What the recession has meant for me

28 Nov

A lot of blog posts, news, and human interest stories prominently feature the recession and how it has affected lives, I thought that for this post I would get a bit more personal and explain what effect the recession has had on me. Give a face, as it were, to the current economic crisis. I’m going to be brutally honest, which is hard but will also be a form of therapy I guess so here goes.

I was at university when the banking crisis began, and even then when it didn’t affect me directly I noticed the effects of it on people around me, my mum and her partner started fighting more and talking less, my mum’s and her partners working hours increased and the house stayed cold over winter, as heating was a luxury we could no longer afford.

As the years have gone on and I left university, the effects have gotten worse.

The fact that I can’t find a job, even with a degree and a lot of media work experience behind me isn’t even one of the worst consequences for me of the recession, the main one is that I have nowhere to live. Currently I live out of a suitcase between my nan’s, my mum’s and occasionally my dads. Because I haven’t got enough money to pay rent and because none of my parents can afford to have me live with them full-time. Let me tell you…when you live out of a suitcase…even the simplest things become harder. I never know where I’m going to be from one week to the next and so it becomes hard to make plans, it puts pressure on me mentally and I never really relax. And it’s never nice to be a burden passing from one family member to the next. Some of the good parts are that my handbag always contains the essentials, toothbrush, underwear, body spray and makeup, and I’m always ready to go at a moments notice. I’ve learnt to travel light these past months and that’s something good that’s come from this. (Theres always a bright side!)

The other being that I find myself frustrated almost all the time, frustrated that I can’t afford a car when friends and other people can because they are lucky enough to have parents that can help them out, or have found full-time jobs. Frustration that I can’t afford a phone that works, which will help me do the job that I want to do. Frustration that I have to help pay for food and buy essentials for my mum and brother, when I can barely afford to keep myself. Frustrated that I come back from work to find no food in the cupboard and have to dash out to nearest garage to buy something for everyone, because otherwise…they won’t eat.

Fear and depression become big parts of everyday life, fear that you won’t make it through…that things seem to be getting worse…that they’ll never get better and depression, that everyday is filled with the monotony of just survivng…not living.

Of course the people around me have suffered even more and its hard to watch. My mum is having to sell the house she loves and downsize because she can’t afford to live there anymore, even with her and her partner working full-time. The recession has also allowed employers to take advantage, like my mums, who have damaged her spine by refusing to provide proper working equipment and acted unscrupulously in treatment towards all employees refusing them lunch breaks and not paying for extra hours worked. This of course has had the knock on effect of her becoming addicted to Codeine (a type of strong pain medication) because of her back and other problems, which are probably better left unsaid. However she must continue to endure terrible treatment by employers because there is no other choice.

These are the consequences of the recession for me, its hard to believe that a bunch of men overseas who have nothing to do with me, not caring about moral hazard in banking created this course of events in my life. But not just my life, there are thousands of other people out there just like me and my family, who are struggling to survive each day.

This wasn’t really meant to be a depressing post, its more about just being honest, not putting a brave face on things and admitting “yes things are bad.” It’s also about illuminating how if this is how things are for me, then there are people out there who are even worse off. People who need help but are not getting it, people who need hope, but are not getting it. 

I guess my point was that a lot of my posts have been about my struggle to find employment during a recession, and seeing that a lot of articles and news stories out there all focus on the employment consequences of the recession, I wanted to bring things back to earth a bit, and remind people that unemployment is just one way that people are suffering. 

I often wonder whether the US government and financial institutions had any notion of just how terrible the outcome would be of their careless lack of regard for regulation of the finance sector and mortgage lending. I’m dissapointed that even though this is a disaster of their making, they refuse to apologise or take any selfless action to rectify the mistakes they made.

It’s a sad truth that as usual, it is the working and lower middle classes which can’t afford the consequences, who always end up paying the price for the gambles and carelessness of the wealthy.

For us as a society to develop further, this is one of the first things that needs to be changed.

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