Sunday, April 6, 2014

A post on financial insecurity, depression, hopelessness, and other things you probably don't want to read about.

I feel like I'm standing under a ton of bricks that're about to stop hanging in the air the way that Vogon spaceships do.

Financially there are two problems.  One is that I did something supremely stupid: I didn't take into account the cost of winter.  In Maine.  That's like getting involved in a land war in Asia.

There's really nothing that not being stupid could have done except let me see disaster a while before I did.  But it was still stupid.  My thinking was something like this:
I can cover monthly expenses when they're averaged so I should be able to cover them when they're not by making sure that I keep the excess from the low expense months and use it to pay off the high expense months.
It should have gone more like this:
Holy fucking god, I'm taking over the monthly expenses starting in January.  Janu-fucking-ary?  I had better make sure that he high expense months don't come until after I've had some time to recover from having to keep from freezing during the winter.
Either way though the result is the same, the month with the highest expenses of the year is next month.  Even though I wanted to get more heating oil so I wouldn't constantly be on the edge of running out, I put it off in hopes of using the money I would have used for that for next month.

That's not going to work.  I need new heating oil and the furnace had a minor breakdown.  I can definitely cover that.  No problem.  Problem is when next month comes.  In addition to the normal monthly expenses I'll have these next month:
School: $1,579
Insurance: $700
Taxes: $600

And because I need the oil and repair that's, say, $525 in addition to normal monthly expenses this month.

If I don't pay for school not only do I end up with people after me for shortchanging them 1.5 thousand dollars, I also loose access to my psychologist and my psychiatrist.

If I don't pay for insurance and taxes I may very well become homeless.

It's not really a like I have choice either way.  The expenses for the home (oil, furnace, taxes, insurance) and the expenses for school each add up to about half of what I need.  If I put everything I have toward paying I can get maybe one third.  Which is less than half.  Which means that even if I were prepared to tell my school to go fuck itself so I could pay for my home or take up a life of homelessness so I could pay for my school, I don't have enough.

I don't have a way to get enough.

I am pretty well fucked over.

Which actually sort of brings us to the second financial problem.  School was always going to be a problem.  It just was.  It was never figured in to the average expenses (it couldn't be, it depends on how many classes I take and was paid to different people) and I knew it would be a problem if I didn't do something.  I had a plan.  And a back up plan.  And back up plans for the back up plan.  And plans if none of those worked.

Even before there was a problem with my medication, even before the concussion, I was too stressed out about the coming of "How the fuck am I going to pay for the house's expenses in May," to put any of those plans into motion.

I haven't been properly operating for a while now.  I thought the time without my computer, while it was being repaired, might give me a chance to clear my mind, get rid of distractions, and accomplish things.  It didn't.  For one thing I was suffering the after effects of a concussion.  (I appear to still be, so I'm going to be calling my doctor soon.)  A lot of my time was spent laying down.  For another being without the computer just made me feel lonely and isolated and completely cut off.

Not being prepared for keeping the house heated and being prepared for the insurance tax convergence was problem one.

Totally failing to raise the money I needed for school was problem two.  Unless some rich reader who has thus far declined to donate decides to save me, I'm not seeing either of those problems getting solved.  (Hypothetical rich reader, donate button is in the upper right hand corner of the page.)

Like I said, ton of bricks that are just waiting to stop acting like a Vogon space ship.

So, done talking about finances.


Remember this?
This was a time when I watched the Shawshank Redemption untold and untellable amounts of times because I lacked the energy to get up, cross the room, and put another DVD in the player so I just kept using the remote control to restart it every time the movie ended.  Couldn't move myself, could move a finger.  Just like Tsukasa.
Well I don't think I ever got around to talking about how laptop computers improved the situation immensely (any idea how little energy and effort it takes to move to a new page?) or some of the other times I've taken refuge in repetitive action (beyond the other ones listed in that post) but I'm doing it again.

Of all the things to get fixated on I have no idea why it ended up being the Kim Possible fandom.  Habit I guess.  I bumped into it by mistake but then once I did, like I said, fan fiction that consists of just text is really quick to load and once it is loaded doesn't need contact with the internet.  Ideal for when your internet connection is via a broken computer that keeps on forgetting there is such a thing as the internet.

I didn't even realize what was going on at the time.  Now that I have a working computer that's not nearly so limited I recognize the pattern.

Click, read, back,
click the next one, read, back,
click the next one, read, back,
click the next one, read, back,
click the next one, read, back,
click the next one, read, back,

The content really could matter less, which is not to say that there's not some pretty stunning fiction out there (and some utter crap, and some people who don't know that it's just plain cruel to mark something as "complete" when it has a non-ending passed off as a cliff hanger to be picked up in the non-existent sequel), but it's not about that.  It's about the security of the familiar; the tranquility of repetition.

And it's about minimal effort.  Because sometimes all you can manage is minimal effort.  When you can only move a finger you move that fucking finger.  When you can do little more than lay on your back, laptop on your belly, and read stories that don't require much in the way of though, you do that.

But here's the thing: once I get started I have great deal of difficulty stopping.

I have to brush my teeth: can't stop.
I have to go to bed: can't stop.
I have to study: can't stop.
I have to pay attention to this: can't stop.

Once I get into the cycle of:, "do thing, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat..." I'm jammed.

Inertia works both ways.  It keeps a body at rest at rest.  It keeps a body in motion in motion.


I fixate.  I get stuck on things.  If something becomes habit it becomes almost impossible to break out of.  But a lot of the time that's because I don't want to break out of it.  When I do something enough for it to become habit that tends to mean that I like it.

This cycle of repeat, repeat, repeat is something different.  It's something that doesn't happen when I'm in a healthy state of mind.

I don't know if it's neurosis or coping mechanism but it comes with stress and depression (which are often happy to skip hand in hand.)

I'm depressed.  I see two possibilities*.  One is that my medication, the only one in ten years of trying to actually work, has stopped working.  This isn't impossible.  There was an interruption a ways back and it's apparently a medication that can be finicky with those.

Unfortunately when I'm depressed I tend to become very detached from time and it's hard for me to keep enough track to keep to a schedule.  I missed my fucking psychiatrist appointment two days ago and there wasn't an open slot until eight days from now.  (Though that might be for the best because if the concussion really is having lingering effects still, maybe I need to see a general practitioner first.)

But regardless of why or what other problems it might bring on me, I'm depressed again.  Fucking sucks.  It always does.

And this has led to some introspection.  And that's really never good.

Setting aside the financial crisis my country still hasn't recovered from, the average person my age has been employed for about a decade.  I've been employed for no time at all.

I shouldn't be comparing myself to the average person.  If I were an average person my depression would have caused me to flunk high school before I even realized I had depression.  I made it through on being above average.  Good enough that I could cope with my depression well enough to not just pass but get pretty consistently good grades.

I should have accomplished something by now.  Not necessarily something spectacular, just something.

I don't want to put down my readers.  I love that I have you, I cherish the though that you get something useful from this, I wish I'd hear from you more often and the lurkers would speak up so I could distinguish them (whom I appreciate) from spam bots.  But however much I might have contributed to you, if you didn't have me you'd probably have someone else.

The only real accomplishment I have to my name is that I can make Lonespark happy.  If she didn't have me she might not have someone else.  I know that if I didn't have her I wouldn't.

But then there comes the hopelessness.  I can imagine a bright future.  I can't imagine a way to get to it.  There's nothing good on the horizon.  There's no hope to be found.

I don't have any good plans, and I'm running low on bad ones.  If I make it through May, and I'm not in any way convinced that's even possible because the money simply isn't there, then there'll be summer and then... what?  I'll be able to build up enough of a financial reserve to pay for the house, barring emergencies, but school?  Probably screwed on that one.

I could drop out.  Then student loans start coming due, I have to start from scratch with new doctors when right now I'm just trying to claw back the progress I've made with the current ones, and the one that's provided me with consistent structure is gone.

Or I could not drop out, once again find that I can't pay for it, and once again be screwed over when bills come due.  (Well more likely I would be able to pay for it; it would just wipe out my financial reserves so that next May everything would fall apart.)

I very much doubt I'll make it through May, financially speaking.  If I somehow do then it just puts collapse off until next semester.

If I can't make it through the year then there is no future to look forward to.  No hope to be had.  I'm screwed.


* I, uh, forgot to get back to the second possibility.  Possibility two: things are so bad that what feels to me like clinical depression returning is in fact a perfectly rational non-mood disordered response to the situation in which I find myself.


  1. Not happy. Really, really, super-intensely life-changingly happy. So there's that.

    Some of your depression may be situational, but I don't feel like clinical depression can be a non-mood disordered response to nearly anything.

    I was fucked up a lot in the winter. In the summer too, then the fall seemed better sometimes... In the summer it was largely not having work and messing up my meds, which probably caused each other in endless horrible loops.

    In the winter I think it was mostly winter. And associated things like goddamn tire blowouts and substantially decreased exercise and sunlight. And the dry air and the horrible germs. And did I mention the relentless, crushing darkness, and cold, and the "Fuck you and your plans to Do Things" amounts of snow? Those things too.

    Also when I am saying fall was better, I guess I really mean late summer. Since July... I am fully confident that summer will be awesome again, so let's make it there in the best shape we can.

  2. Your footnote is kind of important. The depression that you already have is being supplemented and increased by your situation. This is something that medics don't usually deal with well (at least in the UK, don't know about the USA): they've rarely been in situations that would seem hopeless to an outside observer, and it's not part of the training on depression, which is much more about how it makes things seem hopeless when to an outside they obviously aren't. So it may be worth explicitly dragging that in when you see the medics.


  3. On a practical level: I pay my insurance by monthly installments, not once per year. If you haven't already explored that option, it might be worth looking into. (If you have already explored that option, then never mind.) Not that this one thing would fix all your problems anyway, but it might make one aspect of it a bit easier.

    I can relate to so much of what you say. In particular, the repetition of actions. For me, the repetition seems to soothe and quiet whatever anxiety or unhappiness is going on in my head. At least until I stop doing it and realize I just spent 6 hours watching snippets of Big Bang Theory on You Tube (totally hypothetical example) instead of whatever I was supposed to be doing. Then I feel even worser.

    (I like it when you write stuff - does that count as an accomplishment?)


    1. On a practical level

      The taxes are already spread out to four times a year, they can't be stretched any thinner but I might be able to lean on the support of family to make it so I don't have to cover the whole amount right now. (Even with all of the money I've been spending on heating oil lately, property taxes are the biggest part of average monthly costs by far.)

      The insurance can't be made monthly but can be divided into three installments. Presumably I'll have to do that.

      Tuition is non negotiable, it's already being put off as long as it can be put off. If it was going to be paid in installments they needed to be made sooner than this but all of the money was eaten up by heating oil and the first installment of taxes.

      Tuition is the problem. If I could cover the tuition then I could probably somehow make the other expenses work. I can't cover the tuition. That's the problem.


      I can relate to so much of what you say. In particular, the repetition of actions. [...] At least until I stop doing it and realize I just spent 6 hours [...] instead of whatever I was supposed to be doing.

      Definitely sounds like the same type of thing.


      (I like it when you write stuff - does that count as an accomplishment?)

      Yes and no. It definitely should. Because of that intellectually it does. But feelings-wise ... I don't know. I'm sure if I weren't here there'd be someone else's writing for you to like, so it doesn't feel like I'm making much of a difference.

      That said, if you want to repay me for liking when I write stuff, I'm always open to there being more comments. It feels so much better when I write something and get feedback than when I write stuff and it just sits with no comments or one comment or something like that.

  4. Wish I could do more to help.

    1. I know the feeling. You've helped. If you can, be content with that. Nothing good comes of wishing you could do more when you can't.

      Regardless, thank you.