My anxiety was getting out of control. I would sit for hours trying to work, but instead, jumped from one article to the next, consuming The Whole Internet rather than tackling the task in front of me. I was super isolated, and felt really insecure about my intellect. What if I’m just not intelligent enough to do this? is a thought I had every day.
At the time, I was really lacking support. I lost myself in a relationship with a partner who wanted to spend every moment together, but couldn’t talk to me in any great depth. My partner wanted all the fun parts, the parts of me that folded well into his life, but was so unable to communicate about the state of the union that it bordered on deception; he would say just enough for me to stay, but couldn’t meet me to have the conversations every adult relationship needs. It made me feel really drained, unfulfilled, and frankly, lonely. My best friends, or chosen family as I like to call them, felt both literally and figuratively far away, as we entered into the I-never-see-my-people-because-they’re-too-busy-being-amazing phase our lives. I would work contracts with companies I knew weren’t the right fit, but couldn’t seek out the work I really wanted until I finished my damned thesis. My whole life felt overwhelming, like I just couldn’t gather the pieces.
Which is what brought me to a psychiatrist in the summer of 2015. Now, navigating this with a psychiatrist is like a choose-your-own-adventure where all roads lead to Prozac. I should emphasize that I completely respect one’s decision to go on anti-depressants. Full stop. It didn’t, however, feel right for me at the time. I just wasn’t coping. I felt scattered. Which felt somehow different; I didn’t feel hopeless about my life, I could see exactly what I needed to do to be whole again. The life I wanted was there, grazing my fingertips, but I just couldn’t quite grab it. I just needed to design my life better. Over the years, I had built hacks to get around my lack of organization, tricked myself into productivity. But my usual strategies weren’t working. And in the face of my seemingly endless Master’s thesis, unsatisfying work, fragmented social connections, and an unsupportive relationship, everything was falling apart.