Thursday, August 06, 2009

Melancholy

Too many people that I know in real life read my blog. It always surprises me when I find out that someone I know in real life has been reading this, because in all honesty, I don't think I'm all that interesting. I'm a stay at home mom who likes to do crafts. Yay me. I don't really mind, for the most part, because I'm a pretty open person and don't really keep secrets. It's just that sometimes, there are things I want to get off my chest and I kind of feel weird sharing some things with people I barely know, if that makes sense. However, the whole reason I keep a blog is as a kind of therapeutic journal for myself, which is why you will probably never see ads here. That means I need to ask myself, is it worthwhile to have a journal where you have to censor yourself?

I'm going to say no. I'm also going to say that I'm not going to make this blog private, or start a new one, or give up on it. What I am going to do is just ask that if you do see me in real life, and not just on the internets, please pretend that you never read this (or stop reading now, I guess) because I'm just really having a bad day and I have some things I need to get off my chest.

I go through life and try to present myself as a happy person. I truly believe that as humans, we consciously make the decision to be happy. If you were to meet me and spend time with me, you would probably never know a lot of the crap that I battle with inside my own head to be that happy, goofy person. I've got plenty that I could decide to be miserable about, both in my present life as well as my past, but I choose to not let those things get me down. I've mentioned before on here that I have OCD. That means I have a clinical diagnosis, from several doctors, and have previously been medicated for the condition. It's not like how some people say they are OCD because they don't like when a picture is hanging crooked on a wall. I wish!

I also have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and generalized anxiety disorder. When I am stressed, my body revolts and finds all sorts of fun ways to torture me. I don't sleep, I get strange rashes (including shingles last year, blah), my menstrual cycle gets wonky (once it disappeared all together), I get twitchy, I get migraines... you get the idea. It's bad.

The reason I mention it is because for the past month, I'm starting to notice a few of these things showing up in my life. It started with the insomnia. Either I don't get sleepy at all, and end up staying awake until four or five in the morning, or I get so tired I crash but can only sleep for a few hours at a time. I'm constantly tired and cranky. I've also started to feel like I have constant heartburn, only it's concentrated in my stomach area. Of course, after three weeks straight of this, I'm paranoid that I'm getting an ulcer, which I am sure isn't helping matters any. The very first thing though, now that I think about it, was the tingling in my right arm. From my shoulder down to my palm, sometimes my arm will tingle like it's falling asleep for about 30 seconds at a time. I searched that symptom on WebMD, and one of the very first things on the list that would cause that was GAD.

So what's the deal? Well, let's see. I'm about to turn 32 in twelve days. What do I have to show for it? I'm broke, there's no food in the house, not even milk, I have no job (honestly, not that I want one right now), I'm overweight (strange, considering lack of food), my husband and I aren't getting along, and there seems to be no end to the problems in sight, at least not in the near future. The mention of my scrapbooks in yesterdays post has made that be heavy on my mind today, which in turn reminds me of all the people who have let me down and how alone I feel a lot of the time. I feel old and dumpy and like I should just have a caption over my head that says EPIC FAIL.

I guess the biggest thing is the money. You know, people tell you that having a baby is expensive. You have to buy diapers and formula, along with a crib and all that other baby gear. You have to take them to the doctor, so there are all those copays. It adds up!

Well, people are right. The thing is though, if those things were the only things we had to worry about it, we'd be so golden. We waited to have a baby until we were in our thirties so that we would be in a place where we could handle those types of expenses. I'm the only person in my immediate family that wasn't a parent at sixteen. Heck, even out of my cousins I waited the longest to have a kid, and I'm the oldest out of us all! I wanted to be responsible. When I got pregnant, we planned it out, we both had jobs, we had health insurance. Life was good and the timing was as right as it was ever going to be. All the credit cards were even paid off so we were ready!

Here's the thing though - we were stupid. We thought, we've got health insurance, so we're covered! The deductible has been met and paid. We paid the fee they told us we'd need to pay when we were admitted to the hospital. Sure, it made that month a bit tight as far as our budget (that's a lot of money, yo) but it's paid and we're DONE.

But we weren't. Not by a long shot.

We didn't know that our insurance company was going to start rejecting claims on teensy technicalities left and right. We didn't know that they'd reject coverage for a large portion of what my OBGYN charged for miscellaneous in office tests. We didn't know that the pediatrician in the hospital had his own private practice on the side and would bill us through that. Did I mention he isn't one of the providers for our insurance? We didn't know that we would find ourselves, nine months after the baby was born, still thousands of dollars in medical debt with potentially even more on the horizon because some charges are still in dispute between the hospital, the insurance company, and my husband's employer.

We've been paying a large sum of money every month toward our debt. I'm talking, a sum of money that's greater than our car payment for the FREAKING BRAND NEW SUV we bought last year. You know, before we knew how this was going to break us financially. It wouldn't be as bad if I was working and we didn't have to take all the baby stuff into consideration, but the fact of the matter is that I'm not, and we're living on just one income, and we're not making it here anymore. We still owe more than we've paid.

I don't go anywhere. I sit at home all day, every day, because I don't want to waste the gas. I skip all the playgroup meetups where they go somewhere that charges a fee, or that involve going out for lunch or coffee afterwards. Lately, I've even been skipping the potlucks, because we barely have enough money to feed ourselves, let alone to make something to feed others. We've been living off of $2 frozen meals from the grocery store because it's cheap and easy and leaves more money to buy the good stuff for the baby. The other night I seriously found myself freaking out because I was out of tampons and was worried that we wouldn't have enough money to buy more. I've also had that worry about bath soap and coming up here soon, toilet paper. Invitations to go out are met with panic, and followed by despair. Can we do this? No, we cannot. Again.

We're broke. Seriously, seriously, broke due to these medical bills.

Of course, I sit here and I feel like it's my own stupid fault. I was the one who told my husband it was time to have a baby. I was the one who went off the birth control pills. I was the one who got pregnant. I feel like Jen Lancaster with her Prada bag at the unemployment office sometimes - I'm running around with a freaking Gucci diaper bag and Chanel eyeglasses when there's no milk in the fridge. I try to remind myself that these things that we have were bought responsibly, without incurring debt, way back when we had money and that we worked hard for them, but that doesn't always make it okay.

I'm not saying that I regret having the baby. Please God don't think that. I love this child, more than life itself. None of this is his fault; I don't blame him for a thing. He's a baby and he didn't ask for any of this. Sheesh. So this is another thing I feel guilty for, because sometimes it does sound like I'm blaming the baby.

I'm just tired. I'm tired of everything. Sometimes, when I'm in the car, I'll get this sudden urge to just open the door and fall out. That's it. No drama, no jumping, no tears. Just open the door and roll to the side in one swift motion. Other days it will be just turning the wheel to the side, just a little, but sharply enough that I go either into oncoming traffic or off the overpass. They're sudden, these urges, and as quickly as the fleeting urge as run across my mind the thought that I can't has followed. For one, I'm a big sissy and don't deal well with pain. For two, I grew up without a father, and as hard as that was, I can only imagine that growing up without a mother would be even worse. I don't want to do that to my son. Therefore, I would never, ever do it.

Before you freak out, I don't think that I'm technically suicidal. These are compulsions, the C part of OCD, and I've learned that they're a symptom. That was actually a relief to learn, because I've had them for ages, only more often and stronger in times of stress. Obviously. And, like I said, I'd never act on them. That's not to say that I've never found myself praying to just not be anymore. To just evaporate - to cease existing, to cease feeling pain.

I'm crying a lot lately. I'm having meltdowns. I'm more than likely depressed again - can you blame me? Yes, I know people are going to tell me to "go get help" but I'm going to just tell you now that isn't going to happen, because help costs money. Sure, they have outreach programs and free stuff blah blah blah but those are for people who are poor because they have low income jobs, or for students, or for homeless people. I'm in that lucky demographic who has enough household income that I don't qualify for such things but can't afford them on my own.

I've done everything I can think of to save money. We use homemade cleaners. Cloth diapers. I clip coupons. Sold stuff on ebay. I've given up on my beauty supplies one by one as they run out. We don't go out. Hell, I have a gift card I got last year for my birthday that I still haven't used because it will only cover a portion of the dinner for two and we can't afford the rest! My birthday is coming up here again and there will be no cake, no presents, no party, no dinner. It will just be another miserable day in my miserable experience, spent wondering what I'll have to cut out this month because there just isn't enough money to go around.

Do I want people to pity me? No! If you see me out and about, I'll probably be acting like nothing is wrong, and everything is okay, and laughing at things like normal. But when I'm home, and it's just us, well, it's hard. It's hard knowing that the next paycheck is going to be gone before it gets here. And the next one. And the one after that. It's hard knowing that our income tax refund for next year is already gone too, just like the one from this year was, all to medical bills. It's hard knowing that we can't go places, or do things like we used to do before. It's hard trying to hide it all and pretend that everything is okay! We're fine! Really!

And yes, I know at least I have a roof over my head. And at least I have my health. And my family's health. And at least we have a nice car with a/c that actually works to drive. And at least we can afford those crappy $2 frozen dinners because that means we're not starving. I know that I have a lot to be grateful for, and believe me, I am. I'm grateful for everything that I have and I thank God literally EVERY DAY for them. It's just that those things don't make the other things any easier, and the guilt of feeling such tremendous stress when I don't have to go to work and I do get to sleep in every day and I do have so much also makes it worse.

I'm a fucking mess, yo. And I'm tired of it. I'm tired of crying, I'm tired of not being able to sleep, I'm tired of frozen dinners with the fruit sloshed into the entree and I'm tired of being at home all the time and I'm tired of feeling so freaking pathetic and ashamed of myself all the time and most of all, I'm tired of not having hope that it's going to get better anytime soon, because it's not. I just want it to be better but I don't know how to fix it.

Well meaning people will be like, get a job then, but that's not an option when you have no skills and no degree and the best paying job you can get will only leave you earning about $3 an hour after you pay for daycare. My husband's hours are so irregular that a part time job isn't an option either, as he never gets home at the same time.

People are always telling me how talented I am, and how I could get a job doing this, or selling that, but I can't! I know they mean well, but it just frustrates the hell out of me! Yes, I know Photoshop and I have an eye for graphic design. No, no one is going to hire me to do that because I have no experience and no degree. Yes, I can apply eye makeup. No, MAC is not going to give my dumpy ass a job based on the goofing off I do with my tranny friends. Yes, I'm organized and a quick learner. No, no one is going to hire me because they're taking my word for it. Yes, I can decorate a cake. No, no one is going to hire me as a "professional" full time because I'm slow and really not as good as people think I am. Yes, I can make cute jewelry. No, no one is going to want to buy it. I tried Etsy and that was yet another giant failure. I'm good at a lot of things and great at nothing.

I just feel hopeless, and guilty for not being able to suck it up. I want to curl into a ball and go to sleep because you can't FEEL or WORRY or CRY when you're asleep. You don't get angry or frustrated or have to deal with rage when you're asleep. You're just asleep, and everything is fine.

I just want things to be fine again.

8 Comments:

Blogger kingsqueen said...

I know what you are feeling with being broke. We got there ourselves for about 6 months - had to make my husband go back to his old job before I lost my sanity. Things were tight and I was worrying all the time about how to pay this bill or that bill.
You know since you've been keeping up with the hospital payments, you might try going back to them and renegotiating a lower monthly payment. Tell them you are on one income now (as I'm sure that MANY people are right now - you are so NOT alone in the "broke boat"). Maybe they will work with you somehow, especially if you hint that you may have to file bankruptcy because you can't make all your bills. They'd rather have something than nothing. You may even negotiate a lower bill altogether. It's possible.
And just a little FYI - if you DID need to file because of the medical bills - or if you just can't make them - your creditors do NOT look at medical bill collections the same as they do other stuff. Medical bills are generally something that can't be helped and they know that. It's not like going out and running up credit card debt. You might also think about the Credit Counceling bureau. They may be able to help you lower your payments. We've all got to live and eat and have a roof over our heads. If it takes some backward steps to get forward again, then don't feel bad about doing what you need to do to help your family. Bad credit can be just a temporary thing due to hard circumstances. And I know there are many people out there in some difficult circumstances right now.
It wasn't your fault and nothing you could have predicted. Be proactive, and you may see some good results.
I felt the same worry as you, but felt guilty because I felt I should be thankful that my husband and I even HAD jobs when so many didn't. (We just weren't making enough money to cover the bills with them.) I had to count my blessings every day just to get through the day without crying at work and letting everyone know how bad off we were getting. I didn't want anyone pitying us or thinking we were dumb for making the move we did.
I think you're real brave for putting it all out there for us "strangers". I just wanted you to know that I understood where you were coming from. And hopefully you having it out here will generate some helpful ideas for you.
And just so you know - money problems and the first year of parenthood are both VERY stressful on marriages. For anyone. Please try hard to remember that you and your husband are on the same team and fighting for the same goals. (and help him remember too!) Don't take it out on each other. Keep communication open.
I hope things get better for you real soon.

6:29 PM  
Blogger mademoisellechitchat said...

Kingsqueen is SO right about the medical bills and creditors! Seriously, Sara, F. those people and get yourself some FOOD.

I sent you a message via FB.

LOVE YOU!

6:37 PM  
Blogger Maggi said...

<3

From a woman who struggles with depression and GAD (diagnosed by a few medical professionals, "treated" with countless medications), I know how easy it is for everything to just snowball. When it rains, it freaking POURS, especially when you're worrying about one thing, and it just turns into worrying about everything.

Which isn't to say you're not justified. It sounds like you're going through a lot of crap, and you so deserve to be able to wallow. That is when you need to step back and let people pick up the slack. It's the only way I get by. I cannot tell you how much tension can build up between me and my husband, especially when I'm anxious and depressed. But one thing I'm desperately trying to do is to let him help. It's the hardest thing in the world, to give up more control, when it feels like things are already spinning out of control, but just to know there's one thing in this world that you can trust in is nice.

As far as work and money, I won't b.s. about it, things aren't peachy with us but we don't have the debts you do. Still, I've decided to start trying to work from home. You seem very net-savvy; you could try working as a search engine rater. I had no experience to speak of and got hired. And I'm making $13.50 an hour. Okay, so it's only a few hours a day, whenever the kid's super-occupied or sleeping, but it's something. Just a thought.

One thing I need to say before I shut up: *don't* try to be all unselfish and let go of those things that keep you calm and happy. Take lots of pictures of your sweet boy. Scrapbook. Knit. You deserve to be happy.

So I may not know you "in real life," but I still think I've read enough to know that you're a great person.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Felicia said...

I could write all night about my issues...debt, bills, jobs...but I really feel in my heart to just let you know that you have strangers out here praying for you. I hope things get better soon. You have a beautiful family, enjoy them..don't let all those material things get you down.

9:56 PM  
Blogger em said...

I'm so sorry things are not going well. I just hate how commercialized the medical world has become. My dad is a doctor and basically hate his job because he can't *do* his job anymore. It's not about what's right for the patient, it's about what makes the most money for the hospital and what is best for the insurance companies. A lot of people have given you advice, and I don't have much more to add. Just try to stay positive. Look at Bubba's smile every day. That is worth it all. :)

6:13 AM  
Blogger Hooptee said...

I have so much to say and yet none of it is important. Your post broke my heart. My sister deals with bi-polar so I understand how uncontrollable and terrible mental illness is. I hope you can find some way to get help, maybe through some online resources?

Kingsqueen said what I was going to say about your bills. I used to work in healthcare. They will work with you. And really - a lot of people stiff their HC bills. It's part of what's wrong with this country. I hope and pray Obama can make some changes with healthcare. It's so wrong that responsible hardworking people are being bankrupted by their HC bills. And it's wrong that you can't get care for your OCD because of your HC coverage not being enough. But I won't even get up on that soapbox.

Just keep doing what you are doing with your crafting and you'll find your niche. You are great at all the stuff you do. I still think you can go into business yourself eventually. Keep doing those cakes and word of mouth will spread.

Anyway, I could go on and on, but I won't. I just wanted you know I'm thinking of you and praying for you.

btw - another weird coincidence in our lives.. my bday is 8/16. I too will be 32! LOL Try and do something for yourself that day. Even if it's just a nice long hot bath with a good book.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Although I have never met you...I follow your blog...sometimes I feel like a stalker :p, but sometimes I just want to give you a hug!

Things always work for a reason...you will always love and remember the time you stayed at home with your son.

Seems like you just need to get out and be around adults once in a while and not be mom all the time though...Does your husband work on weekends too? I know it will suck not to spend time with him, but maybe you just need a weekend job for a little while...just to help your sanity and pocketbook.

It is a sucky time right now, but things will get better...

1:07 PM  
Blogger Iris Flavia said...

Same here with the visitors-thing. Just I don´t even am a Mom! And the sleepy thing, gahhh...
Sorry for "the rest". Really!

What do you have to show?! A cute kido!!!
I just read a book that might come in handy for you (don´t ask why I read it, not being a Mom myself...), it´s "the rise and fall of a yummy mummy".
Whew, that´s heavy with the insurance-thing-too! Guess here in Germany we´d be covered. But certainly I´m not sure. Just sure it´s a bad thing! Very bad!

But... your "fault" to have a Baby? I don´t think so.

Weird. Help costs money sure is sadly right. Unless you have literally nothing - that´s the same over here. If you have nothing and you are NOT German, you get all the help for free. Somehow it´s "good" to hear it´s the same elsewhere!

Fingers crossed a darn lot things get somehow better soon for ya!
Oh, seesh, it´s a pile.

You might have no degree, but no skills is not the truth, I think.

Maybe it helps you to hear I came from another area (architecture) and am now into the IT-business with Photoshop, Flash and all, because I simply had my application done with these elements. That was enough - without any degree in that - for my company to hire me.

You don´t always need a diploma! If this works in stupid old-fashioned Germany it sure does in your place - give it a go!!!
F#### the diploma, go for the stuff!
Fingers crossed a lot for ya!
Seesh.

4:16 AM  

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