Posted: Feb 4, 2011 6:29 PM by Courtney Meznarich
Updated: Feb 7, 2011 9:46 AM
Joblessness is a reality for millions of Americans and it affects more than just household finances.
A recent USA Today gallup poll shows one in four people who are unemployed report major problems in their relationships. Nearly half have had to deal with depression. One in five say they're so discouraged, they're no longer actively looking for work.
Cayucos resident David Buckland says he's all too familiar with the hopeless feelings, but with new tools, he's working through the unemployment blues.
In the final part of our special a local expert explains how, you, too can keep your head up in these uncertain times.
David Buckland of Cayucos has been in and out of the workforce for years. The military veteran struggles with his job search, his finances, and his health. Doctors have operated on his heart twice.
"So here I am 12 years later after my second surgery and I've just been in survival mode," and Buckland says he says he's not getting any younger. "I keep looking worse and worse on paper, and of course, now the economy."
Buckland says physical activity can be extremely painful but he's ready to take any job he can get. He was laid off in September 2009 and is barely scraping by on monthly unemployment checks. "The man part of me that just wants to provide, it's like ok, I will just go out there and do what I have to."
He says years of setbacks have taken a toll on his confidence, and some days, hope is hard to come by. "It's frustrating that suddenly it's like nobody wants you."
Dr. Beverly Ford is a psychologist who specializes in treating the unemployed. She says Buckland's feelings of sadness and frustration are normal, but giving into negative feelings can be dangerous.
"Sadness and some of the change that happens for individuals can be ongoing, and when it gets to be ongoing, then we look at that as a possible concern for depression," said Dr. Ford.
Dr. Ford points out that losing a job means losing a routine, and that can be very scary for someone used to working.
It often times sends people like Buckland into a tailspin.
"Now they have nothing but time off, so their routine is broken a little bit," she said.
Buckland knows the feeling. "You can't sleep and then your sleep cycle gets messed up, and the next thing you know, you're waking up at noon and two in the afternoon."
Dr. Ford suggests sticking to a schedule. Set your alarm clock, shower every morning, and make your job finding a job.
"Routine is so important," said Dr. Ford. "Make it your friend if you're going through these kinds of challenges."
Dr. Ford also reminds her patients to eat well, and eat regularly. "You're going to find now that you're home, you're going to be able to cook and it won't be so much on the run kind of cooking," she said. "You'll save money that way, which is a good part of it too and you may be finding that you're eating things that you've missed out on for a while."
It may be tough, but Dr. Ford says staying positive is essential. Surround yourself with positive people, watch positive TV, and take notice of everything that is right in your life.
Buckland says it's something he reminds himself of everyday. "In spite of how much we've struggled with finances, health, I still have a marriage, 36 years, I've got incredible children. I have hope."
When it comes to family, Dr. Ford says parents should always include everyone in the conversation. Children, she says, are resilient. If you can't afford to pay for one of their activities, let them know why.
"You might be surprised that kids will say you know, I didn't really like doing that or I think I'll try this, and that's within the budget and so everyone wins that way," said Dr. Ford.
If there's no money in the budget for family outings, schedule time with your kids to have fun at home. Most importantly, Dr. Ford says know that things will get better.
"The main thing right now is for everyone to remember we're all kind of going through this in our own special way, as to how we're doing things, and it's going to turn around, it always has in america," said Dr. Ford. "Pull together and don't be afraid to ask for help."
"Learn from the past, hope for the future, and make today as profitable as I can because I don't know what tomorrow will bring," said Buckland.
Dr. Ford says if you need professional help getting through these tough times and can't afford it, there are several free resources on the Central Coast. You can dial 211 for more information. She also says many insurance companies cover the cost of counseling. We've made her coping strategies and additional resources available here.
Buckland says he's making positive steps toward changing his life since doing this story with KSBY.
In a letter of thanks, Buckland said the following:
"The bottom line for me is that you have collectively validated my efforts to remain a productive citizen despite the limitations of past injuries and heart surgeries. I hope to find a career that accommodates those challenges and allows me to continue contributing to society. After operating in survival mode for so many years, I hope you can understand my excitement & hope for the future."
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