Let’s get personal: Adiós Ecuador, goodbye my friend

Hello world! Sorry for my absence, things have been complicated around here.

I have news: I quit my job- say hello to unemployment, I left Ecuador- where am I going to work next?, and recently, I lost an amazing person to suicide, which has been a real shock.

 

First, I quit my job. Among many issues with the Organization, it was brought to my attention that a coworker earned 40% more than I did – same position, same responsibilities, same country. I have a higher degree, maybe relatable experiences. Given my exhaustion with the Organization, and my mental health, I quit. I just left, I said I had an issue that I needed to take care of – not a lie, but also not super true. I was\am exhausted.

Two weeks later, I regret not have confronted them about the payment gap. Looking back, I should have asked why, asked for a raise, fought for my rights. But I knew they would give me tons of no-sense explanations and I was too exhausted to deal with the bullshit (forgive my French!).

So talking to a few friends the conclusion was: I received a smaller pay check because

1) I am not American. I heard from someone high rank in the organization that “we need people with extensive experience in the US, otherwise it is hard to follow the job. So basically I had this job not because of my extensive experience around the world, the fact that I speak 3 languages, or that I have a Master’s degree in a top 10 university in my field, I got the job because I had extensive experience in the United States.

2) I am a woman. Considering we were a team of four people with the same job title, living in the same country, doing the same work, and the only person earning a higher salary was the man (one and only) of the group, it might make sense.

I will never know the reasons, I will never fully understand what was wrong with the Organization… what I know is: the world is unfair, and experiences and good work might not take you as further as nationality or sex.

Still, I am sure if I had raised any of my concerns to the organization I would have been given hundreds of explanations, and maybe could get fired for some whatever reason. Now I feel a sense of relief I can’t explain (it probably will be over when the first bill arrives… but for now, yaay!).

I am pretty sure a lot of people will blame me for getting the easy way out. I know it was the easy way out, and I would have wondered WHY someone would not fight for their rights. I most likely would have judged someone having the same attitude as I did, I would have said something like “you have to fight for what is right”. But I learned a lesson: we never fully understand someone else’s situation… we never get the entire picture, or what is going on in one’s mind. I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I had enough on my mind, and I couldn’t bear a draining fight, not another one. I’ve had tons of issues since day 1, with my boss, the organization, people on the headquarters… plus, I’ve been struggling with some mental issues for the past year, which made everything more complicated. So yes, I got the easy way out, and I am happy with it. **(I want to make sure I recognize that my former organization do a good job helping people in need, and in bringing health care to thousands of people in dreadful situations. I just struggled with their views, and how the field staff was treated.)**

 

Second, I left Ecuador. What’s going to happen next? Not sure… Am I nervous, anxious, scared? Absolutely.

 

Third, my friend’s suicidal… I am still on denial. Short story: We’ve met on tinder in the end of last year, so yes, we were not only friends. We talked constantly until I left the United States. He helped me during a very hard time of my life. When I left the United States, we lost the connection as expected (distance is a bitch!), but ever now and then he would check in on me, or I would check in on him. I never, not even for one second, thought he was struggling. He had plans, he wanted to visit me in Ecuador, he wanted to find the love of his life and make a family… It makes no sense. It does not seem real, I still thinking it is just a bad prank, a VERY bad one. Looking back at our last messages I tried to find an explanation, but there is none. I don’t know the full picture, so I can’t say what really happened. I don’t know if he was looking for help, if he had the support he needed, or what was going on. I wish I knew; I wish I could have helped somehow.

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Suicide is the desire to end it all when you have nothing else to look forward to. We all have the voice inside our heads that never leave us alone.  But if you are struggling, please reach out for help. There is nothing more brave than saying “I need help.” There are hotlines, counselors, people, ways… It is hard, but it has to have a way out, we need to have faith in the future, and we need to believe a better tomorrow is waiting for us.

 

As a person struggling with some complicated mental issues, I know it took me a lot of panic attacks, migraines, hair lost, skin rashes, and health stuff that didn’t have an explanation, to finally understand that my mind was winning the fight against my body. It was hard to face it, and even harder to ask for help. So please, let’s stop the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health problems. Instead of avoiding the topic, or to see it as a sign of weakness, let’s understand what Suicide is, and see the desperation and lack of hope that leads someone to chose to die. Let’s talk about it, let’s help each other, let’s help friend’s and family’s. Let’s support our friends who says he/she wants to go to a psychiatrist instead of laughing at him/her; let’s stop seeing depression as a “just go for a night out and you will be fine” kind of issue.

Depression is a disease; depression has no face…  Let’s talk, understand and support everyone who needs. We never know what kind of battle someone is fighting, we never know their past or the struggles of the present, so be kind, be nice, be gentle to everyone you happen to cross paths with… You might change someone’s life.

 

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2 thoughts on “Let’s get personal: Adiós Ecuador, goodbye my friend

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