Tag Archives: anxiety

The Thing About Growing Up That They Don’t Tell You in School

Somehow, I’m turning 31 in two months. Wasn’t I just turning 30? Wasn’t I just turning 21? And all that time I had the thought implanted in my head that I was so ahead of so many others because I had a career and didn’t have kids or a husband of my own to get in the way. Those come later – like, once you’re old enough to really have a kid and a husband. I don’t know when. Just later.

With the exception of a few women I grew up with and know who are my age, most have at least one child by now. Many have two. God help me when they start on their third and I’m still not married yet. I’m just in this mega rut. Why can’t I focus at my job? Why can’t I believe in myself enough to get another job? I just feel like I’m living all of this life for absolutely nothing. Of course one needs a job and money to have kids, so there is that. But I don’t know about how to go about a life where I both want to be a mother and be a working woman… when I don’t even really want to work… and I don’t even really want to not work.

I don’t enjoy sitting around on my ass all day doing nothing, despite being awfully talented at it. But I also don’t enjoy spending my life trapped in corporate hell tearing my body apart with stress to promote some product that often times isn’t very good in the first place, so someone else can likely get rich off of it. This is life I know, and a very privileged one at that, and I should stop complaining. But suddenly those stars on shows like Teen Moon and 16 & Pregnant seem to have it all figured out. Meanwhile I’m just wasting away with no purpose. Woe is me, I know. But it makes me so depressed. It makes it hard to do anything at all. And I can’t believe I lost a really good job because I spent too much time worrying about wasting away my life. Well, now I’m wasting away my life and I’m not making any money. That’s not really any better, is it?

I’ve done good work before, I have. But every interview I have is filled with little white lies. They often get called out. I lean on my improv training to bs this or that. I know that I shouldn’t be hired. I worry about not being able to fulfill the job responsibilities. I worry about starting work and then it going so well that I put off having a family for another few years until it’s too late. And no job is really going to be better than my last one… I had such a great opportunity and I blew it. The company wasn’t perfect but no company is. I am the one who blew it. And now I have to deal with the repercussions.

Yes, I’m getting interviews, or at least a couple of them. One this morning I wanted to just stop in the middle and excuse myself from the application process because I just don’t have work samples to support all those things I had to say I’ve done before to get the interview in the first place.  Then the one company that really wants to hire me wants me for the most senior role of all, one I’m ill equipped to succeed in, one that I want but one that I want in about 10 years when I’m actually ready for it and by then god willing I’ll have two children and won’t want to spend all my time in upper management and never see my kids.

Part of me wants to just apply and hopefully get some basic administrative role. It won’t pay as well at all and I haven’t been that great at administrative work previously, but maybe now I’d at least appreciate it more. I just wish I had someone to talk to about all this, someone who could provide good advice but also who isn’t delusional about my actual abilities. I just feel like everything is falling apart, no more than normal except the slowly draining bank account, but I just can’t deal with it all. So I get further depressed. I start thinking about how lovely it would just be to disappear right now because no matter what I’m going to fail.

I understand from the outside that sounds dramatic but it’s reality. People want to hire people who can come up with things to do and get them done. I can’t do the first part. I have no confidence. My parents taught me to doubt myself every possible instant I could, and I still do. I wish I knew what it was like to feel confident, like I could be successful, like I deserved anything at all that I have. But all I feel is hopeless. Incompetent and hopeless and miserable. So what I wonder is, what is there that I can do where I can make some kind of money to survive and also consistently offer value to an organization? Is there anything I can do? Is there anything I won’t mess up?

Is it Impostor Syndrome or Just ADHD Reality?

Another interview, another scrunching up my face in horror at something all too honest that I say as I’m asked about my experience and weaknesses. But let’s be real – if I were a hiring manager for most of these jobs I would not hire me. The few that don’t see this during the interview process – the only ones who would ever offer me an opportunity – are inexperienced in hiring or somehow unable to see the truth. It’s not just impostor syndrome, I’m just not that intelligent or reliable. Occasionally I have a brilliant idea and execute well, but most of the time I just get super anxious and waste time because I’m too scared to make decisions. Sometimes I come to work late because I’m depressed and have trouble getting out of bed. I can’t multi-task because having too many things to do at once and too many decisions to make equals one very stressed out and unproductive me. This thread really says it all.

So how am I supposed to convince anyone to hire me? I just look around at all of my peers in the business world and most of them just have their shit together. Some are really smart and able to get stuff done like superheros. Others are just able to execute really well, communicate goals and exceed them. All of this, others say, one can learn to do. Anyone can be on top of their shit. Anyone can learn process and get stuff done. Anyone can make decisions, test ideas and pick the best ones to continue with. Anyone can do this – except I can’t. I just can’t.

I don’t know where to go from here. Even starter interviews for junior-level positions somehow seem to end with “you’re not experienced enough.” That is after 10 years in the workforce. I’m not making this up. And it’s true — I have such a smattering of experiences but no one solid skillset that fits any job description. Ultimately it doesn’t matter anyway because if I did get a job I’d just end up disappointing them. I really don’t know what to do.

I am fortunate in that I have a good amount of savings to survive on for a little while, but eventually I need to get a job. Junior level roles, if I could get one, often require more of the detail-oriented work that I’m bad at due to my ADHD. But senior level roles still require the ability to be detail-oriented and set bigger picture strategy while ensuring the day-to-day gets done.

Interviewing is awful. I’m sure it’s wonderful for people like my friend who are just so good at what they do and know it. Everyone who interviews him falls in hiring love because he’s just professionally perfect, from his Ivy degree to his experience and contributions to all his companies along the way. I’m happy for him, and for my other friends who are doing well professionally, but also jealous, jealous because that will never be me. I can maybe fake it for a month or two but it won’t last.

This is why I think I really should leave business… but I’m not sure what else out there I can do. I feel like somehow I have a bit of intelligence inside my crazy distracted head but that’s worthless with all of this anxiety and inability to execute. To whom this may concern, please don’t hire me, I’m a hot mess.

 

Mental Health Care: Expensive even with insurance

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I suffer with a mishmash of mental illnesses. For those who don’t — my list of diagnosed errors of the brain includes major depression, bipolar (II) disorder, generalized anxiety, ADHD, social anxiety, narcissistic personality disorder, among other, non-diagnosed yet still symptomatic crazies. Despite wanting to get through life without help for years, I’ve been in and out of therapy. Also, due to these illnesses and disorders, I’ve been in and out of jobs – which makes spending a ton on mental health treatment not the wisest.

This year I thought I had the good fortune of health coverage that would actually cover a reasonable amount of my weekly psychotherapy sessions. It would still be expensive, mind you, but after hitting the $500 deductible (that’s less than a month of weekly sessions) my outpatient therapist would cost just 30% of her total billing rate. Except, it turns out, that’s not true at all. It would be impossible to know this in advance of submitting a claim based on the way the health insurance benefits are explained. Apparently only $77 is considered a reasonable cost for a therapist visit, and the other $53 per appointment doesn’t even count towards the deductible. Continue reading

Floating with The Fault in Our Unemployed Stars

Despite purchasing a Kindle last year for my trip to Thailand, I hadn’t gotten around to using it for much beyond travel guides until this recent period of unemployment. Between then and now I’ve downloaded a library of inconsistently-themed books on a whim, since books are much cheaper to impulse buy and excuse oneself for at the sake of becoming literate and literary.

Given I tend to shop to offset the feelings surrounding negative occurrences in my life, I downloaded a few more books at Amazon’s suggestion hoping that I’d get through all of them and be able to say I had accomplished reading more in a few weeks than I had in the last 30 years. Instead, for the most part, these books are just collecting pixel dust on virtual bookshelves.

In two weeks of unemployment I’ve forced myself through 50% of the historical fiction tale The Daughters of Mars which, in all of its historical accuracy about being an Australian army nurse in World War I, hasn’t quite aroused my speed reading chip. Another book I downloaded on a whim — The Fault in Our Stars — seemed like a wise trade in honor of the accomplishment of getting half way through the other book – a quick-read, tragic young adult novel where the main character — a 16 year old girl from Indiana — has stage IV lung cancer and spends the book living and dying simultaneously while being as normal a teenager one can be while living and dying respectively simultaneously. I figured I’d read the book before one day soon watching the movie on an airplane.

Continue reading

On Being an Overly Sensitive Potentially Bipolar Person

At 11am, I glanced around looking for any possible way to escape – not the room – but my life. My heart was heavy with a twisted mixture of sadness and anxiety. By 3pm I had regained my composure. At 4 I felt empowered and free, like I was given a jolt of confidence in the form of a crown and I was ready to rule the world. By 6 I felt hopeless again, miserable, and unable to lift my spirits.

There is clearly something very wrong with my moods. I just often get so overwhelmed that every little thing effects me so strongly. It’s distracting and keeps me from being happy and/or productive at times, and I’d like to somehow change this about myself. But I honestly can’t. You know people say just stop being so paranoid or anxious, just stop thinking so much, just change the way you think about things and you’ll be fine. It’s not so easy. Continue reading

GSD with Anxiety & ADHD (AKA Not GSD with ADHD)

After bawling my eyes out at my weekly therapist’s appointment due to just way too many first-world stressors going on in my life, we discussed what was really bothering me most — my inability to prioritize tasks. People with ADHD are known for being creative yet unable to accomplish seemingly simple projects because they just can’t break down larger projects into smaller tasks and then prioritize these tasks.

So my therapist asked me to picture all of my projects at hand as different airplanes flying into an airport, and for me to be the flight deck controller determining which one needs to land first. She asked — which can you help land while you let the others circle until you are ready for them? That was a terribly hard question to answer. I couldn’t just pick one and ignore the others. My mind had to actually start going through every single step and potential issue that might occur for each “plane” and seemed more satisfied running through the problems than settling on the project that needed to actually be done first.

Continue reading

Massively, Massively Overwhelmed.

Life is good right now, so why can’t I let myself enjoy it? I have a new job, a new apartment with my not-so-new boyfriend, I’m moving up in the world, I’m excited about all the opportunities on the table, and yet I can’t just pause to relax and enjoy the present. I can’t take a week to just stop and reset. Instead, I feel like I have to close a thousand loose ends at my old company. At some point I guess I just need to walk away. But that’s hard for me. I know any projects I leave unfinished will remain that way. I like completion.

So how do I stop being so damn anxious all the time and just learn to enjoy life? It goes by fast and I’m watching it blur before my eyes. I want to take two weeks to go on a road trip and not have to worry about work or think about work projects, but unfortunately that won’t be possible as I start my new job pretty much right away. I don’t know when the next time I’ll have any real time off between projects will be. Probably when (if) I have a kid, and that certainly won’t be time to hit the road and drive to anywhere. This is it. This is really my 30s. This is feeling all the opportunity in the world as a pressure pushing down on me, trapping me, yet allowing me to fly. Continue reading

There’s Logic to this Depression

I hate making every other post about my mental health situation (you don’t believe me, do you?), but everything seems to tie back to that these days. Some spans of time are better than others, but overall this deep sense of panic is inescapable. I’m not being overly dramatic, it is just what I’m feeling at the moment. So I write about it. It’s better than some other ways to deal with it, anyway.

That said, I could focus on doing things like meditating — recommended to me by both my doctor and therapist — to help calm down and feel centered — but ultimately I’m just grabbing at loose ends here. So I’m depressed. Clearly. I’m just lost. On the days that end in massive amounts of tears and gasping for air, looking for a way out, I just try, to the best of my ability, to pull the pieces together and give myself the positive reinforcement required to shut my eyes, clear my head, and face another day. It’s not that bad, but then it is. You know?

Turning 30 has been harder than I expected for me. Besides the whole biological clock – going-to-be-really-really-hard-to-have-kids-thanks-PCOS – situation, I’ve run into some new medical issues. Nothing life-threatening so far, knock on wood, but things that seem to swing into play at a certain age and genetic disposition. Not to be all TMI (isn’t that the point of this blog) but my mother and grandmother have GERD and apparently I now have it too (if you don’t know what that is and really want to know, be my guest and look it up, but anyway it’s not fun. A whole new diet and a pill should help.) Yeay for being/getting old* (*not to offend anyone older than 30! Trust me I’ll be there soon as well.) Continue reading

Happiness Versus Fear of Uncertainty and the Depersonalization Effect

Taking off next to another plane this morning, I gazed out the window watching our planes part in opposite directions across a perfectly clear sky. The view was spectacular. I fly a lot, but there was something extra magical about the colors today, the light pouring over San Francisco, tinting the Golden Gate Bridge extra golden, the Pacific Ocean twinkling so bright it seemed as though despite the gain in altitude I could still reach out and touch it until our flight made its final turn to the east.

I love to wake up in the morning wrapped in the arms of my boyfriend, his gentle smile, and pull around me in a warm hug drifting in and out of consciousness. I’m very excited about moving in with him and starting our – adult – life together. As terrified as I am about the future, I finally feel ready for the next steps, whatever they may be. Living with my boyfriend, getting married, trying to have kids, maybe having one or two — being two months into 30 I definitely feel a change in my perception of the world and what I want.

Continue reading

Dealing with Severe Anxiety

I’ve suffered with anxiety all of my life — perhaps the result of an overly-anxious mother and a very angry father — but never have I had such physical reactions to this anxiety. Usually I can go about my day fine and only feel anxiety when I’m dealing with a specific situation. But at the moment I have this deep rooted anxiety that I’m pretty sure is trying to murder me from the inside out. It’s intense, and I don’t know what to do about it.

So many stressful situations are colliding right now. My company is struggling. My colleagues are quitting. I have potential opportunities but all of them require negotiating and trying to pick the right one. I may lose $20,000 in early exercised stock options. I have to move out by April 1. Every apartment that I can find requires at least a $200 per month increase in rent, and for 1 bedrooms comparable in quality to my existing 3 bedroom it would be more like a $400 a month increase in rent. My boyfriend’s limit on his part of the rent is $850 and most 1 bedrooms that are nice around here go for $2000-$2200. So then I’d be paying $1150-$1350 a month. I pay $650 today! — Meanwhile the stock market isn’t doing well. I poured $4000 of pre-tax money into my 401k on Jan 15, when my total networth was at $257k, and now it’s down to $248k. So — on paper — I lost almost $10k in half a month. It could go back up, but it can also keep going down. And I’m freaking out.

Continue reading