Social Anxiety and Post-Graduation Depression

I finished my degree in May 2019 and officially graduated in July. I was happy to have finished my degree considering that I worried multiple times throughout that I wouldn’t make it through due to my mental health problems. However, I also really really dreaded finishing it because I knew that was when I had to finally decide what to do with my life next.

So what I did was what everyone expected me to do. Everyone expected me to start applying to jobs that were associated with my degree. Since my field of study was media and communications, I decided to look at jobs such as marketing and media communication roles. I had plenty of interviews but struggled greatly because of my social phobia which really flared up during the interview process.

The field I was going for was incredibly competitive too. I realised this when I was asked to go to my first ‘assessment day’. I remember being there was like being on the show ‘The Apprentice’. We were expected to work in groups in order to design some kind of media marketing strategy. Then at the end, to make matters so much worse, I was expected to present this idea infront of everyone. I wasn’t expected to present at university because my social phobia is too severe and can result in panic attacks. By the time they asked to do a presentation, it was much too late to back down. I did it and it went terribly. I had stage fright and could not speak and I am pretty sure everyone noticed.

The problem I find with the job market is that they are always looking for one specific type of person. This person is usually very confident and good at working with and leading others. Personally, this area is not my strong point. Instead, I am a very focused and hard worker, and I am extremely creative but I often find these qualities are dismissed due to my confidence issues and my preference working alone.

To keep myself afloat after uni. I took a job as a cleaner. I continued through many different interviews in any job I could find. The last interview I had was for a job as a personal assistant and I was dismissed once again because I just ‘wasn’t confident enough’. By this point, I gave up on the interviews completely. I was tired of being knocked down due to my social phobia. At one point, I started admitting to potential employers on the application forms that I had social phobia but was offered no interviews at all as a result. Even when I applied through the ‘guaranteed interview scheme’ I still wasn’t offered one despite meeting all the requirements for the role.

So, for 5 months I have been working as a cleaner. I slipped into this horrible depression at the realisation that I would never be able to progress in my career due to my social phobia and other mental health issues. Even though the depression felt like a huge weight over my shoulders, I pushed through as hard as I could and my boss has been incredibly pleased with how hard-working I am. I started suggesting some ideas for the company in terms of how we could market it. For example, I suggested designing vinyl stickers to put on the back of our vehicles. I didn’t think anything of this suggestion until last week when my boss suddenly pulled up beside my car during my lunch break and asked to take me for coffee for a “chat”. I was terrified. I thought I had done something terribly wrong and may be about to get fired.

But to my surprise. My boss said she really liked the ideas I was giving and asked if I could be her personal assistant! She wants me to help her with all her office-based tasks such as admin activities, timesheets, invoices and all the media stuff so that I am finally able to use the skills gained within my degree. I feel a great deal better now and finally feel a greater sense of purpose for the first time in a long time.

So, if you ever feel like you are doomed and your situation will never get better. Then realise that sometimes life can be full of surprises that you won’t in the slightest expect! Thank you for reading 🙂

 

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