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The Summer Freak-Out: I Just Graduated, Now What?

Originally written November 19, 2019

Since I am taking you through my trials and tribulations since graduating college, I'm going to tell you about the three months right after graduating and all the anxiety I felt. As a disclaimer, there were a ton of things going on this summer and as much as I do want to be an open book, I can only write so much, otherwise this blog post would probably be a thousand pages long. I want to keep this at least a little relevant to you, so I'm just going to give you the main parts.

I graduated early May. At first things were really good, my plan was to relax and enjoy summer, work my retail job, work on small projects I had created for myself, and ultimately get ready to move to Boston by the end of summer. I was in no rush whatsoever to find a full time job, I just wanted to enjoy my summer.

Whenever I would tell someone I was moving to Boston, I was always met with the same confused reaction. Nobody understood why I would want to move without a job. To tell you the truth, I didn't have a real reason to move to Boston, I just wanted to move. I had lived in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area my entire life. I felt like it was too crowded and that I knew everyone and everything. I wanted change. My best friend from childhood and I had always wanted to live together, and so we ultimately decided on Boston.

May was very productive! I created graphics about Celiac Disease as a passion project of mine, went through and paired down my clothing, and was enjoying summer. But the impending doom of moving to a different state was lurking. During late May I ended my serious long-term relationship and healing from the break up was a big source of anxiety I struggled with the whole summer.

Luckily in July I had an exciting girls trip to look forward to, which definitely ended up being the highlight of my summer. My friend Emily likes a packed schedule, so each day we were on the move from early morning to night. Being so busy and surrounded by my girlfriends made it easy to distract myself from the break up and my anxiety.

Unfortunately when I got back home to DC, reality set in and I became more anxious than ever. I had no girls trip to look forward to anymore, my therapist went on maternity leave, and my anxiety from the break up and about moving to a new state had grown with nothing else to occupy my mind. I was terrified of being alone, moving away, the future. I was also bored, and wasn't always making the best decisions for myself, which you can imagine only worsened my anxiety. Upon reflection, I think I subconsciously chose to slightly self destruct (for lack of a better word) in order to make moving to Boston easier. It's easier to leave a place you love if you associate it with your "self-destructive" self. Thankfully, I had really amazing and supportive people around me who helped me everyday, as well as a riveting season of the Bachelorette to distract me. I don't know if what I was experiencing in July of 2019 were actually bouts of anxiety attacks, but it sure felt like that. I had to learn how to comfort myself and bring myself down to earth. Things were truly not great for a while.

My dreams of moving to Boston were finally becoming a reality as we secured housing in early August. For some reason, my anxiety surrounding moving lessened the closer the September 5th moving date came. I spent the whole summer worrying about leaving my familiar hometown, but suddenly I was ready for it, ready for change, ready to be happy again.

I spent the remnants of August completing a DMV bucket list I created and going to last minute doctor appointments. I'm not entirely sure when I stopped feeling anxious about my break up, but sometime in August I realized I was going to be okay.

Looking back, I did have a really good summer despite struggling with my mental health for a longer period of time than I ever have before. This summer helped me become aware of how mental health fluctuates; the good days allowed me to be grateful and appreciative of them, and the really bad mental health days provided me with tools to cope when I feel this way in the future and showed me my own resiliency.

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