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Why at 21 do I feel so lost?

  • 17-03-2020 12:38am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 2,436 ✭✭✭


    I'm 21, I completed my leaving certificate and went on to do a plc course in music/media which I got on great with, then decided to go become a chef and done a culinary arts course, which i dropped out of a year later as the hours/work etc was too much

    I met my wonderful boyfriend at 17 and it changed me as a person due to his kind, caring nature, and it definitely changed me for the better

    Lately, I've been feeling really lost, scared, overwhelmed with growing up and just in generally quite scared of not achieving, not knowing what i wanna do with my life.

    I have some anxiety issues and quit alot of jobs and abandoned lots of friends/acquaintances which would go on to haunt me mentally quite often.

    I constantly feel myself thinking '' back then 2 years ago I felt happier/ I didn't worry as often.. I wish I could be like that now'' and stuff..

    I constantly feel myself grieving different stages of my life, ie when i was happier/more carefree/more close to family members/friends...

    I suppose my question is, is this normal? Am i just an overthinker? Am I doomed?

    Maybe I need to go to counselling and just vent once a week or every two weeks, maybe I'm too worried for someone my age and these are all coming-of-age sort of things..

    I just feel like I'm way too scared/overwhelmed/confused/anxious for a 21 year old.

    It gets in the way of my daily life, I find myself avoiding situations/family members/friends due to feeling nervous/awkward/sad.

    But then sometimes I feel fine, yet other times there are all sorts of feelings of impending doom..


    does anyone have any advice?


    Just for context, I have a good family relationship, get on well with my mum, my grandparents/aunties etc, nice family environment growing up, never had any traumatic experiences/abuse/ anything, but developed lots of anxious/depressed thoughts when I was 16 or so, it disappeared for a few years but the last few months has crept back in.

    I put on 2/3 stone in the last 2 years also, and probably thats to do with alot of it, I know the importance of excercise/healthy eating and how much it can impact your mental health if you don't implement these things..

    My self esteem has really taken a toll, I'm quite overweight now and find it tiring just walking around town and hate the way I look


    Sorry for the rant..

    I have plans to go back to college next year and move away with my boyfriend which will be a great opportunity to get out of my shell, I just feel so underachieved that i live at home with my mam at 21, am not in any college course/ walked out of my job a few weeks ago..

    Hopefully going to college in another county will really benefit me and compliment my generally outgoing/friendly/upbeat nature and not let my anxiety ruin me

    Maybe this is just a period in my life where I have too much time to think, so it's all negative.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser



    Lately, I've been feeling really lost, scared, overwhelmed with growing up and just in generally quite scared of not achieving, not knowing what i wanna do with my life.

    [...]

    I constantly feel myself thinking '' back then 2 years ago I felt happier/ I didn't worry as often.. I wish I could be like that now'' and stuff..

    I constantly feel myself grieving different stages of my life, ie when i was happier/more carefree/more close to family members/friends...

    I suppose my question is, is this normal? Am i just an overthinker? Am I doomed?


    Hopefully I'll come back and reply more fully to your post, but I'm posting now just to pick up on the points above.

    I'm nearly 60, but if you asked me when the most uncertain, unsure and doubtful years of my life were I would say from when I was (about) 16 to when I was (about) 26.

    In my opinion it's just not easy going through those years. Don't get me wrong, there are some BIG advantages, but for me and others I know they were feckin' stressful. Going from childhood to full-on "adulting" asks questions of us, and it isn't easy coming up with the answers. So we doubt, we worry, we fear we're not getting it right and can't ever get it right.

    So you're not overthinking it, you are perfectly normal, and what you're feeling is very real and very valid. It is scary, sometimes, even a lot of the time.

    But it does ease off. The more experience you get of living and minding yourself as you plot your way through life, the more in control you get to feel. That is a gradual process, but it happens. You can help it along a little bit, and hopefully you'll get some advice in response to your OP, but don't put yourself under pressure by expecting miracles of yourself.

    Like I said I'll try to get back to this again, but for now the three big messages are:

    You're as normal as the rest of us, and many people feel and felt a lot like you're feeling.

    It can and will ease off as you get more and more used to growing up and older.

    You can help how you feel, but don't pressurise yourself or expect miraculous changes - because that won't be fair on yourself.

    Hopefully this is a wee bit helpful on a Monday night.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,510 ✭✭✭OwlsZat


    I'm 21, I completed my leaving certificate and went on to do a plc course in music/media which I got on great with, then decided to go become a chef and done a culinary arts course, which i dropped out of a year later as the hours/work etc was too much

    I met my wonderful boyfriend at 17 and it changed me as a person due to his kind, caring nature, and it definitely changed me for the better

    Lately, I've been feeling really lost, scared, overwhelmed with growing up and just in generally quite scared of not achieving, not knowing what i wanna do with my life.

    I have some anxiety issues and quit alot of jobs and abandoned lots of friends/acquaintances which would go on to haunt me mentally quite often.

    I constantly feel myself thinking '' back then 2 years ago I felt happier/ I didn't worry as often.. I wish I could be like that now'' and stuff..

    I constantly feel myself grieving different stages of my life, ie when i was happier/more carefree/more close to family members/friends...

    I suppose my question is, is this normal? Am i just an overthinker? Am I doomed?

    Maybe I need to go to counselling and just vent once a week or every two weeks, maybe I'm too worried for someone my age and these are all coming-of-age sort of things..

    I just feel like I'm way too scared/overwhelmed/confused/anxious for a 21 year old.

    It gets in the way of my daily life, I find myself avoiding situations/family members/friends due to feeling nervous/awkward/sad.

    But then sometimes I feel fine, yet other times there are all sorts of feelings of impending doom..


    does anyone have any advice?


    Just for context, I have a good family relationship, get on well with my mum, my grandparents/aunties etc, nice family environment growing up, never had any traumatic experiences/abuse/ anything, but developed lots of anxious/depressed thoughts when I was 16 or so, it disappeared for a few years but the last few months has crept back in.

    I put on 2/3 stone in the last 2 years also, and probably thats to do with alot of it, I know the importance of excercise/healthy eating and how much it can impact your mental health if you don't implement these things..

    My self esteem has really taken a toll, I'm quite overweight now and find it tiring just walking around town and hate the way I look


    Sorry for the rant..

    I have plans to go back to college next year and move away with my boyfriend which will be a great opportunity to get out of my shell, I just feel so underachieved that i live at home with my mam at 21, am not in any college course/ walked out of my job a few weeks ago..

    Hopefully going to college in another county will really benefit me and compliment my generally outgoing/friendly/upbeat nature and not let my anxiety ruin me

    Maybe this is just a period in my life where I have too much time to think, so it's all negative.

    You are currently being controlled by your thoughts. It should be you controlling your thoughts and hence yourself. When your thoughts are controlling you it can feel quite unnerving. I would go to counselling just to establish some healthy thought patterns which will result in you being happier. Perhaps a trip to a career advisor or guidance counsellors might help too. Seems a lot of the anxiety is career related. Best of luck with it. It can all change very quickly!


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,203 ✭✭✭Tork


    I think you should go to talk to a counsellor because some of what you've described doesn't sound like the usual angst about growing up. These seem to be patterns, rather than once-off occurrences.
    I have some anxiety issues and quit a lot(sic) of jobs and abandoned lots of friends/acquaintances which would go on to haunt me mentally quite often.
    It gets in the way of my daily life, I find myself avoiding situations/family members/friends due to feeling nervous/awkward/sad.

    My worry for you is that if you continue to isolate yourself from any friends you have left, your world is going to shrink down to just you and your boyfriend. If your relationship with him ever ends (most couples who get together at 17 don't last the distance), you're going to be very lonely. I also wonder if your plan to move away with just a way of running away from your problems? If you can't hold down jobs and struggle to deal with people, how is living elsewhere going to solve that?

    Going to a counsellor is more than just venting. He/she will be able to unpick what's going on and help you get things back on track.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,294 ✭✭✭santana75


    First things first would be to get a handle on your diet and nutrition. What you eat and drink has such a massive impact on how you feel, it's not to be underestimated. Foods loaded with sugar, salt and a long list of additives will play havoc with your brain and subsequently your emotions. So move toward a whole food diet and I guarantee your anxiety will lessen greatly. It will always give you more clarity of mind.
    In the Bible it says "Seek and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you". Keep searching, in fact never stop seeking after that thing you were sent to this earth to do. Do not judge yourself by what other people around you are doing, I promise that very few(if any at all)are working at their passion in life. Most just work a job that pays Bills and grind out a living. But it's not really living. Take your time, experiment, try things. If it doesn't fit, move on. If you keep at it you will get there and when you do find something that sets you on fire you then set about becoming a master at that. But dont compare yourself to others around you and dont settle for anything less than your lifes purpose.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,457 ✭✭✭✭Kylta


    I'm 21, I completed my leaving certificate and went on to do a plc course in music/media which I got on great with, then decided to go become a chef and done a culinary arts course, which i dropped out of a year later as the hours/work etc was too much

    I met my wonderful boyfriend at 17 and it changed me as a person due to his kind, caring nature, and it definitely changed me for the better

    Lately, I've been feeling really lost, scared, overwhelmed with growing up and just in generally quite scared of not achieving, not knowing what i wanna do with my life.

    I have some anxiety issues and quit alot of jobs and abandoned lots of friends/acquaintances which would go on to haunt me mentally quite often.

    I constantly feel myself thinking '' back then 2 years ago I felt happier/ I didn't worry as often.. I wish I could be like that now'' and stuff..

    I constantly feel myself grieving different stages of my life, ie when i was happier/more carefree/more close to family members/friends...

    I suppose my question is, is this normal? Am i just an overthinker? Am I doomed?

    Maybe I need to go to counselling and just vent once a week or every two weeks, maybe I'm too worried for someone my age and these are all coming-of-age sort of things..

    I just feel like I'm way too scared/overwhelmed/confused/anxious for a 21 year old.

    It gets in the way of my daily life, I find myself avoiding situations/family members/friends due to feeling nervous/awkward/sad.

    But then sometimes I feel fine, yet other times there are all sorts of feelings of impending doom..


    does anyone have any advice?


    Just for context, I have a good family relationship, get on well with my mum, my grandparents/aunties etc, nice family environment growing up, never had any traumatic experiences/abuse/ anything, but developed lots of anxious/depressed thoughts when I was 16 or so, it disappeared for a few years but the last few months has crept back in.

    I put on 2/3 stone in the last 2 years also, and probably thats to do with alot of it, I know the importance of excercise/healthy eating and how much it can impact your mental health if you don't implement these things..

    My self esteem has really taken a toll, I'm quite overweight now and find it tiring just walking around town and hate the way I look


    Sorry for the rant..

    I have plans to go back to college next year and move away with my boyfriend which will be a great opportunity to get out of my shell, I just feel so underachieved that i live at home with my mam at 21, am not in any college course/ walked out of my job a few weeks ago..

    Hopefully going to college in another county will really benefit me and compliment my generally outgoing/friendly/upbeat nature and not let my anxiety ruin me

    Maybe this is just a period in my life where I have too much time to think, so it's all negative.

    The advice given by others on this subject is very good. Everybody I think struggles with angst at a certain age. My advice is dont overthink things, just enjoy the day to day things in life, and I suggest you try hillwalking or hiking when you in the open air it clears your mind of stress. I would also suggest that if you had genuine friends that you lost touch with you should try rekindle them friendships, true friends in life are true friends forever. Whatever your future is I hope everything works out for you.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 107 ✭✭Ticking and Bashing


    Suggestions: (1) go for a walk everyday & listen to music. Walks are the only thing that do wonders for me (for the mind especially), (2) you said you have good family relationships - open up to a family / friend on your worries, (3) google - mindful breathing mediation & practice some of the breathing exercise techniques - they really help me a lot, (4) healthy eating as mentioned above. (5) set yourself some (realistic) goals (healthy eating?, exercise?, weight loss target?, new language? new hobby / crafts?) again stressing - realistic goals and targets, (6) have a think about what makes you happy (for me its looking at holiday pics!) and what's changed for you since? sounds like you enjoyed music / media - can you get back into this again? (7) There's some counselling services (phone call sessions) available if you google them - they can be less daunting at first than face to face type sessions if that works for you.

    You're still really young @ 21 and times like this when you're out of work it's completely normal to feel like this. Given the current state of things in Ireland a lot are experiencing similar worries.

    Sounds like the future looks promising with a new move / new college course. In the mean time there's good opportunity to focus on yourself and add back to the community as well - maybe charity / volunteering work?.

    Good luck


  • Registered Users Posts: 592 ✭✭✭one world order


    Feeling lost and lacking direction in life is very common among the young, as society has moved away from God. We all exist in this world for a short period of time and we move on. Try reconnecting with your creator and what you want in life will then become more clearer.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,436 ✭✭✭dartboardio


    Thank you for all the advice.

    I definitely feel like having a new hobby or rekindling friendships will help my anxiety, I know sitting at home only gives people more time to think and anyone could become depressed sitting at home bored

    Years ago I lost the weight and when I was eating good and excercising I was at the happiest point of my life, so it literally could be down to all of that.

    When I go out of my way to ask old friends to go for lunch, or even going out of my comfort zone to ask an acquaintance to meet up for a drink or a coffee it makes me feel good in myself.

    So maybe it's as simple as making sure I'm doing those things, the simple things like diet, lifestyle, communicating etc.

    Instead of sitting over thinking alot,

    Drinking alcohol seems to make me focus on the bad also, which I think I should do less of.


    Thanks for all the advice too.

    Just need to implement these things instead of wanting them now.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,436 ✭✭✭dartboardio


    santana75 wrote: »
    First things first would be to get a handle on your diet and nutrition. What you eat and drink has such a massive impact on how you feel, it's not to be underestimated. Foods loaded with sugar, salt and a long list of additives will play havoc with your brain and subsequently your emotions. So move toward a whole food diet and I guarantee your anxiety will lessen greatly. It will always give you more clarity of mind.
    In the Bible it says "Seek and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you". Keep searching, in fact never stop seeking after that thing you were sent to this earth to do. Do not judge yourself by what other people around you are doing, I promise that very few(if any at all)are working at their passion in life. Most just work a job that pays Bills and grind out a living. But it's not really living. Take your time, experiment, try things. If it doesn't fit, move on. If you keep at it you will get there and when you do find something that sets you on fire you then set about becoming a master at that. But dont compare yourself to others around you and dont settle for anything less than your lifes purpose.

    Thank you, Im probably really hard on myself at times and don't realise many people my age don't have their life figured out.

    I beat myself up for no reason it seems! And sometimes delve into a period where I'll be hard on myself for anything..

    Sometimes I'd say I over exaggerate my problems, and with a little bit of effort I could be a happy person without being lazy about it and thinking 'what if'

    Thank you, I really appreciate it.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 406 ✭✭FluffyTowel


    Hey dartbordio

    Just wanted to respond as I have seen some of your posts before. I hope this is good advice!

    Seems like you’re going through some crap times here and there, but, believe me, that transitioning period between becoming a fully fledged adult is tough. It can take people into their 30s and beyond to get there, so the fact that you have been trying courses and you have been working (and well) puts you far ahead of the curve.

    You need to give yourself a break. 21 is so young! I think I was 25 when I realised that I’d probably never become an astronaut and make it to the moon, but pretty much every other opportunity was there for me. :)

    So, what I would say is - time is on your side. You don’t need all of the answers today or this year, but you know what to do to make yourself happy in terms of health, weight, etc. Just try to care for yourself, and everything will come together.

    You seem smart and capable. You can nail this.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 28,587 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78


    Feeling lost and lacking direction in life is very common among the young, as society has moved away from God. We all exist in this world for a short period of time and we move on. Try reconnecting with your creator and what you want in life will then become more clearer.


    What if you believe your creators were your parents, and gods don't exist?

    Best of luck op, counselling sounds like a good idea


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,436 ✭✭✭dartboardio


    Update a few years later, even if just for myself to read back in a few years. Having a little cry reading back at my old posts lol :V

    I am now 25 years old, and definitely no longer feel that sense of 'being lost', thank god. I'm sure that was a typical 'I am 21, still living at home with parents and not sure where my life is going' type of thing.

    I have now rekindled that upbeat/energetic/optimistic spark inside of me and overall I am quite happy with the person I have become.

    I have spent the last two years travelling around the middle east, Egypt, etc and really broadening my horizons. I have settled in UAE for now, made lots of wonderful friends, in a really exciting real estate job.

    I do still drink too much which I need to keep an eye on, and have my off days like everybody, but thank god, so far it all worked out and I feel like giving that 21 year old self a big hug!



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