The past two weeks have been interesting, to say the least. I had a job with a staffing agency in New York City for a brief week before I was abruptly told that the position was terminated and I was no longer needed. I was mostly relieved that I got axed, though; the job was extremely disorganized and much too stressful for a highly sensitive person like me.
Instead of wallowing in self-misery and allowing the void of deep depression to overwhelm me, forcing me to drink myself to a stupor and cut myself, I did the opposite. I told myself that this outcome was NOT my fault; I was at work every day at 9:00 AM, way before most people arrived at the office, and there was only one day where I arrived late due to my commute. They either didn’t like me or legitimately disposed of the position that I had.
And you know, with my crappy experiences with all of these horrible jobs, I have realized that most people don’t have depression or anxiety because of a chemical imbalance in your brain. I have known this all along and I will finally admit it: my depression and anxiety are primarily caused by my chronic poverty. It’s also caused by this narcissistic, sociopathic society that thrives on sexism, racism, classism, homophobia and all other forms of rampant discrimination. I am actually quite happy and content with myself. I firmly know without hesitation that if I had a decent paying job where I didn’t have to stress over bills, food and rent, I wouldn’t have half the anxiety and depression that I am suffering from now.
I know this is true because I’ve experienced it. When I worked at the local farm here in my hometown last year, I was happy. Sure, it didn’t pay much, but I worked six days out of the week and I was receiving money for my groceries and gas. When the job ended, my depression resurfaced with a vengeance. Even my mother noticed it right away.
Society does a horrible of dealing with mental illness. I don’t care if I piss people off when I say the truth: most depression and anxiety in us is caused by society, both individually and collectively as a group. Every time someone goes on the news and links mental illness to violence, portraying us as evil and inhumane. Every time your family member tells you that your emotional pain is invalid because there are others out there with REAL problems, diminishing your turmoil. Instead of receiving compassion and empathy, we receive discrimination and humiliation, worsening the illness.
I’m not sure if our American society will ever progress in terms of mental illness. I truly hope that it does. I don’t see a future for myself and my partner in this country for a wide variety of reasons and mental health awareness is a big one for me. Yes, things are slowly changing for the better. But it’s still not sufficient. By now, we should know better. Yet as a society, we still think people with mental illness are lazy. Cowardly. Selfish. And that just feeds the demons of depression and anxiety, overshadowing all the light in our life.