Q. I am flooded with panic over the harsh realities of life. I’m a 22 year-old recent graduate with a past history of depression. I weened myself off of zoloft during my freshman year of college and had never felt better. I just graduated college and have chosen a profession that is unstable but is my passion! Since graduating, I have found myself having trouble sleeping and having terribly negative thoughts. Some of these thoughts are probably normal for my situation (not being successful, letting down my family, being stuck in CT forever). While other thoughts are a bit extreme and seem to happen more often than not (a natural disaster of some sort ending the world, my family dying, growing old, dying myself, the earth falling out of orbit, car crashes, plane crashes….you name it….I’ve thought it). I don’t do drugs, I barely ever drink alcohol….I just want some professional insight into a way of coping without resorting to prescription medication again. I should also probably mention that I was on the acne medication “Accutane” and i reeeeally noticed a difference in my thoughts, mood, and sex drive while on the drug. It’s been 7 months since my last dose of the prescription and I was feeling great! But all of a sudden, I feel worse than ever. Is it possible to have a mid-life crisis at 22 years-old? Help!
A. What may be going on is that you are realizing, as you said so accurately “the harsh realities of life.” You just graduated college. Graduating college means that you are now forced to make a major life decision about how next to proceed with your life. This may be what is at the root of your anxiety.
Everything that you were used to doing will now be changing. For many individuals this transition can be a frightening time. The future is unpredictable and for some, this causes a certain level of uneasiness and fear.
It’s normal to be nervous in this situation but it is important not to overreact. You may feel better if you spoke to a therapist regarding your anxiety. He or she can help you manage your fears and work with you about how to outline your future life plans. Perhaps getting this sort of expert guidance and advice will help you ease your fears and anxiety. I would highly recommend it. I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Jul 2008
Randle, K. (2008). Mid-life Crisis at 22?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 18, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/07/14/mid-life-crisis-at-22/