Growing up happens whether you want it to or not, but it’s hard being an adult, especially an adult with a mental illness. I graduated from college, tried to function in the so-called real world for about a year as my depression and anxiety got exponentially worse, and then for a year and a half I was in and out of hospitals and trying to adjust medications and therapies and basically just put myself together in a way that I could function.
I developed a lot of bad habits in that year and a half. I became very sedentary (not that I was particularly gung-ho about exercising before, but it got worse) because even getting out of bed in the morning was a struggle. I stopped eating three meals a day, and was lucky if I ate one. I wouldn’t shower every day, and I would sleep all the time. Doing just one thing a day tired me out. I could bring myself to go to my therapy appointment, but I couldn’t do anything other than that during the day.
That brings me to now, where I am unemployed, full of bad habits that I’m trying to break, and generally still not functioning particularly well as an adult, even though I am functioning as a person much better. It’s easy enough for me now to get out of bed, but showering every day, eating all the time, exercising? That’s still hard. But I have all this energy now that I didn’t before and I have nothing to put it into. I don’t have a job, and all my friends are working, so I don’t have anybody to hang out with during the day. Now that it’s getting to be spring I can go outside, but I haven’t been able to do that the past few months. Winter makes it easier to be sedentary. I’ve been looking for jobs so I, too, can have something to do during the day and begin my life as a self-sustaining adult, but I don’t have one yet.
But right now I feel like I’m living a sad, lonely life. I’m bored all the time, and I feel like everyone is moving forward without me. I’m stuck. I feel functional now, but I am in a place where I am still acting like I’m dysfunctional. Adulting is hard for every young adult. It’s a transitional period. But I see my friends who have jobs getting up and going to work like adults, then being too tired or just plain not wanting to hang out in the evenings. It makes me feel lonely and left behind. They seem like they’re coping fine. And as much as I know I’ve had struggles that have hindered me, and I shouldn’t judge myself based on others, it’s hard not to compare.
Furthermore, there’s the fear of actually being an adult itself. I dread having to wake up every day and go to a job, nine to five, spending most of my life in an office, and slowly watching as the years go by. I fear being stuck at a job. I’m afraid of the spirals it might send me into. I don’t have the mental capacity to face that. I’m still afraid of how many years I have left in my life. It’s too many. Too many years to suffer from depression and to spend working and to live. That just scares me.
I don’t know how to be an adult. And I am afraid.