Money Sucks

 

Image result for money and anxiety

Life is one big money pit.  If there is one thing I wish that we could do without, it would be money.  It is one of the leading causes for my anxiety, and this morning it strikes again.  This time in the form of a dead car.

My step-dad is on his way over to give me a boost, and my hope is that it’s just a dead battery.  I’m doing my best to keep my mind from travelling down the path of what if… like what if it’s the alternater, or what if it really serious and will cost thousands…. oh god here it comes.  A fucking anxiety attack.

I know, I know… breathe.  I’m trying.  When it comes to money, I can’t seem to keep my shit together.  There is never enough to pay the bills and save for emergencies.  I’m going to go pace the hallway before my neck seizes up.

 

 

Sounds of Silence

countryside road, drizzle, fog

My eyes opened to the pitter patter sound of gentle raindrops dancing on my roof top.  I stretched my arms overhead and noticed the warmth of my dog curled up beside me.  It’s Friday; it’s a Friday before a long weekend.  This thought brought a smile to my face as I lay warm in the comfort of my bed this morning.  I took my time getting ready for work; I wanted to savour the bliss I felt upon waking.

The “Sounds of Silence” rode along with me on my dark foggy drive to work.

I made a quick stop for coffee at my usual place.  The gloomy weather was the topic of discussion amongst the regulars.  No one was pleased with the soggy forecast for the last long weekend of summer. Nobody but me that is.  It’s perfect; just perfect for my spontaneous weekend plans.  The idea came to me as David Draiman’s voice built to a crescendo.  It was a breathless moment.  So what, you ask, is my plan?  MUSIC.

I’m buying a new guitar after work.  Something beautiful; something magnificent.  When I pick it up and let my fingers glide down the strings, I want to feel vibration echo through my body.  Once I find her, I will buy her.  Then I’m going to buy a bottle of my favorite wine before making a quick stop at the gym for a 30 minute run.  Once home, I’m going to soak in a warm tub; change into a pair of soft leggings and a warn out hoodie, light as many candles as I can find, and then, I will sit down to play.  I’m going to let the rhythm of the rain be my muse for the writing of a new song.

It’s been close to 13 years since I’ve written a new song. Writing was my outlet before I was put on medication to deal with my anxiety.  The medication dulled my creativity, and I lost interest in playing.  I’ve been playing a little since coming off the meds, but I need something new to spark my interest.  A brand new shiny guitar should do the trick.  I’m so excited I can barely sit still; I’m not sure how I will make it through my 8 hours at work, but I’ll manage.

Change of plans.  I checked my bank account and it didn’t agree with my plan, so I’ve had to revise my thoughts.  Instead of a new guitar, I will buy new strings for one of my old guitars.  My excitement level has gone down a notch or two, but overspending when I’m already in debt is too much for my anxiety.  So new strings it is.  A slightly anti-climactic ending to my story, but there will still be wine and candles, so it’s not all bad.

 

P.A.N.I.C Spells Money

Due to a panic attack that occured last week, I was back at my doctors yesterday morning to discuss a medication back up plan.  He and I both agreed that having Lorazepam (Ativan) on hand just in case was a good idea.  I will only take this medication if I have extreme bouts of anxiety or another panic attack, which I’m hoping won’t happen.  Part of me feels I can find ways to manage my disorder without medication, and the other part of me thinks: “who am I kidding.”

Today I made the decision to contact a psychologist, and I booked an appointment for September 22, 2016.  I was referred to this psych because he specializes in cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), which I have experienced in the past.  My last psychologist touch on this, but his focus was more on journaling to track repeat behaviours.  Having the appoint booked does give me some hope that I will be able remain med free.

Of course, being me,  I have some anxiety about meeting a new psychologist.  I have extended health coverage through work, which gives me $500 per year towards a psychologist.  This is very helpful; however, the going rate for this type of practitioner is $200 – $250 per hour.  That means I can see him one to two times depending on the length of our session(s).   This is the reason I waited so long to schedule an appointment; I figured “What’s the point.”  But I guess a couple of appointments is better than zero sessions.  On the other hand, what if I like him and want to go back after I run out of coverage?  I can’t afford to pay for it myself, and I don’t know if I can trust myself to not put it on my credit card.

An issue I have because of my ADHD and anxiety is overspending.  I spend money without thought sometimes, which has accrued me some debt. I am trying very hard to control my expenses and pay down my debt, but so far this year, I have only been able to keep it from rising.  It may not seem much, but the fact that the debt is no longer going up is a major improvement.  I was making some headway, but some sudden unavoidable expenses came up.  My overall net worth is in the black because of a small RRSP, and I own my mobile home outright.   But at 41 (going on 42), my future is not looking bright.  Money is the biggest anxiety trigger in my life, so the thought of  treatment expenses is freaking me out.

Before I work myself into another panic attack, I’m going to stop here.  It’s pretty obvious that I could use some professional advice.  So my plan is to start the session with a discussion over my money concerns.  I want to get that out of the way, so he understands where I’m at.  From there, I will let him lead.  Time for me to go take a breather and bring my head back to a good place.  Oh, and I still need to decide on my Fun Event for tonight…. I wonder??????

 

 

 

Cleaning Out My Closet

“Out of clutter find simplicity.” – Albert Einstein

Spring is in the air, and it’s time to do some cleaning — literally and figuratively.  A couple of weeks ago, I was faced with, what could have been, an extremely large car repair bill.  Luckily, the car turned out to be ok, and I’m happy to report the cost was minimal.  Little did I know, however, this event was the spark I needed to make some changes in life.

Being me, I panicked at the thought of incurring additional debt. I’ve been working on reducing my debt this year, but everytime I take a step forward, I have to take two back.  The last thing I wanted to do was put another charge on my credit.  Therefore, my only other option  was to “SELL EVERYTHING.”   If I could find enough things to sell, just maybe I would have enough to cover a large chunk of the repair bill.  I started by going through my storage room.  I needed items that had some value, so I put together a pile of things I could probably live without:

  1. Snowboard with bindings, boots, goggles, and helmet
  2. Two of my guitars (sadly)
  3. 6 Designer handbags
  4. Old iPhone (5c with a cracked screen)

I put everything on Kijiji and crossed my fingers.  So far I’ve sold the phone and one of the handbags for a total of $55.  I’ve now removed the snowboard package and guitars, as I want to wait until the end of my “purging spree” to see if I still want to let them go.

My car crisis is over; however, my urge to purge has remained.  One of the girls at work is having a garage sale in a couple weeks, and she has invited me to bring up anything I want to get rid of.  Oddly, I want to get rid of everything.  I’ve created piles in my house of items I no longer use.  Things I keep because “I might use them again one day.”  I want it gone — all of it.  Piles of clothes have been boxed up; old printers, shoes, purses, bedding, books, dishes, and luggage currently line the walls of my spare bedroom waiting to be loaded into my car for sale day.

Another co-worker told me about this 24hr bidding page on Facebook.  I found the page and sent in my request to join.  The page has very strict rules on posting, bidding, and pick ups.  You are pretty much guaranteed to sell your items, and the best part is the buyer has to pay and pick up within 24hours.  I sold a set of old bar stools for $5, and now I have 3 lululemon pieces up for bid.  The bidding war has begun on my items and I’m at $39 bucks (make that $42) so far.  My total for items sold is $100, and I haven’t even put anything of great value up yet.  Who knew that selling my old things was going to be such a rush!

This purge has motivated to me to do some major deep cleaning in my house.  I cleaned the oven hood vent, my oven, and fridge.  My weeds have been pulled, and I’m preparing to paint my spare room once all my items have been sold or donated.  I’ve gone through junk drawers and makeup bins, and next will be the remaining storage closets.  Empty and clean is what I’m aiming for, and so far I’m on a roll.

With every item I remove from my home, my mind feels clearer.  My physical world is being reflected in my emotional world.  There is a certain freedom in unloading stuff from my life, and my whole being is benefiting from this exercise.  I’m dedicating the rest of 2016 as my clean up year.  I’m cleaning out my closet, clearing out my mind, and making room for happy days.

 

My Alter Ego: The Miracle Maker

Tyler Durden is Jack’s attractive, charming, and daring alter ego in the movie “Fight Club.”  In the movie, Jack feels incapable of changing his own life, and so Tyler is born.  His alter ego takes charge and makes things happen.  This was the inspiration to the creation of my own alter ego.  Before I make myself smile2sound completely nuts, let me first explain that unlike Jack, I am completely aware of my alter ego.  I am not delusional (I think).   My alter ego is my strength; she has no fear (anxiety), as she is completely confident in everything she does.

This weekend was rough on me, and my anxiety over finances was literally making me sick to my stomach.  I wanted to shut the world off and let someone else deal with my problems.  I felt as though nothing was going right in my life, and I had no idea how to fix it.  And so, Felicia Branwen was created.  Yes, I named her. I felt I needed a way of identifying her.  The name means Prosperity and Dark Beauty.  She was all the parts of me I needed to be during this time.  She was fearless, beautiful, and money savvy.

She of course, was just a picture in my head of who I needed and wanted to be.  I needed a clear head to sort out my situation, and my anxiety was getting in the way.  She reassured me that everything was going to be ok, and that I am capable of taking care of myself.  She hushed every self-berating thought that entered my mind.  She took charge and made things happen.

There are many things that have been aggrevating my anxiety lately. The most serious issue is that of money.  As mentioned before, I am trying to dig myself out of some serious debt incurred during my last relationship.  This debt sits over my head, but I am making every effort to rectify my situation.  This weekend, my car broke down, and the mechanic I took it to told me my motor was shot.  He estimated a $4000 repair was needed.  After a good cry and some wine, I came up with the idea of becoming a person who deals with issues effortlessly.  Felicia (me) mentioned her (my) problem to all of my friends.  She was soliciting advice; she asked — she received.  I was referred to another mechanic who offered to look over my car free of charge.

This morning I dropped off my car, and a friend from work picked me up.  A couple of hours ago, I received the call from the mechanic.  “There’s nothing wrong with your car.” He tells me.  Apparently, a spark plug blew and a cylinder is clogged.  “OMG, this is great news, what do I need to do to fix it?” I ask.  His replies: “drive the hell out of it”

All I need to do to fix my car is drive it.  I do not need to sell all my belonging, and beg the bank for more money.  I just need to drive — drive I can do!  What’s even better is that since this happened I have started my reset process (read last post).  Last night, I went through all my things.  I selected items that I was ready to let go of and put them up for sale.  I have already had a few inquiries, so my problem may even result in some extra cash.

I am a spiritual person and I do pray.  I don’t have religion, but I believe I am connected to something bigger than myself.  It was after a night of praying that I dreamt up the idea of an alter ego.  I needed to be the strongest me I could possibly be.  I needed strength, courage, and wisedom.  Felicia is just a name I give to the strength I found.  She is my confidence; she is my miracle.

Hitting The Reset Button

Sometimes receiving bad news is a blessing in disguise.  This past Sunday, I found out that my 2007 Hyundai Accent needs a replacement motor.  Very frustrating considering I have kept her well-maintained and she only has 127,000km on her.  I did not take the news well, as I am currently making a serious effort to pay down my debt.  I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, so my initial reaction to this news was defeat.  However, I am not one to sit around and feel sorry for myself, so I have spent the past two days sourcing out solutions to this problem.

First, I have an appointment booked with my bank to re-evaluate my debt allocation.  I would like to see if I can find a better pay-down solution, which will also allow me to borrow a small amount to put towards my vehicle situation.  Once I understand how much money I have to work with, I will weigh out my options.

Secondly, I am getting a second opinion.  A friend referred me to a mechanic who is willing to check my car over at no cost; I’m very thankful for this.  If it turns out I can repair the car for a reasonable price, my problem’s solved.

Slightly jumping ahead of myself, I have decided if I must buy something new, I want a truck. There are many reasons why I shouldn’t buy a truck: more money on gas, tires will be more expensive, not as easy to parallel park, harder to get into.  However, I think my reason for wanting one outweighs the cons.

A truck is the button I need to reset this little funk I’ve been in.  I need to give my life a little facelift, and what I have decided I need is declutterfication (is that a word?)  I want to get rid of all my STUFF.  Old furniture, snowboarding equipment, 20 year old rollerblades, old printers, camping equipment, dog kennels, etc.  I’m not a hoarder, and I probably have less stuff than the average person, but lately, I feel cluttered and sufficated by things.  Items I keep for “just in case.”  Just in case I decide to snowboard again after 8 years, possibly I will put new wheels on my rollerblades and go for a ride, maybe I will camp.  No, I will most likely not do any of these things.  I only snowboarded because my ex-husband wanted me to, I prefer going for a run over rollerblading, and camping will not be done unless there’s a house on wheels coming with me.

It’s time to shed my belongings that hold no value to me.  Rid myself of objects that are reminders of who I used to be and not who I have become.  I want to feel light and free — I want to press the reset button on my life.

This epiphany is a direct result of my broken down car.  An event that brought a great amount of anxiety, also brought a new direction and goal.  I have good and bad days dealing with anxiety and depression, and today is a good day.  I believe that this new goal will bring many more good days.  The one thing I am most proud of is my ability to achieve my goals.   Goals give me some kind of direction in life, which keeps my mind focused and less anxious.

Now — figure out how to get a truck!

 

 

Where’s the Bridge?

What do you do when you find yourself in times of trouble?  Simon and Garfunkel had a bridge, but I’ve looked everywhere and I can’t find it.  My anxiety has been mounting for the past few weeks.  So much so, that I booked an appointment with my doctor to discuss changing my meds. Believe it or not, I am actually a very positive person when my anxiety is not running it’s nasty course.

Knowing my current state of mind, I decided to do everything possible to keep my calm this weekend.  MISTAKE #1.  On Friday evening, I learned that my ex-boyfriend is having a child with someone.  This is the man that took me for $30,000, told me he wanted kids “someday”, and beat my self-esteem to a pulp.  Now, I’m not saying I wish it were me having his child.  In no way do I wish for that to be true.  However, the selfish side of myself that I do my best to hide, is very upset.  She is angry that he injured her soul, and now he is rewarded with the gift of family.  My rational and more mature side, say’s “good for him.”  Right now, I am not in a mature mood.

Yesterday, I went for a long trail run to work out my feelings over this news.  I had an amazing run, and I felt strong and powerful by the end of it.  I ran over 11km in the hills behind my house; the sun brought rays of hope and renewal.  When I finished the run, I hopped in my car and drove to the grocery store for some dinner ingredience.  I wandered the produce section feeling light and optimistic.  Lettuce wraps were on the menu for tonight; something special to celebrate my freedom.  With groceries bags packed lining the back seat, I start the engine and — it stalls.

Weird!  I just put $900 into her for maintenance a couple months ago; she should be fine.  My left foot pushes the clutch pedal hard to the floor and I start her up again.  The whole car shakes like she on one of those stupid vibration machines at the gym.  I put her into first gear and start driving.  Everthing is fine, I turn onto the highway and head home.  Clank, Clank, Clank – – OMG what was that.  I turn the radio down and listen — everything sounds fine.   I drive with both the windows down; listening carefully for any strange noise.  I must have imagined it?  Maybe I ran over something?  Regardless the car is running fine.  I pull the car into the turn off lane and she starts to shake.  I notice as soon as I take the foot off the gas, the whole car rumbles like an unbalanced washing machine.  WT?  I pull up to the first stop sign and “Stall”.  OK, I’m getting this.  The car is idling low and stalling out.  Maybe a spark plug?  Hmmm.

I spend the evening doing my best to keep the thoughts of my ex’s spawn and my cars engine issues out of my mind.  Nothing I can do tonight, and most likely I’m overreacting as people with anxiety often do.  This morning, I get up and Google.   I scour the net for possible causes to my cars little hiccup.  (Knock sensor, low oil pressure, — worst case scenerio: motor replacement required)  Sh*T, please don’t be the motor.  It’s Sunday morning, and the only place open is Canadian Tire.  If you don’t live in Canada, Canadian Tire is the “Walmart” of automotive.  I have no choice; I need to get her fixed.  The appointment is set for 1pm, and my step-dad has agreed to follow me there (just in case).

It takes them two hours to get her into the garage to hook her up to their diagonstic machines, and then another hour to tell me the motor is shot.  Insert heart sinking sound here.  My worst fear is reality.   I’m bogged down with the debt from my ex (who is starting a new family) and now I have to find the money to either buy a new car or fix this one.  The only thing I can do is cry, and say F*ck (many times).  The young guy working at the service counter is obviously feeling my pain, as he gives me a discount and a number to a used car sales friend of his.  My step-dad has been my saviour for the day.  He spent the whole day waiting with me, and now he feels terrible and doesn’t know what to say.  I wipe my tears away and say “it is what it is, and I will figure it out.”

I know I will find a solution; I always do.  I may have to build a make-shift rickety bridge to carry me over this river of sh*t, but I will figure it out.  Life has been known to test my strength, but each and every time, I have shown it my strength.  I may cry a little (or a lot), but I survive.  I’ve been told that “Darkness brings the light”, so I wait.  I wait for the clouds to part way to let down the promised light.  Until then, I will walk the bridge over troubled waters, and as the lyrics go “Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way” I will ease my mind.

Lyrics by Paul Simon

Bridge Over Troubled Waters.