A group for our forgotten class. Personal stories, information and ideas for survival as well as fighting back.
Let's share some stories.
Let's share some stories.
I know that I, and a couple others here have, but I’d encourage everyone here, if they wouldn’t mind, to share their own stories of poverty and/or disability and the struggle that we are engaged in. I’ll start by sharing a little bit of what’s going on in my life at the moment.
Last Thursday, when I couldn’t make it to work because of a panic attack (and ended up losing my job, that I’d only had for a couple weeks) I snapped. I broke. I accepted defeat in regards to the circumstances of my own life and decided that I would live simply, here at home with my parents – and just write, giving up on everything else. I have never written for money, as I never wanted to feel like I was using my small talent for the sake of greed. Rather, it is something I wish to share to help change the narrative about poverty, to help enlighten others about what those of us who are suffering experience. In spite of the so called economic recovery, good jobs numbers and so on… there are stories that are rarely told. Stories of struggle, of suffering, of courage and heroism in the face of it… ultimately, stories of survival, even when everything seems hopeless, even when we may have given in to despair.
I wrote a long post about it over on GD here at JPR. I figured that, given my long-winded manner of writing, my self hatred, my cynicism and everything else, well, I figured that few people would read it – and that few would respond. What ended up happening really shocked me. Dozens of people here at JPR reached out with compassion, with kindness, sharing their own stories and offering words of wisdom and love. To say that I was (and am) moved would be a dramatic understatement. I will say instead that it shook me to my core. I was ready to give up, seeing no value in myself, but so many here saw something in me… whether it was a kindred spirit, a writer, someone who was suffering and deserved empathy and kindness…
I am grateful for that, more than I can say. To all of you, to the administrators of this forum who have also reached out to me, to everyone who has read my posts and cared. I am clinging on by fingernails right now, but I am still clinging. I feel, in a sense, redeemed. My faith has always been with humanity. With our potential for goodness and greatness, for kindness, empathy, for compassion. Having so much shared with me and given to me just blew my mind. Here, on a forum, where I am known only by what I post.
I am hoping that on some day when I am not feeling exhausted, not laying in bed shaking with panic attacks, that I can eventually come to thank each of you individually for your kindness.
Typically now, every day, I will at some point (usually once during the afternoon hours and once at night) begin to feel very anxious. I have medication, lorazepam, that some times helps… and some times doesn’t. I’ve been on a low dose for a long time and suspect I have developed a tolerance. Anyhow, eventually the anxiety increases, pretty regularly every day, to a point where I can no longer function. It begins with a feeling of tightness in my chest, a nameless fear in my mind that I am going crazy, that I am definitely having a heart attack this time. My mind… runs, spinning like a hamster on a wheel, with anxious thought after anxious thought. I begin to shake, both in the arms and legs – and some times my whole body convulses. I don’t know why this is – if it is a reaction that I choose deliberately in order to avoid more powerful emotions or other physical sensations. It is not a true seizure, but something else, that I don’t entirely understand myself.
Eventually it will slow down… eventually it will stop. My weakened, hurting body and my exhausted mind will have a chance to rest. It is usually during these times that feelings of hopelessness, powerlessness, guilt and self hatred overwhelm me (anxiety and depression tend to go hand in hand). The darkness is quiet, but all invasive, it seems that it reaches every part of my body, my mind – and even my soul. I usually sleep for a few hours after this happens… and then can go about my business, somewhat, until the next one hits and the cycle repeats itself.
There are days when I want to scream out to the heavens and demand that God, Goddess, the Universe, something or someone make it stop. There are days when I think longingly of who I was in years gone by, when I could work for a living and had some measure of self confidence, some measure of self respect… some amount of pride in myself. I feel beaten, defeated. I think often of what I should be doing, what I could be doing, how I might make a difference in the world for those in need, for whose in worse circumstances than my own. I swear to myself that I will get stronger, better, that I will improve… then, once again, the terrible process repeats itself.
I think of my teeth that are beginning to fall apart – over a dozen cavities, but no money for a dentist. I think of the fact that I’m in such a sorry state that my therapist sees me without charge. I think of the medications I take and wonder if, next month, my parents will be able to help me get them again. I think of my back problems, and whether physical therapy might enable me to return to a somewhat more normal life, maybe if I didn’t have this constant pain. I think of my son, who I have not been able to contact in years. Of my family, through who’s kindness and support I am still alive and able to write here today.
My thoughts can often be… not terribly helpful in dealing with my situation.
What keeps me ticking, in spite of everything… is all of you. You who have suffered, are suffering, or have known suffering. Everyone who struggles every day with poverty, with disabling injuries or mental illness. What keeps me writing and hoping and damning the circumstances, is the notion that we are in this together. The notion that, through our shared struggle, our respect and kindness for each other, all things can be overcome. I know I am not alone – and I know I am not the worst off.
So I offer my pain, my struggles, my self hatred, my feelings of inadequacy and my frequent despair… to share with all of you, in the knowledge that a shared burden makes it lighter. It is not for selfless reasons – but it is with the hope that others, too, will share – and that together we might overcome.
You all have been like angels to me, both here at JPR and at another place in the past. The kindness and compassion I have been shown, the stories of struggle, of courage, of heroism I have been honored to know, have helped me to cope with my own life. Damn all of it’s circumstances, I will hang on – and keep writing, because I believe in all of you, who I have leaned on, who have been far kinder to me than I deserve. I offer, too, my own shoulder and my own experience, if perhaps I might be able to help you in some way, then it is my honor, my pleasure – and my privilege to do so.
Let’s not let life go by in our quiet struggles, our independent suffering, but share with each other. For there is strength in numbers, there is strength in hearts, in minds combined for a united purpose. Let that purpose be an end to poverty, let that purpose be a life in which each of us might find relief from our pain, acknowledgement of our existence and of our suffering. Let that purpose be the combined spirit of people who still care, though we may often feel forgotten or beaten down, let us lift each other up.
Alone, I can do nothing, but with all of you by my side, with all of us together, nothing is impossible, no task too difficult.
I am deeply grateful to you all. Much love and respect and gratitude. Thank you for reading, thank you for caring – thank you for joining up. We can… and will make a difference.shaayecanaan, em77, grouchomarxist and 16 othersdjean111, glinda, Viva la Revolution, melurkyoulongtime, Enthusiast, GuardianOne, Pakhet, Dragonfli, Zopilote, wilsonbooks, NVBirdlady, polly7, vadem, alcina, Bluesuedeshoes, cookie jones like this
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