Dear poppa bear,
I’ve never done this sort of thing before, and I’m not sure if I’m doing this right, but I’ve been stuck in a bad depression for some time now, and one of my Internet friends recommended I talk to you. I’m currently 26 years old and living in my parents’ attic, I lost my job in May, and haven’t been able to find a new one and eventually just gave up, and now my parents are telling me I need to get out, my dad mostly, as he’s always treated me badly and even said his life would have been better had I never been born, but my mom has been getting on me as well. There’s a lot of stress in my house for multiple reasons, one big one is my little sister, who has been under suicide watch twice in the past 3 years. I’m expected to always do as I’m told still, and any time I do have money of my own I’m told I need to pay my dad’s bills. I’ve been feeling much more depressed these days than I have in the past and even seriously considered walking out into traffic a few days ago when my dad left me to watch my sister’s broken down car for 3 hours. If things keep going this way, I’m afraid I might either snap and go after my dad, or do something to myself. I’m honestly not sure what I’m looking for help wise, or if you even can help, but the friend who recommended you is kind of close, and I trust them, so I decided to give it a try.
Sorry for dumping my issues on your lap, but I do think I need help.
* * *
Many people are suffering because of this rotten economy. Papabear knows people who have been out of work for years, and it can get really depressing for sure. You have only been out of work for four months. In this depression (and I still assert we are in a depression and don’t care what economists say) that is not really very long. Papabear is guessing that, because your parents see you have quit on yourself, they are getting frustrated with you. Threatening to kick you out might just be “tough love” to scare you and get your tail moving again. Perhaps not, but that is one possibility.
I’m not sure about the circumstances of how you lost your job, but assuming it was because of no fault of your own and your company was simply downsizing for one reason or another, you need to get back at it. If you have not already done so, get a letter of recommendation or two from your former employer, revise your resume, and get back on the job search. Network with friends and relatives to see if they have leads for you, as this is a much better way of finding a job than searching the want ads or job sites online.
Talk to your parents. Show them you are putting forth renewed effort to get a job. See if they can give you any advice. And do not “poo poo” a job because it is “beneath you.” Take anything you can get at this point. Papabear has a dear bear friend he respects immensely. A talented photographer and smart guy. He lost his job and couldn’t find work, so to make ends meet he stocked shelves at Wal-Mart. He did that for three years, but finally found a wonderful job he loves and has already been promoted.
You need to follow his example. Don’t be a quitter. Once you give up on yourself, you will just spiral downward into oblivion like your poor sister. Things will only “keep going this way” if you stand by and do nothing. You got a job once before, right? You can do so again.
Your job right now is the profession of finding a job. It is practically a career in itself. It pays bupkis for a long time, but eventually there is a payout. Here’s a handy little summary of some things you can do: http://jobsearch.about.com/od/findajob/tp/tensteps.htm or http://www.wikihow.com/Get-a-Job.
The key here is to get your fuzzy butt in gear again. Drink lots of caffeine and consume lots of carbs (your health provided) and get into high gear. Exercise, too, to give yourself energy. Once you get a job—and if you assert yourself in the above way you eventually WILL get a job—then you will be able to support yourself again, move out of the attic, regain your self-respect, and watch your depression melt away. Will this happen right away. Hell, no, not unless you have a great stroke of luck. But don’t give up. Never give up.
Meanwhile, if you can, keep a social network close to you; some friends who will help support you emotionally during this trying time. Lupo, there is nothing like a good friend to get you through times like these. I hope you have one or two or more.
And, if the above doesn’t address your question adequately, please, feel free to write me again. Papabear’s door is always open.
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.