Hi bbs. I’m terrified and paralyzed with fear right now. This is a community of really wonderful people, and my safe place on the internet. So I hope you don’t mind if I type this out. I’m not sure if I’m looking for advice or just need to openly admit something. And I totally get if you don’t want to read and keep scrolling, I’m sorry if I shouldn’t be posting this. Idk what else to do.
Cw: substance abuse
I’ve relapsed on Adderall and my life is starting to circle the drain. I lost my job in November of 2020 - you know the movie The Devil Wears Prada? Well, I started a job as an assistant to the Dean of a med school in January of 2020 after 5 years of job searching while doing the restaurant hustle here in NYC. After I started, I learned that this woman had hired and fired 6 assistants in one calendar year. I was #7. Things went well for the first 6 months, and I was given consistently positive feedback. I’m not sure what toe I stepped out of line that upset Miranda Priestly, one but day, out of the blue, I was told I “wasn’t the right fit for the job.” It took them a few months to have enough documentation to justify the firing to HR, since things had been going so well. The documentation of my “mistakes” was so bizarre and petty that it would have been funny if I wasn’t losing my job. Even my coworkers didn’t understand why I was being fired.
I started off unemployment strong - I was determined to land a new job ASAP, I didn’t want to waste time. But I started struggling pretty quickly - without the structure of my job, I rarely saw people anymore. I had been living alone when lockdown hit. Almost all of my friends moved out of the city. I have been in solitary lockdown since last February, seeing friends and family only a handful of times.
It’s bitterly ironic - when I was in my 20s, I was in grad school and spiraled into a severe depression where I chose to isolate myself from the world. Long story short, I had started out being a vibrant, passionate, vivacious person who was so motivated to become a professor in a niche field of studies I loved. I was outgoing and loved to be around people, and made a lot of amazing friends. But as the depression got worse, I ended up drinking more and more every day, and abusing the benzos and Ambien I was prescribed to help me sleep. After 3 years of sort of functioning, I stopped going to class, and isolated myself in my room, drinking and popping pills. I was eventually expelled, 5 credits short of getting my MA. I poured everything I had into that career - 10 years of my life, including all the work I did in undergrad, and many summers of language immersion programs. It was what gave me purpose in life.
I had a second shot at restarting my life soon after being expelled, thanks to a friend who recommended me for an entry level job at a major media company here in NYC. I was really excited about the job, it was definitely close to a dream job for me. My depression was better thanks to a new medication. But the medication made me feel like a walking zombie, like there was cotton in my brain. I was only half functional, so I was prescribed Adderall to help me function again. And it worked - I could think again, I had energy. However I started abusing Adderall pretty quickly, and ended up doing weird pill head shit at my job like staying in the building, awake for 48 hours straight working on some bizarre non-priority project, or stealing a big bag of toilet paper for my apt. I was fired on New Years Eve of 2016, and let’s be honest, I deserved it.
I was so devastated after being expelled and then quickly self-destructing and fucking up my would-be career that I spent years willingly self-isolating in my apt alone, with my parents paying the rent. Yes, I’m as awful as Carp. I did eventually get my shit together, quit drinking and stopped taking the medications I was abusing, including adderall. I got a job at a restaurant in 2018, and working in NYC restaurants tend to be as brutal as working under Stalin, so I busted my ass. But it helped me get my shit together, I was never late, rarely called out and picked up as many shifts as I could. And I sent out 500 job applications (not exaggerating) when I was working there, which ended when a family friend helped me get the assistant job in 2020 so I could start over again.
I wasted all those years when I could have been rebuilding my life and meeting new people. But I’m now dying to be around people, and I can’t be. I thought asking my doctor for an adderall prescription again would help me focus on job applications. That was the excuse, anyway.
I’m sitting here alone in my living room, high on Adderall, again. I don’t know how to move forward. I spent so much of my life believing I was meant to do one thing, and had poured my heart and soul into it. Since being expelled, I haven’t been able to find another meaning or passion or purpose. When I started the assistant job, I planned to stay for a year, figure out what I want to be when I grow up, and move on. But I have no idea what to do, where to apply, what to apply for. I went from going to online networking events/workshops in Nov to just sort of giving up around the holidays. I wake up every day, and think popping a pill will help me figure things out and find a new purpose, when really all I do is odd pill head shit, like rearranging the furniture. I have literally spent 4 hours writing and re-writing this comment.
Everyone I know had a period of arrested development during 2020, but within the past month, friends, family and former coworkers have found new jobs, or are pregnant, or have started new relationships. I’m going to be 33 this year. I have never been in a serious relationship, and I am dying to be with someone. When I turned 30, after always saying “I never want kids” and thinking I meant it, I realized I do want to start a family. I want to be in love and raise a family with someone. But I am sitting here, popping pills, regressing, can’t find my way forward with my career, can’t even get myself to cook or clean. I’m depressed again - thankfully not the same way I was before, it’s now situationally-related - but it’s still eating me up.
I think my race is run. How many times can you fuck up your life and try to start again? Don’t worry, I’m not in any danger of doing something to harm myself. I’ve come to realize how selfish that is. I don’t want to hurt my loved ones like that. But I’ve gone from trying to move forward to hitting the self-destruct button once again. I’m 32, I’ve lost everything, and I just sit around and let the days pass me by. It’s an objectively stupid thing to do, my unemployment runs out in April. At this point, the only difference between me and Carp is that I don’t drink and am pretending to be a writer. I’m still alone in the same apartment, which I’ve been able to stay in thanks to unemployment, and my landlord letting me only pay half rent. (He’s a nice guy and doesn’t want me to move.) I’m paralyzed and frozen by fear and denial. I don’t know if I can move forward.
If you’ve read this, thank you. I know it’s stupidly and absurdly long, and probably a self-pity party too. I don’t know if I’m writing this to ask for advice, or just openly admit that things are bad. I hope you all are hanging in there and doing ok.