Panic

So I think I had an actual panic attack last night.

I know that’s a terrible greeting after having ignored this blog for months and months but I need to get some thoughts down and this is the only place I can think to do it. Bear with me folks.

Now I am fairly certain that I’ve not previously had an experience like what I had last night. What started as just some eye-rolling at my Mother telling me (not for the first time) to give some thought to possible careers as I got in my car to drive home after a four day holiday to Centre Parcs, spiraled down over the evening into increasingly louder thoughts of incompetence and uselessness and “what the fuck am I even doing with my life?” until it all came to a rather scary culmination of me sobbing and hyperventilating as I rocked on my bathroom floor. By some freak chance I managed to calm myself down eventually by running my hands through my hair repeatedly. This was a bit of a surprise to me as I hadn’t realised just how soothing I found it – clearly my hair-twirling all these years has been a self-soothing mechanism for when I’m feeling stressed or antsy.

Before I went up to bed yesterday I had been pottering about on my laptop (4 day separation made for a lot of catch-up time) and saw on Facebook a video that had been posted by my ex-boyfriend of him filming in Jamaica for the travel agency that he now works for. Out of some weird curiosity I watched this video and then got probably more angry than I had reason to be – I was finding so many things about him so fucking annoying, like his voice, his mannerisms, his unnecessary vehemence that his “man-bag” was not a handbag (seriously why emphasise that of all things?). I then started thinking about other things which really angered me about him Β – like the fact that in the 3 years we were together he had never considered reading the Harry Potter books even though he knew I adored them and he fucking owned 4 of them yet hadn’t read them because he thought they seemed boring. But only a few months after we split I remembered seeing on FB that he’d read the 5th book and I was inordinately pissed off by that. Who does that? But that is kind of besides the point.

This anger was not entirely aimed at the Ex but in part at myself. I am so frustrated sometimes at how little progress I’ve made in some aspects of my life since I was 18 or 19. I am one of the only people out of the friendship group I was in during Sixth Form who doesn’t have a degree, I don’t really have a clear plan for my professional future – fuck I don’t dare admit to anyone in my real life what I’d really like to do is fulfill the ambition of my seven-year-old self and become an author. Technically I am already a writer but that still doesn’t make me an author – that will require me to actually get published and that’s the scary bit to which I’d need to really commit myself. I felt like such a failure for being almost 25 and still not having settled on a career path or got a full-time permanent job which could become a career.

I can’t deny that I am really fucking lucky right now to be in a relationship with a fantastic guy who is so supportive it’s unreal. Soon I’ll have been with Le Boyf for longer than I was with the Ex although it does already feel like years longer. I moved in with Le Boyf after less than six months and we bought a house the following year. I’ve been living with him longer than anyone other than my family which is kinda crazy when you think about it. But I am not contributing financially to this situation – yes I pitched in on the deposit for the house but I’m not on the deeds or mortgage. Currently the only income I have is from the few days of work I do for my mother each month to cover the finance admin work for her company along with my sister. I am more than capable of doing that job and it would save my mother a whole load of hassle in having to search for someone and train them if I just said I would do it permanently. But it’s the kind of tedious office job that would bore the fucking life out of me if I had to do it everyday for more than a few months. I don’t want to be an accountant like my parents, I just don’t want to do it and no amount of financial incentive will motivate me to actually care and try to do a job I’m not interested in.

So right now I feel like a fucking sponge, living off my boyfriend’s wage and goodwill. While he has said that he would be happy for me to try and write full-time – at least to get my novel to a point where I could start querying agents with it – I know that he wouldn’t be completely happy for me to carry on like that for the next 2-5 years. While he can support both of us with just his wage I know full well that he’d appreciate it if I actually had something to contribute to maintaining our situation beyond my sporadic efforts at chores (that has been a real issue with me during the last few months). I don’t do enough and we both know it. I am hideously selfish and oblivious to things that need doing around the house far too often and Le Boyf won’t say anything until it builds up to the point he’s so irritated by it that he stops talking for half a day and then I actually twig to what a piece of shit I’ve been.

My fears that Le Boyf will eventually just get so fed up of my flaky home habits that he’ll just give up on me fed into my anger and frustration at myself for still not having a clue about what I want to do with my life outside of my relationship, my bitterness that everyone I went to school with seems to have their shit together and have actual goals and plans for their future, my dread that every day that I’m not looking for a job or thinking about looking for one is another day that I’m disappointing my mother and letting down everyone who is supporting me, my terror that even if I do finish writing my book and actually edit it that no one other than Jess and Le Boyf will want to read it and my childish dream of becoming an author is just a pointless impossibility. All of that was blaring in my head as I tried not to wake up Le Boyf with my crying last night.

I feel so out of control of my life right now. And it scares me shitless. I am not happy in myself at the moment and I don’t really know what to do about it.

This post has been rather a mess of a lot of emotions and personal craziness so if you have made it this far, thank you. I’m now going to go take a shower and do some colouring to calm myself down a bit.

Hopefully the next time I post here it won’t be about me having another meltdown.

Ray

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5 thoughts on “Panic

  1. To me it sounds like you had an existential crisis there, which isn’t at all fun. I think you’re being a bit hard on yourself, not that I really know much about your situation other than what you’ve written here, which is stressing you out and making it difficult to do things like the chores which have further got other ‘bad’ connotations and such built around them.

    Lists help a lot when you’re in an existential crisis; sitting down and writing down not only the things you want to do, but the steps you need to do to get there. Break everything down, make it seem easy, and see what gets you excited – that’s what you should be doing.

    I’ve had my fair share of these future related angsts (that have, more often than not, made me spiral into a depressive state) and it is hard! It’s hard to do anything nevertheless things that need doing. This post is definitely a step in the right direction though; you know what’s happening to you and what’s gone wrong which, in my opinion, is the hardest part of all, now you just need to figure out what to do with this new information!

    Don’t forget to take the time to breathe!

    Janna x

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  2. This sounds like me about a year ago. I had graduated from uni a year previous and had not been able to find any work. In fact I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with my life and was really worried over the fact that I had spent 3 years and a lot of money at uni only to graduate and realise that I didn’t actually want a career in that subject.
    I worked 2 shifts a week at my dads bar and the rest of the time I was hiding away at home. I never went out, I never had any money (so was basically living off my parents which I felt really bad about) and all the things that I used to love to do (reading, blogging, writing) I was very slowly starting to hate. It all reached a peak about August last year when like you I had a bit of a melt down/panic attack and realised that something wasn’t right. And realising this, was for me the first step towards sorting myself out, which is exactly what this post can be for you!
    I finally admitted to myself and my parents that I didn’t want a career in Media (what I did my degree in) and figured out what it is that I actually want to do now. It took a little bit of time but I managed to get myself a full time job in admin. Like with you and the accounting it is not something I want to do full time and I don’t love it. But it gives me the money and the routine that I needed to get out of my slump. Plus it has paid for me to do some courses in Proofreading, Editing and Copy Editing which puts me one step closer to a career in something I am actually interested in. I have also found that now I am a lot more happy in my life that I am feeling more inspired to write and blog again.
    I’m not going to pretend that I am a professional and give you advice because everyone gets out of these slumps in different ways. I found that talking to my family really helped me, they were totally supportive and were a big part of getting me out of my slump. I also found that getting myself a full time job (even though it’s not a job that I love) really helped me as it got me out and living my life again, which led to me meeting my boyfriend in March of this year πŸ™‚
    The best thing to remember is you are not the only one who has been through this, and that you can pull yourself out of it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be scared to admit what it is you want to do with your life. If you want to be a lion tamer in the circus then you go for it!
    Hopefully things will get a bit better for you soon, and I’m always around for a chat if you ever need someone to equally as confused by life to talk to πŸ™‚

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  3. Hiya Ray, I’ve literally only just started following you on Twitter because I noticed that you’re a fellow book blogger and well you just seemed like someone I would get on great with.

    Coming onto your blog and reading this post of yours was like a breath of fresh air, finally someone who seems to understand and is going through what I am too.

    Okay so I am only 20 years old and slightly different circumstances of living at home still and being single, but from what you’re describing here is the exact feelings I’ve been having.

    With regards to being “off course” compared to my friends is the big one, I mean my friends have just finished second year and I’m working in a supermarket that I hate. Having tried university and dropping out, I feel at times that things are passing me by and I can’t keep up. But saying that I’ve become more focussed on what I want.

    I would like someday to have involvement in the publishing industry, the dream of writing a book looms in the air but I’m not quite ready for that. I’m about to start Open University (which I can see that you’re already a student!), it would be great to talk to you about it if you would like to do so too πŸ™‚

    What I wanted to say before I rudely thrown my life story at you, is that I can relate to the lost feeling of finding my way in life and having to rely on others to support me. You know what though? That’s okay, I mean clearly you have people who love you and will help you out no matter what. You’re going to complete your degree, find a job that’s worthwhile and not mind-numbing and become a writer. I believe it and I don’t even know you, it’s because you seem determined and yes some bumps will suddenly throw you back into thinking “I can’t do this.” It’s only natural, we all have doubts but if you really want it you’ll do it because you can πŸ™‚

    Anyway I’m surprised I haven’t hit a word limit haha, if you would like to chat to me about anything and everything then please do πŸ™‚ my twitter is @startingtospark πŸ™‚

    Best wishes,

    Emma x

    Emma

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  4. Hi–I just wanted to chime in and say that it was really helpful for me to read this. I’m in a similar situation right now, and it helps to know others have been and or going through something similar. All I can say is persist! I hope you’re in a more positive mindset right now πŸ™‚

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  5. This is a really brave post to share and I hope that it took a huge weight off of your shoulders to write it. I find that blogging about my mental health and associated problems always helps, massively.
    I guess what I wanted to say to you is that you are not alone AT ALL. I feel exactly the same way about my life and what a failure I am compared to those around me. I have no job, have wild dreams of becoming a published author and constantly find myself wondering why people aren’t just shoving me out on the doorstep and telling me to get a job and sort my life out.
    I think a lot of people get to their early twenties and suddenly think ‘shit’. When I was younger I had this wild notion that by 20 I would be engaged, have my own house, an amazing job and have my life sorted. And it scares me that this hasn’t happened – of course my childhood was overly optimistic but there is so much pressure on us to be SOMETHING and own STUFF and be adults. And I think that scares a lot of people our age when we feel that we’re nowhere near that stage in life.
    Something that helps me when I get into a panic about life and the future is to make lists and putting stuff down on paper helps me a lot. It might not be the same for everyone but I know that lists can be really therapeutic and can almost give you a different perspective on your problems as they’re no longer inside you, they’re in front of you on paper.
    Also, if you do find yourself starting to spiral into really negative thinking then don’t be afraid to talk to your GP :). I spoke to mine and he diagnosed me with depression and anxiety which I didn’t think I had. But being able to label it and having support from doctors and therapists is really helpful. But enough of my life story! I hope you are feeling much better πŸ™‚ and remember you’re not alone!

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