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Constant Anxiety

I Need to prove myself to myself. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for over a decade, since I was 13. Through college I went through five majors and the one I graduated with I hated by the end. I began graduate school because I put in all the work in undergrad and my parents wanted me to try grad school. I dropped out before the first semester was over. I work in an unrelated field, making just enough to live on.

I was always told I am very smart. I had a 4.0 gpa in high school and a 4.0 gpa my first 2.5 years of college. I was never drawn to science in high school. My parents highly value practicality and usefulness. They see art and humanities as unnecessary fluff. My friend group was the top 10% of my high school class. They’ve all gone on to masters degrees, medical school, or working in a science-y / technical field.

I wrote a short novel in high school. The summer before going off to grad school I wrote another novel. I self-published and told extended family as well as a few friends about my book. Only my mom bought a copy. I felt very hurt.

I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the world. I want to inspire, share beauty, and touch the humanity in people. I’m moved by music, art, literature, and film. I remember writing short stories in high school, having my parents read them, and seeing my parents with tears in their eyes. They said how well I conveyed human experiences.

I’ve returned to school for another degree in a technology subfield. This field allows me to make good money, and over the past six months I was very excited about the actual content of the degree. The more I look into it, the more I realize that jobs in the real world will be focused on making profit for a company, not helping others.

I wonder if I chose to go back to school to prove to myself that I am smart and capable of hacking it in a science/math/tech field? I feel so lost. A month ago I was gung-ho about this degree. Now I’m wondering if I’m a duckling trying to be a swan. I voiced my concerns to my dad. He said I need to just commit to it and do it.

It sounds like it is time for you to focus on your purpose and meaning in your life rather than trying to follow your parent’s well-meaning advice alone. I’m not suggesting that you give up school, or technology, but I am suggesting that you make sufficient time for your writing.

Everything you have said about your passion for storytelling indicates that you are more whole, integrated, and happy when you are creating. Make your creative writing an integral part of your world. This will give you the balance you are looking for.

Wishing you patience and peace,

Dr. Dan

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