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Seems like I've never happy or relaxed anymore.


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Hi, guys. I'm back again.

I thought I was doing okay for a couple of months. I'm a full-time student with a part-time job, a few freelance writing and illustration gigs, and an unpaid internship at a news station. I'm 21 now, but I've been on my own since I was 18. I think I have some kind of stress disorder. I can't afford to see a doctor about it so I can't really name it.

I'm always worried about money -- or rather, my lack of it. I have trouble paying the rent, my cat needs food, and my phone bill is past due. I may need to move soon, but I can't afford a truck. I have no family to turn to. When I come home from work, I get on my computer and I look on Craigslist for more work to do. I'm always tired, and never sleep more than 4 hours a night. I have great, fun classes this semester, but I can't will myself to go most days, because I'm not getting paid, and when I do decide to go, I can't pay attention. If it can't make me money, I don't want to do it.

I have very few friends. None that I share my problems with, except for my boyfriend, who helps me out when he can. Because of my busy schedule I don't get out much, and when I have the time to do so, I often flake because I feel like I need to be searching for gigs all the time. When I start to feel extremely stressed I get stomach problems. I was 125 lbs last November. Now I'm 115. Everyone assumes I'm just working out.

My boyfriend is very reluctantly agreeing to pay for my bartending certification so I can get a night job. He doesn't want me to go through with it, but he knows I need more money than he can give me, and there are much worse options out there. He does a lot for me, but I'm ashamed to say that I still don't trust him, or any of my male friends, really. I feel like they're half the reason I can't relax at all. It's like I'm just holding my breath, waiting for him to turn on me like everyone else. I hate that he's so helpful because I'm afraid I'm relying too much on him, and one day he'll just disappear.

I'm afraid of making mistakes at my internship, saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing. I'm always walking on eggshells everywhere I go. One wrong move will ruin me. At my job, I know my jittery behavior annoys my boss, so I pride myself on learning how to do certain things so well that I can do them in half the time other employees would.

I'm extremely indecisive. Last week, when I got home from work, I couldn't even start cooking dinner because I couldn't decide when to stop searching for work. It took me two hours to decide to get off the computer, another hour to cook and eat. Then it took two more hours to decide when I should call it quits and go to sleep. Five whole hours, just to figure out how and when to eat and sleep.

I feel like I'm sabotaging my life, and I haven't felt really happy in years. I used to try and think positive all the time, knowing in my heart I can make it if I try, but now all those beliefs sound like silly Disney fables. I can't get back my confidence. I have no escape plan. My conversations feel empty because I can't tell anybody any of these things. These are the most truthful statements I've made in forever.

Edited by daughterphoenix
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Guest ASchwartz

Hi daughter,

Welcome back, its good to have you return.

I hope I am not coming across dismissive of your problems but, as a parent of two daughters, now in their thirties, I can't help but smile a little with regard to your dilemma only because it sounds so typical of young people. Please, please, try not to misunderstand what I am saying. What I mean is that you are not alone in this. That might not help much but, at the end of the post, you say that you are sabotaging your life. I don't think so. You have a lot on your plate and coping is hard. Having no family to fall back on makes it that much harder.

Are you sure you are discussing your problems with your boyfriend and asking his help in other ways than money? For example, could he help you to move, if you need to?

You said you have a few friends. Can you discuss your problems with them?

Again, I want to remind you that you are doing a lot. Its very impressive, really. Is it any wonder that you are always tired?

In my opinion, and only my opinion, getting that certification in bartending makes a lot of sense. But, when you are able to do that work you will also have to give yourself time to relax. In fact, right now, you need time to relax and to be with your boyfriend.

I guess I am trying to tell you that you are actually doing well given all you have to cope with. That does not mean you are having an easy time. You arer having a hard time. I also think you need to give yourself credit and find a way to have free time.

Finally, are you depressed and, if so, how much depression?


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Thanks ASchwartz,

I've been told I do a lot for my age, but because of the way my life is at the moment I really don't feel that way at all. My bad moods just come and go every few hours. I can be happy in the morning and irritable by noon for no apparent reason (and at any time of the month, too). I think part of it is my lack of sleep, then maybe I'm frustrated that things aren't as easy as I want them to be. Unless it's a beautiful day outside and I have time to walk around, I tend to wake up thinking, "Crap. It's Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday etc. and I have to go to/look for work, do this, do that...and I won't have time for myself until midnight or later."

I'm sure my boyfriend would help me move, if it came to that. I can't move in with him though, of course, and I wouldn't want to anyway. Having anyone around all the time tends to drive me up the wall.

I am trying to find a way to have free time, probably during the summer after class is over...

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