Article 43

 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Living Hell

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“Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.”
- Robert Kennedy

“People do not die from suicide. They die from sadness.”
- Anonymous

“I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth. Whether I shall ever be better I can not tell; I awfully forebode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better, it appears to me.”
- Abraham Lincoln

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
- John 13:34

---

An old childhood friend - a soccer mom with two cool kids in school, loving husband, and great life in the suburbs - recently died of cancer. A real aggressive, horrible disease that literally ate her up in front of everyone’s eyes in a short six months.

It was an ugly death.  But her family grieved the loss and moved on.

The survivors illustrates a thing called resiliency. Where does it come from? How is it learned?

How do you compare loss of a life like this lady’s with LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYMENT and loss of self-respect like mine?

NINE YEARS AGO outsourcing to India gripped me in fear of the future. National political and economic policies has kept that fear burning my heart over the years until the last spark died out.

Why am I still alive after writing THIS POST on Thanksgiving 2012?

SUICIDE is an honorable way to bow out of a life that turned sour. Mine did. And I REASONED with my conscience that its past time to face the future and pay for my sins.

Erich Fromm said:

“If I am what I have, and if I lose what I have, who then am I?”

I leave a life insurance policy to be shared with my poverty-ridden mother, distant relatives, and charity, and want to go out with a little dignity before the electric gets shut off and bank takes the house away, rather than stay alive as a burden on society, LIVING IN THE STREET, or stuffed in someone’s basement - dragging down their life - while waiting to eventually wear out my welcome.

Although coping SKILLS worked through three corporate downsizings, and loosing everything including a failed engagement right after one of them - that left me heartbroken besides jobless, - none of the techniques work anymore.  I’m a little too old, a little too fed up, a little too tired, a little too pessimistic, a little too despondent - and the system is a little too SCREWED UP - to think of starting over again.

The negative emotions are all-consuming. I felt them. I owned them. Now they own me.

AWARENESS of THE REALITY that it’s more than likely I’ll NEVER find a decent job again, and never RECOVER financially to be able to take care of myself, or be a caregiver to my elderly mother, has pretty much OVERCOME all other thoughs, feelings and sensations.

Is this selfish?  Or immature? A psychologist would probably say yes.  I’m using my mother as an excuse to feel bad, along with the old “Poor me” and “I hate myself” lines.

FRIENDS rarely call, email, or show up to see how I’m doing. They know I need their support so bad.  So why am I not moved to contact any of them?  Because the feelings of inferiority turn to shame, and being absorbed in self-pity turns one selfish, envious and jealous at others’ good fortune.

One friend just had a kid that graduated college. I want to share the family’s happiness, but all that happens are my feelings of worthlessness amplify and self-anger swells. 

A few people offered to help sell my belongings on ebay, or ask around the office, but only one followed through.  THE WORST OF THEM look down on me with disdain as one of those LAZY BUMS that wants to live for free off the government and collect welfare. Another reason to distance myself, and turn into a loner.

Cruel, heartless, selfish, bastards. All of us. Me the worst with my crushed ego, and expectations that people act like I think they should act, or owe me for things I did for them.

THESE ARE PEOPLE I’ve known - and whose friendships I cherished - all my life.

Gone.

The phone didn’t even ring Christmas.

And I’m complaining.  The guy who KILLED HIS CAT two years ago to try to hold on to his job.

One friend shows COMPASSION. He takes me out to dinner once a month, and doesn’t talk about how great his life is. We just talk politics or football and he pays the bill. When I get a job he says I can pay. Does he know HOW GRATEFUL I am for that?  My cousin sent me a copy of Windows 8 for Christmas.  Another expression that softens my granite heart a little.  He knows us unemployed IT guys can’t keep our skills up sitting at home with last year’s software - so this gift was well thought out and means a lot.  I still got a house full of old computers and still enjoy tailing firewall logs.

The only other family I got is an elderly mother who lives in near poverty a thousand miles away - who I already abandoned. I can’t afford to visit her anymore, can’t afford to send her money anymore, and can’t afford to face her anymore.  Talk about selfish. No wonder I can’t face myself.

I used to enjoy lifting weights and using the stair machine at the health club. Holding my weight down, and building my muscles up was my only accomplishment SINCE JOINING THE LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED AGAIN LAST YEAR.

When it come’s to battling SELF-ESTEEM and IDENTITY issues - like the INSECURITY and SELF-WORTH problems that stem from job loss - a key to coping is to have accomplishments.

Not anymore. I can’t afford a health club membership, or healthy food, or even strength to walk around the block.  Apathy is putting it mildly.

So why am I still alive? Because I was afraid to try suicide, and chickened out after considering it MAY NOT HAVE WORKED and I’d have wound up in jail or the hospital with permanent brain damage or something.  Not to mention the medical bill.

That hell would be just as bad as this hell.

Being alive is pure torture.

A self-inflicted torture - that with a little more courage - I can END anytime.

---

There’s millions of people like me - long-term unemployed, helpless, hopeless, crushed, depressed, alone, lonely, afraid, confused - and one step away from suicide - out there in the shadows.

They need your help. 

BE A FRIEND. Visit them. Show up with a pizza.  Hang out a little while, and engage them in small talk.

That’ll show them someone cares - the total opposite from what they’re feeling.

I don’t know what the ingredients for resiliency are.

But I’m sure love is one of them.

Posted by Elvis on 01/11/13 •
Section Personal
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