If you read my posts you know that in February I was layed off from my job. I had been there for almost 13 years and at my previous job for 10. I was a government contractor and since there have been so many federal budget cuts, we lost most of our funding. I had never been layed off before in my life. At 49 years old, it is a scary prospect. I earned the majority of the income for our family. I received a small severance and then had to go onto unemployment. I have been looking for a job for months now. I don't possess an advanced degree and have back issues or I would have taken a retail job a long time ago while still hunting for something better. My stupid back doesn't allow me to stand for much longer than 15 minutes at a time. (I've had two back surgeries and will eventually need the whole rod, plates, screws combo when I have a multi-vertebral fusion.) In August my husband's car died and he has taken over mine since we can't afford another. We have drained everything we had, even the $1000.00 we had put aside for a down payment on a new car. Tomorrow we humble ourselves further when we sign up for food stamps. I don't expect we will see any Food Stamps because in the state where I live they are MONTHS behind in processing Food Stamp claims. There are people out there in dire situations with small children and they can't get any help. I feel fortunate that we have a teenager! Hopefully I will have found a job by then and I will never have to use them. We own our home and we can't rent an apartment cheaper than our mortgage so we are praying we can hold onto it. It's looking doubtful these days seeing that we only have $200.00 left at the end of the month after we pay our mortgage. I have no idea of how we will pay our utilities from this point forward. Ugh.
I try to keep it together, but it is getting more difficult. I have dealt with depression since I was a child. It runs rampant in my family. Lucky us! Since my husband's car died I have not left the house that much, maybe twice a week. I leave to shop for groceries and hit Michael's or WalMart for minimal craft supplies so I can make some wreaths to sell. The depression makes me want to stay home all of the time. I force myself to leave. Really. My husband and I usually go out on Saturday's together, perusing the flea market or hitting thrift stores, but I don't want to waste gas money so we have cut that out, too.
I don't want people's pity. I have worked since I was 15 years old and never expected something like this to happen. I haven't wanted to share how grave our situation is with our friends. I know that they will all try to "fix" the situation, but the only "fix" is my getting a job and it may have to be within walking distance, since I don't see us able to buy a car in quite a while. I don't share my worries with my husband right now, because he is working so hard and stressing out, too. Besides God, my saving grace has been my therapist that works on a sliding scale. She will even forgo payment and let me pay her when I can afford to. I vent to her, share my worries and work on steps to help me manage the depression. She is my life raft. God and my therapist!
I know that we aren't alone, going through such difficult times. I humble myself before you because I want you to know that there are families EVERYWHERE that are going through things like this. For several years we have worked with the low income and homeless through our church and other groups. It has been my wish to have my daughter see homeless and the poor as real people and not as society's throwaways. We have been so fortunate in our lives up to now. Regardless, I know that God is with us, no matter what happens.
Wherever you live or however much money you make, do something kind for someone less fortunate than you. There are millions of people in our own country that are in need. Sometimes it isn't money that they need. Sometimes it is the person next door that is going through a hard time and just needs someone to hear them or hug them. Bring cookies to the elderly lady across the street whose husband passed away and is now on her own. I know Christmas is coming, but remember that there are eleven other months in the year. Those same folks are still in need after you've packed up your Christmas decorations. Find causes you are passionate about and support them. Some of my favorites are listed below. Feel free to check them out.
May you all be blessed, today and everyday!