Saturday, October 17, 2009

Basic Needs & Survival

One of the basic principles from Psych. 101 usually includes Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. His theory in brief is that humans require certain needs met to grow, develop and evolve into their full potentials. The first basic tier of his pyramid includes physical needs such as safety, food, shelter, stability, protection (HEALTH INSURANCE), etc. If those basic needs aren't met a person can't move up to the next level of emotional needs. Those needs include our desire for love, connection, appreciation, community, etc. Until those needs are likewise met it is not possible for a person to achieve fulfillment with the next levels which include doing productive work, enjoying life, finding value in the balance of work and play. BOTTOM LINE - without feeling safe and secure it is pretty hard to enjoy life, find meaning in it or be able to work productively. This is because you are so consumed with survival - nothing is left over for the rest, including love.

I am thinking this as I contemplate the future of my life. I certainly am currently caught up in survival mode and I feel like I am sinking without someone next to me giving me a hand. I have tried to remain cheerful, optimistic and hopeful as I struggle with providing for my family. And I'm just not making it. I don't get enough hours at the big box store so I am starting a short-term program to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. But until I can get a new job there is not enough money to afford health/life/car insurance, pay the rent, bills, gas, clothes and still have enough for food. I'm not making it, cutting it, or surviving. And maybe according to Maslow's theory it is impossible for me to even think or consider such basic desires as happiness, joy and love while I'm struggling.

In the meantime I am stressed beyond the point of breaking. I am not as accessible to my sons because of it, as well as my depression, anxiety and worry. There is limited support to rely on and I am being crushed under the weight of this load I keep carrying by myself. We all deserve better. I'm not asking for a lot. Just the constant burden of worrying about our basic needs to be alleviated a bit. Then to feel a little bit of happiness and joy. To be able to watch a movie or video. To cook a meal with fresh meat and produce. To not wake up in dread and go to bed with that knot in my stomach. To feel a bit of hope and sanity.


  1. your anger, pain, frustration, and impatience is palpable. as i commented in your previous blog posting, it seems you sort of, might have, possible? made up your mind about the marriage proposal from the one you refer to as your Guy Friend. if he is the partner you want and need, then maybe making the decision to join yours and your sons' lives with his will ease this stress and bring you this kind of happiness. you are, as you stated, "crushed under the weight of this load." something has to give for you if you are no longer as accessible to your sons. they are at an age when they may not act like they need you as much, but as a person with a master's degree in psych. you don't need anyone to tell you they do notice and probably worry about your anguish and regrets.

    i pray you get some relief from the dramas in your life as soon as possible. if you decide on marriage to your Guy Friend, i hope it is everything you want and need it to be.

  2. Women alone in middle-age without the benefit of a pension or money from a lost spouse or parent (I caretook my father for 6 years - he died suddenly) are very at risk. I feel very much like you do, thank you for this blog... without safety & when always worried that you are going to become that homeless woman you see on the street - it's very hard to see the forest for the trees...

  3. wNs - I'm afraid of making decisions but from what I have learned about life, it is unpredictable anyway so I probably shouldn't agonize as much as I do. About my boys, sometimes my depression and inner pain make me a present but removed mother and I do not like that. It has been hard for me to nurture and care for myself and I need to do that more so I'm better able to parent. And in some ways I am finding that teens need more attention in certain ways than when they were younger.

    Kim - I have pictured the homeless woman on the street in my head. I feel as though I am just one step away from that possible reality. It is a tough situation for middle-aged women - a very challenging time of life to have to be struggling and so worried. I hope you have more peace of mind and less financial stress/strain in your future.

  4. I so agree about the hierarchy. I have been left without life insurance and health insurance. My job does not offer it as I work for a non-profit. I feel vulnerable at every turn. Maybe that's why I can't possibly even consider the next level.

    That being said, I will once again state what I said in my last blog post, if you are happy the boys will be happy and the better for it. It's all relative. Right now you are not happy and as hard as you try to not let it effect them, you are aware that it does. All three of you deserve better and I think you have a chance to have that.