What happens when …

… the personal and the national intersect?  In my case, a perfect storm.  A series of personal “events” (I hesitate to call them “tragedies” because they’re so bleakly ordinary) — death of a spouse, rejection by a child, financial losses, medical problems — intersected with the national financial crisis, and I lost everything.  Lost my husband, lost the love and support of my daughter (my only child), lost the chance to have a relationship with my grandchildren, lost my home to foreclosure, lost my financial stability. 

I had been out of the workforce for several years, taking care of my mother and my husband during their final illnesses; though I had been professionally employed in the past, that gap in my work history combined with the economic freefall (only an economist or a politician can pretend it wasn’t the worst depression since the 1930s) meant I couldn’t find a job.  In 2009, out of sheer desperation, I took a job at WalMart.  Everything horrible you’ve ever heard about working for WalMart is true. 

After my husband’s death I had hoped to start a little farm (a lifelong dream of mine) — I had the property, but what I did not have was the physical strength/stamina to do the required work, nor the money to hire it done.  I tried to live on the property in a little travel trailer — impossible.  I was forced by a particularly destructive series of spring storms to return to my house in town — for sale, but not yet sold.  I’d lived in that house for 25 years, raised my daughter there, my husband died in that house.  I hated it — an ugly, aging, money sink.

As if all that weren’t enough to cause depression, while all this was going on I went into menopause which can cause depression all by itself.  Pharmaceutical attempts at controlling the depression were frustrating and fruitless.  If I hadn’t had the responsibility of animals to take care of, I would have killed myself a dozen times over.  To this day they’re the only reason I succeed in getting out of bed every day and going to work.  I did finally get out of WalMart, thank heaven, and back into a salaried job with benefits, but I have no savings and live paycheck to paycheck.  Like so many others.

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