Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one feeling overwhelmed at this time of life where there is so much uncertainty regarding almost everything. But my guess is that you are feeling the same thing, too. How do I overcome the stress that is crushing me?
Mental health issues are very serious in immigrant communities in Maine these days. Back home we had many hardships – crises such as war and joblessness. We coped by using prayer, and looking to the future, with promises to try our best to overcome our problems. We lived in a community of so much sharing and caring that we could count on our neighbors – without asking ahead of time.
I was certainly anxious and worn out before I migrated, but the phrase “I feel stressed” was not a part of my vocabulary before I moved to the U.S. But I had to get out of my comfort zone – like so many others, I had to leave. Coping was not enough when it came to the safety of the people we love, and our own personal safety.
Our way of coping does not work here. We are buried under the pressure of working, money, bills, credit. Everything has a dollar price now. We learn how to behave selfishly without wanting to. Peace of mind, and friendship, suffer. And we face another type of threat here, especially those who are undocumented. We walk in fear of being arrested and deported without any warning. We are earning money in a strange land, but we don’t know if our children back home will be able to benefit.
We feel threatened when our work authorizations are delayed, and we lose our jobs – the main income we are allowed in order to care for our family. We feel like we are living in an open prison, when our immigration application takes years to be processed, leaving us in doubt as to whether we will be officially accepted in the U.S. – or even heard for a fair judgment. When and for how long must we wait before they decide our cases? So much uncertainty leads many people to make reckless decisions, and the impact on their families might take generations to heal.
Please consider these lines the cry of a mother who is afraid to have her babies turn into young ladies far away from her, who fears seeing them get lost in life on the streets, or impregnated without any means of defense…having all my dreams fall apart and losing myself also because I do not know for how long I can hold on.
Act if you can to help change this inhumane system, with the little power that God has given you. Let’s bring change and save lives.
All the blessings.
LaRosamour will appear on Amjambo Time, August 12th.