I FEEL SO LOST

It’s never too late to start over. If you weren’t happy with yesterday, try something different today. Don’t stay stuck. Do better.

“I’m 22, I have just finished University and I can’t find a job.” This is a very real reality for many of us leaving University. We all hope that we will fall in to our dream job, at least it was set in my head that getting a University Degree would be the elusive happiness that we all crave but I soon come to realise that its not as easy as that for many of us, especially in this very competitive world that we now live in.

I have felt a sense of embarrassment to come from a life of non stop education to not knowing what to do with my days other than apply and apply for jobs, I’m asked ‘What are you doing now?’ ‘Have you got a job yet?’ ‘What have you been doing with yourself?’ These questions so soon after graduating make me wonder, ‘Am I supposed to already have my dream job?’ and ‘Does not having that job I studied for three years for make me a failure?’ But we have to remember as young adults that some people are lucky and some people are not, some people have to work harder and some people don’t, that is just life.

Either way, I sit and think after being non stop for all of my life ‘What now?’ job prospects seem impossible, my friends are no longer around because we have all gone our separate ways after graduating and I do not know what to do with myself, I’m lost and lonely. I have come to think that this is a time of reflection, a time to realise what you have achieved and to remember the years that you have ahead of you, I think that our generation has become so caught up with what everybody else around us are doing that we begin to doubt ourselves.

Everything about my life has been assumed and I feel I have gone along for the ride, although I finished my degree and it is one of the best things I have ever done and achieved, I also wonder ‘Do people now assume for me to have this incredible Fashion job?’ Little do people see the debt that has amounted up over the years by just attending University, do I now have to get a job to pay off that debt while getting into more debt by trying to get those things in life that people assume that you should have. I am at a place in my life where I want more than that, I want to wake up every morning with a sense of purpose and excitement. We are so riddled in self doubt now that we believe that we all have to live in the same way but things work out differently for us all and you are allowed to feel lost because it can be the turning point in your life.

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” ~Henry David Thoreau

So here are some tips to remember when you feel lost and lonely:

  • You have more control than you think:

Feeling lost or lonely can get you into negative mode but you are in control, there are things that you can do that can help and make you feel like you have purpose. Only you can choose how to react when things don’t go to ‘plan.’

  • Don’t regret:

Self pity can be the start of a spiralling mess, its all to easy to look back on past events and regret what we did or didn’t do however this does nothing but feed the negativity that you are feeling, of course its okay to know you would have done things differently if you could but know this isn’t possible and the sooner you are able to accept this, the sooner you will be able to look to the future with fresh eyes.

  • Embrace the feeling:

Their comes a sense of relief when you are no longer searching for approval from others, it may feel like loneliness but try enjoying the fact that you do not need everyone to accept and support your decisions. Embrace the new found freedom!

  • Accept change:

Life is about growing and changing and how we react and learn from that change, this is what makes us the person that we are to become. Stop looking back to the ‘Good times’ it is okay that you are not who you used to be, embrace the now.

  • Keep striving to achieve your dreams:

So you feel isolated, we all come to a point in our lives where things don’t seem to be going as ‘planned’ but drop that defeatist attitude and remember that you are worth more than just getting by for the sake of it, this may be hard to follow when you have obligations but your happiness is just as important.

“Living is the rarest thing in the world, most people exist” Oscar Wilde

  • Let loneliness become a learning curve:

The amount of people you are with doesn’t determine the scale of loneliness, when you are surrounded by all of these people, it can be lonelier than when you’re by yourself. Let this be a time to discover you, it’s in the midst of solitude that answers come from true soul searching. Learn to love being alone and become settled in your own company.

  • Keep a diary:

This may seem like an odd tip but I have kept a diary since I was child and I love to look back at times that I once felt that I wouldn’t overcome and realising how things have changed and improved. By keeping a diary when you’re feeling lost and lonely, this will allow you to look back in the future to see how you viewed things at the time and how far you have come since then.

 

Advertisements

SOCIAL SERVICES

Social Services get a lot of stick and for the majority of the time I really don’t agree with it, they are there to be the parent that some children need, the parent that I once needed to say ‘This environment is not a safe place and these children need to be taken out of it’ It may seem that they are the ‘bad guys’ but they serve a purpose, a purpose that many children need to have a chance of a healthy and happy life.

Now all of this is all well and good but what about when all of that is done, you’re finally an adult and can make decisions for yourself, then what?

Not that long ago I found out that once you turn 21 social services completely stop working with you unless you decide to go onto higher education (University) in this case they then work with you until you’re 25 (If you stay in education of course) This wasn’t a problem for me as it was something I planned to do anyway so I never really thought twice about it however now that I have come to the end of my education I have come face to face with the reality that they will no longer be a part of my life. As someone who has relied on having them there I would have expected some sort of work to have happened to make sure I would be okay without them, what I have learnt has made me question parts of Social Services and here is why:

As a vulnerable young person who has left the care system, there are so many different situations you can be in, good, bad and ugly so to think if you are not able to get into University or you don’t want to go into University that you will lose that support it can be quite daunting, they told you they would help and protect you but then when you need them as a young person living alone with no family help, they are no longer there. Clearly they understand that this is our reality ‘We know that young people leaving care frequently feel isolated, lonely and lacking the safety net of someone to talk to and to advise them in a crisis.’ As found here so why are we left in this position? Also if you are in or were in the care system and are under 21 or are in higher education in Wales then also check the above website out to see what you are entitled too.

I understand that strings need to be detached at some point, there are so many young people who also need that help but if things are tied up the way they have been with me then things need to be looked at and changed. Yes, I have lived alone for 6 years and am now 22 years old but that doesn’t make me an expert and it certainly does not make me any less scared of any future dilemmas which I am sure many young people agree with.

I have recently finished University with little help since doing so, however I have been informed that my case with them has now been closed, so quickly and without any encouragement from them. I believe that they have a responsibility to ween you off, slowly giving you less and less help until you are comfortable that you feel 100% responsible for yourself.

There are so many sides to social services even some of which I don’t even know about but what I do know about I have always fully supported, so it has come as a shock to me to have come to this point and to feel let down by them.

This needs to be changed and I hope to start the change here, the more that young people express their concerns, the more local authorities will have to start to listen to us and maybe one day things will be different for future care leavers.

I have slowly come to terms with this news however I am upset for the more vulnerable young people out there who may feel completely scared and alone during this time, I want to tell you that you are not alone and there and many places to turn to for advice starting with me, if you just want a friendly chat with someone who may be able to understand how you are feeling then feel free to E-mail me (Details on my About Me page)

If you are looking for help or advice concerning things like:

  • money worries
  • housing issues
  • how the care system works
  • your rights in care and leaving care
  • your education and plans for the future
  • your health and wellbeing
  • getting the things you are entitled to
  • contact with your siblings and family members
  • finding national and local services that can help you

Contact: The Who Cares Trust on their Care Advice Line on 020 7017 8901 between 10.30am and 3pm, Monday to Friday (Charges apply however you can ask to be called back) or E-mail advice@thewhocarestrust.org.uk, Check out this website for more information.

I would like to finish by saying that although you may feel scared and alone, think about everything that you have overcome and use that to tell yourself that you are strong enough to face anything that may come your way, ups and downs are a part of life and if you remain positive and work hard, there is no reason as to why your past should dictate your future.