Uncertain Future

Being a high school senior, I rarely go a day without my future coming into question. What college are you going to? What are you going to major in? What job are you going to have? With all of the life changing decisions coming up, it’s natural to be anxious about it. My Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) decided to take the anxiety up a notch by getting involved, making my senior year more difficult than it already is.

My OCD already attacks school, since it is the gateway into college and the careers I’m interested in. In addition, the question has become how do I know if I’m going into the right field? What if I don’t find the perfect job that I’m supposed to have? Due to the nature of OCD, these questions feel like a life or death situation, and I feel like I need to find the answer right now.

I have been told many times that putting a lot of thought into my career isn’t a bad thing, since it will be what I’ll be doing for a long time. I completely agree with them, it is extremely important. The issue is that my fear of not finding the “perfect” job gets in the way of my ability to function.

When an intrusive thought about my future job comes in, I become unable to continue doing whatever I had been previously occupied with. All of my attention goes to the thought. The anxiety kicks in, I become afraid of not finding the job for me, and I engage in a behavior (a compulsion) to try to make the anxiety go away.

Frequently I will go to a teacher and ask for their opinion regarding colleges, majors, and jobs. Their answer will usually help for a little bit, but all too soon the thought is back and I ask another teacher, and then another. I will also do a bunch of online research about colleges and jobs, ultimately ending up frustrated because there is no way to be 100% sure I will pick the right college, major, or job. Still, the fear wins and I spend countless hours ruminating about all of the potential options, hoping to find an answer I will never get.

While the decisions I will have to make are important, getting derailed and anxious for hours is not pleasant or productive. I lose sight of the present because I’m so worried about the future. As much as my OCD disagrees, I don’t need to know what I want to do for the rest of my life, I don’t have enough experience to make that decision, and that’s perfectly okay.