When I left England in December, I was totally exhausted, disoriented, paralyzed by my anxiety. I had the feeling that the slightest obstacle was insurmountable, and I entered a spiral in which I created my own anxiety just by imagining it overwhelm me.
Then I came back to France, I needed peace, my family, my childhood room and my friends back home. I'm not fond of Christmas time, I admit not to be sensitive to these festivities, nor to the magic of Christmas, even if meeting some extended family members is still (sometimes) pleasant.
There was Christmas, the endless dinners, and the inevitable questions about studies. I talked about my achievements, friends, housemates and my week-ends in London. I did not complain about the workload (which depended only on personal organization, really), but rather my anxiety that prevented me from enjoying all the good things that happened to me since September.
I thought that selfishly, I was one of the only ones to suffer from strong anxiety (to the point it stopped me from thinking clearly, and even sometimes from moving or being effective in my work). However, the more I talked about it, the more people around me would open up and tell me about their own experiences. And guess what? This lack of well-being, which I thought related to my issues only, proves to be recurrent among the generation Y/Z*.
The more I was sharing my symptoms to others, the more I realized that this evil that obsessed me and that I thought defined me as weak, made me feel stronger. Since I came to the UK, I’ve met people from all over the world, with different lives and stories, who have discovered the joys of anxiety in the same way as I did. And all of this could be triggered by a sudden uprooting, a new job, or a surge of responsibilities or everything at the same time.
So I started to seek for information, read articles and testimonies on the general state of our generation. And there, I had a revelation: I am only one among a whole generation of young people, ambitious, lost by the stakes of a society that keeps making us believe that our twenties should be our best years. In a way, it is! I’m only 21 and I know how lucky I am to experience what I’m living.
I strongly believe that our generation grew up with a lot of expectations from the previous ones, in terms of job employment, politics, environmental challenges et cetera. Except that the twenties became the age of many worries: employment, unemployment, relations, debt, property, and so on. So many pressures and insecurities that lead to disappointments… and more anxiety.
When young adults leave their family nest and get their first job, they discover life on their own. Except that, while they try to assert themselves as adults, they are always considered as children, both in their professional and personal achievements. And this, until the creation of their own home.
And, without forgetting that I am privileged and have not yet graduated, the facts are there, and I already feel the (early) Quarterlife crisis. According to the Independent, Clinical psychologist Dr Alex Fowke defines the quarter-life crisis as “a period of insecurity, doubt and disappointment surrounding your career, relationships and financial situation".
“This can stem from a period of life following the major changes of adolescence, when a person starts to doubt their own lives and begins to face the extent of the stresses associated with becoming an adult,” he says.
So, if you read this really depressing post until the end, congratulations -you won the right to read the stupid yet useful advice I gathered to stop feeling guilty/bad/anxious about everything.
- Admit the absurdity of your existential crisis
- Change your approach of time: we’re young, don’t stress
- It’s okay to think about yourself first (be selfish)
- It’s okay to be tired and rest all week-end watching Netflix
- Never forget to give yourself love
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Communicate about your feelings to others
- Meditation, walks and eating good is great help to live better with yourself
*who grew up with internet - Generation Y: 25yo-39yo Generation Z: 7yo-24yo
Ages are approximate and there is some overlap because there are no standard definitions for when a generation begins and ends.
Articles that inspired me, have a look if you want to know more about it: