What It's Really Like to Be Broke, Unemployed and Depressed
This piece was written by Ari Eastman, a Thought Catalog contributor
I wake up at 9 a.m. Temporarily. My biological clock is working even when I’m not. I’m suddenly resentful. There’s no need to be awake right now. No To-Do list. Nobody waiting to see me walk in the door. Nothing on my deadline. Why am I even up?
I go back to sleep.
Because this is what I do when I’m depressed. And unemployed. And both at the same time. Why be awake when you can be asleep and making out with young Scott Foley or an Olympic gold medalist fresh off her talk show circuit? Why sit with all wrong turns that led you here when you could be numb with the same episode of “Friends” for the 10th time this week? Why try when it’s so hard to even think about trying?
I wake up again at noon. This time, I get up. I’m not hungry. I should be though, right? I haven’t had food in well over 12 hours. But wait, I did order that pizza from Postmates on a whim and ate the whole thing sitting on the floor. What time was that? And why did I order from Postmates? I’m looking my shrinking savings account. I’m swiping my credit card like it’s gonna bring me closer to God. Shit, God, I think. Is this because I’m not closer, uh, close whatsoever to God? I imagine all the evangelicals who told me to find Jesus and that maybe they’re laughing somewhere, like this is the result, like this is what happens when you’re comfortable in the unknown with the audacity to not fully commit to anything you can’t see. Would I be this low if I believed in — I don’t know — anything?
My brain needs more serotonin so I help it. Or my medication does. My brain does this ~*~fun*~* thing where it doesn’t exactly want to die, but it’s not motivated to live either. My brain can’t remember what I ate for breakfast two days ago but it remembers every moment I fell face down in the dirt. My brain recounts what she said and how it was so quick and how it was so cold and how I swallowed my tongue just so I didn’t cry. Just so I didn’t make a sound.
I eat a rice cake with avocado on it. I think about the house I could have bought if I didn’t eat rice cakes with avocados but hey, guess that’s just the millennial in me! I digress.
I apply to jobs. I write cover letters. I cry for the place that loved me and I left. I cry for the home that loved me and I left. I apply to more jobs. I write more cover letters. I redo my resume. I redo it again. I redo it constantly.
No one calls. No one emails. I follow up. I call my mother and ask her if it’s annoying to follow up. I call my mother and tell her I’m not sure of my purpose anymore. I call my mother and hope she isn’t disappointed.
I look at all the things I bought. I look at all the splurges on nights at bars and Ubers and things for my friends because I am the one to say, “It’s on me!” thinking it will always be on me. It will always be OK. It will always be a surplus. Because that’s all it’s been! Because I’m 25 and offered every job I’ve ever applied for! Because, hot damn, I’m a commodity!
I am now a month shy of 26 and looking into a mirror that is showing me something I don’t want to see. Something realistic. Something honest. Something screaming, “You had been lucky and blissfully ignorant and now it’s time to come back down to earth!”
I apply to more jobs. I ask my mom if she will proofread this cover letter. She edits it. I edit it. We discuss it for three hours. I am so excited. I am so passionate. This is gonna be the one. This is the perfect company. This is the place I will fit so perfectly.
I never hear back.
I wake up at 9 a.m.
I try all over again.
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Getty Images photo via Marjan_Apostolovic