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Worried About Handling My Anxiety After I Graduate College

Published: January 14, 2015
Dear Worried About Handling My Anxiety After I Graduate College,

Is it normal to be stressed and nervous about growing up? I'll be graduating college in May and I'm getting really nervous about it. I just feel like it's going to bring about so much change and big changes are hard to handle. I'm just kind of worried that my anxiety is going to be hard to deal with. I've been going to counseling since I started college and was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. I'm worried about what I'm going to do when I can't see the counselor anymore because I see a counselor in the student health center. I just feel like after graduation my anxiety is going to be causing me problems and I'm worried about that. What should I do about this?

Dear Worried About Handling My Anxiety After I Graduate College,

There are certainly going to be changes and adjustments to deal with when you graduate college, just as there has probably been for you at any other point in time when you have transitioned to another phase of your life. One of the things that is most important in dealing with any kind of transition is to make sure you have people in your life who can provide you with the support and guidance you need so you can cope with these changes in the healthiest way possible.

Given the anxiety you have been dealing with, FX thinks that it is very important for you to continue in therapy even after you are no longer eligible to use the counseling services at the college student health center. The counselor you are currently meeting with should be able to help you find a reputable therapist, such as a clinical social worker or clinical psychologist, who you can continue working with after graduation. It will be important to have an appointment in place with a new therapist prior to leaving college, and even better if you could meet with the new person at least once or twice before leaving college so you have a sense of who that person is and whether that person is a good fit for you.

If you feel like your anxiety is very difficult to manage, or becomes very difficult to manage at any point in the future, you might consider meeting with a psychiatrist to see if you would benefit from taking some type of anti-anxiety medication. No medication is going to completely erase your anxiety, but appropriate medications can certainly take the edge off to the point where the worry and anxiety feels more manageable.

It is very important to stay connected to friends and family members who you are close to as you transition out of college. It will be helpful for you to have people you can call and visit when you are having a tough time so that you are not trying to cope with this all on your own.

TeenHealthFX also recommends that you think about what it is you are most anxious about. Are you worried about being alone, taking care of yourself, having what may feel like “adult” responsibilities? A better understanding of what you are so anxious about will help you in dealing with the problem. And this is certainly something that can be done in your therapy.

Finally, FX wants you to remember that you are not alone in wondering or worrying about life after school. Many teens and young adults worry about where they will live, where they will work, how they will support themselves, and what it will feel like to be more responsible for themselves. You are not alone in how you feel – and sometimes understanding this can bring some comfort in and of itself.

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.