Homelessness and Mental Health as Embarrassing


To be homeless is a very embarrassing thing, because it comes across as having absolutely no control whatsoever of your personal situation.  That statement is true of course, to be homeless means that you have no control over your living situation.  What homelessness implies is that you not only don’t have control over where you live, but you also don’t have control over your self and that can be very embarrassing to explain to others.

In the past I have always tried to hide my homelessness from employers both current at the time and would be for fear that they would judge me as unstable and in need of help of the psychiatric kind.  What was embarrassing was not my homelessness, but my mental health.  I tried every conceivable way to control the way I was seen on the outside, that way I would not have to deal with the way that I felt on the inside.  I felt that if people could see me in a certain light, that meant that I must not have emotional problems because I can fit in.  It never worked.  I promised myself that the next job, the next opportunity, the next anything, I would do better.  I would be what others wanted, whatever that was, I was embarrassed about my condition so I tried to hide it.  I would get a job, be well for awhile and then the old fears and worries would come back and then things would go south.  I would ultimately lose the job, be evicted from my newly found home and have to pay back the eviction and start all over again.  This was my process, this was my illness.

The interesting thing about having mental and emotional issues is that our brains tell us that there is nothing wrong, the problems lie with something or someone else.  If a person breaks their arm, the body immediately sends a signal to the person that that part of the body is broken and in need of immediate medical attention.  That’s just not the way that the brain works.  I wanted to be normal, whatever that is, or I wanted to appear normal.  It was embarrassing not to be able to be like what I thought everyone else was.  If I could just be like that person, my life would be better.

To add insult to injury, there comes a time when you have to explain your past to others and that causes the deepest and most extreme case of embarrassment than anything else.  How do you explain yourself to someone else that has the power to judge you as unfit for a job or a place to live?  Will this person be understanding or will they throw you under a bus?  How do you fix something one more time?  How do you make sure that this will be the last time that you fix this problem?  I’ve decided that I can’t deal with this pattern anymore and I am trying to be not someone else, but me, whatever that is.  I decided what I want to be with my life and the way that I want others to perceive me, not the other way around.

  1. I want others to see me as reliable and worthy of their trust.
  2. I want others to have faith in my abilities to do a job and trust that it will be accomplished.
  3. I want others to see me as a fellow human being that they can talk to and I can talk to them freely and without judgement.
  4. I want my past to be something that I have grown from, not something that’s bound to be repeated.
  5. I want to give and receive love and kindness.
  6. I want a home of my own to grow and be stable in.
  7. I eventually want a car, I’m tired of the bus.
  8. I want to be loved and I want to love.
  9. I don’t want to be emotionless, angry and bitter, I want emotions good or bad, I want to be happy and I want bitterness to be erased and washed down the disposal like so much garbage.
  10. I want to be comfortable within my own skin and feel that there is nothing wrong with me.

I think that if I work on my list and work to become a better person, I will feel like I am somewhat normal and not be embarrassed about my situation.  I guess my lesson here is be yourself, don’t try to be normal because there is no such thing as normal.

2 Replies to “Homelessness and Mental Health as Embarrassing”

  1. The worst thing about having a mental health problem is that you can’t trust your instincts. What feels right to me, often is at odds with everyone around me. Being understood is a fundamental need and having a mental health problem means not being understood by most. Experiencing consistent rejection really challenges your ability to accept yourself feel human.

    I’ve been homeless and fantasizing about being homeless again just to cope with the stress and anxiety and difficulties associated with managing daily life.

    Mad respect for you and your blog. I look forward to reading.

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