Help for the helpless
Nothing has changed. Nothing. I lost my job and thought that something would change.
Thank God I had unemployment for these past months. I don't know what I would have done.
Now, however, I don't know what I WILL do! No money is coming in my door, Kristine. I am still current on my rent, but I don't know how I will pay it in October. No money. Not a penny.
I've never been here before. I've always paid my own way. I need help. Please tell me how to put one foot in front of the other. Honest to God, Kristine. I don't know what to do. I'm frozen. I can't stop crying. I'm writing this and blubbering into my lap. I need help.
I've tried to talk to my friends about all this, but no one takes me seriously. The best I can get from anyone is this; "I'm so glad I'm not you. I don't know how you do it."
I don't know either. I don't know if I can keep this up. Help me.
Dear Margaret -
I'm taking you seriously because I believe you. I believe you're "blubbering" and out of control. I believe your fear. I believe your paralysis. Margaret - I believe everything you wrote.
You didn't tell me, however, where you live or if you're facing any medical emergencies. Your language signals depression; and who wouldn't be depressed? Your message also indicates anxiety. The two flow together; depression breeds anxiety which thrives on depression.
Margaret - please believe me when I tell you this: all will be well. I mean it. All will be well.
You may think I'm being flippant. I am not.
If you want a job, a job will emerge. I promise you this. It might not be comparable to the job you lost, but if you want to work, you will.
The economy is in slow, slow recovery. Your are caught-up in something larger than you, Margaret. Nonetheless, there are things you can do to recover your equilibrium.
- Accept your circumstance. You are limited in many things right now: energy, money, enthusiasm. Don't beat yourself up if you can't keep up with your employed friends. One day they will be where you are today. Relax into your situation. Stop fighting the truth of your limits.
- Accept responsibility for your life. Ironically, this means the opposite of what you might think it means. Once you accept your limits, you must seek assistance to meet your needs. Visit the office of human services in your county. See what programs are available to you. The federal stimulus injected the economy with job training, assistance with groceries, programs for the unemployed. Learn where they are and how they can help you.
- Make a new budget. Obvious? Maybe. But when we feel stressed, poor, without hope, we often neglect the basics. After you visit the county, after you apply for financial support, after the dust settles, sit down and plan your finances. Once you see your finances on paper, you'll feel a whole lot better.
- Balance your job search by remembering who you are and what you love. Sure, it's important to keep looking for the next opportunity. But pull other parts of your life to the forefront. Volunteer one afternoon each week. Visit the library and bring home some new, good fiction to read or a DVD to watch. Take yourself to one of the free concerts, art fairs, public school programs. Limit your job seeking to two, three hours per day and you'll be a happier Margaret.
- Go to a matinee every week. Do it. Go to the movies. I know, I know - it seems like a waste of money. But once you visit the county and get some assistance, take a little of that cash and blow it on a great flick. Every week.
- Believe in yourself. If you have a "faith system," return to it frequently. Take time to nurture the hope in your heart. It's still there or you would never have written Kristine.
- Believe in the future. It is, after all, a wonderful life. Make every day as magical as you can. Be happy, Margaret. Be strong. You'll get through this. I promise. And when you do, you'll look back with pride. Life is seldom easy. It is only life - and always a miracle.