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.

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