I work full time. I also live in the United States, in the Bay Area in California. I don’t have a college degree. Compared to most people in the world I’m wealthy, I guess. It sure doesn’t feel that sometimes. I live close to the edge, paycheck to paycheck. I don’t have any medical benefits from my job, so I don’t really have access to medical care. Paying for my health would ruin me.
I neglect things that shouldn’t be neglected. I need to see a dentist, badly. I haven’t updated the prescription for my glasses in at least 5 years. I suffer from mental illness (depression) that is basically untreated. All because I can’t afford the luxury of health care.
I get by okay, though, as long as nothing else goes wrong.
Because of my interests I am surrounded by friends and peers who make more money than me, who are more financially secure than I am. I know I can’t really keep up with them as a consumer or in travel. Sometimes I try to be like everyone else and I pay for it. Sometimes I overdo it even more.
In the last quarter of 2012 I was struggling with a deep depression. One of the worst in my life. The worst one I’ve experienced since I was a teenager. Over a couple months I was careless and self destructive. How? I spent money on things for myself and my friends without paying attention to my means and my budget. It worked, in a way. It wasn’t until how screwed I’d made myself was completely unavoidable that the thoughts of suicide started.
Some people were very kind to me. Friends paid for some of my textbooks. Someone repaid a “loan” from a year before. Someone loaned me some money that got my rent paid. I paid them back as soon as I could. I have curbed my spending. I cut back on luxuries. I haven’t gone out all year. I’m mostly eating canned soup and ramen. But that hole I blew in my budget while unconsciously trying to stay alive is still there. Slowly growing. Payday loans to keeps the lights on and my home available just make things worse in the long run. A cut in my take home pay isn’t helping either.
This is what life can be like for someone with a full time job living in the richest country in history. A screw up, and error, and it cascades to the point where sometimes I feel like $1000 is worth dying over.
I’m not going to kill myself. I know people love me and I don’t want to hurt them. Sometimes though, dying seems like it wouldn’t be so bad, for me at least. I wouldn’t feel like I’m drowning anymore.