There is nothing so bad that it will not pass. If there is one thing the world teaches it is that all things change. If you cannot think of what to do, if you believe that all hope has gone, if you are tired of trying, then pause. Breathe deeply. Do you have any money at all? If you do, spend it on a good meal, even if you are spending every dime. Get a good meal, and sit in a warm place eating it, with friendly people serving it. Eat and enjoy, and think about good things. Think about your favorite color, your best friend when you were in grade school, how flannel feels when you rub it between your fingers. Think about those gold coin chocolates that always made you feel rich even though the chocolate was waxy and tasted like tin. When you were a kid, you had a knack for feeling rich when you had next to nothing.
There is nothing so painful as desperation. Nothing so counterproductive. Now that you are feeling good again, nothing has changed, except you. You are different. Now you can think. Where will you sleep tonight? What will you do tomorrow? Don't focus on what you can't do or haven't got. You have a lot of resources, if only you will recognize them. Try to identify your most pressing problems individually, and find a straight line to a solution. You need a warm place out of the rain? How about a hotel lobby, or a hospital waiting room, or a laundromat, or a bus station, or a fast food restaurant? You need to clean up? That's easy. You need some food? You can fill your belly on less than a dollar's worth of rice. I'm not going to teach you any techniques in this section. That isn't my point. My point is that to begin surviving, you need to change your head. Abandon anger, desperation, depression, melancholy. Embrace confidence, strength, abilities, resources. Be positive, by all means.
Years ago, before I decided to be homeless and make it work, I was staying with relatives and my welcome had suddenly worn out. I was so angry my head started to pound. The anger was a mask for my desperation. I had, perhaps, $300, barely enough to stay in a seedy motel for a week. I've got to find a real room, I thought, but $300 won't move me in. I went down to the liquor store, steaming, bought a newspaper, and started scanning the classified ads. There was nothing, nothing, nothing, and my mood became darker, almost violent, though with no outlet, no target. This was, after all, my problem, my fault.
At just this rather difficult moment a man in his fifties approached me, hand out, and rage flooded over me. The man saw it, and withdrew his hand, stung. He began to turn. I called out, "Wait." I pulled out my money, peeled off a twenty, and handed it to him, and he, maybe even more frightened now, thanked me and left. For me a spell was broken, and I began to laugh quietly at myself, at my rage, at the terrible seriousness I was approaching life with.
The worst thing about my situation was my attitude, and I paid twenty dollars to change it. It was a bargain at twice the price.