RECENTLY ON TOL:
- A tumblr site dedicated to the people and places that make up Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Just 5 months ago I moved to Washington for a new job, having invested over 30 years into a quite successful career. Within 2 months I found myself without a job in a city where I knew no one outside of work because of cutbacks. Being one of the new employees, I was "let go."
Three months ago I began couch-surfing at a friend's in Portland. A month ago my father died. Despite multiple interviews, in-person and over the phone, an elusive job has not materialized. While I desperately need to talk to someone to deal with the "situational" depression, I don't have the finances or insurance to cover. One therapist has one sliding scale slot in his schedule, otherwise I need $85.
While I am grateful for the couch, I also have to endure put-downs and inneundos about not doing enough to get a job or my "free loading" status. Too often I walk in to find the teenager trashing my "living area", piling heavy history books on top of my lap top. I chose to go sleep in my car that night rather than fight with the teen and her two peers who were having a mid-week sleep over. It was cold and very uncomfortable. I appreciated the psychological shelter of privacy and protection from verbal barbs, but this body didn't do well.
A search for affordable housing is fruitless. Without a job, even with unemployment, new landlords won't take a second look at you. I've talked to some homeless about how they survive and the one thing that strikes me is the empathy, dignity, and non-judgmentalism they have. One man offered me some of his money. It is too easy to judge those who are homeless and/or jobless and blame them for their situation. It is also easy to assign mental illness as an underlying cause that lead to the homelessness or joblessness. But which really came first?
Take away you job, your family (am gay and disowned 20 years ago), a partner who died, a place to stay, add a car that needs repairs, no insurance, and friends who judge you as not doing enough to get a job. How easy would it be for you to stay positive, maintain your self-esteem, and maintain your mental health in a city with increasing opulence and public reminders of some very affluent members of the community.
posted 2 years, 4 months ago
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