My Premature Quarter Life Crisis

Just over a year ago, in April of 2021, I’m pretty sure I had a mental breakdown.  Nope, not being ironic.

I’ve suffered with Generalised Anxiety Disorder, sometimes accompanied by depression, for around three years now, and I thought I was through the worst of it. Boy, was I wrong.

We started to come out of lockdown, and I managed to give myself a ‘minor kidney infection’, as the A&E doctor put it. But I had also turned 20 that January,and now looking back at the wise old age of 21, I’m pretty sure it was a mental breakdown/life crisis.

I hadn’t really suffered that badly with my anxiety for a while, and out of nowhere, I had two gigantic anxiety attacks back-to-back (a personal record). I drove back to my dad’s for Easter for around a month, this turned into many months spent re-evaluating my life.

I had probably the worst bout of depression I’ve ever experienced. I felt like a burden to my friends and family and was very unhappy. It sounds dramatic, but that’s mental illness for you. 

I also felt very stuck in my life. All those days spent in bed taking Amoxicillin to heal my kidneys, the same question kept circling around in my head, ‘what do I want to do with my life?’

After a few weeks, I began to feel better. My dad told me to take small steps each day, even if it was something like washing my hair. I’ve always loved reading, and so I began just sitting in the garden with a book. More specifically, books that revolve around unhinged women in their twenties. 

I spoke to my therapist the most I had since before COVID-19, and she made me realise that there is so much pressure for people in their twenties, especially women. 

We are taught to enjoy the first half of this decade, then meet someone, settle down

and pop out a few kids, and subconsciously I had put so much pressure on myself to

have everything together.

In June, I went to my mum’s in Devon, I don’t think I’ve ever been so relaxed. 

As the date to go back to uni edged closer and closer, I could feel my anxieties coming back. Then my therapist told me that literally billions of people are feeling the same about life going back to normal, so I got in touch with the university and became a ‘late returner’. Eventually I got it together enough to come back, I left Norwich right at the start of April and came back in November. It took a while, but I did it.

Unfortunately, this story ends in a horrendously cliched manner, I started putting myself first and acknowledging my feelings, I became even more family-orientated than I was before, and now I’ve realised I want to be a writer.

All of this is so sickeningly stereotypical, I cringe everytime I relay this story, but just know that talking, writing, or having any other outlet makes you feel like less of a freak. I know my anxiety hasnít stopped forever, especially considering the state the world is in. There are days when I feel amazing, and there are days when I don’t. Nobody is ever 100% okay, that’s a myth. Have a premature quarter life crisis if you need one. There are no rules that state we need to know what we’re doing by a certain age.

Right now, I’m truly happy, and I don’t think I would be if it wasn’t for this experience. Remember that it’s ok not to be ok.

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Sienna Norris

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May 2022
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