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Feeling trapped by circumstances

By Erin O'NeilPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

I’ve struggled with depression on and off for about nine years. Sometimes it’s brief, a day or two of feeling down. Sometimes it’s months of feeling hopeless. It’s like a rollercoaster where suddenly I just drop. I’ve been proud of the fact that throughout most of this pandemic, I’ve been pretty good mood wise. I haven’t necessarily been happy, but I haven’t felt completely hopeless, I haven’t felt hollow. Last night I had one of those rollercoaster drops. I was suddenly overcome with this feeling of hopelessness, like I was pointless, and had no purpose.

Last year, after eight years of post secondary, I finally completed a program. I went to a number of different institutions, always having to drop out for one reason or another. In 2018, I finally found a program that was a good fit for me. Last August, I finally finished it. Of course, due to the pandemic there was no graduation ceremony. Our certificates were sent out in the mail. In December, my certificate finally showed up. I opened it up with my mom, and I’m pretty sure she said ‘congratulations’, but it felt hollow. This is what precipitated my drop last night.

I was thinking about that, and how it makes me feel. There was no ceremony, no celebration, no acknowledgement that I had really achieved this thing. Looking at that certificate felt hollow because it didn’t really change anything. It may as well have been blank.

Then I thought about what my program taught me, and realized I couldn’t really practically use any of it. I took an animal care program, but I can’t directly look after or ‘care’ for animals. I have multiple disabilities which mean a physically demanding job, where I have to potentially watch numerous animals just isn’t possible. I’m pretty good at being organized, and I’m detail oriented, so many people would probably suggest administrative work in an animal related field. The problem with administrative work is that it usually involves answering phones. That’s something else that I can’t do because of my disabilities. Listening to someone talk, and taking notes or entering information somewhere at the same time just isn’t something I’m capable of.

I’ve been volunteering with a rescue organization since December. I keep track of information in spreadsheets and update forms and documents. I like that what I’m doing helps them, but it’s not something I can get paid to do. Almost all rescue groups are completely run by volunteers, so they don’t pay anyone. The handful that do have paid positions require more work than I can do, like answering phones. And that’s assuming they’re even looking to fill an administrative position.

So here I am, wondering what it was all for. What was the point? The ups and downs of eight years of post secondary. All that effort to find a program I loved, just to realize I can’t really use any of what I learned. Everywhere I look, all I’m seeing is the problems. What I can’t do. Even if I see something, a job posting where I could do eighty percent of what they want, there’s always that twenty percent that I can’t do. And that just makes me feel worse.

Now I feel like I’m spiraling. Everything is hopeless, pointless. I feel hollow and empty inside. Like I can’t breathe, and I just want to scream. If I can’t get a job, I can’t make a living. I won’t be able to live on my own, and I’ll be stuck at the same point in my life indefinitely.


About the Creator

Erin O'Neil

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