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Stressed and Burnt Out

I’m so tired, all the time. I genuinely feel like my obsessive tendencies have ruined my mental health, potentially beyond repair. I just keep repeating the same things over and over again in my mind and it’s happening almost daily, I just can’t take this anymore.

At first I was mainly stressing over politics, constantly debating to myself where I stand regarding certain topics as well as trying to constantly justify things to myself, but it’s been shifting towards everything I do lately. I constantly tear myself apart for everything I do, like, for example, I’m finishing University this year and I’ve been looking for an internship to maybe gain some experience, but I haven’t been able to find anything within my field or within my country. Because of this, I’ve been carrying this overwhelming dread that I’m too late for one and that I didn’t look earlier because I was too lazy to look, and another part of me is telling me that it slipped my mind because I was focusing on Uni and other stressors in my life.

I keep worrying about my career path in the future once I graduate. I’ve been struggling with figuring out what I want to do after I graduate and, though I have applied for a decent paying job as a part time thing, it isn’t exactly in my field of study, nor do I expect it to be permanent. Though part of me is also telling me that I’m stupid for even studying a scientific field in the first place, because it may not pay very well in the future. The temporary job I’ve applied for pays decently, but I keep obsessing over things I read a few years ago, whereby people who claim to be financial coaches or something say that people who don’t go for high earning fields like engineering are idiots, even though that’s never really been something I’ve wanted to do. Then again, I do have a habit of feeling guilty for not sharing the same opinions or aspirations of others.

I can’t even enjoy the free time I get to myself, as I keep guilting myself into thinking that I’m lazy or I’m spoiled because I’m not spending as much time doing other potentially more important things.

I just don’t know how much longer I can keep going like this. These thoughts are just weighing down on me all the time and I just can’t shake them no matter what I do. It’s draining my energy for doing things that I actually want or need to do.

Sorry if this post felt ramble or incoherent, I just needed to get this off my chest.
Hi there, I'm sorry you feel that way, I understand you very well. I have been feeling that way a lot within the last 1-2 years, and we seem to be at fairly similar points in life. Get it off your chest, this is a good place for it. Graduating college and moving on to the next life stage (job/internship) is exciting, but also daunting, exhausting and just a very big deal.

Do you have the option to take a break after graduating and doing something else for a few months to rest a bit, calm down and sort your head a bit? If yes, I can highly recommend it. You could think about what sort of activities usually make you happy, recharge you, or, at the very least, don't drain you further, and maybe you could use those during that break time. For example, I am an animal person, so I volunteered with dogs for a while. There are options where you have no income (volunteering), but no expenses either because you get food and somewhere to stay, so it's like a financially neutral phase.

Although it's natural to feel like you're too late or lose track of things, half a year or so won't make that much of a difference. The world isn't ending because you haven't found an internship yet. You need to break through that panic mode, which is very hard, but e.g. with the help of a trusted friend, you can break down the task of finding an internship into little steps that become manageable. There will always be spots for internships available, not only right after your graduation.

And don't listen to those financial gurus. Working in the sciences isn't all too easy, but entirely doable. If it's what you enjoy doing and are good at, then there you go.

You're not stupid or lazy or spoiled or anything. You're neurodivergent (at least I assume this? Sorry if you're not) and some things are harder for us than for others, and that's not our fault. We can do the best we can, but not more. It doesn't make you any of those things.
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