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Many people work tirelessly, but they barely have enough money for food.
Frequent and persistent financial problems often lead to chronic stress and a feeling of hopelessness. This condition is referred to as the syndrome of “shit life” in recent years. We will discuss it in the next issue of our guide to mental health.
What is the syndrome of a crappy life.
“Shitty Life Syndrome” is an unofficial term used to describe a common cluster of mental and physical health problems affecting people who live in conditions of constant financial hardship.
The term appeared relatively recently – about six years ago. And it was first used by healthcare professionals from the United States and the United Kingdom. They noticed that more and more people from low-income groups are seeking psychiatric help due to constantly low mood, anxiety, apathy, complete lack of strength, feelings of despair and senselessness of their own lives.
Usually, patients with such symptoms are diagnosed with depression, prescribed antidepressants, and if possible, referred to psychotherapy. However, both approaches often prove to be ineffective.
This led experts to suggest that the causes of depressive states in such cases are not physiological or cognitive, but socio-economic. In other words, the living conditions of low-income people are such that they inevitably develop a depressive state.
It is believed that the syndrome of a shitty life not only leads to the development of mental disorders, but also increases the risks of developing serious physiological diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases or diabetes. People with low income are more prone to developing alcohol or drug addiction. All of these factors together increase the chances of dying at an early age.
Why does the “shitty life” syndrome arise?
Hard working conditions. People from poor families often do not have the opportunity to receive education that would allow them to get a good job. This forces them to earn a living where special skills are not required. For example, working as porters, kitchen helpers, cashiers, couriers, low-skilled workers at factories. This is physically demanding, low-paid work where labor laws are often not observed.
However, having an education is not a panacea. Exhausting working conditions and below-average earnings can also be present for those who have studied for a long time, for example, doctors or teachers.
The body and mind, under conditions of constant stress and overwork, are subjected to constant strain and wear out faster.
Lack of money. This causes financial anxiety among people, which in itself is a powerful source of chronic stress. In addition, according to scientists, poverty significantly increases the likelihood of developing cancer, anxiety and depression, obesity and diabetes, heart problems and other diseases.
Lack of social lifts. Many people who have been in need for years understand that they will never have a chance to improve their situation. The feeling of hopelessness is exacerbated if a person constantly sees those around him who clearly do not experience serious financial problems.
This feeling of despair and hopelessness become a catalyst for the development of depression, which is poorly responsive to drug therapy.
Imperfection of the medical care system. People with low income usually don’t have the opportunity to receive quality medical care. In most cases, they can only turn to the state healthcare system, where doctors simply don’t have time to conduct a thorough examination or at least properly interview the patient. As a result, diseases are diagnosed at later stages.
Can you get rid of the shitty life syndrome?
In many cases, the efforts of an individual alone are not enough. The reasons leading to a “shitty life” syndrome are systemic. Therefore, a systemic approach is needed to solve them.
One of the ways was proposed in Great Britain. The essence is that in all hospitals – both general and psychiatric – there should be a social worker.
He should help people in need to develop a plan to get out of a disastrous situation. For example, telling them about benefits and allowances they are entitled to, finding training courses to improve their skills, and then arranging interviews with potential employers. This will relieve part of the psychological burden on a person struggling to survive and allow them to break free from a vicious circle of problems. However, it was not possible to find a budget to implement this idea.
In our country, in many cases, people who have faced financial difficulties are left to their own devices. But you can try to improve your situation with the means available to you.
Ask for help. For example, honestly tell your friends about your situation. And ask them to help you find a better job than the one you have now. One of your friends could edit your resume. Another could look for job openings. A third could find out about free training courses to improve your qualifications.
If you have absolutely no time and energy, someone from your acquaintances can contact the local social welfare office for information on the benefits that you may be entitled to.
Find time for yourself. If you feel that despair is consuming you, try to break free from the monotonous routine and do something that will bring you joy and help you feel better, even if it’s only for a short time. No matter how difficult your work may be – plan and find time for yourself and the activities you enjoy.
Take care of your health. It is important to at least partially restore your strength, especially if your work takes it all away. For example, try to sleep as much as you can – ideally seven to eight hours. Don’t skip meals. If you have the energy, take a 20-minute walk outdoors every day. On the weekends, even if it’s just briefly, go out into nature.
And more often tell your loved ones that you love them. This will strengthen your relationship with them, make them better. And therefore, it will be easier for you to endure difficulties and to fight them.