*Please note that I am not talking about the clinical condition of depression. Depression is a very serious disease and should not be taken lightly.
Like many people, I struggle everyday with anxiety. It seems to be a trend in my family as many of my family members also struggle with it, though we all have different forms. I will definitely make more posts about my anxiety in the future, but today I want to talk about something that really triggers my anxiety hardcore: making decisions.
2 years ago I gave a speech at my high school graduation. As I was speaking to my graduating class, I brought up the fact that we were now adults and would have to make very many hard decisions in life. “We will be faced with an endless amount of choices that need to be decided on. The type of mortgage we want, what kind of insurance we need, and how we’ll save for retirement. There isn’t some magical device that can make all the hard decisions in life for you. Trust me, I’ve looked everywhere and found nothing.” These were my exact words, including the little “joke” at the end.
At the time, it was a joke to me. But as I’m getting older, I’m starting to realize how desperately I wish there was something that could make all my decisions for me. A device that could predict the complicated outcomes of each decision and let me know what the right path to take is. Unfortunately, that device hasn’t been invented yet, but maybe a good idea for someone out there to take to Shark Tank. Some people out there might not understand why this is such a big deal for me as decisions may come easy to them, and I am extremely jealous of those people because they never have for me. I’m pretty sure it’s because of my anxiety; I overanalyze everything and worry about every possible outcome.
The worst is when I’m making decisions that could affect others. I’m a huge people pleaser and I hate to upset anyone. Again, I’m sure many could relate, but I take it to a bit of an extreme. Knowing that I’ve hurt someone’s feelings or someone is mad at me can send me into a spiraling depressive episode where I just feel like the absolute worst person in the world. For this reason, I often go out of my way to please others, even if it places a burden on myself. So when a choice comes up that could affect someone else, I almost always go with the option that will please someone else.
However, even if a decision doesn’t involve someone, I still struggle with them. For example, trying to decide on what I want to do when I’m older is definitely a difficult one. I’m not even positive what I’m that into; I really only went into Business because nothing else appealed to me and the idea of having my own business was cool. I do still like the idea of having my own business and it’s my top option right now, but there are other ideas I’ve entertained. Travel agent, real estate agent, or just a regular old job at some company. All I really know is I want a job where hours are flexible and I can work from home to spend time with my future kids. I can’t count how many times I’ve been unable to sleep because I was worried about what job I’ll have and how much money I’ll make, stuff that won’t even affect me for at least another 2-3 years.
However, even now, job hunting as a part-timer is hard. Back in September of 2018, I left the part-time job I’d had for the previous 2.5 years because I was still only making minimum wage. That was a really hard decision in itself because I loved my coworkers and thought of them as a second family, but I had to do what was best for me. After that, job searching was a real nightmare. “Would these hours work with my schedule? Are the people there going to be nice? Am I going to get enough hours?” I bounced around at a few different jobs until I finally found my current job that was a pretty good match for me, but it took a while to find.
One problem that really fuels my issues with decisions is that once I get an idea in my head, I can’t stop thinking about it. My mom says I get this from my dad, and I’d have to agree; we’re both pretty stubborn in that way. My sister and I have been talking for about a year about making a trip to Disney and Universal in May of 2020. It was too expensive though, so we decided against it. However, I recently had the idea of going to only Universal for a few days and looked at the prices and saw how “affordable” it was. (Universal is not affordable, my local theme park charges like $45 a person for a day. However, it is cheaper than Disney World, so it’s more affordable in that sense). Once I saw that that, there was no question in my mind. We were going to Universal in May!!
Not. You see, once I brought this up to my parents, they were much more logical about it, as I was obviously not being logical. They thought it would make much more sense for me to wait until 2021, after I had graduated college and didn’t have to worry about paying for anything. You see, I’m a junior in college and I’m currently debt free and will finish the year debt free as well. Crazy, right? Again, I’ll make another post about this sometime and talk about how I did it, but it was mostly just a lot of smart decisions. A smart decision was what I needed, because if I went to Universal and spent a couple grand there, I’d be using up money that could be going to college. This is where my decision stress kicked in.
My parents reminded me that I’m an adult and can make my own choices, but suggested I just wait it out another year and then I could go and not have to worry about college expenses. Of course, I saw this for what it was: the smart option. But there was also the emotional option telling me: “You’ve never been to Disney or Universal, it would be so much fun! You’ve been wanting to go for years. You deserve it, just go!” It was like having the angel and devil on each shoulder arguing back and forth. I stressed (and when I say stressed, I mean it’s all I thought about) for a few days. Should I be smart, or should I fulfill my dream of going to Orlando? After stressing and a bit of stress-crying, I finally came to the decision that my parents and the angel were right, I should wait. What’s another year? Plus, I can save up extra money for Harry Potter merchandise!
You may be judging me and saying, “Really? You cried over it?” The answer to that question is: you betcha. That’s how my anxiety is, I stress about every little thing in life. Then I stress about stressing, then I can’t sleep, then I stress about not falling asleep because I have to get up at 6 for school and at this rate I’m only going to get five and a half hours of sleep and I’ll be exhausted in class and… Do you see what I mean? This can cause my day to go from good to full-on “I wanna just curl up in bed and listen to my emo music and cry”. But I’m getting off track here, I’ll expand on this in my future post on anxiety.
These are just a few examples of how much making decisions stresses me out, but I think you can understand my point. I’m sure there are others out there like me, and I really wish I had some advice for others like me, but I really don’t. I still haven’t figured out a way to properly deal with this, and it usually only ends once I’ve made a decision. I ask pretty much everyone I know for their opinions to hopefully get some insight, but most of the time it doesn’t help much. Even if a bunch of people say “go with this, it will work out better!” I still overanalyze and think of what the other option(s) could lead to.
If anyone else struggles with making decisions, please let me know so I don’t feel so crazy! Also, if anyone has any ideas for a Magic 8-Ball that actually works, please send me one and I’ll be your guinea pig!
Thanks for reading!