Why they should send out anti-depressants with unemployment checks

That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key.
~Elizabeth Wurtzel

No matter how much someone might say “You are not your job,” it’s always a lie in certain circumstances. Like when you’re dirt god-damn broke staring at your boss who just got his shoulder joint replaced and you think to yourself that you’ll do nothing but minimum-wage work for the rest of your life and your body will just fall to pieces and you’ll die. No cyborg shoulder for you.

Someone tells you that you gained a lot of friends, knowledge, and experience getting that degree, so no, it wasn’t a worthless pile of scrap that’s not worth the match it would take to set it on fire. But friends, knowledge, and experience alone don’t pay the rent, don’t feed the cats, and won’t cover the car note. And when you’re having trouble with these things, you just want to strangle the person telling you this.

A lot of people don’t understand that when you’re that poor/broke, you can’t see shit. I heard it put best in Barbara Kingsolvers’ “Pigs in Heaven.” “It’s awful what happens when people run out of money. They start thinking they’re no good.” You do. Don’t ask me about my future. I’ll tell you I’m destined to work nothing but low-paying dead-end jobs. I’ll never have money, I’ll always be in debt. People try to tell me this is bunk, that the economy will pick up and I’ll get a decent job. Right now, that seems like a fairytale. Something you tell your kids at night to cover up the fact that you’ve been donating blood to buy ramen.

I’m lucky. I have a degree. I might actually pull myself out someday. But for all the tales of people pulling themselves up to fame and fortune by their bootstraps, there’re a whole lot more tales of people who look down and realize they don’t even have bootstraps. It’s a black pit of despair. The summer of 2008, before I gave up job hunting, I was chronically depressed and suicidal. Talk to me about my job prospects, and I’m still ready to shoot myself in the head, no joke. It’s not about being selfish or believing that no one cares. It’s about the fact that you’re staring at your life right now as being as good as it’s going to get, and it’s not even that great. You’re looking at your life only getting worse, with no end in sight, ever. No hope, no future, nothing. Just a long tunnel of debt and crappy jobs. And if they’re not crappy, they don’t pay for shit. Living ain’t cheap. Getting old is downright expensive.

A lot of people seem to think it’s as easy as working your butt off and striving for something better. I can tell you from personal experience, it’s not that easy. You have no hope, so why even try? And yes, it does hurt to try. Every ignored application is another reason to just end it all. It hurts. It kills you. It just furthers your belief that you’re a worthless pile of shit that doesn’t even deserve looking at. And of course, everyone tries to help. “Call them up, you have to follow up on the application.” “Send your transcript.” “Go over there and talk to the hiring manager.” It’s all snake-oil…none of it works. And it just makes you feel worse. And it runs up the phone bill. Don’t even get me started on transcripts.

A lot of this may seem like the whining of someone too lazy to do the legwork to get a job. Just excuses for incompetence. Yeah, well, fuck you. If you’ve never been there, you can’t understand it. Sitting high and happy with a job that pays decent and doesn’t suck too badly with your health insurance and your ability to pay off your debt (whether you want to or not). You can move to any city you want and find a job. It’s easy for you to say “You just need to work harder.” Come back and tell me I’m a whining, lazy, little fuck when you’re out of money with no job prospects in sight. It ruins you. You’re stuck in an endless loop, an ouroboros of underemployment, debt, and despair, and most people never get out.

And anti-depressants cost money.

4 Responses to “Why they should send out anti-depressants with unemployment checks”

  1. Fox.

    I’ve never commented before that I remember, but I think that the things you say are insightful, though-provoking, entertainingly written and worthy of more attention.

    I run an online game that’s just turned three years old, and I’ve learned a lot about how to ask your audience to give you money.

    Basically, you have to ask your audience to give you money.

    Just flat-out say “Hey, guys, I’m pretty skint and could use some wedge – if you’ve got a couple of quid spare, then stick ’em in the slot, would ya?” And the weird thing is, they actually will. It’s like how blogs that ask for comments receive more comments; actually asking people for what you want is one of those things that’s so obvious that hardly anyone does it.

    I stuck twenty bucks in the slot. It ain’t much, but that’s what I can spare right now, and it was long overdue. I hope it helps out exactly a twenty bucks’ worth (minus PayPal’s slice, o’course), and more importantly, I hope it lifts your spirits a little.

    Nothing is forever, mate. I hope things look up for you soon.

  2. I’ve been meaning to show my appreciation for your writing and thoughts for a long time. Time to do so.

  3. Brian Says:

    Keep with it, I know what you are going through I was there for a year and a half. Living on an ever dwindling savings I managed to scrape together when I was working. This is one of the worst parts of life you can be in, but it will not last forever. Just look life in the eye and tear its throat out. You can overcome this. Be thankful you aren’t one of the baby boomers who didn’t save while they were working who is now retirement age and broke. Employers are turning those people down even more than us in the younger generation.

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