Those homeless, did you experience similar periods starting out?
So, some backstory on me, a 25 year old homless dude in Florida, otherwise known as Satans sweaty armpit. Should also mention now that I'm looking at the whole post that I apologize for the rather gigantic wall of text.
About a year and 2 months ago I walked out of a relationship with my emotionally abusive ex who had not only managed to make me feel suicidal for the first time in over 2 years at that point but was also ripping me off on rent. So, as it goes, I also lost out on the home I was staying in at that point and became a homeless person. Fortunately, I was still working (even if it was a burger flipping job at the time) and had a large truck (Titan king cab) so I was in relative comfort.
At first, like I imagine it goes for a lot of people, I didn't think it'd last long. I figured I'd go a week or two before some opportunity would present itself to secure a place to live other than my truck. Obviously, that didn't happen. That being said though, the first 5 months or so were actually rather great. While this might have more to do with my personal situation rather than my living arrangements, I went through a virtually endless period of absolute mania and it was incredible lol. Overnight I went from barely having enough money to buy a can of Arizona on the way home from work (one of the few pleasures I had at the time) to being able to straight up buy a new phone, and eat literally wherever I wanted whenever I wanted. Spent a lot of the time at the beach drinking my ass off when I wasn't working, and when I wasn't doing that, I hooked up with, a lot of people. Even experimented a bit to be honest, and cemented where my sexuality lied. (I prefer women, though I look fondly on being able to roughhouse during shenanigans). During this time, I worked at Five Guys and because that place is (and still is) awesome, I never went hungry even when I blew entire paychecks on stuff I shouldn't have been spending money on. And even though I was eating crazy hamburgers and huge piles of fries almost every other day, the job and my out of work shenanigans kept me quite healthy and I actually lost a lot of weight during this period.
Eventually, around month 4, I'd move on from Five Guys to accept a better paying job at a call center, which was nice because I no longer had to hang out at McDonalds when I wanted to use wifi on my phone and also gave me a place that I'd always be able to access if I needed to get out of the heat. At this point, it had dawned on me that I might not be getting out of this situation any time soon, and so began the learning curve I would follow on making what I was doing not only sustainable (so I wouldn't screw myself over, as I had a scare some point during this time where my truck battery died on me in a very inconvenient place, and it was only because I had just got paid that day (with 16 hours overtime from Thanksgiving IIRC) that things still worked out without too much pain) but also so I could eventually work my way towards getting out of it.
And the learning curve, as I came to realize, was rather steep. I eventually learned where it was safe to sleep at since losing my spot in the Five guys parking lot (and the parking lot at my work at the time being far too dangerous to sleep in), and eventually weaned myself off of fast food and other stuff in favor of stuff I could buy in bulk and keep in my truck and then cook in the microwave or toaster at work. This went on for a while, but eventually I ended up back at spending way too much money versus saving it. It was around this time where I burned myself out on pretty much everything that was keeping me a happy camper. Lost all interest in semi-partying, women, and even the youtube videos and other stuff I'd watch to pass the time when I didn't have anything else to do. Naturally, at this point, the mania ended and I fell into a pretty bad depression. While I was still working, my rather poor choices meant I really wasn't making much at the end of the day. (and mind you, this was full time 12/hr work, to give an idea of how bad it got). I ended up gaining weight to the point that I was larger than I was before I became homeless and also loss my chance with a girl I had been seeing that might have proved a bit of a savior if I didn't screw up.
Going forward into year end 2016 things turned worse pretty quickly when I lost that job due to it being seasonal. (suffice to say never working there again, as at that point it was the second time they built me up to believe I'd get the job permanently just to let me go out of nowhere), and this was when I started to feel the effects of being homeless for so long. While I kept myself surrounded with people at first, by the time I got burned out I only had regular interaction with one person (Girl I mentioned) outside of work (which for me has never been real interaction anyway), and when I found myself trying to communicate with other people outside of these situations I could tell that I sounded weird. From that point on right up until now, there are periods where I go almost entire months without really interacting with anyone. And this became very apparent at the beginning of the summer when I attempted moving back to my hometown and in less than a week came back here because I found myself completely alienated there, despite growing up there. I even got punched in the face for the first time in my life that week, and it was pretty much my fault. Not going to get into that mess though.
Anyway, come into the new year, I get my tax refund and I get back up on my feet a bit, resolving to try and do better. First thing I did with my refund was save it and put a couple paychecks from my next job (Pizza hut. 411 don't eat at any Pizza hut) away on top of it, with the express purpose of buying this gaming laptop I'm typing this whole post out on. And this thing has played a huge part in not only keeping me from going crazy with boredom. (another thing i learned. Its stupidly boring being homeless if you fill it up like I did initially) Being able to play some of my favorite games again as well as some new ones has been a lifesaver, and especially so because now I could cut a huge part of what I was spending money on out of my spending habits. At this point, 8 months into the new year compared to what I was spending, this thing has payed for itself several times over. Granted, for other reasons I still haven't managed to put away much, but even so. I'd be in much worse shape financially if this thing wasn't occupying 90% of my time outside of work. Fast forward a couple months, and I finally experience a break when I get my current job, which this time, is not only a permanent position but also one that pays well. This solved a rather big mental hurdle for me, as something that was holding me back from really trying to get out of this situation was that I didn't really know if I was gonna be able to sustain something if I tried to do it. After all, that was another cause of me being homeless in the first place. I only lived with my ex because the promise was that I wouldn't have to have a decent paying job or even a permanent one just to know my living situation was secured.
During this time I learned some more things about being homeless. Such as stripping down to my boxers when I sleep. I didn't use to do that, and obviously, my laundry costs were rather stupid relatively speaking. I also learned how to deal with a peculiar problem I had with my foot swelling up when I slept inside of my truck, by way of simply sleeping on my stomach with my legs propped up on my dash. Eventually got a gym membership (before it was just bird baths in public bathrooms and the beach.Oh, and other peoples showers when I went through that phase). Also found a spot in my new works parking lot that picks up the wifi from the hotel across the street well enough that for as long as my laptops battery lasts I can do stuff on my laptop. Usually just involves Netflix or Youtube, but even so. Definitely nice to be able to get some privacy while on my laptop. While I don't make a habit of it, it also occurred to me to utilize my trucks bed for sleeping purposes. I don't have a topper (yet) so its not secure and even more importantly doesn't protect against the elements, but it is nice once in a while to be able to splay out completely once in a while. And finally, something that just dawned on me this last week, and something that really makes me mad, is that this whole time I could have actually been cooking for myself rather easily, something I missed very dearly from before.
I had gone to Walmart one day last week, and to this day I don't remember what made me walk through the sporting goods section, but I did, and sure enough I got introduced to a whole array of things that I've either been desperately missing or only half-assing. Things like a huge battery powered fan thats lasted for over three days thus far with constant use while I sleep. Things like a portable stove that runs on gas, or a set of compact cookware that doesn't suck. Bulk packets of cleaning wipes you can use in lieu of an actual shower (a godsend for when I can't make it to the gym before work). And a variety of other little things that have improved my quality of life drastically. Indeed, tonight I cooked my first meal for myself in a very very long time and it was incredible. Juries still out on how I incorporate the stove into my daily life (because even though I could easily meal prep, storing said meals is going to be tough, specially with the heat), but just to try it out I made a meal for myself tonight and for tomorrows lunch and dinner, all for the handy cost of 10 bucks versus the 30 I would've spent otherwise. A rather huge difference, especially given its not like this meal was unsatisfying. If anything, its a breath of fresh air compared to what I usually eat. Definitely excited to see how this plays out.
And I know, it makes me out to be kind of a dull person to have not had a lot of what I've learned thus far not occur to me earlier, but even so. Up to when this all started, I was a rather sheltered person and despite being more or less a full fledged adult at the time I still didn't really didn't have a grip on being an adult. Mostly because I didn't want to, right out of high school I started working and missed out on lot of the things I should have gotten to experience as a younger person. Course, with my manic period I made up for lost time and then some, but I still had much to learn and had to fall pretty hard several times to learn a lot of these lessons. And of course I'm happy to learn them. Ultimately when I come out on the other side of this, whenever thats going to be, I'm going to be all the wiser for it.
But anyway, I wrote that stupid giant wall of text basically to give backstory to what I came here to ask out of curiosity. Did you guys ever experience similar periods as I did? A friend of mine from work recently ended up going through a similar situation to what I did and is also homeless now, and the way he describes his life right now is very similar to how mine was when it started for me. Unexpectedly fun and fast paced. And he's also noticed the rather curious trend where its a roll of the dice as to whether the person you decide to let know you're homeless will either be really nice about it or a disgustingly hostile. Funny story, I once had a woman cuss me out in the middle of Wal-mart specifically because she decided that me having rather heavily tattooed arms was just awful (my words not hers lol) when I don't have a place to live. I then had to kindly let her in on the fact that all of my tattoos predate my current predicament by about 5 years at least, and she still kept on ranting and raving even as I just walked away.
Finally, just as a final note because it really bothers me when people do it when I didn't ask, but please don't give me advice. While I'm still working out some kinks, I've gotten to a point where I'm much more responsible than I was before, and at this point its only a matter of time before I come out the other side. Presuming of course I don't relapse, but that will only ever be my fault and I'll have to live with it if it happens.