How to put the weight of these feelings into words was the hardest challenge, but I feel like it’s not talked about enough.
When you graduate, everyone tells you that there are so many open doors. Technically, with a degree there are many and everyone makes you feel like the world is your oyster. The plan is to continue your education or get a full-time job. That’s always been part of growing up and starting life. That euphoric feeling is hopeful.
What no one tells you is that everyone is going at their own pace and everyone is going to be at different points in life once you graduate and almost immediately. No one really talks about how it’s full of twists and turns and hardly ever goes exactly how you want it. For me, it was an awkward situation. As I was traveling abroad on and off throughout the summer, it was hard for me to find time to interview and be able to work immediately and I wanted to start working so I could still live in Southern California. I even kept applying for jobs during my trips with my family which made them less enjoyable, and I barely felt present. I applied to a shitload of places and got rejected from most of them. I had very little interviews. Even during my part-time job, I was preoccupied with finding a full-time one. I also started to compare myself to others on social media who seemed like they had more success in getting hired and starting their careers. The anxiety was consuming and I started to lose hope.
I fell into a very negative state of mind and as I began to feel extremely stressed and worried, that energy effected my personal relationships. I started to have a negative view on everything most of the time. I always found something to complain about and couldn’t bring myself to focus on the good. I picked arguments with family members. I wasn’t good energy when I went out with my friends. Even my long-term romantic relationship came to an end. I felt like all the things I believed to be constant in my life were suddenly changing and not for the better. It was absolutely consuming and I didn’t know when the anxiety would end. All at once and for the first time, I felt completely and utterly helpless and unimportant.
If I could tell myself back then one thing, it would be this: To Calm The Fuck Down.
My stepfather sent me a note he read over and over again when he fell into a similar state of mind a few years ago and it somewhat helped shift my perspective. To sum it up, the note said this:
When you are lost in worry, it is easy to mistake your worries for reality, instead of recognizing that they are just thoughts. It’s only when you fight infinite battles of yesterday and tomorrow that over complicates your life. If you can fix a problem, fix it. If you can’t, then accept it and change your thoughts about it. The meaning of everything in your life has precisely the meaning you give it. Happiness is letting go of what you assume your life is supposed to be like right now, and sincerely appreciating it for everything it is. You have enough. You do enough. Being positive isn’t ignoring the negativity, it’s overcoming it. Life is too short. Count your blessings and value the people you love. You are not what happened to you. You are what you choose to become in this moment. Let go and begin.
Now, with a full-time job finally lined up, the pressure eased up so much more and I started to feel hopeful again. More recently, I started doing the things I liked again. I started to go out more and reach out to friends I hadn’t talked to in a long time. I never thought I would feel as low as I did. Thankfully, my family helped me through it and thankfully, I have great supporting friends. I realized I had everything I needed and that’s a blessing. It’s hard to get into a better mindset when everything seems like it’s falling apart. It’s hard to embrace change when you least want it. I wish I could tell myself back then to just stop and breathe. I wish I hadn’t treated the important people in my life so poorly when I was overwhelmed. I wish for a lot of things, but what’s important is to focus on the now. The only way to heal is to shift your perspective. I hope this helps anyone who feels like they’re in the same boat. Always remember, you’re not alone and even if you don’t have everything you want, you may have everything you need.