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NYT - "How Austerity Kills"

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Article highlighting links between national-level economic policy, public health, unemployment, and individual-level emotional/mental well-being.  Trigger warning: it discusses extensively the low end of well-being in terms of depression and suicide.




Internally, tangled issues between profession and self-worth threw gasoline on the slow-burn fire of underlying depression and prolonged anxiety, with the net result of hospitalization for suicidal behavior a couple years ago.  Its only by the good graces of others and lucky timing that the right stepping-stone job in a right place came calling immediately after that.  I struggle with chicken/egg-like causal confusion and emotional codependency between emotional growth and career growth.  When one falters, they both do.  Then regaining competitive momentum feels doubly impossible.


Externally, when I look around I just feel sad, weary, sucker-punched, and defeated every time I confront the issues of:  Why are some people just so godawful greedy and mean?  Why do these types seem to perpetually attain/retain greater shares of power, essentially shaping how others live and die?  


Everything always seems based on distrust of "others".  We're taught so early that it becomes pre-cognitive auto-reflex to assume the worst about people we don't know yet but the snake in the house gets a pass.  I WANT to believe in the good in people.  I also want to get rid of the bad in me.  But it seems that to be "savvy" in this world you have to be capable of doing just the opposite, the trick seems to be to cloak suspicion and self-interest with a kindly smile and words.  I've spent so much energy trying to learn to be a better person that I'm terrified of slipping (I identify strongly with the language of addiction here).  Maddeningly, this makes me incredibly risk-averse, which I fear results in similarly negative interpersonal effects.


Whenever I think about how the world and humanity as a whole operate, it just makes me feel small and inept and completely inconsequential, like it really doesn't matter if I, as an individual, live or die today.  


Since I can't change the system, how do you decouple *just enough* self-worth from profession to be healthier?  (I am in a field where high personal investment and identification is a necessary and assumed presence, I can't just hard-line it.)  


How do people cope with their relationship to the world as a whole?  How do you maintain dignity and pride and optimism without sliding into self-importance (or conversely self-pity) and selfishness?  How do you avoid slipping into the suicidal line of thinking that apparently I am not alone in?


(edit to fix hyperlink!)

Edited by CirclesOfConfusion
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