful too. Could you maybe get a job in Sacramento (maybe UC Davis?) and live on your own there? That way you're close to your parents but still independent. Or maybe go somewhere else entirely. There are innumerable small college towns with low costs of living, some where you might not even need a car (Athens, Ohio is one that comes to mind).

Some of this is my own issues, but what strikes me about your situation is how little control you seem to have over your own life. You're at the mercy of a lot of other people. I suspect living on your own, without a roommate or a parent, could help you develop some self-efficacy that will help you feel better about things.
posted by kevinbelt at 8:24 AM on April 15, 2018 [10 favorites]

I remember your past posts but I can't remember: are you in therapy? I know it's fairly trite now on AskMe to recommend therapy, but I think you would benefit a great deal with the right therapeutic relationship.

I say this as gently as I can, but life can really be shit sometimes. Like right now I'm dealing with three to four MAJOR stressors. What helps me get through these times is: experience in knowing that the bad times do eventually end, talking through the truly tough stuff with my therapist, being sure to do a lot of self care (which I learned how to do in therapy), and leaning on my friends and select family. I know you don't have the last bit right now but I do think the first three would be helpful.

You won't always be able to run back to your parents, and truthfully, it doesn't really seem like they'd be as helpful as you imagine they would be.
posted by cooker girl at 8:31 AM on April 15, 2018 [11 favorites]

I’ve read many of your questions and what always stays with me is how much of a sense of agency you lack. I am not Deaf so I cannot pretend to understand your struggles in that regard. But from the very outside as an internet stranger it seems to me that your desire to go home to your parents is essentially running away from the normal stresses of adult life. What you say is important to you (a social life) is basically the opposite of your plan (moving to a rural area).

I would recommend instead really looking at support for your anxiety. The bills communication is easy: you should ask your roommate once a week about bills until you know what is due when, and then you track that. The job is harder but you could look for a job in your area, preferably one that maintains your student loan forgiveness because that sounds huge. Making friends will be the exact same wherever you are, except DC has a community.

Don’t go backwards. Go forwards.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:36 AM on April 15, 2018 [55 favorites]

I worry that a long-term move back to your family might ultimately leave you feeling less stable, not more stable. It's not clear from your question whether you're envisioning this as a permanent move, a temporary stay, or something in-between. If you're thinking you'd be happiest living near your family, maybe you can begin a process of looking for employment somewhere geographically closer to them, but not *with* them -- maybe you could look for work and a place to stay in Sacramento, so you could see them regularly but still be closer to job opportunities, public transit, and a community that might have more opportunities for you to be social.

That Cons list is awfully long, and some of those points are going to be difficult to overcome. Giving up the student loan forgiveness -- particularly now, in a political landscape where its continuation is not at all assured -- is a huge sacrifice. Leaving a job without any prospects and the resultant hit on your resume can be really tricky to deal with when/if you want to return to work -- a lot of people close to me (heck, including me) are really struggling to get any gainful employment at all, because of time spent freelancing or doing adjunct teaching work. Perceived employment gaps, whatever the cause, can make it a lot harder to get interviews for jobs, farther down the line. Would trying to find a better work environment in DC -- maybe one that paid a little better and let you find a better living situation -- help you get comfortable enough to heal in place?

The final point on your Cons list seems like the true key to your question. If your parents are resistant, none of this will work. Before going any further, I think you need to talk to your family about the situation -- to see if they can help give you some emotional support at this time, but more practically and urgently, to see how they feel about this. Your plan won't work unless they're on board. If you don't currently have a car, and it's not clear that your parents will let you drive theirs, and there's no transit, you might end up isolated and really feeling stranded. Planning to do all of this and taking any concrete steps to leaving your job and home and investing emotionally in this idea of a self-care break being crucial to your healing, only to find out your parents are resistant, may leave you feeling even more rejected and fragile, while also leaving you much less stable, maybe even unemployed.
posted by halation at 8:39 AM on April 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


You need therapy and life skills help. Full stop.

Having a daily practice of some sort will definitely help ground you and be an anchor, more on that in a moment, but you also need therapeutic intervention STAT. Your life has too much interpersonal drama, all of it starts and ends with you. I know that was harsh, so stay with me... If you had these life skills and/or interpersonal skills I am referring to, your quality of life would be greatly improved. You keep backing yourself into corners when you do not have to. It's like you can't see or implement other options? IDK. I'm not a professional in this area. I recommend you find the right therapeutic modality to help you schieve the better life you deserve. I know quitting will not give you those skills, I know your parents' house in California will not give you those skills. Stay and find a professional in DC to help you acquire and implement those skills for successful living. Now is the time.

Adopt a practice - daily hike, meditation, yoga on youtube, jumping jacks, karate warm-up, etc - and stick with it for 2 weeks straight. Just do it. Then adopt a new practice or stick with the same one. If you miss a day, start your 2 weeks over. Make this the thing you do whenever you feel anxiety. Pick something that makes you feel better in the moment. It's a practice when you keep going back for that feeling of wellbeing and accomplishment. That's it. This is the secret. Successful people usually have a practice they fall back on in tough times. Cultivate a practice you can rely on through this time in your life.

I hope you stay in DC, work on yourself, and find self-mastery. You can do it. You are already on the path. Learn new life and relationship skills, keep going! You've got this.
posted by jbenben at 8:45 AM on April 15, 2018 [36 favorites]

I can't say what your should do, but there have been very rough times in my life when I thought I needed to stop and rest and that was the opposite of what I should've been doing. Instead, "rest" just gave me space to ruminate and get depressed. 'm not saying it's a bad idea, but don't overestimate the benefits of "rest" without a very specific idea of how this is going to help in the short/long run. And the weather in DC will soon be very sunny!
posted by caoimhe at 8:50 AM on April 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

Have you thought about looking for jobs in other cities with a large deaf community that have a lower cost of living? That would cut out a lot of stress due to the cost of housing. There was a question on Quora about this.

Where are the biggest Deaf communities in the US?
posted by stray thoughts at 8:52 AM on April 15, 2018 [11 favorites]

You know that phrase, "you can't go home again?" It's true.

Everything you've detailed above (sans being raided) is ... life. Losing family members and pets, bosses leaving, jobs going from ok to crummy ... this is all normal stuff. Your family is not going to be your anchor because years have gone by and they've all grown and changed too -- see your previous question about the holidays.

Find a new job in DC, or use stray thoughts' link above to find a new place to live. Get an apartment by yourself (that was an option available to you as well), or stay in the one you have but for the love of pete, make an effort to ask your roommate when bills are due. That is so easily fixable. You can do this!
posted by kimberussell at 9:07 AM on April 15, 2018 [16 favorites]

I'm a little older than you, and have my own life stressors. They're not over the top huge things (although they can feel like it in the moment), but I know it's just some of the crap life throws at all of us.

At least once a week, sometimes even once I day, I just think to myself "I just want to go home!" Except... in reality, there is no home, at least not in the way my brain is wishing for in that moment. Even though my parents are alive, extremely supportive, and would even make room if i asked or needed, the idea that I can go "home" to a nice, safe, happy place where all my crap is no longer an issue simply does not exist anymore. I know that, yet I literally still have these thoughts that "I want to go home" all the friggen time. It's a wish for a life that, in hindsight with rose-colored glasses, seemed easier. (But as a much younger me, dang I couldn't wait to get the heck out of the house and be my own person! It's about perspective.). In real life as a grown up now, I simply have to make my own home, struggles and all.

I wonder if that is some of what you're wishing for, going "home" to an idea, instead of a reality. Because as you've described it, the "home" reality to you just sounds like you're swapping one set of problems for another.

Or, on preview mentioned above, "you can't go home again" is the short and sweet version of the above.
posted by cgg at 9:34 AM on April 15, 2018 [26 favorites]

With regard to the bills, one way to make it fairer is to have some bills in each roommates' name. Your roommate doesn't want to get bad credit by paying the water bill late (probably), and if they don't give you the money for the electric bill, you don't pay them for the water.
posted by k8t at 9:41 AM on April 15, 2018

My sense is this isn’t a good idea. The main thing that sticks out to me is that it seems like your parents won’t want this. And the way you’re feeling now, I think that would feel like a rejection of you and really add a lot of pain to your situation. It sounds like you are really hurting now and want to be taken care of. I totally get that. But It seems like there’s a fantasy that’s making going home seem like a better choice than it would be in real life.

I have been going through a hard couple of months, and I just constantly remind myself that these are hard times, that everyone has hard times, and that things will get better. Meditation is helping a lot, as is therapy. It is really helpful to try to stay in the moment and not worry about what’s going to happen. You don’t know what will happen in your job, for instance. You seem to be assuming the stress you’re under won’t get better, but you don't know that. And if it doesn’t, you can look for another job, which is hard, but doable and seems like it will be easier where you are now.

You’ve managed a lot of tough things, so you can do this. It will get better.
posted by FencingGal at 9:41 AM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I’m a parent, and one of my kids is a young adult (21). Her home was actually recently raided due to criminal activity by her landlord. She’s always got a ton of interpersonal drama. She more than a decade younger than you, and I wouldn’t be willing for her to come home and just heal from the stuff she’s had going on. I love her, we spend a ton of time together, but there is an increased level of responsibility for her own life and decisions that I want her to be making each year. So, she could have come back to stay with me if she’d needed to after the raid-and she did for a few days-but man, she definitely would have needed to be working and helping around the house.

So, yeah, I wouldn’t recommend this. I wonder if feeling less in control of your life than you feel now would make you feel worse, not better-now you’d be dependent on your parents for housing and transportation.

If you do go, how about taking responsibility for at least your own transportation. Buy a cheap car and pay for your own insurance and gas. Be proactive in the work you do around the house-don’t be one more person your mom has to feed and do laundry for.
posted by purenitrous at 9:41 AM on April 15, 2018 [6 favorites]

I feel like this is a non-starter because if your parents are the sort that expected you to have a summer job and pay rent while you were in college in your early 20s, they are indeed going to be resistant-to-opposed to supporting you in your 30s, even temporarily, just because you've have some ups and downs in your life in the past few years. Your anxiety and coping/resilience skills clearly need some improving with the help of skilled professionals, but remote/rural northern California for a person who does not drive is a terrible choice of locations to accomplish that. Even if your parents are the most wonderful and supportive people in the world, they would recognize that and not encourage this choice of direction. I'm sorry to be all "kids today" but at 32 you're not entitled to a "gap year" because your grandma died and your nice boss quit and you don't like your roommate. If you want relief from your anxiety, you need to get better treatment for it, not go running home to your parents. At the same time, with a good therapist, you can strategize how to tackle the other stressors in your life, like making effective steps toward a comfortable home environment, better paying job, etc.
posted by drlith at 9:45 AM on April 15, 2018 [23 favorites]

I really feel you.

I did go home again in my 30s. I was living in NYC and feeling worn out from a stressful job and a mounting chronic illness, and moving back to Colorado ended up being a good choice for me. The most important thing was a shared understanding that I would find my own place to live in the same city/region within a few weeks and NOT live with my parents -- my folks are wonderful people (somewhat bootstrappy with pretty much the same rules for me that your parents had for you) but as an adult it's best to live in your own situation. And that meant having to work out my own housing and transportation PDQ because otherwise it was just going to be an enduring primal arrrgh of regression to infancy.

Having said this, I worry so much about your cons.

- Losing my job (I can go back on SSDI, though, I believe)
This is a big deal. What's the job market like in the area for your skills and interests? SSDI is fine, but often not enough to cover the bills in a place like California. I'm on SSDI myself and things are tight right now.

-Leaving the Student Loan Public Forgiveness program (I work at higher education)
Also potentially a big deal, depending on how many loans you have.

-Lack of socialization (no deaf people in my parents' hometown, at all)
Are you trading DC loneliness for California loneliness?

-No transportation (my parents insurance does not have me listed and in the past, they stated a preference not to let me drive their car)
My folks were similar in their rules and I didn't drive their cars. When I moved here, I didn't have a drivers license and the thing I missed most about NYC wasn't the food or the culture or the history or even my friends, it was the constant access and opportunity for public transportation. After I moved here, I lived in an apartment with shops and restaurants nearby but groceries and laundry were a total pain and any of my friends who lived farther afield had to come to me so I was always treating them to drinks etc for doing the driving.

-My parents may be resistant or even against this idea
I'm not sure which part. My folks saw right through my chirpy happy missives from NYC and knew I needed a change of some kind. They offered me a place to land temporarily but we agreed moving back that I would not live there. So yeah, again, don't live there.

If you can figure out how to find a job, an apartment, and transportation there -- and just hang out with your folks for family events and Sunday dinners, getting support through their companionship -- it could work. But there's some legwork to do in advance.
posted by mochapickle at 9:51 AM on April 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

There are some problems and injuries that require rest to heal, but none of your problems have been those. They aren't things that go away with time, they get better with work. You need to start doing the work, and I don't see any set goals or strategies you plan to implement at your parent's house to deal with your problems. Honestly, I don't even see any acknowledgement that there's work you need to do to solve these problems, just a strong desire to continue to ignore and avoid it.

You're not going to recover at your parent's house. You're going to stagnate. Instead of being 32 with the problems you're having, you'll be 35, then 38. Anxiety and social difficulties are not solved by cocooning.
posted by Dynex at 9:52 AM on April 15, 2018 [14 favorites]

If you were 22, maybe, but at 32 no way.

Look, work is work. It's not meant to be social or fun and sometimes it doesn't pay well. Even when it does pay well you will not be immune from having personnel changes, workload fluctuations, and stressors. You absolutely need to get some sort of therapy to deal with what are normal adult environments. Giving up the loan forgiveness and being voluntarily unemployed is nearly guaranteeing yourself a life of non-functional poverty. Is it possible you could go back to the Apple Store and ask for some weekend or evening part-time work to supplement your income?

The lease is up in a month or so. What steps have you taken so far to secure new housing? Are you going to sign another 6 months? Is there something preventing YOU from asking him about the bills due? Roommates don't have to be friends. They are people who share the same accommodations as a financial arrangement.

As for your social life, are you being a person that you would want to be friends with?

Your passivity and taking things personally when not warranted are not doing you any favors. You're a grown adult, in a major city, with housing and a job. Being in rural California with no employment, transportation, or secure housing is NOT going to help you.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:53 AM on April 15, 2018 [11 favorites]

Is there a Deaf community in Sacramento? There certainly are public service jobs there.

What does your loan information say about gaps in employment or temporary non-public jobs? Is it that you have to make 120 payments while working at a public service job but no big deal if you work at a non-public job for six months in the middle there (i.e., you make 126 payments, 120 while working at a public service job)? I'd find that out to know how much flexibility you have.

I think sometimes places just can be not right for us, and moving can sometimes be temporarily harder but better in the long run, if you're going to a place that really feels right to you. If you like the area where your parents live, and if you think you might be able to find community in Sac, I'd start applying for jobs out that way.

If you want to see your parents more, you can totally make that a priority in choosing where to move, but based on what you said, I'd consider how to avoid being totally dependent on them. And I'd talk to them about the idea of moving out closer to them and/or staying with them for a bit to see what their feelings are.

If you do move to another city, or if you stay, I'd set your sights on getting a job that pays enough to live alone, as that's been such an issue in your previous questions.

And I'd get one that offers insurance so you can get therapy, because I feel like you could use someone in your corner helping you figure out how to build the life you want.
posted by salvia at 10:17 AM on April 15, 2018

I think you need a rest but going home is not the answer. It will be extremely expensive to relaunch yourself from a period of not working. You will have your student loan burden. It seems like your parents will want some of your ssdi income for rent, so how will you have the money for apartment deposits and setting up again when you're ready? Financially this is a bad idea.

You need a vacation, possibly medication for your anxiety/depression, exercise, social supports. You should be in every Deaf therapy group available. Im not kidding. You're in DC which has the most social and therapeutic resources for the Deaf of anywhere. You've got to take advantage of those resources. Put in for a vacation 2 weeks from now and use that vacation to line up help. You have a university job, who cares if its underpaid, those are worth gold in terms of job protection and easy hours. Seriously, you don't have a safer place for self improvement.

You need to use your resources to pull yourself out of this. Frankly I don't think you're properly medicated. Medication is the tow truck that pulls you out of the ditch of anxiety and depression, and us anxious people often reject it as a solution because our stupid brains make us anxious about taking it! Well now your stupid anxious brain is convincing you to drop everything and run home and ignore all the resources at your fingertips. Don't listen to your anxious brain. It will leave you in the ditch.
posted by charlielxxv at 10:17 AM on April 15, 2018 [9 favorites]

You'd be adding more stresses to your life by moving back home. And you’re talking about bigger stressors than those that have stressed you out currently: a transcontinental move (going from one apartment to another in the same city is bad enough); unemployment; financial worries as a result of losing the loan forgiveness; losing your independence and living with family again; being in an isolated area, likely without transportation, particularly when you’ve already identified that you go stir-crazy in that situation; having to move YET AGAIN (because I presume you’re not intending staying in the family home for long); grief potentially hitting you even worse as you realise that you're not stepping back into the same river as before (no family dog to greet you, the loss of a family member potentially becoming even more profound and acute when back in a particular setting). It may all feel far less safe than you’d hoped. If you're looking to establish a foundation, you're doing a better job of that where you are now, financially, socially and career-wise.

What I’m really hearing from your post is “I need a break!” but what you’re proposing honestly won’t get you that. You need something that makes you feel safe that doesn’t involve all the above stressors, and there are ways to get a rest that don’t involve putting yourself through a further wringer. I think healing would arise better for you in this situation from realising that you’ve the strength to deal with what life throws your way (the evidence being that you’ve done it to date).

If you find a green environment healing, could you join (or start) a hiking club and just get away from the city on a regular basis for starters? It may well be that D.C. doesn’t suit you and that there’s a city out there that would be a better fit, but I think you’ve a better chance of finding it from where you are now (researching transfers, job mobility opportunities and accommodation whilst still in employment).
posted by Lilypod at 10:30 AM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

It sounds like living at your parents house is guaranteed social and career failure due to external forces, so you are choosing that over DC where your problems are due at least in part to internal forces. I get it, it's nice to be able to say "it's not my fault i have no friends, the are no deaf people here! " vs "maybe I'm unhappy in DC because I need to do more to put myself out there." This is anxiety/depression, and I know that feeling very well. Hiding under the covers feels cozy in the moment, but it just isn't productive long or even short term. Life isn't going to stop and wait for you, it'll just pass you by.
posted by gatorae at 10:31 AM on April 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

Don't do it.

I'm generally a fan of people taking an extended pause from full-time work for rest and reflection (I've done it myself) but only if they are able to remain logistically and financially self-supporting the whole time. Moving in with your parents for an indefinite period and going on SSDI does not count. If you are truly unable to work due to disability that is a different matter.

One of the things I've learned from traveling and moving around is that you take yourself wherever you go. The same will be true for you.

While I understand the interest in being nearer to your family, there is a difference between moving closer to your parents while retaining your own adult life and trying to return to the nest. It sounds like your parents would be reluctant to have you move back in with them indefinitely and honestly, I don't blame them. They're comfortable with their own routines and lifestyle and I'm sure you are as well.

From a practical standpoint, moving back home with your parents solves almost none of your problems (except for being geographically closer to family) and makes a bunch of them worse. I'm somewhat familiar with that part of California and while it's beautiful, it is definitely isolated and the local economy is not good. I am hearing, have my own car, and could comfortably support myself with remote work and there is no way in hell I would move out there because it sounds incredibly lonely. Your job prospects will be very limited, many areas are effectively impossible to access without a car, and having no local Deaf community cuts you off from social opportunities and from services for the Deaf. In DC you are steadily employed (albeit underpaid), living independently, have access to a good transit system, and have an active social life. All of this goes away if you move to rural CA.

In addition it sounds like you would be taking a big financial hit between losing income and losing your student loan forgiveness. If you aren't able to find work near your hometown, how will you locate job opportunities outside the area and get to interviews? How will you finance moving to another city and getting established there?

You have had a challenging couple of years—I don't want to make light of that. But these challenges are the kind of things you need to learn to navigate as an independent adult. Leaving the DC area and moving home would substantially limit your ability to do this. Don't cut yourself off from the local support system you have already built up.
posted by 4rtemis at 10:46 AM on April 15, 2018 [5 favorites]

Now, at 40, I'm at a pretty good place personally and professionally. But I lived in NYC from ages 23-37 and frequently thought of going home to TX, not just because I felt bad, but because I was out of money/options/etc. I never did it and I'm glad I never did. I love my parents, but they're complicated people, and it would have been difficult to impossible to reconstruct my life on the east coast if I had left it.

Here's what I'd do:

1. DON'T quit your job, whatever you do!

2. Try to communicate with your present roommate, who seems like basically a good guy/girl, about stuff you can do to make your living situation better for you both.

3. Maybe start looking for a new job?

4. Think about new social outlets...not sure what you're into.

Good luck! Things will for sure get better. Don't do anything rash while you're waiting for things to improve.
posted by 8603 at 11:11 AM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I took a look at your posting history. Please reread your question about being with your family for the holidays to remind yourself of what you’ll have to deal with if you move back.
posted by FencingGal at 11:29 AM on April 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

Hey buddy--I am glad you wrote this question, I have been wondering what's been going on with you! It sounds like things aren't improving, and that sucks. I know we have all mentioned it lots of times, but it's really really time to look into how you can get some free or reduced-cost therapy and start dealing with some of these issues. What others have said is true--you're 32, not 22. You're an adult, you are in a city lots of people dream of living in, you're employed (if underpaid), and you have housing (if not ideal). First of all, look at all those accomplishments!! You are clearly capable of doing lots of adulting, and you should give yourself some credit for that. Second of all though, you're a real, true adult now, and unless you get fired and lose your apartment you should probably avoid moving home with your parents if at all possible. Not just because "ew 30-year-olds don't live at home" but because it'll probably be an even bigger setback than what you're dealing with now, and could affect your relationship with your parents. I think it's time to finally take care of the BIGGER, REAL problem, which is the way you deal with stress and how to stand up for yourself and be more assertive. No one likes confrontation, but you've wasted essentially YEARS of your life now avoiding dealing with things, and it probably feels terrible doesn't it?

Can you make a list/outline of what your ideal living situation would look like? If D.C. isn't cutting it and Sacramento isn't really great for long-term, where would you LIKE to be? West coast? Middle of the country? New England? People here have pointed out that if you move you'll still have problems, but I personally moved across the country from Atlanta to Washington state and it solved all the problems I thought it would, so hey--something to think about. ;-) What kind of job would you have? What are the hours, and what would the work be? What's your dream friend situation like--where do you hang out, how often, and what do you do together? What kind of Deaf community is important? What kind of other culture do you enjoy? Is an expensive place worth living in because of the attractions, or would you be okay living somewhere slower and chilling at home? How often would you see your family? How close would they be, physically? Maybe if you can picture your ideal situation, you can take the smaller steps to move closer to that. It seems like you've been kinda flinging yourself from one situation to another without a real goal other than leaving the prior situation--maybe doing something more intentional will have yield some better results.

And lastly, dubious_dude--I feel for you. Your questions are always so stressful and sad, and while life itself is stressful and sad, it doesn't have to be this bad. I don't mean this in a platitudes way but things COULD be worse, and someday they will be. You'll never be 32 again, you only get one chance. Live the life you want instead of letting the days pass you by! I am not saying it will be easy to make these changes, but it WILL be rewarding and you'll be so glad you did it, that I promise you. I know this apartment didn't solve the problems I thought it would, and I'm sorry about that, but if you look at the advice you've been given, and then the way you've chosen to take or not take that advice, you might see that some of the problems are unfortunately! You can fix you! <3
posted by masquesoporfavor at 1:06 PM on April 15, 2018 [18 favorites]

Wow. Very perceptive and helpful answers. Wanted to clarify on a few things:

a) If I were to do this, it would definitely not be permanent. Maybe a few months or something?
b) I know a few deaf people in Sacramento who said that if I moved back, they'd refer me to some job opportunities, so there's that.
c) I haven't made any plans or mentioned this to anyone, other than my good friend and Ask MetaFilter.
d) I did ask my roommate for bills, and he finally gave me 2 months worth of bills, but didn't give me the gas bill (said it was still pending). His overall approach is to take his time doing things, I guess. This does not mesh well with my needs.
e) I have a driver's license (some thought I didn't drive).
f) My previous question pointing to a possible apartment alone did not work out. The friends offering the place to me changed plans, so I was not able to occupy the unit.

With those clarification points out of the way, I'm re-thinking this now, based on your answers. I have been searching for a new place for the last few months in DC - alas, with a roommate, but I think part of the problem for this time was that time was of an essence - I was essentially rushed to find a place, so I didn't get a chance to talk with my roommate beforehand and "set the foundation" with him. Since then, I have visited a few places and made sure to ask many questions and try to connect with potential roommates. My next place may not be somewhere I'm living alone, but I'm going to try to find another temporary/6-month lease place and see from there if things improve and my anxiety decreases. If so, then it's possible this current roommate just didn't work out and fuse well with me. That also would give me time to search for a new job somewhere else, be it Sacramento or elsewhere.

I also wanted to share something kind of deep. The reason it's so hard for me to assert myself, make decisions, or confront problems/people is because of my parcopresis. Initially, I thought that my parcopresis was all about not being able to go #2 without anyone around - which it is, yes, but it's more than that. If a conflict comes up, I have to confront the person about that, and as it's a conflict, it can trigger my parcopresis and I'd "clam up", which is why my default mode is to avoid or try somehow to compromise. If conflicts happen, especially at home, then it's hard for me to go #2, even if nobody is around. If everything is okay/problem-free, it's easier for me to go. I hope that makes sense and gives some insight. Parcopresis is essentially more than just not being able to go #2 with people around, and because it's so obscure, it's hard to get support for. That has put me in a dark emotional spiral from time to time.

Money is also a big trigger point for me, which is why I'm so frustrated with my current roommate situation. I like things to be predictable and quickly/immediately fixed, and for there to be a clear picture. I saw a few "open NOW" mails for my roommate from the electricity company, which seemed to point to him not having paid the bills, and it does not help that he is messy and lazy and leaves the lights on all the time... it's just a continual trigger point for me, which is why I'm searching to move and find a better roommate. The place I lived at previously was very careful with bills, and we were all frugal-minded.

For therapy, I stopped seeing my therapist because MedicAid, which I had at the time, was discontinued for my case, and the therapist stopped checking in on me. The agency I went to was understaffed, so she had a lot on her caseload. I'm open to referrals to any deaf friendly therapists in the DC area. I still have the therapist's contact information, should I ever need it, though.
posted by dubious_dude at 1:15 PM on April 15, 2018

In addition to what everyone has already said, it bears remembering that the stressors you think you would be alleviating by taking “gap time”, you would place almost the entirety of this burden on your parents, who would have to figure out how to financially support you, transport you, and share their living space with you again.

You’re 32. They really shouldn’t have to do that except in the event of a genuine emergency (major health crisis, natural disaster, etc)—just like you would be significantly burdened if your parents decided that their lifestyle was too much right now, and decided to come to DC to move in with you! Imagine what you would have to do to accommodate that. This is what you’re asking of them.

I am not deaf, so I can’t fully understand the challenges that that presents to you. But all the other stuff—the loss of a family member (whom your parents also lost), the end of a friendship, a job that is going through a downturn, a mediocre roommate—are all pretty normal parts of life. It sucks when they happen concurrently in a pretty short period (the saying “It never rains but it pours” applies here) but at this age, you need to figure out how to deal with them in a way that doesn’t involve delegating your responsibilities to others.

Sometimes getting through a challenging time involves getting really granular and taking one day at a time, doing things that you genuinely enjoy, and knowing that each step you take moves you forward even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. This is a skill, and the sooner you work on developing it, the easier it will become in the future to meet, and get through, future challenges. When I was dealing with a period of upheaval like this at a similar age, I made a lot of to-do lists so that I could have concrete evidence that I was accomplishing things, and I took time every day to read a good book, take a soak in the tub, or other form of self-care. It helped to de-stress in the moment and it provided structure and a game plan.
posted by Autumnheart at 1:17 PM on April 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

Ok then it sounds like the parcopresis is the problem you need to get ultimately solved then! I'm not making light of the issue but as a hearing woman (I mention my sex because tbh I think women have internalized a lot more about how "gross" bodily functions are, which leads to bathroom standoffs) I DEFINITELY understand the fear, and you're sort of at an advantage here--since you aren't able to hear, you're missing out on some of the telltale "someone is pooping"/"somsone is coming" signs. Do you think that adds to the anxiety? And then on top of that, you're afraid someone will "catch" you, and you wouldn't have noticed? If so--what is the worst that happens? Someone walks in on you pooping and you have an awkward moment? That's...not even a problem, dude. Everyone (literally EVERYONE, it's even a book) poops. I know you know that and I get that we can't logic you out of this, and I also get that the problem is more than what it sounds like to me, a total stranger, but as an objective listener I have to tell you: this isn't a problem and you are your own worst enemy! Sometimes we make things out to be bigger in our heads but in real life they're not a big deal at all. Sometimes I get anxious about visiting a new restaurant because I don't know if you seat yourself, or where to stand when you go inside. Sometimes I look like a freakin' moron for 5 minutes while I figure out how the restaurant works! And guess what--no one cares! Maybe someone looks at me and says to their friend "haha, she's confused", but so what?! That doesn't affect my life and isn't my business. Honestly even if your boss walked in on you pooping--you wouldn't get fired, they wouldn't be surprised, and they wouldn't be offended. Someone walking in on you (which I know was a concern back at school) is awkward, yeah, but it's awkward on THEM, not you!

Anyway sorry to talk so much but this is just such a minor problem that has grown into a larger one, and it doesn't have to be like this. I promise you it doesn't.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 1:25 PM on April 15, 2018

And (so sorry for the double threadsit!), I forgot to add that I think part of the reason I'm having such a hard time coping now is because before our family dog died in 2016, I didn't have any major life events or death for a long time. Prior to my grandma, the last major/close family member who passed away was in 1998, and things were always fairly stable/predictable/consistent in my life. I got things "easy" and had everything work out (albeit with frustrations sometimes on my end, as my past questions probably reveal), so I guess I was kind of "spoiled" by having it kind of easy. Having all of those concurrent struggles now is definitely not something I'm too used to, hence the reason I wanted to "throw in the towel" and go home.
posted by dubious_dude at 1:26 PM on April 15, 2018

All the more reason to NOT throw in the towel and go home. For one thing, continuing to “have it easy”, by only having to deal with the burdens you choose to deal with, is not something adults get to do. If you don’t learn to deal with them now, when will you? When you’re 40? When something happens that is genuinely hard and drastically changes your life? The thing about dealing with these smaller challenges (bad boss, lousy roommate) is that they teach you how to handle them without needing to uproot your whole life and put everything on hold.

The bottom line is that, as a gainfully employed, independent adult in your 30s, you do not have the right to give that independence up and impose yourself on parents who have already done their job in raising you. You need to fend for yourself now. If you want your life to look different, you need to figure out the things you want and then build a plan for accomplishing them. You’re already on the verge of doing that by asking a question. But instead of asking how to get away from your problems, think about asking how to solve them.
posted by Autumnheart at 1:55 PM on April 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

Being messy and leaving the lights on is kind of a low level issue. When you live with other people, someone will always be doing something you don't like. If the bills are in his name, then let him take the hit on them being late. You have to understand that roommates != friends. If he stays out of your stuff and generally leaves you alone, it's not a bad situation.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 2:24 PM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Others have suggested a middle-path solution - you go home for a vacation rather than a permanent stay. I did something like that after a MAJOR major breakup when I was 22 - I was a mess, and I asked my parents if I could come visit and chill out for a bit. But - I only stayed for a WEEK, and that was about right; it was enough of a break for me to catch my breath, but not so long that it disrupted the rest of my life. I think getting away somewhere for just a week would be wise, but not a month-plus absence.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:29 PM on April 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm going to depart from the other comments in this thread by stating that your problems and your feelings about them are totally valid, and that it's unhelpful for other respondents to compare their own issues/lives to yours. The fact that you are asking this question means you do believe you have agency over your life, and I encourage you to explore that. I think also that this thread, and advice support forums in general, can overstate the amount of agency that we all have over our lives - there's some, but it's not complete, and a lot remains outside of our control.

That being said, I agree that the general advice being offered is sound - I just don't agree with the harsh, judgmental tone that so many people are taking. For that reason, I really think a relationship with an empathetic therapist is your best bet at this point.
posted by Tess at 2:39 PM on April 15, 2018 [5 favorites]

I too have been wondering how things ended up after the epic toilet paper fiasco. You moved! That's so great. It sounds like the new guy may be a bill-avoider but compared to last time, I would count my blessings, you know? Literally, the first thing I would do based on all your questions is sit down and write down all the things which are going well and have improved: ~science~ says it will improve your mental state. Could it actually be that despite a few sadly-part-of-life low-lights, you are getting better and better at getting yourself out of bad situations?

Anyway, just to add to the chorus, it sounds like this has been a rough few years for you. I get the temptation to curl up and have someone else bring you coffee every morning. But it doesn't sound like your parents are those people, and at the end of the day, you need to love and take care of yourself and be your own mom.

Something that stood out to me in a former post is that you are having a hard time connecting because you think of yourself as "vanilla". What do you love to do? Can you take a week off work and just -- do that? Can you fly back to Sac and spend a week with your friends doing that? If you aren't even sure what you like to do, could even make a schedule of things that sound generally nice: "10 AM, go out for a nice breakfast. 11:30 AM- hour of yoga on youtube. 1:00 PM- make myself a deluxe salad. 2 PM- to a coffeeshop to read a nice novel". I would use that week-long staycation "reset" to explore these passions and make them a part of your daily life. A routine shows you that you can depend on yourself.

For the poop stuff, I don't know if a comedy special could be that Come to God moment, but I would check out Ali Wong's Baby Cobra. Nobody likes to be caught pooping. You are not alone! I also think CBT might be helpful in dealing with some of the catastrophizing around this. I am not a therapist but people do tend to rec David Burn's Feeling Good so highly because it is an effective free-ish way to shut down some of the anxiety you seem to be facing.

Good luck, dubious dude. Your cheering section over here is hoping the next question is like: "how to manage your many friends? what is the healthiest vegetable? can your marriage be too happy?"
posted by athirstforsalt at 8:40 PM on April 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

In many places, Medicaid uses an 8-12 week therapy model. Just because your coverage was discontinued previously, that doesn't mean you're not eligible for it now. Since many of your difficulties seem to involve anxiety, looking into your current therapy options (whether through Medicaid, or via work insurance, or using sliding-scale programs in and around D.C.) would be worthwhile. (In seeking a Deaf-friendly practitioner, the Psychology Today therapist finder tool lets you choose "ASL" under language options, along with tailoring your search for treatment focus and other concerns. Then you can email potential therapists to assess fit. Contacting your previous therapist for a referral is also an option.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:33 PM on April 16, 2018

OK, I'm going to chime in as someone who actually did a variation on what you're proposing when I was 30. My life circumstances were different (I'm not Deaf and I don't have parcopresis though I had some undiagnosed health issues, I actually lost my job, and my parents were happy to have me move home for a while), but a lot of things were the same: namely, I'd just gone through a period of extreme turmoil and I badly needed to hit the "reset" button.

Honestly, it was a mistake. It put a lot of stress on my relationship with my parents, which actually took several years afterwards to recover from. I thought it was just going to be a few months, but it took me longer than expected to find a new job, and it wound up being for over half a year. And I sometimes wonder if it took me longer because I was at home, and didn't have as much of a fire under me to get out there and hustle.

What that experience did teach me was that, as others have said, once you're an adult you really can't go home again. I was thinking it'd be like when I used to go home for the weekend in my twenties to rest and recover, but if you're an adult living with your parents, well, you're an adult. Living with your parents doesn't change that. Part of being an adult is figuring out ways to decompress and manage stress/anxiety/turmoil within your own life. In the long term, maybe that means plotting a career change or development that will allow you to have your own apartment.* In the short term, maybe that means finding some way to see a good Deaf-friendly therapist, or using exercise or a hobby to manage your stress.

Could you find other ways your family could support you? Maybe you call your mom and say "hey, I'm really struggling with losing both our dog and grandma, can we talk about it?" Maybe you ask them to pay, or help you pay, for therapy. Maybe you take a two-week vacation and visit them.

Finally, are you making use of all the benefits you have from your job? It might not pay well, but universities usually have pretty good benefits. Like vacation time (you sound like you could use one!). Or can you access campus mental health services? Or is there an Employee Assistance program you can use to help you find a therapist that you can afford?

* As a few others have said, your roommate sounds pretty much within the "annoying but not bad" range for roommates. So ideally, you'd find a way to live with someone like that that wasn't harmful to your emotional and physical health. But some people are just not cut out for roommates, for whatever reason. If that's you, then it may make more sense for you to work towards a career that pays you enough to live alone.
posted by the sockening at 3:57 PM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Just in case you don't already know about it, the DC Center for Independent Living offers services across many different types of disabilities. One of their core service is housing referral - maybe they could help you find a new place to live and/or a more congenial roommate.
posted by metahawk at 7:26 PM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

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