For the past week and a half, one of my relatives has been talking to me about my career. She took me to lunch and asked me what my plan for the future was in terms of my degree.
Before this happened, I had been questioning my degree and wondering if I made a mistake. I realized I wasn’t happy with the volunteer work I was doing that I thought might help with getting a job with my degree, and job searching was frustrating to the point where I gave myself panic attacks. This also made me more high-strung, stressed, and my misophonia was triggered more than usual.
When my relative asked me initially about my future through Facebook messenger, I decided to, with the help of my friends, research some things related to my degree so I could have something to talk about. I’ll tell you what I told them: this relative has been, and still is, emotionally abusive to this day. She will jump to conclusions, refuse to believe she’s wrong and make me feel terrible, thinks she knows what’s best for me all the time and talks to me as though I’m still a child, and generally wants to stay in control of every aspect of my life. My friend put it simply: “She sounds like my dad. Childish”. At one point, she knew what was best for me. Now, I think she’s having a hard time letting me go.
Back to the present. My stress is already up to at least 40% in anticipation for what she’s going to say to me, and my anxiety level is steadily rising. Of course, this doesn’t make my misophonia any better either, so I have my headphones on. My relative and I are sitting there waiting for our food and she opens with a question asking me what I’ve been doing in terms of my degree.
I pull up a few screenshots on my phone of some of the things I researched and read them to her, feigning interest. After I’m done, she immediately shuts down one of the three for various reasons. I take a deep breath and just nod in agreement. We talk about the other two, and we boil it down to one. Well, she boiled it down to one.
After we ate our food, she asked me what steps I would take to move forward in getting that job. I said what she wanted to hear, and then we went over interview techniques and how to answer questions. This was probably the only helpful thing I got from her.
After she took me home, I was mentally exhausted. Despite having zero interest in what we talked about, I knew I still had to move forward with the steps. I had to, or she’d give me hell.
I struggled with anxiety and depression for the next week and half. After all, she didn’t care about the fact that I had my own freelance work with San Diego newspaper and my own small business. We had talked about my freelance briefly and she said that I wouldn’t be successful unless I was super well known. In my head I thought, “Well, how do I work to be more well known?” And she left it at that and moved on. We also never talked about my partner, which might have been for the best honestly, but she never brought him up. Or marriage, which is something he and I want to do. I didn’t get help in the areas I wanted/needed help in, and it hurt, and I felt like a worthless piece of trash. I was also triggered more than usual throughout that week and a half, and more irritable/emotional. When for “me time” I normally watched my favorite let’s players on YouTube, I found myself not being able to because I was triggered by them more. I felt so alone and neglected.
I’m still struggling, but I’m not feeling as bad anymore. Just the other day, my partner commented while we were sitting on the couch that I had a certain comfort about me. I gave him a funny look and asked “Really?” He said “Yeah, you’re normally looking around and alert. Now you just look comfortable.”
I think that’s proof I’m starting to feel a little better, and that I’m accepting the fact that while my relative doesn’t support me, my partner does. And his family. And my dad. And my friends. I have tons of support in other people, and it’s comforting to know that. But what helped the most were a few quotes:
If you’re going through hell, keep on going. Don’t slow down. If you’re scared, don’t show it; you might get out before the devil even knows you’re there.”
That’s from a country song called “If you’re going through hell” by Rodney Atkins. That helps me push through the worst of my depression and anxiety.
And my favorite:
Make your own sunshine.”
Sometimes I change it to “Be your own sunshine” with the idea that I can do this. Who I used to rely on as a primary source of hope and encouragement (sunshine) is gone. I have accepted that and am moving forward, and am being my own source of hope and encouragement.
The point of this post is that you know what you need best. I didn’t figure that out until now. I know what I like, and what I want, and what I need; in terms of what I want to do with my life, who I want in my life, and what I need to do to manage my misophonia. And it might be difficult for me to follow through with that because of my relative breathing down my neck, but it’s possible. I will persevere. It’s my hope that, if you’re struggling right now, that what I have to say helps you start really looking at your life and what you feel is best for you.