I'm homeless. I have been for about 2 years now. It's still hard to say that, or believe it. I'm not on the street anymore, but now I'm just one step away while staying with a relative. And no, I never thought it would happen to me. I've heard people say that before, but again, I never thought it would be me. I'm college educated -- even some grad school -- and have worked in a variety of jobs for the last couple of decades.
I was married and living in Portland just a few years ago with a good job at a major medical university. You know which one. It was a good place. My big mistake was trusting a spouse who I came to learn was a very selfish, manipulative person even though I thought she was a good person just because she was a doctor. I learned that the hard way. I left my job to return to grad school and she left a few months later, even though we had talked about it for years and I had supported her and waited until she was out of residency and comfortably into private practice before I made an attempt at school. Just cleaned out our bank account one day and left me high and dry. The first rumbling of the Great Recession in the US began shortly after that and I haven't been able to find work since then. I kept thinking it would change, but it didn't. And that's after sending out hundreds of resumes for everything under the sun. It's been hard but I've had to survive on no unemployment assistance. I can't really say how I've survived. Or at least I shouldn't say here.
The stress and destabilization of that time brought on depression and anxiety (maybe PTSD) like you wouldn't believe. I lost everything: a marriage, a home, pets, all my savings, my health insurance, car, possessions. It was just a big avalanche after a while and I couldn't believe it kept falling, but it did. It's made for some interesting conversations with credit card companies. And I can tell you that there aren't many mental health resources out there for people without insurance. Mostly it's just people saying there's help out there. But that's mostly what help there is: just people saying there's help out there.
I'm tentatively back in school now, not graduate school but just another undergrad program. Something that sounded interesting and gives me something to do during the days. It's difficult doing it with little to no resources except bare bones student aid. It covers about half what the school estimates it will. I barely have enough to eat most weeks and go without most of the books. But I only have to get C's to stay in school. It's not the way I'd like to do it, but the way I have to. I was a good student once but maybe that's just not in the cards now. Anyway I figure as long as the loans are available I'm going to take as much as I can get. If I never complete the degree or never get a job out of it I'll not worry about paying back the loans. It's a common theme now among undergrads, I'm finding out; not a lot of hope.
posted 2 years, 4 months ago
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