I'm 24, female, college-educated, and I'm about to become homeless in Los Angeles. Please hope me. Anonymous because I'm so humiliated.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (54 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I moved to the Los Angeles area in September to live with a friend. It turns out that this friend has serious mental health issues that I did not know about before moving in with him. He's threatened to kick me out pretty much every other week since I arrived for various perceived infractions, but at this point, it appears that I need to leave imminently, for his sake and for mine. It's not fair to either of us to deal with this kind of stress, and to be perfectly honest, I don't think I can handle it very much longer. It is absolutely exhausting, both mentally and emotionally, to cope with his angry outbursts. I have been leaving the house all day every day in an attempt to give him some space, but he waits for me to get home and then launches into a diatribe. The strange part is that sometimes he's incredibly solicitous and invites me to hang out in the living room or watch TV with him, as we used to do when we were friends. This unpredictability has been the worst part, probably because it is so very like my (dysfunctional) family of origin.
I'm originally from the Midwest, but I have nowhere to go there, either. My mother is an alcoholic and drug addict who was homeless herself until she moved in with her enabler boyfriend this fall. Like most addicts, she seems to be surrounded by an enormous vortex of drama, which I know I'd be sucked into as soon as I moved back. I have a sister in my hometown as well, but she lives with a boyfriend and they're really living paycheck-to-paycheck themselves. My dad lives out of the country. We haven't spoken very much over the past 12 years or so, but we've been emailing a bit recently. I don't think he knows just how desperate my situation is, and I don't believe he's able to help me.
My family history is full of instability, which I think is why the stress of this situation is getting to me so much. When my parents divorced, my mother began to drink heavily and use drugs, my father disappeared, we lost our house, our car, and almost everything we owned, I had zero adult supervision or guidance, and basically things were very difficult for a long time. All of this ridiculous behavior from my friend is bringing back memories of my mother at her very worst, which is unpleasant.
I wasn't planning to stay in Los Angeles permanently, but the longer I stayed here, the more convinced I became that my hometown is a pretty toxic environment for me. I want to build a real adult life for myself, and I don't see that it's possible there. Furthermore, I don't have a job anywhere to live there, either, and if I'm going to be homeless, I'd rather do it in Los Angeles, where I won't freeze to death.
I have made several pretty grave miscalculations which have put me in this position, and I acknowledge that I am at fault. First, I am six credits short of a BA - my mother ended up hospitalized for life-threatening complications of alcoholism during the second semester of my senior year, and the ensuing turmoil made it impossible for me to concentrate on my studies. I know this was a huge mistake. I've called the university and have a plan for finishing the degree, but obviously have more pressing concerns at this time. Second, since I did not plan to stay here in southern California permanently, I didn't start looking for work until November. Of course, nobody looks at resumes over the holidays, so things are just starting to pick up now. I've had one interview and have at least 40 other applications in, so I really feel that it's only a matter of time before something works out.
So, basically, I just need somewhere to stay for a few more weeks before I find a job. I'm thinking about finding a tent and camping in the Angeles National Forest. I'm not very big or imposing, so I'm very reluctant to sleep in a park or anything like that. I do not own a car. If I knew someone with a backyard or a couch, I'd sleep there, but I don't know anyone here except for my "friend." I am allowed to stay in the house until January 31.
I'm sorry this is so long, but obviously I'm experiencing a lot of anxiety about this situation. What should I do? How can I manage this crippling anxiety while I'm trying to figure things out? Right now, I can't sleep or eat (my typical response to stress, unfortunately).
Any advice at all is welcomed. If you'd like to email me, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much.