At a loss of what I am doing?

I've decided to try this as an attempt to vent so please forgive me if my issues are insignificant...

I've just finished my last year of university, of which I struggled with every aspect and I have recently started a new job. I was hoping to leave Uni with a sense of knowing and confidence towards life, but that's just not the case. My confidence has plummeted. I have no idea what I want to do in life..well, I know that I want to be a mother, and I want someone who loves me, but these things are out of my control and its something I'm really struggling with. Before I continue, you should know I am a person who would rather be called a fat cow by a partner than hun or babe. I am normally not an emotional person... I am single, I have been basically all my adult life. I have an incredible relationship with a friend of mine of whom I have loved for the past two years (please forgive how pathetic this sounds). It doesn't help that he is about to go to America for 7 months and I am left with not one person who I feel I can really talk to and who I trust fully, and I don't feel it is appropriate to let him know for fear that the rejection will just crush me. With regards to my new job, I have been there a week and I still feel constantly sick with anxiety. I have no appetite and even though I feel happy in my head to go to work, and I recognise these feelings as simply "being nervous" I feel incapable of reducing the physical symptoms of this anxiety. I am constantly finding myself asking "can I cope with what life and society expect of me?" I seem unable to see myself in the future in the position I want to be in, happy, and content. I have felt like this since about the age of 15. I just have attacks of dread and feelings of inability to cope, or even that I just don't want to. I don't know how to change my thought processes, how to enjoy the mystery of life and the future.. I know what I want, in an ideal world, and I know it is not achievable.. Basically, I was just wondering if people in a similar situation have felt like this? Is this normal for leaving Uni? And how the hell (as gushy as it sounds) do you get past the idea of knowing that you will never be with the person that makes you truly happy in life? Any thoughts, comments or suggestions to mack the hell up would be appreciated..Thanks.

12 Replies

  • I am sorry to read of your distress. Firstly with the aid of e-mail the telephone and Skype you have three good ways to stay in contact with your friend.

    Please don't put yourself down as this leads to you being down and in turns lead to depression and feeling extremely tired and exhausted all the time.

    I can see by what little you have written about yourself that you have always been a doer and helpful person to others around you which is a compliment in itself.

    Something has obviously happened to make you think so negatively. Sometimes we can all look back to our past which for many of us when we were in our prime.

    I have been very depressed in my life having suffered from epilepsy for yonks, but the depression really kicked in when I lost my darling wife Lorna and plummeted to the bottom where I remained for a very long time.

    I took myself to a counsellor and after a period of analysing myself I realised that negative thoughts only took me down and when you are down the only other way is up.

    My advice to you is to put your kettle on for a delicious cuppa, get yourself ready (if you are not already) and simply take yourself out look at life in a more Positive way. Neither of us have lost our sight, we are not deaf or dumb and we still have a good old brain box. We are not on a Zimmer frame or indeed using a wheelchair. We are so, so lucky my friend.

    No more feeling sorry for ourselves. Think Positive thoughts all the time. Positive thoughts take us up whereas negative thoughts always take us down.

    So come on and start enjoying life again,

    Kind regards


  • I am very sorry you are going threw such a stressful time. I feel it is might be an illusion that we all think is true- that somehow once we finsh university and get our first job we are then supposed to start our lives with clear blu skies ahead. I think it is more like trading one set of problems of the university days for a new set of problems of starting our career and thinking about marriage and children and other dreams.

    I had a successful career and then lost it due to my kidney failing. All those years of study and hard work and money... seems like a waste sometimes being that I can no longer work in my true field of training. But I think the more correct way to look at it is concentrate on where I am now. Not easy sometimes.

    You talk about getting past the idea of never be with the person that truly makes you happy in life. I do understand painfully. But my story is not of unrequited love. It is an ugly one in a realm no one even wants to talk about. I married someone whom I found out criminally sexual abused children. I left him leaving everything behind other than what I carried on my back. Everything I thought I knew was turned upside down with a myriad of emotions. I thought my husband was my best friend. And when I walked away from that life I really never thought I could ever even want to meet another man. It was a betrayal I can not put into words. And my pain will rightfully always be secondary to the children who were harmed.

    Clearly I am not saying anything bad about your friend! My comparison begins and ends with thinking a certain person would be the only one to ever make me happy. Because there was a time for me that was true. However in my case mine was only built on lies. And your friend is someone special you love and a good person.

    15 years later I have a life overall better than I thought I would ever have. I explored areas of myself and met different people in my life that now I am happy to have closed that old chapter in my life. Not happy how the choice was taken away from me to end my former dreams because my spouse was a criminal - but I am happy for the opportunities I had seen then to meet geninue new people. It takes time. In 15 years I dated three men and currently in a three years relationship.

    I had a best friend after my divorce who is male and it hurt a lot he didn't want to take things further with me. I knew I had to tell him just in case there was a chance he like me in that way too. Have you considered telling your friend how you feel about him? Mine ended poorly and kind of sad. We were out together and had what I thought was a lovely moment. I went in for a kiss and afterwards he hugged me and he took my hands and gently shook them in his and pushed me back - with an 'I am sorry' look across his face. We still were friends after that but it took a long while before I could stop wishing I had done something - anything!- differently to make him change his mind. Now as all this time has past - he has a life that is not appealing to me at all. He likes to date a lot of girls for just a few dates each. And I found a boyfriend for the last 3 years that really really wants to be only with me. Especially after the horrible divorce -there is a time I never would of dreamed I would meet such a friend who knew everything about me- and I felt drawn to on every level - more than my best male friend who didnt love me back romantically. And now I am happy it didn't workout between us (most of the time!😋) I now have little contact with him because I only want my heart to be with my present partner of,3 years. It does hurt. But in time you deserve to be with someone who really wants to be with you too. And really- maybe your best friend does want to be with you! Maybe he just doesn't know you like him more than friends?

  • Hi there,

    I wonder if you have been fed an ideal of how life should be, to which few of us can measure up. Movies make it look so simple, but life rarely is simple. Parents who hear nothing but good things about their friends kids (and which parents like to broadcast their children's failures) can pressure you to measure up to an unrealistic ideal. I would try to put any such visions and expectations out of your mind for now, and get on with the challenges you are actually dealing with. A new job is often stressful. You may well feel as if you are not going to measure up to your bosses expectations, but I would suggest you do not let them know this. Keep faking it until you are making it, by which I mean do not let your fears get the better of you. Of course, I am not saying you should not take any help that is offered, or admit it if you need additional support, but don't blow the whole thing because you are going through a learning curve.

    About your friend. I cannot really comment as my relationship skills are at an all time low. The only thing I can offer is a few old sayings such as...Nothing ventured nothing gained, BUT If you love someone, let them go. If they love you, they will come back. OF course, if you hide your feelings, you cannot blame them for not showing you theirs.

  • Beth93 , you will find someone who loves you , you will be a mother, and you will be happy. I'm 71 but when I left university it was considered quite normal for the 2-3 years after uni to be pretty low. University is usually a very enjoyable time and earning a living ,no longer surrounded by loads of young friends mainly concerned with having a good time (well studying a bit as well) is a sharp contrast and can be quite depressing.

    Its also pretty common ,and does n't say much for our educational system ,that much of what one needs to do a job is learned on the job and not at University. Your employer would n't have given you the job if you could n't do it, and almost certainly won't be expecting miracles until you've spent some time on the job. You'll almost certainly find your co-workers will find some time to help you if you confide in them the aspects you are finding difficult-don't expect to perform as well yet as those who have been in the job a while . Who do you think you are? Einstein?

    Regarding your friend going to America, keep in touch , so easy these days , but believe me if there was really only one person who would make you happy , the odds against you ever meeting them would be astronomical--there are lots and lots of people you would make happy and vice versa and soon you'll meet one or some of them. Even at 71 I can remember the pain of relationships ending (occasionally relief too ) but inevitably eventually another deep relationship came along as it will for you, and eventually with one of them you'll feel like making a forever commitment and have children.

    I would see your GP who might prescribe something that relives the awful feeling in the pit of the stomach but IMO what you are feeling is quite normal (but not pleasant) and will pass,quickly I hope.

  • Well done for completing your university course.

    Coping with what society expects of me was a result of my autism. i am routine, literal, resistant to changes made by other people, find people confusing and have secondary anxiety and depression as a result.

    Do you have any hobbies that can help you meet others? What about a MIND mental health support group? Is your GP supportive and have they referred you for counselling or courses? i went on an anxiety course and as a result 5 of us meet up once per month. This was because 1 of the group wanted some contact with people after it had ended. i look forward to being around my friends because they all know what it's like to have anxiety/depression

  • Hi Beth,

    It's funny how many things I can relate to. I have a year to go at uni and I still don't know what to do after, and I'm stressing about what to do with my summer because it's a long one. The summer job I had last year I found extremely stressful and I'm dread the idea of going back - but I've not sure I've worked there for long enough to get a decent reference so I can find another one. I'll sort something out... somehow. And I'm nearly always asking myself the same question...will I be able to cope with society's expectations? I'm afraid of the future. These past 2 years at uni have been really difficult for me too, although there have been good times as well, and the feelings of the stress taking over, eclipsing everything, and being on the edge of a crisis is sadly very familiar to me.

    I don't think you're alone. It's natural to have these feelings...but Beth, they shouldn't get in the way of you living your daily life. Have you been to the GP regarding anxiety? It might be worth going - possibly they could offer you counselling, or perhaps another type of therapy such as cognitive behavioural or rational emotional therapy (came across this during exam revision - studying psychology) to help you to process and deal with your emotions in manageable and healthy ways.

    As for your new job, bare in mind it's only been a week. That's no time at all. So it's not surprising you're still feeling anxious about it. If you give it time the chances are you'll start to feel more settled and you're confidence will grow. I think confidence is your main issue not ability (which is why having some of kind therapy may help you - whether it's to help you to realise your potential or get to the route of why you're so anxious, or both). You're obviously a very intelligent person if you've made it through uni and completed your degree. You found it hard but you did it. You've done it, which is a real mark of strength. You write eloquently.

    The other issue you describe is your fear of not finding a partner and the feelings you have for a dear friend whom you believe does not feel the same way. First of all, I know it's hard to believe that no one else could possibly make you happy when you have such strong feelings towards them, but, as I think Aspen said, don't limit yourself to the idea of just being with one person. There's a chance that other men might be interested in dating you but you just haven't picked up on it because you're so caught up in your feelings for your friend, that you've narrowed your options down. So try to open your mind a little - consider what it would be like to date someone other than your friend even if you just feel you're humouring yourself.

    Secondly, if you're serious about your friend - then I think you owe it to yourself to at least try. You need to find a way to gage his feelings towards you without him being overtly aware of yours. I believe the best way to do this would be to make a joke about it and assess his reaction. Obviously, it's got to be in the right context, without making your feelings towards him too obvious (but there's no harm in dropping a very subtle hint). Then if he doesn't react the way you'd hoped, you know not to bring it up again and your friendship remains in tact. Saying something like 'So and so said we'd make a good couple - isn't that funny?' would at least plant the seed and maybe open him up to the possibility. My advice would be to do this BEFORE he goes away travelling. That way, he either has time to consider the idea while he's away (time for the seed to, possibly, grow - absence makes the heart grow fonder) or - even if it were to make things a little bit strange between you it would be an opportunity for you both to have a cooling off period - after which he would probably miss you so much as a friend, after his long time away that when he comes back things would be ok again - and you won't have lost a friend.

    Maybe there's an advantage to him going away too. Whether or not anything were to happen with him romantically in the future - for these 7 months, you'll have to learn to live without him being around, and this will make you stronger. :) You don't have to worry about losing touch with him either - as other people have said, you can Skype, Facebook, phone. But some distance from him might give the opportunity to get to know yourself as an individual better.

    I hope some of this helps. I've just typed my thoughts as they come. And yes, by the sounds of it I should probably visit my GP too.

    Gentle hugs,


    P.S. I've made a few edits. But I don't want to obsess over editing it. If there's anything you don't understand/want to ask, just let me know. :)

  • Hi Fay

    It's good to see you on the site again, hope you are well and coping OK?


  • Hi Sue,

    I'm ok thank you. :) I've finished my exams now and even though I feel they went ok I've applied for mitigating circumstances just in case my results come back disappointing - because it's not fair that I had a to sit them at a disadvantage. Now I just need a confirmation...

    I hope you're alright? I really like your response to Beth - very helpful. :)

    Fay xxxx

  • Thank you, glad the exams etc are over now :)

    I'm fine, but snowed under with having double glazing installed as well as having our kitchen overhauled to make room for a range cooker and additional units, so all the cupboards have had to be emptied - I'm halfway through and feel it will never end, but am lucky to have a nice house.


  • Hi

    I haven't read all of your post because I am about to cook dinner, but just thought I would let you know how sad I feel to hear you put yourself down the way you are doing. You seem to have so little feelings of self-worth.

    No it definitely is not 'normal - whatever that means - to feel that way upon leaving Uni. It sounds as if you can only imagine being happy if you have someone who loves you - and that suggest you do not feel loved - or loveable - inside yourself.

    I suggest you ask your GP to refer you for psychotherapy in order that you can start to understand why you are unable to love yourself. Counselling may be helpful, CBT may help you to change your thought processes but is unlikely to enable you to feel you are a loveable person as those feelings come from feeling loved over time by another - so do try to see a counsellor at the very least. Tell your GP that you have some experiences you need to talk through with someone, rather than saying you are depressed as for that you are only likely to be offered medication or 6 weeks CBT!


  • I think you need to see a counsellor for anxiety issues or a chat with your Doctor? Is there someone at work who can be a buddy? A good friend who's going away is a big wrench.. have you tried meditation or a relaxation dvd? Yoga maybe? There are self-help books available on coping with anxiety- library or online. Hope you feel better soon

  • Hi there I'm gary in Edinburgh i read your post it makes me sad people like us feel this 48 decent looking guy never been married or had kids I've tried every anti depressant going not much helps I'm terrible at remembering sites and passwords so if you ever want to talk vent whatever I'd enjoy the company feel free to text me on 07593405050 thanks this is Monday the 1st of June

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