Today I was looking through a forum about the effects that the economy has had on unemployment. One particular person's post stood out to me because he stated that he is contemplating suicide after the loss of a job and the inability to find one to support his family. Now I know that there are many people who are thinking that this is a selfish act against his family or that he shouldn’t let his lack of a job define his decision to go on living, but I say to you whether you understand or not, it is a true state of what a lot of people are dealing with. Even if you aren’t dealing with it at the degree of suicide, there are many people who are trying to figure out how to handle life when a crisis that is out of their control hits home and hits so hard that it appears to destroy everything in sight. When I finished reading his post, I was a little beside myself, because what do you say to someone who is in this predicament? What do you say when you don’t necessarily have the answers to the problem, and you don’t want to trivialize it with a simple, “Hang in there buddy”? As I continued to read other’s post of how they are dealing with their current situation, I realized that I don’t have all the answers, but people need to hear something. Sometimes people know that you don’t have the answer, but just need someone to hear them, someone to show that they care and that they can talk to them. I think this hit home for me because I’ve been there, not contemplating suicide over a job loss, but being in that hopeless situation where it seems like everything you try doesn’t work. I use to work in the science field and I got burnt out so I decided to transition into a new field. I enjoyed this new field until one day I was called into the office and sat down for “A Talk”. All I remember is my boss starting to talk and I recognize that the direction that the conversation was going in didn’t sound good. I started thinking about how they were letting me go after all that I sacrificed and did for this company. Her stating that they were letting me go brought me back to the conversation and I was stunned, to say the least. I was probably in shock for about 3 days thinking surely this is a mistake, but once I realized that it wasn’t I started hitting the pavement. I found that I couldn’t get a job in my old field because I was gone from it for too long and couldn’t get one in the new field because I wasn’t in it long enough. I started looking at places like my local stores but was told that I was overqualified. I finally got an interview with a store that sold chicken where the manager was impressed but said that I was overqualified to be a cashier, which is why he couldn’t offer me anything less than a shift manager position. I began working this job, but I had gotten behind in bills and the wage I was making wasn’t enough and eventually lost everything…even my pets! I had to move in with friends that offered me a place to stay without charging me and luckily my job transferred me to another location, but I had to demote to a cashier because that was all that was available. One day I had reached my breaking point…I still remember it as if it were yesterday. It was the day that reality came crashing down on me, the reality that I had lost everything! I had slept on people’s couches, living room floors to their spare bedrooms; I walked miles to get to interviews just to be told that I was overqualified. I was denied government assistance and when I asked the woman who was assisting me “What was I supposed to do?” She looked at me and said, “As far as the government is concerned, you are young, educated, and single with no children…you will eventually be alright”. Somewhere in the midst of all of this, I had a dream that God told me that His name for me meant Blessed and a Conqueror. Now some might think awww that’s sweet or that’s interesting or even crazy! Funny thing is I didn’t think any of those things, I woke up mad! How could I be blessed living like this and I definitely wasn’t a conqueror because I hadn’t conquered jack! The day that it hit me, I felt defeated because it seemed like no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t seem to gain any footing. That night there was a bad storm, it was pouring down rain as well as thundering and lightning. I went outside on my friend's back porch and sat down on a chair in the pouring rain. I matched the downpour, raindrop for raindrop… tear for tear. I cried, I yelled and had a mini-meltdown, and then I began to talk to God. Not that “Heavenly be thy Name” type of conversation, no no, we had a “TALK”. That night I realized that my greatest frustration wasn’t my current circumstances but the feeling that there was something greater in me. The feeling that I was supposed to be living greater, doing greater things, and that there was more out there for me, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was or how to make it come to fruition. I let God know that I was hurt and angry! I was hurt because He didn’t step in to stop people from mistreating me and angry because He dropped me off in the desert, drove off, and the only instructions He left was “You are blessed and a conquer” Humph! I can’t tell you when it started turning around but I do remember it was literally step by step…baby steps at that, but eventually, I got back on my feet and the only thing that kept me going and still keeps me going is remembering that feeling I had that dark rainy night. The gut feeling that pushed me not to settle, not to give up…that there is more in me, there is greatness in me and it’s worth fighting for. I’m no longer mad at God or hurt by my past experiences and It turns out that I am Blessed and a Conqueror! Who knew? I’m blessed to have made it and still making it and I’m a conqueror because I got through it and can get through it and most importantly, so can you. There are people who are nurses, doctors, factory workers, teachers, and the list goes on, that are out of work. There are people who are IT specialists, secretaries, switchboard operators, and architects who have jobs but are working 2 people’s positions and getting paid less than one. A lot of people are affected by this all and I shared this with you in hopes that the man who is contemplating suicide, as well as others who are just having a hard time, would read this and find some source of encouragement to never give up. I hear you, I care, and if you need to talk or need some positive support, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask questions, get advice, or just write down what you are feeling. I'm here for you, I will listen. I may not have the answers, but I do have an ear for you. For those who need a professional ear please call 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK. To everyone who is reading this, I urge you to share a smile, a hug, and this post with people you come in contact with, be it personally or over the internet. You never know when you might be the light in someone’s darkness.
Finally Loving Life (FLL)