Down and out in Texas

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’ve been dealing with a lot of issues lately that have been building up a weight on my shoulders and I don’t know how much more I can take before I crumble from the stress. Every time It feels like I’m making progress in my life, something new comes along and sweeps the carpet under my feet. It’s the whole “one step forward, two steps back” type of thing.

I can’t get a job though I’ve been searching, applying, and interviewing for over a year. I’ve been living off the good will of others, staying with my parents (though now that isn’t an option anymore, as my father and I don’t get along), staying with friends, and now my resources are dwindling rapidly and I’ve got no money. I eat maybe once a day, because I cant afford much more then that; my cellphone which is needed for finding a job and staying within contact has consumed my capital, as well as gas and cigarettes. I was in an art college for about a year before having to quit because my roommate bailed while I was in class and I couldnt afford to continue paying rent and I wasn’t able to find a location closer that was affordable (no on-campus housing).

I’ve always been interested in physics and science but I cant pursue a degree because I can’t afford to take online course until I can find a job. I’m probably about 2 weeks from being homeless and I cant afford insurance on my car. Since i’ve been out of the military in ’06 I’ve gotten a cavity in my wisdom tooth which has since shattered and is now causing me intermittent pain which can get quite unbearable to the point where I’ve found myself in the bathroom with a pair of pliers on multiple occations (the tooth remains, as I know it would cause further complications but if you’ve ever experienced pain like this, you would understand).

So with all of that being the most recent of things, I now believe that some people are just destined to fail so that others can succeed and have something to be glad that they aren’t. I wanted to make an impact on the world somehow, be it through science or art, no matter how big or small that impact, but I feel as though I’m just a subatomic burp in the universe of the relevant. I know that my presence doesn’t change anything, just as the lack of my presence wouldn’t make a ripple either. I have no-one I can comfortably talk to about my issues, and generally I have taken to hiding my depression under the guise of comedy. I dealt with my issues by making others laugh, or making myself laugh just to keep from crashing completely, but that doesn’t seem to work anymore.

I don’t know where to go, and I don’t know what to do, or who to turn to, or anything at this point. I’ve been thinking about painless ways to commit suicide but if there is a hell, I’m sure i’d find myself there which is the only reason I haven’t done it yet. the last thing I want is to be a spectacle, so I haven’t gone to any hospitals or anything, putting aside the fact that I feel they wouldn’t help me but rather medicate or sedate me. I just want to talk to someone who can pretend to give a damn.

A: Despite all your troubles, your letter shows you to be an articulate, sensitive guy who has a number of talents and interests. Life certainly hasn’t gone your way for much too long. Let’s see if some practical suggestions might give you a toehold so you can start to climb back up out of that hole.

You mentioned that you were in the military. The National Veterans Foundation has a Lifeline for American Vets. Call 888-777-4443. The mission of the NVF is to meet the information and referral needs of all U.S. veterans and their families. Give them a call. They do far more than pretend to care. At the very least, try to get some dental services for that tooth. Pain has a way of wearing a person down.

The VA also has an education and training hotline for vets like yourself who are having difficulty finding work and who may need to get more training or education. That number is 888-442-4551 or check out www.military.com to learn more about benefits available to you.

You are certainly not alone in your problems and you don’t have to figure everything out by yourself. There’s a depression support group and hotline at 800-826-3632 and there is an online support group for people who are struggling with depression here at Psych Central. To find a group, check out this address: http://forums.psychcentral.com/

Apparently your folks and friends did give you support for quite awhile. Perhaps they have gotten as tired of your situation as you have. But they may also still have some good advice for you that is worth a try. I encourage you to open your mind to that possibility. Doing it your way hasn’t worked out for you so maybe it’s time to try another approach or two or five!

You have a lot of options available to you before you need to even think about throwing in the towel. I hope you will follow up and give some of them a try.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Mar 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Down and out in Texas. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/03/21/down-and-out-in-texas/