Living Without a Purpose
It’s days like today I wish I’d been an abortion and wonder why in the hell I’m even on this planet. It’s also days like today that remind me of why I refuse to own a gun or glad I don’t have a gas oven. Oftentimes, it’s the people that you love the most that remind you that your purpose in life is unclear and nothing you do is important or good enough, no matter how good your intentions are, especially when already deeply depressed.
I realize that it’s been a long time since I felt I had a sense of purpose. How long? I cannot even remember, but maybe ten years or more. That was a time when I was married and had my home business. I would get up every morning and write or do other work, take care of household chores and pets, and deal with a teenager. I suppose having a relationship (that helped with financial stability) and a child at home helped me to feel a sense of purpose as well, made me feel like I mattered to someone, even if it was only for cooking and cleaning and being there when someone needed me. Plus, I was happy with the work I was doing. It was the time when I wrote my first book, wrote screenplays, and had articles and photography published in various places. I often feel like that was the shining moment in my life, and I won’t get it back or see it again. Although I would love for it to happen again, I also feel that I would be chasing unicorn dreams instead of facing reality.
Another time I felt a sense of purpose was about 19 years ago. Since I was a child, I wanted to be just like the teachers that I looked up to, so I became a teacher. I started out truly enjoying what I did, even though it was stressful. I quickly realized I was not going to make the cut of one of those “great teachers,” because I had too many personal responsibilities that wouldn’t allow me to focus solely on my career. Then things changed dramatically in our flawed American public education system, and teaching was no longer rewarding. I went to work every day feeling dread, came home feeling unappreciated and overworked. Health issues started when I was at my last teaching job; the amount of stress put me in the hospital, which of course caused more financial stress. I realized that I had to move on to another field if I wanted to keep my sanity and health.
Shortly after my divorce, I found a job working for a new company that seemed promising, so I thought maybe this is where I’m needed in life, and just maybe I could build from there. The starting pay was terrible, however, the hours were what I wanted, and I was told things would change financially within a few months. The only thing that changed was financially worse and discovering I was working for people running a scam, and their business (not surprisingly) went under.
A couple of years ago, even though the pay was pathetic and nearly minimum wage, I became a home health aide, thinking that maybe it would be rewarding, because I’d be helping someone in need. Anyone that has worked in this field quickly finds out that family members of the people you take care of and spend hours and hours with don’t always appreciate the work you do, even when you do extra things not required. In fact, they start expecting more, and no matter what, you don’t get paid more. The only thing it did was make me more depressed than I already was, because not only did clients pass away, I was sitting around in someone else’s house all day and/or cleaning it and taking care of the family’s large, annoying dogs that were another job in itself.
There are many days I wake up eager for night to fall again just so that I can go back to sleep. I don’t want to look at or speak to anyone or leave the house. When I’m not feeling well physically, like I have been lately, it exacerbates the depression. I do my best to force myself to either write or do artwork or at least clean the house or a closet or something to get myself moving. It’s a daily struggle, and it has been for years, and no one that hasn’t been through it will ever understand what it’s like to wake up every single day without a purpose or feeling that you matter in the world.