And National Suicide Prevention Day seemed like the time to revisit this particularly dark period in my life.
Research has tied 1 in 5 of all suicides worldwide to joblessness. It might sound dramatic or incredulous to someone that’s never experienced it, but I can tell you firsthand what suddenly losing your livelihood can do to a person.
Being jobless for 5 months is something I literally wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and I mean it. Just the other day, I saw some bitch I hated in college had lost her job because of coronavirus, and all I felt was sympathy. You may be thinking, “duh, that’s the normal human response” but I can be very vindictive. I’ve had a tendency to hold onto grudges with a king fu grip. I’m not proud of it, and I’m working on it, but I’m being honest.
When I saw that that bitch that had mocked me and attacked me over my political views in college had lost her job, all I wanted to do was help her. Because I knew what she was going through all too well, and it was deeper than any stunt she pulled in undergrad.
Like most people, I’ve been depressed before. I graduated a semester late in college partially because of it. But being jobless for 5 months wasn’t like anything I’d been through before.
It wasn’t like an anesthesia, dulling your senses before you even realize you’re numb. It was maddening. It was demoralizing. It was soul crushing. And I felt every ounce of it at full intensity.
I felt every unopened email and every “sorry, we’ve moved forward with other candidates, best of luck with your search.”
Labor Day weekend just passed, and these kinds of holidays and weekends were the worst of it. Everyone was down the Cape or some comparable New England vacation spot living their best lives, and I was in my room with 4 walls closing in on me.
One of the worst things about being unemployed was that I couldn’t bring myself to spend any money on going out or having fun because I didn’t know where my next paycheck was coming from, and I had student loans.
And it wasn’t just the money. I felt like a fucking loser. I wasn’t relaxed or “taking time for myself” while I was unemployed. I was miserable. I felt like a complete failure. I was terrified that my life would go backwards. I’d have to take a job in retail or the service industry, and end up trapped there forever like my old assistant manager at White House | Black Market.
It felt like all I did for 5 months was apply to jobs and anticipate rejection. Thinking back on it, working on my blog was really all I had to keep me sane.
And after 5 months of it, I didn’t recognize myself.
I couldn’t do it anymore.
I made up my mind around this time 3 years ago that if I didn’t get the job I was interviewing for, I was going to kill myself.
I started trying to figure out the best way to do it. Was I going to jump off of a bridge or a rooftop? In front of a train? I thought briefly about drowning myself but I didn’t want to suffer more than I had to. I thought about slitting my wrists but I didn’t want to do anything at home because I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself for what finding something like that would do to my mom or siblings.
I hate talking about this stuff. I don’t like the idea of being thought of as “someone that was suicidal.” But if being honest about what I’ve been through convinces one person to be “someone that was suicidal” as opposed to “someone who committed suicide,” it’s worth the blow to my ego.
Lucky for me, I got the job. It will be 3 years in November.
But sometimes I wonder about what I would have done if I never got this job. I think about where I was mentally and emotionally at that point, and I’m afraid I would’ve gone through with it. I think about my mom. I think about my brother and sister. I think about my old best friend, and some of the people I went to college with. I think about what that Thanksgiving and Christmas and my birthday would have been like, specifically for my mom.
I think about all I’ve experienced in the last 3 years. The milestones I’ve reached. The people I’ve met. The friends I’ve made. The friends I’ve lost. The concerts I’ve been to. The dates I’ve been on. My 2 promotions. The million instances of bliss, and shock, and contentment I’ve felt in the last 3 years that I came so close to robbing myself of.
Even if I hadn’t gotten this job, another one would have come along. Even if I had to start working at the mall again or waiting tables, or stay home an extra year, something would have worked out, and it would have been worth it. I know that now, but I would have given anything to hear that from someone who knew what I was going through 3 years ago.
Life is…life. Sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes it kicks ass. But 3 years ago, I literally couldn’t have imagined being as happy as I am today. And I’m grateful I stuck around long enough to find out all of the wonderful places my life could lead me.
On a day dedicated to preventing suicide, I wanted to make a point of reaching out to those at risk for it for the same reason I was, who might find themselves where I was 3 years ago. I know how hard this is. And I know it’s even harder for people that did nothing wrong. Whose livelihoods feel completely out of their control because of circumstances that have nothing to do with their choices. But even now, in this shit show of a year and this pandemic, there is something to stick around for. Every single rock bottom I’ve reached has made the highs that much more rewarding. What you’re going through now will show you exactly what you’re capable of if you give yourself the time to prove it.