How can I keep going forward during a series of crises?
June 10, 2014 8:49 AM Subscribe
My life has been a bit hard for a while now. It has been ruthless #@$* for a few months. I need some strategies to force myself to keep going. Lots of moaning follows.
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (30 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I have crappy, mounting health and financial problems. The two are of course closely linked. I don't mind being kinda poor and the health problems have the advantage of not being things that will kill me, but I am also an only parent to a small child and I am starting to feel a little too close to the abyss with all the stress. Today I had problems hanging out in a public place I needed to be at because it was difficult to not cry. On the way there I worried I might have been too stressed to drive safely. It sucks.
My income has been nearly nil since January. A series of milder crises over the past year wiped out my savings and I am living off credit cards. I am never going to have high earning potential even without the health problems, but the health problems + debt = years of misery, I expect.
My finances will probably stabilise slightly soon but I feel like I will never be able to dig out of the hole the health issues have sunk us into.
I am so overwhelmed all the time right now that it is very difficult to get things done. And when I do get things done, they tend to end up in the pile of things that are making life hard. I have a house. It is an old house. My ex's name is in the process of being taken off the title to the house. I spent a great deal of time, and contractors' time, applying for a forgivable loan for needed repairs. There was very little information offered about any technicalities vis-a-vis this particular municipally run program. I ended up in a catch-22 where I am not eligible because there's another person's name registered on the title, but...but he is in the process of being removed from title -- I submitted court paperwork documenting this -- and could not have been an applicant for the program; it's just bizarre. So I threw hours and hours of work into something that did nothing, and I still have a tree growing into the side of my house and taking off parts of the roof and an unsafe porch and broken appliances, etc, in a house I cannot afford to move out of, and also value highly as a thing that contributes to my kid's sense of stability and security. This is just one of many hassles; I'm just throwing it out there to try to explain the sort of thing my brain is now spending all of its time freaking out over.
I feel like nothing good has happened to me for a long time. I am usually a positive person and can wring the good side out of anything, but this is starting to slip and many years ago I was not a positive person, and never want to return to that, and feeling depression creep in around the edges is paralysing. Meanwhile I keep getting more to deal with: skin cancer! A car problem! It just won't slow down.
Advice for financial and health woes is absolutely awful. I do not have a goddamn Starbucks habit like "personal finance gurus" might hope. There is nothing at all left to shave from the budget. There isn't a budget. There isn't a way to generate more income with a chronic health problem exacerbated as it is right now. I can't borrow against the house or re-finance because I don't have a job. I'm sure the stress is contributing to the health issues, which is a worry in itself.
I have an Ativan prescription and I take sleeping pills at night. I am not much of a believer in antidepressants, and I don't think I can medicate further along psychological lines. I don't really have the money/time/child care/etc for any sort of talk therapy, and do not think it would help with practical problems, though I am open to arguments to the contrary.
I have tried to request help from some flavour of social worker. The professional judgment has been that I am not crippled enough to merit help, and that it would be unavailable even if things were worse unless I was elderly. (I am in rural Ontario, for what that's worth.)
I have friends and family. Family babysits here and there. Friends are not really understanding the extent of the problems here, I don't think. When I see people out of the house or have invited them over, it is because I am having a day where my body is functioning reasonably well and why would you think I was having trouble with basic household chores the day before? I seem fine. And I generally appear to be functioning and my child is thriving. And I don't really want to tell people about being terrified by my financial situation because unless they are in a position to write me a whopping cheque, there isn't anything they can do about it, so... Unfortunately the person who knows the most about the status quo has recently extensively crapped on me for sneaking the odd cigarette here and there under stress, which I think gave me a bit of a panic and further reduced the odds of my telling people "I need help." Some people are aware, and have helped. Three unrelated people offered to take a look at my tree problem to see if they could cut it down themself and it was really heartening to have that many offers of help. (All three deemed it too risky for non-professionals; it is a scary tree.) But I'm sort of a black hole of need at the moment. And despite that I have a "problem" of appearing to be mostly okay; when I try to reach out a bit I get reassurances about how great I'm doing. I like to think I am a good friend and decent at helping people, but I have no idea how I'd respond to me at the moment. And at times when I might previously have invited people round for food and drink, I am too unhappy to be up to socialising.
Kid's father is not at all in the picture and there is no option for any sort of break and I have to keep it together here and not fall apart. In slightly less awful times I have been good at appreciating minor stuff: we are okay right now. We have loved ones. We are decently clothed/housed/fed. Etc. But either things are too bad or I am too depressed for that to work anymore, and I am going through my days robotically, fearful, inefficient. Previously useful mental hacks are no longer cutting it.
Suggestions for coping strategies that do not require a financial investment or that are not exercise (see "health problems") much appreciated. If you have an anecdote about how far down you got and still managed to get back up from, that'd be nice too.