Possible Crisis [DISC, VENT, ADV, I dunno]

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Post by caliseivy on Wed May 16, 2018 12:20 pm

It's been awhile since I regularly visited the site.
I'm posting now because I'm on the urge of a breakdown and I need to get everything out but the people who I need to talk to are unavailable and I know y'all aren't doctors but I don't know what I'm doing.

My grandpa passed last month; the one I was living with for the past few years, which hurts, but his passing also resulted in some legal issues that pretty much mean I need to move in the next month or so because financially I can't afford to continue living in his house (not to mention all the drama and other issues I'd have to continue dealing with if I stayed). Since his passing, I've been looking for another place to live that I can also afford and still commute to work. It's been hard because of how expensive it is around here, so I'll end up with housemates but whatever.

I've also never had to go out on my own like this before. In the past I've either lived with people I already knew who were already established in their place, or with family who already had their place; I've never been the one making the decision to move or deciding where to move to but now I have to choose locations to visit and ask all the important questions and hope the people I meet aren't horrible roommates, and then I have to pack up once again and move somewhere new and unfamiliar and leave a lot of things behind (like the dog that's not mine but I've grown attached to).

I'm just so scared and depressed and stressed out right now. I'm afraid I won't find a place and will be forced to remain in the situation I'm in now indefinitely; that I'll find a place and it'll turn out terrible because I'm a screw-up and wasn't smart enough to see the situation was a bad one; that I'm just not mature or mentally prepared enough to make this decision correctly even though I'm supposed to be by now; that every decision I've made and am currently making about this whole thing is the wrong one.

I don't know what I'm doing at all and honestly I'm struggling right now doing anything at work and not crying.

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Post by Enail on Wed May 16, 2018 1:37 pm

Oh, Caliseivy, that sounds so stressful on top of a big loss, and I'm so sorry about your grandfather! If it helps any, I think looking for a place is a big thing, and it's natural to be scared and stressed about it; I always have been, when I've been looking for a place. And even if you're feeling terrified about it, you honestly seem to me like you've got this in terms of how you're handling everything and making decisions.

And while it's awful knowing that you can't guarantee you'll be happy with wherever you find, it's not something that anyone can be sure of when apartment hunting, no matter how smart and mature and prepared they are. It's just not a situation where you can have all the information to know for sure how it'll turn out in advance, so even if not everything goes how you'd like, it doesn't mean you're a screw-up or not smart enough. Don't put that kind of self-worth pressure on yourself on top of what you're dealing with, it's not about how good or how mature you are.

One thing that's helped me feel a little more on top of things in looking for somewhere is to find a checklist online of factors to ask about and consider, and bring it with me to write down notes about the place so that I remember to check all the things I want to check and things I might not have thought of checking myself. You can also look up a standard lease agreement for your area to use if the landlord/existing tenants you'll be joining don't have anything prepared - if you can, getting everything in writing can really help protect you if something goes wrong. And check the Bedbug Registry for any place you're considering.

Wishing you an unexpectedly easy search and a great place with nice roommates! You can do this!

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Post by Werel on Wed May 16, 2018 5:08 pm

Oooof, I'm really sorry about your grandfather, caliseivy, and about all this incredibly tough stuff on top of it. Moving is one of the most intensely stressful things you can do, and finding a place to live is absolutely an exhausting and awful process, but you can do it. Nobody is smart or perceptive or mature enough to be 100% sure a living situation will work out right off the bat; all you can do is think hard about your requirements, what you're willing to compromise on or not, and how you're going to look out for your own interests. So please don't beat yourself up over feeling like this is risky and difficult--it is. But it also sounds like you're thinking about this in realistic and reasonable terms, and I second Enail that it seems like you got this.

In case it's useful, some advice from a person who's apartment hunting right now and has moved apartments seven times in the last five years (so, a total expert at doing the worst thing ever Laughing):

1) Hit refresh on Craigslist like it's your job (when you're not actually busy with your real job, that is). Make a saved search with your parameters and pull it up every hour or so, if you can. There are some gems out there which are better values than others, and you can catch them if you're quick on the draw.

2) Make a short list of what's most important to you in a living situation, both in terms of the apartment and the roommates. Commute distance? Neighborhood? Walkability? Specific features of the living space (like, do you hate laundromats and need a washer/dryer in your building? Do you require a window with something green outside it? Do you haaaaate being on the ground floor, or prefer it?) and weigh what you're willing to give up if it'll get you those features. For roommates, it'll probably stress you out less if you view these more like your potential neighbors in an apartment building, rather than friend-roommates--you'll bump into them frequently and be polite, but they're not your future children's godparents. If they turn out to be awesome and you end up being friends, great! But right now, you're just looking for a place to put your things and shut the door to your room for the next 6-12 months.

3) If you're looking to join a situation where there are already roommates in an established place, see if they want to interview you first. They should. If they don't want to meet you all together before you move in, this is a desperate and maybe shady kind of household. And if the house is dirty when you come to interview, it ain't ever gonna be clean.

4) Do not ever, ever lease from a landlord you can't meet. I rented an apartment on Oahu from a woman I never met because Reasons, and, surprise!, all her properties were foreclosed on within less than a year and we got evicted. Don't trust anybody who's got sad stories to explain why they can't meet you in the flesh.

5) And remember wherever you end up doesn't have to be forever. If the place or the roommates suck, you're only there until your lease is up. That might help take some of the edge off the crisis feeling, knowing that this is temporary if you want it to be.

You're going to make the best decisions you can, and you're gonna cut yourself some slack for feeling like this is overwhelming and miserable, because it is. But you will find a place, and it'll probably be fine, and even if it's not, it's temporary! You'll get through this transition period, and you'll have more knowledge and experience under your belt as a result. You've got this.

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