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From Aliyah

Hey, I’m Aliyah. Just finished uni and landed my first job in Manchester. Should be excited, right? But nah, it’s not that simple. I’m a first-gen immigrant from Nigeria, and balancing my family's expectations with my own dreams is killing me. My parents want me to work hard, save money, and help the family back home. But this job? It’s draining. Long hours, toxic coworkers, and no room to breathe. I feel like I’m suffocating under the pressure. The anxiety is real, man. I barely sleep, always thinking about work and my family. It's like I'm living for everyone but myself.

Growing up, I was always the golden child. Straight A’s, scholarships, the works. My parents are so proud, but their pride feels like a weight on my shoulders. They sacrificed so much for me to be here, and I can’t let them down. But this job, it’s a nightmare. My asshat boss is a micro-manager, constantly breathing down my neck, and my coworkers are shit and unwelcoming. I feel like an outsider, not just because of my skin color but because of my accent, my background, everything.

And the workload? Insane. I’m expected to juggle multiple projects with tight deadlines, and there’s no guidance or support. When I ask for help, I get told to figure it out on my own. The stress is off the charts. My mind races at night, replaying the day’s events and worrying about tomorrow. I wake up exhausted, drag myself to work, and repeat the cycle. It’s like living in a never-ending loop of stress and exhaustion.

My parents, they don’t get it. When I try to talk to them about how I’m feeling, they brush it off. “You’re strong, Aliyah. You can handle it,” they say. But I don’t feel strong. I feel like I’m falling apart. The worst part is, I can’t even talk to my friends about it. Most of them are back home in Nigeria, and the ones here are too busy with their own lives to really listen.

I’ve tried everything to cope. Yoga, meditation, even therapy. But nothing seems to help. The therapist I saw didn’t really understand my cultural background, and I felt like I was constantly explaining myself instead of getting help. It’s frustrating. I just want someone to understand what I’m going through, to tell me it’s okay to feel this way, and to give me some practical advice on how to deal with it all.

Money is another big issue. living here is expensive, and with my student loans, rent, and bills, there’s barely anything left to send home. My parents don’t ask for much, but I know they’re counting on me. They need my support, and I feel guilty every time I think about spending money on myself. It’s like I’m stuck in this cycle of guilt and responsibility, and there’s no way out.

Sometimes, I think about quitting. Just packing up and going back home. But what then? I’d be letting everyone down, including myself. I worked so hard to get here, and I can’t just give up. But staying here, in this job, feels like it’s killing me. I’m constantly anxious, barely sleeping, and I can feel my mental health deteriorating. I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up.

I guess I’m just looking for some sort of balance. A way to make my parents proud without losing myself in the process. I want to find a job that respects me as a person, not just as a worker. Somewhere I can grow and thrive, instead of just surviving day to day. I want to feel like I’m living my life for me, not just for everyone else.

But for now, I’m stuck. Trying to keep my head above water, taking it one day at a time. I know I’m not the only one going through this, but it sure feels like it sometimes. If anyone out there has any advice, I’d love to hear it. We all need a little help sometimes, and right now, I could really use some.

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