I’ve been unemployed since last September, that’s a year now. I’ve never been without a job for that long. I’m a fully qualified counsellor and have been working as a rape and sexual violence counsellor for many years. But unfortunately, due to budget cuts, someone’s job had to go and I was last in so I was first out. Hardly fair but that’s the way they operated so there was nothing I could do about it.
I’m not an optimist, I never have been and I probably never will be. The glass is half empty and I’m a total catastrophist, but even I thought I’d have a job by now! But I don’t, I write not as a way to make money, but as a way to make sure I don’t go fucking insane.
But all joking aside, I along with millions of other people am struggling to find work and have been for some time. On average there are now 250 people applying for each job, but those numbers can climb to 1000 in certain circumstances. And out of those 250 applying for the job, between 4 and 6 will get called for an interview, with one lucky son of a bitch actually getting the job.
I know I’m not alone, in the UK alone, 360,000 people are considered long term unemployed.
What’s the Impact of Long-Term Unemployment?
At first, it’s not too bad, it’s not good, but it’s not bad. You know it could be a few months before a job comes along so you apply for the jobs that you think you’re qualified for. Or the ones that you would like to do, this lasts for about 2 months. Then you start to take chances because you know that time’s your enemy. You start applying for jobs that you don’t necessarily want or think you’ll be good at, but you have to at least try. It’s better to have a job you hate rather than no job at all, right?
Then you start to slide, you don’t give a shit about the type of job you get anymore. As long as you get one. You start to look at ones where your degree is useless or ones that won’t cover your living expenses because the hours are too short. But some money is better than no money, right?
After a few months is when the numbness sets in, you know nobody wants to hire you so what’s the point in trying? I mean, you try, but you know you’re not going to get any of the jobs you apply for. So you feel like you’re wasting your time, so the resentment sets in, and the anger, and the frustration.
Pretty soon you resent anyone else getting a job, and that’s not who you are as a person. Normally you’d be happy if your friend got a job, but you’re jealous.
And that’s just the job-seeking side of things, long-term unemployment can have a serious impact on your mental health. I can only speak from my experience but these are the ways I feel.
Angry and Bitter
If I were given a job I would work so damned hard that people would be amazed. So why won’t someone at least give me a chance? I really resent any kind of poor service because I think, “if I had that job I would do it so much better!” I’m jealous of anyone I know who gets a job, I’m glad they’ve got it but I’m not especially happy for them.
I hate feeling useless, I need to do something useful and productive with my time. I’ve always been the same because my mother didn’t like any of us “idling.” So most of my siblings have always been fairly hands-on.
All I do is walk the dog, clean the house, cook dinner, and write nonsense. I feel like I’m not contributing anything to my marriage, my benefits go on bills but that’s all I have. I feel very inferior and my self-worth is at an all-time low.
My depression is spiralling out of control, I struggle to get out of bed every morning because I really don’t see the point in it. I’m going through phases of binge eating then starving myself. I’ve stopped exercising, which I know won’t help because it’ll slightly improve my mental state. But I can’t be bothered, what’s the fucking point in doing any exercise? I don’t laugh as much anymore, I used to love a good comedy. But now all I watch is true crime and horror because comedy is totally pointless to me.
Stressed and Sick
My stomach always hurts, I’ve started getting migraines which I’ve never had before in my life. But I have about 3 a month now, it’s not a lot for someone who suffers from migraines. But to go from none at all to 3 every month is an increase I’m not happy about.
I’m getting nosebleeds, asthma attacks and spontaneous angioedema (sudden swelling of my throat and eyelids)
My memory is shot, both long and short term, my back hurts, and concentration is almost impossible.
I attempted suicide a while ago, I took an overdose of co-codamol and was hospitalised. I felt like I had no value and that I was a failure as a person and the entire world would be better off if I weren’t in it.
It really pisses me off when people say “what do unemployed people have to be stressed about?” Do you want me to write you a list?
- Rent/mortgage payments
- The threat of being made homeless
- Feeding their children
- Feeding themselves