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Anxiety not just part of growing up


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Newbie here, feeling really alone with my anxiety and depression and just hoping to connect.

I've dealt with anxiety and depression all of my life. I knew I had some brain chemistry issues, but also spent most of my life thinking "these are growing pains. I'll learn to cope with life one day soon and then my life will be everything I wished."

Fast-forward to today, I'm 29. I have been blessed with a very loving husband. When he swept me off my feet at 25, a lot of my depression and anxiety was masked by the bold excitement of new love. I thought maybe i'd outgrown mental illness, as it certainly mellowed in certain ways (haven't been hospitalized in about 15 years).

My husband and I married this summer and I relocated to a new city for his school, a city he chose because of my ties to and preference for it. But living here, I find the ties I had from years ago are broken, people are not responding to my emails, and I can't find a job because my social anxiety makes me a terrible networker. The fact that reaching out to former friends and colleagues asking for friendship and job leads has led to radio silence makes me feel like the only answer must be that I am a person. (there are three of them, who i knew for about two years when I lived in this city previously.) I have family nearby who ask to see me, but they are very "cookie cutter" and the pressure to put on a happy face despite the humiliation of not working is too much, so I hide at times. 

In general I leave the house pretty much only for groceries, unless I am with my husband. The world scares me. I feel very uncomfortable and awkward around people, like they can see my anxiety and my failure to find work and my general weirdness. I have looked at meetups.com and added friend making apps, but just looking at them makes my heart drop because I imagine telling people I'm unemployed, with a husband who is an unemployed full time student, and just feeling people's pity or disgust. I've had  many life circumstances challenge my trust in others, and coupled with my worrying nature I feel myself drifting further and further from civilization, my self worth below the ground about not working and not being able to enjoy my "newlywed" status as I know I'd aught to, because I have no one outside my partner to share life with and no money to go take art classes or join a gym as I might do if i had any. 

how do I change the path of my life so I don't become an un-trusting, bitter old woman? I don't drink, I don't like pop music, and despite craving friendship- i honestly don't feel drawn to many people. I need someone dependable, but also intelligent and with a light side...sides that I think I have with my husband, and hope to share with a friend.

Does anyone have advice? I have been on and off meds my entire life, and they have caused a lot of problems for me so I tend toward skepticism about them. anxiety and depression are strong now though. It's been years since I've had this perfect storm of insomnia, sleeping from 3a-1pm, waking up feeling like a column of bricks and wondering the point of taking my pjs off, binge watching the crown, and repeating. my husband loves me but he has moderate depression and trauma history as well, so sometimes it feels we collude on this or just agree that we are miserable rathr than validating or lifting each other up. i have had a lot of anger at him for this, but after a lot of reflection, my anger at him is mostly just due to my own depression. please tell me your experiences, what has helped you, etc. Or we could just have a friendly correspondence...my interests are cats, folk art, mermaids, poetry, british period dramas, social justice and feminism, the ocean, etc.

 

thank you for hearing me

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I have been in your shoes many times during my life.   What initially got me out of this cycle was setting small goals whether it be walking around the block, re-organizing my entire closet, making my bed, or giving the bathroom floors a good mopping! It made the impossible feel possible.  I later signed myself up for volunteer work, odd jobs, and eventually landed a full-time job - I gained a sense of normalcy, I started to connect with people, and I stopped having anxiety regarding finances.  Just having a steady routine kept me from spiraling out of control (I had developed some terrible coping skills and habits).  Suddenly, I had responsibilities.  And though this can sometimes be stressful, it doesn't compare to the life I had living as a recluse. 

Networking is great but if your friends and colleagues have gone silent perhaps it's time to venture out on your own.  Look at job listings, maybe start with volunteer work, attend book/poetry readings, head to the ocean and just explore.  Do what gives you any modicum of happiness and quiets the negative thoughts and self-doubt in your head.   Something new that I've been trying to do lately is re-connecting with my family and attending those awkward social gatherings which I've always hated.  Sometimes you have to challenge yourself because you know it's good for you.  If I can do all this, I know you can too!! :)

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