Friday, July 20, 2012

Drowning in debt

I feel like I am drowning. Like I am on the verge of losing it. On the verge of a mental breakdown. There are so many things I stress about lately. Mostly financial issues. We have so much debt, and it is really, really depressing. Especially when there is almost nothing else we can do to pay it down.

As if having a mortgage and car payment isn't enough, we owe about $25,500 in credit card debt. Oh, and now we also owe my mother-in-law $1,000. And it's a terrible catch-22. We pay so much in credit card debt, that we don't have money for groceries. So, we pay for groceries with credit cards. It's almost impossible to see any light at the end of the tunnel, since we only seem to be digging ourselves a really deep hole.

How did we get here? That's easy. Two big reasons, and they both have to do with me, and me alone. One thing is all of the doctor co-pays, medical tests, and prescriptions I have to dish out for. I don't have enough in my budget to allow for all of that. I mean, I pay out the rear for health insurance every month, and yet my deductible is $1500 and I have high copays. How is that fair? Especially with how many different doctors I see, and how often. It's ridiculous.

The second reason is my compulsive spending and shopping sprees. When I am manic, the first thing I seem to do is go spend money I don't have. Which is why my credit cards are pretty much maxed out. People who are not bipolar seem to think, "Well, that's easy. Just stop spending." Yeah? No way! I never would have thought of that on my own. I mean, come on! Yes, I know that seems like an easy solution. And when I am not manic, I don't spend. I recognize the need to not spend, and I stick to it. But the thing about being manic, at least for me, is that I lose that sense of  reality. Of consequences. I don't think ahead. I don't stop and think, "I shouldn't buy this because I don't have money." In fact, I don't think at all. I just buy things (mostly music, dvds, and clothes) because I want those things, and it will make me feel good at that moment. And it is really hard to recognize it at first. It usually isn't until after I've spend a couple hundred dollars that it hits me that maybe I'm manic. Then I'll sit down and really think about my actions and attitude for the past few days or weeks, and usually then I realize that yeah, I am manic. But of course, by then, it's too late. Damage is done, money is gone.

I've gotten a little better at trying to stop myself before I spend too much. I've made a self-imposed rule that I must ask my husband first before I buy anything that is over $20. And usually, knowing I need this "permission" is enough to stop me and make me think. But other times, I really don't care, and I do it anyway. It's so frustrating, knowing that I am causing all of this stress with our finances because of my both my physical AND mental health. I keep trying to control myself when I become manic. But it's not easy, because I like when I am manic. I feel happy. Ok, I also feel highly agitated and have a quick temper too, but I love the I'm-happy-and-I-don't-care feeling. I love that I am able to be myself around others, and converse with them without feeling such low self worth, always wondering what people think of me. And another plus is that my house always gets a little cleaner when I'm manic. But the spending part of being manic, that is what is hurting us the most.

I feel like such a burden, monetarily as well as emotionally. And it hurts a lot to know that. I don't want to be a burden. Especially to those I love. And when I fall into depression, that feeling weighs down on me so heavily. It just ends up being one of the reasons why I feel like I don't deserve what I have, and that I don't deserve to live. Not if I am nothing but a burden.

I like being manic, but I hate the over-spending that inevitably results from it. I am tired of regretting past actions and decisions. I am tired of feeling so bad because the insurmountable debt we are in is mostly my fault.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Losing a loved one

I've been having a hard time lately. Trying to sort things out. I am struggling a lot with having Diabetes. I've become so negative, even though I have been trying to stay relatively positive. And as if all the joys of Diabetes hasn't been enough to cope with, my dear grandfather passed away a few weeks ago and I've been feeling miserable ever since. Well, ok, I was feeling miserable before he died. But now, even more so. I miss him deeply. I really do.

When my grandma called me, crying, and told me that my grandpa had surgery, was taken off of life support, and didn't have long to live... I don't even really know how to describe how I felt. My heart sank, I felt sick to my stomach, my eyes teared up, and I got a lump in my throat. I could barely utter a word. As she relayed the details, it felt like I could barely breathe. It felt like someone had thrust a knife into my heart, and the pain I experienced inside was almost too much to bear. We drove 12 hours to be there with my family, and for the funeral. On the way up there, we received news that he had passed away. The only thing that brought me comfort was the fact that he was no longer suffereing. From the sounds of it, he suffered a lot in the last 2 weeks or so of his life.

I tried really hard to keep it together at the viewing and at the funeral. I hate to cry and be vulnerable in front of people. Especially people I love. But I was unsuccessful. Seeing the heartache my grandma was experiencing was tormenting. I felt so useless and helpless. I wanted so badly to make her, my uncle, and great uncle feel better.

We were at the funeral home for the viewing from 1pm-8:30pm. Seeing my grandpa laid out was so difficult. It brought me instantly to tears. [And just being in that funeral home in itself was terrible. It was the same funeral home that my father was laid out in.] My uncle had placed photographs on boards for people to look at, which were displayed alongside my grandpa's coffin. His army uniform and photo album of his army days were also on display. Looking at those photos brought back a lot of happy memories. And I think that is what made it hurt so much worse. All those good times, and the fact that there will be no more. That, the next time I walk into my grandma's house, he won't be there.

And as if this wasn't difficult enough to deal with, every person who knew my grandpa well told me and my sister how my grandpa loved us so much, and we were all he ever talked about. They told us how proud he was of 'his girls'. My grandma even put a picture of my sister and I in the coffin with him. Not a picture of his two sons. Just a picture of his only two grandchildren, and a picture of his beloved cat. Now all I can think of is how I feel like I let him down. Like I could've done more to spend time with him. I should've told him more that I love him.

I guess you never really want to think about how the people you love won't always be there. But in this world, it is a fact that we all will die. What I find strange, is that while I have no problem with the thought of ME dying, I can't bear the thought of others dying. This whole experience made me really think. I saw how much my grandpa's death affected my grandma. And how much it affected and hurt me. It made me dwell on how my death would affect my husband, mom, sister, grandparents. Especially if my death was a result of suicide. More often than not I want my life and pain to end, and I feel I don't deserve to live. But I never want to put my family through the pain of losing a loved one either. I would never want them to blame themselves for my death, as I've seen people whose spouses committed suicide blame themselves. But really, at the same time, I struggle each and every day with feelings of wanting to just die. Ugh.

If anything good at all came out of such a grievous situation though, it was that I was able to meet a few men that had grown up with my father. They were able to tell my sister and I all kinds of stories and things we didn't know about my dad. While they were talking, it was easy to tell how fond they were of him, and what good friends they were. One of them was even in tears, when he related how he tried to talk to him about his drinking, and not giving up on his family and all that he had. There is something about a man crying, being so sincere, caring so much for someone you loved dearly, that just breaks your heart. He emphasized several times to us that the way my dad was in the last few years of his life - with his drinking - that was not really my dad. That was not the kind of man he was, that he let the alcohol eventually control him, He wanted to make sure that was not the way we remembered him as. I think that is so sweet, that he wanted us to know who my dad REALLY was, that is, before the alcohol. It was really nice to hear all the good things they had to say about my dad. Ugh. I miss him so very much too.