Dear Thelma: I can't find a job and dad's mad with me, making me feel useless

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Those contemplating suicide can reach out to the Mental Health Psychosocial Support Service (03-2935 9935/ 014-322 3392); Talian Kasih (15999/ 019-261 5999 on WhatsApp); Jakim’s family, social and community care centre (011-1959 8214 on WhatsApp); or Befrienders Kuala Lumpur (03-7627 2929/ email the Befrienders).

Dear Thelma,

I'm 22 and still living with my parents. I'm worried that I wouldn't be able to find a job to reduce the burden although my family has no issues financially.

I have applied for many jobs and attended interviews online yet remain jobless. I have also lost my money to scammers. I never thought I would go this far to earn money.

Lately, I have noticed that my behaviour has changed, and I am harsh with my sister. I often ask myself, why am I acting weird?

So I searched on google – turns out that I might be showing signs of depression. In recent months, I have been having suicidal thoughts since I find no purpose in living and I have nothing good for my family.

All those signs of depression started to show up when my father yelled at me for being at home all the time, doing nothing. I have tried my best to do all that I can, yet nobody notices it and I end up feeling helpless.

I have not stepped out of the house these past two years because I don't have enough money.

My father is so conservative, and it is hard to explain to him what I am going through.

So, this led me to having suicidal thoughts. If I died I can be free and be less of a burden to my family, but on the other hand, I do not want to end my life since I have one life to live.

Help me, Thelma, I need some advice on this.


I’m sorry to hear you’re not well. First we talk about the suicidal thoughts and then an action plan, OK?

You’ve been at home for two years and thinking of your troubles. It’s not surprising your mental health is suffering. Go and have a chat with a mental health professional. As you’re not working, reach out to the numbers above to find someone who can assess and advise you for free.

As for the action plan: There is plenty of work available at the moment.

Go to any coffee shop, supermarket, or wet market, and you will find people desperate for workers. If you’re looking for air conditioning and fancy surroundings, the malls are also full of shops advertising job vacancies. It’s not glamorous, it’s not easy, but it’s all honest work.

Perhaps you have a degree or training of some kind, and you’re looking for a specific job? You didn’t say, and I can’t tell how long you’ve been looking either.

However, you’ve been looking long enough to become desperate, even to the point of falling for scams. At this point, you need a reset. Therefore, I strongly suggest you get a job, any job, for several reasons.

First, once you are working, you will be too busy to worry. That will provide a certain amount of relief for your low mood.

Second, unemployment typically affects how people live from day to day. Often, they get up later and later and they do less and less. By working, you will be on a proper schedule that includes getting up on time, eating at fixed intervals and so on.

This is important because it shows people you have determination, are very employable and it may help your low mood as well.

Third, work teaches us so much, from concrete skills like using particular software and machines, to soft skills like managing difficult conversations. Working and improving your skill set will pay off in future interviews in the short term and help make you super employable in the long term.

Fourth, working will give you back your pride. Hanging about at home being rejected is crushing. Once you’re out and about with people, and learning new skills and contributing to the family, you’ll get your bounce back.

So please, call the helplines and then walk to the nearest shop with a job vacancy and get cracking. In six months, armed with brand new skills, you start your ideal job search again. And this time, you’ll have an income already, and a history of employment, so you’ll be batting from a position of strength.

Good luck and know I’m thinking of you.

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