Category Archives: Mental Illness

Time Just Keeps On

There is something about turning 36 that feels different then turning anything prior to this. Maybe it’s because I’m now mom to a little monkey man who I must keep alive and nurture and support. The one thing I have the chance to do right in all the world is raise an emotionally healthy kid. I’m trying.

The money thing is getting old. By “the money thing,” I mean working a job that pays enough to provide the potential to maybe be able to afford a life that meets the expectations I’ve set for myself and my family.

You know, I thought when I saved $1M I’d feel some sort of–something. It’s a major milestone and I’m there, give or take, by end of this year. Yet, there’s just this emptiness. It isn’t enough to provide financial security, so it is really meaningless. But it’s also so much more than what most people have, so I also have guilt multiple by every dollar I’ve saved. My privilege made this all possible, and I don’t deserve any of it.

I really don’t know what I want–and it doesn’t matter any more. I want so much and so little. I want to pause time, revert time, swallow time whole, but of course, that’s not possible. It keeps ticking on and it always will. My saving grace will be giving up wanting anything at all. To silence my mind from spinning up a thousand scenarios and just see what’s good right in front of me, in the moment, that often doesn’t cost a damn cent.

I Just Locked In $2M of Term Life Insurance for $2600 per year

I guess I should be grateful that one agency decided to offer me a “standard” policy. Consider this your daily PSA kids–get term life insurance when you are young, healthy, and can qualify.

While healthcare has government regulations in place to assure you aren’t getting completely screwed over, life insurance has none of this. What this means that life insurance agencies can make you pay more for being “risky” or flat-out deny you, and they won’t even tell you WHY you were denied.

While I’m in the overweight (not obese) category, which makes me higher risk to start, that should not prevent me from getting approved for term life insurance. What prevents me from getting approved, shockingly, is my history of depression.  Apparently having a history of depression means that I’m uninsurable.

One agency offered me a quote at “standard” rates… and given I now understand how uninsurable I am, I’m taking them up on a 30 year $2M policy just to be safe for $2600 a year. I might be over insuring at this point, but I can always drop the policy down in the future if I no longer need that much coverage. I look at my son and think, god, what would happen if I get hit by a bus and my family is left without my income. I can’t leave them like that.

I do have a $300k policy through work, but that’s pocket change for what is really needed, and the likelihood of my working for the same company for the next 30 years (or one that offers similar benefits) is very slim to very none. So that’s a “bonus” should I get hit by a bus tomorrow, but we need a real policy to provide coverage in case I kick the bucket a little early.

$2600 a year seems like a lot (heck, it is a lot, especially since we’re now looking into getting my husband who is 37 with medication-treated chronic high blood pressure his own policy, plus a disability policy since as a self-employed person he does not qualify for government coverage should he get insured or sick and not be able to work. I’m expecting our total insurance coverage to cost us around $8k a year, which is shit, but it is what it is.  Better safe than sorry, I guess.

It’s just so frustrating with life insurance that they can charge me whatever they want and not explain why I’m getting charged this. I wish I was approved by more than one company so I’d have options to compare, but my broker reached out to many companies and only one provided a quote (well apparently another table rated me and he said the quote was so high he didn’t bother sharing it with me.) I should be happy to have a “standard” quote. I hope this agency didn’t somehow miss something in my medical history that will disqualify me later, but they all saw the same information and bloodwork results…

It sounds like after two years of paying premiums it’s harder for them to refuse to pay out if you get hit by a bus… which means if I die in the next two years by getting hit by a bus, they’ll probably accuse me of walking into said bus (even if I’m standing on the sidewalk minding my own business and the bus hits me.) That really sucks, because for the next two years I’m paying for coverage but I’m not really covered at all. After that, I’ll be covered, I just have to come up with the $2600 a year to pay for insurance.

So I’m semi kicking myself for not applying for insurance before I got pregnant, but I’m not sure how much of a difference it would have made… a 30 year policy would have lasted 2 years less at that point, and I still had depression on my medical record, just not PPD yet (and my short disability leave due to it.) I’m unclear if the reason these companies denied me was my PPD, or if it was my record of “major depression” or my not taking medication or what. It’s crazy they don’t have to explain why they won’t give you a policy, they can just deny you and that’s that.

And, am I really that much more likely to die in the next 30 years because I’m depressed and going to therapy? You’d think the many people out there who are depressed but not willing to admit it and who are NOT going to therapy are more likely to end up dead than someone who is being treated.

If they actuarially think I’m such a high risk that they won’t insure me at all–that it isn’t even worth taking some ridiculously high premiums to insure me–then should I be concerned? I mean, am I going to die in the next 30 years because I’m depressed? I’d prefer not to.

 

The Things that Matter: American Workaholism and Being a Mom

It’s 5am and I am exhausted but can’t get back to sleep after my son woke up screaming for milk a few hours ago. He didn’t actually drink that much. My breasts are still engorged and I’m too tired/lazy to pump. I’m supposed to “wake up” for work in an hour, to make myself presentable for an 8am meeting. I’m not doing the best job of being presentable given I’m so exhausted and no amount of coffee will help.

But my exhaustion isn’t just due to being woken up in the middle of the night. It’s the hopeless exhaustion of now being in the midst of the roller coaster of life, with time both going too fast and too slow, and memories of long gone childhood reminding me that life wasn’t always like this–always so formulaic in its requirements for supporting basic sustainability of existence.

My fear to pay more in rent a month isn’t helping. My fear of running out of money, or, more so, of getting to the point where I have a nervous breakdown and do not go into work one day because I can no longer stand the majority of my waking hours being dedicated to trying to get people to buy a product that–very successfully–helps companies reduce their workforce (though that’s not its primary purpose, but like most tech for business these days, it’s one of its benefits.) Oh, it’s a great product and it’s exciting to be part of a company that’s growing and a team that is not in it to change the world despite also building products that reduce headcount (the idealism of startups was nice for a while, but it also feels good to be part of a team that doesn’t entirely live and breathe work 24/7.) But, at the end of the day, always the very long yet never long enough day, I sit in traffic on the freeway for 45 minutes with all the other commuters headed home and talk to my 6 month old son on the phone who is crying and anxious for mom (well, for mom’s chest anyway) and who doesn’t care that I’m sitting in traffic or that I have to go to work to make enough money to try to save so maybe one day we can buy a house and go on vacations and such.

The reality is that my situation is so much better than 99% of the world, maybe even 99.9% of the world, and I’m still, well, not happy. I don’t know if I have the capacity for sustained happiness, given it’s me we’re talking about, but I’d like to not constantly live in fear. I acknowledge that buying a house with monthly mortgage payments will heighten my anxiety immensely. If we can make it work to buy a property with my MIL and FIL, and keep our monthly payments closer to what we’re paying now (or at least what we’d pay in rent for a decent 3br/2ba apartment), then maybe that’s ok. But then there’s all the other issues that come up with home ownership. It’s terrifying.

But then I’m also sitting here, 35 going on 40, realizing that there is no “when” at this point in life. I’m past the stage of saving and waiting. It’s now or never. I have a kid. I have a job that is as stable as my work will probably ever be. I have a husband who may return to school to make even less than he does now, but at least he’ll get benefits in case I should lose said job. Why not just take the leap? Have some stability for once? I’d like to give that to my kid. He won’t remember his first year of life, but I’d prefer not to jump around from rental to rental throughout his life. I know it’s not the end of the world, but I grew up in one home from 0-17 and although moving once or twice in that timeframe is ok, moving every year or every other year is best to be avoided. I want to meet my neighbors, I want to feel like we’ve “made it” by having our own backyard, however small it is. Our own kitchen and bathroom and walls and tiny storage area so my bike doesn’t have to live in our living room.

I’m tired. I’m tired and unhealthy and I know my body is upset for it. I feel myself aging too fast. I’m not finding time to work out and my diet has gone to complete shit. There’s so much I want to improve, but for now, I’m barely getting by.

Can you teach empathy? Pregnant daughter of narcisstic parents would like to know…

My sister and I surprised my parents this weekend with the news – I’m pregnant. While I envisioned the surprise – in a normal, loving family -to go something like this…

My parents would meet my sister, who was visiting for the weekend, and she would enter their condo and go to her room to pull out a gift from me to give to them, without them knowing. I would call “from the west coast” as a coincidence, to say hi, and they’d mention my sister just arrived. Then my sister would give them the “gift” and they’d open it to see inside something that clearly stated they were going to be grandparents. At the moment they were having a loving, emotional, “we’re so happy for you” reaction, I’d knock on the door and they’d be further surprised that I was there, not across the country, to celebrate with them this wonderful news. We’d embrace and cry, especially since they know and understand how much we’ve wanted children and how hard it has been to get pregnant, and we’d all go out to celebrate, excited for them to be grandparents, excited for my sister to be an aunt, and excited for myself and my husband to soon be bringing new life into the world. Continue reading

So I told my boss that I’m pregnant.

It was as awkward and uncomfortable as I expected it to be. At 15 weeks, I figured it was time to spill the beans. Even though my boss may have ignored my rampant weight gain, eventually he’d figure out that my growing stomach wasn’t just due to age and binging on carbs.

So I told him. In our regular meeting, I knew I had to find the time to bring it up. There’s never a good time. I thought of starting the meeting with “I’m pregnant,” but he started talking about a different topic immediately so I had to wait until he asked his standard question “how are you?” — Continue reading

My Messed Up Maternity Leave Plan That Makes No Sense

The good news, is I get some paid maternity leave. That’s more than most women in this country can bank on. I’m extremely fortunate that my company has to follow the laws of the land (in this case, California) to provide 4 weeks of “before due date” and 6 weeks of “after delivery” protected leave with some pay (via state disability, and the case of my company, a few weeks fully paid.)

Now, the good news is that I get ANOTHER 6 weeks of semi-paid leave after the first 6 weeks of disability. The bad news is, I’m not allowed to take it until I hit my one year mark on the job — which means I’ll have anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months (1, if I give birth on my due date) in between leave #1 and leave #2. I thought maybe they’d allow me to take a week or two unpaid, so I could be home 8 weeks with newborn, but no dice. Basically, they are strict about these policies. Since we have an “unlimited time off” policy I’m, ironically, not allowed to take any time off (vacation OR unpaid) after I get back from my 6 weeks. That seems kind of f’d, esp the whole not being allowed to take UNPAID time, but that’s the law – and my company is not going to go out of their way to provide anything beyond the law, esp to someone who is so new. I can’t blame them, but it still sucks. Continue reading

A Happy Post, For a Change: Hello Second Trimester

I sat on the floor early this morning and did something I haven’t done — felt something I haven’t felt — for a long time. I sat and cried. The crying part isn’t the usual part. It’s that those tears streaming down my face were happy tears.

I triple checked out of disbelief — was I also thinking of the best way to remove myself rom this universe? Did I have negative, self-defeating thoughts causing the tears that I somehow wasn’t detecting? No, I was crying because – baby. Because tomorrow, depending on who you ask, I’m either entering the last week of my first trimester or the first week of my second trimester (I’ll be 13 weeks pregnant.) And, my prenatal defect ultrasound was yesterday and everything went great — baby is healthy, so far as they can tell in the things they tested for, and spending its time upside down sleeping until you wake it up and then, in true related-to-me fashion, bouncing all over the place the second you wake it up. Continue reading

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It’s Been Six Years Since My DUI: The Day My Life Changed Forever.

“I don’t have a drinking problem,” I told myself, over and over again. Sure, when I was partying with friends I would binge drink and slip into such a deep depression that I pushed my very patient and understanding boyfriend to the brink of breaking up with me — but I didn’t come home and drink every night. I drank socially, starting in college. I’d drink to the point where I could talk to people, and then to the point where I’d be crying in the corner and feeling absolutely miserable. I rarely drank to the point of puking, so I wasn’t that kind of drunk. That was normal, or so I thought. Continue reading

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A Real Career to Support My Family

The new job is great. My boss respects me. My compensation structure makes sense (lower base than last job, but substantial room for bonus and stock appreciation.) The team works together well and everyone plays their part. Why, then, am I still so concerned about the future?

It’s not this job. It’s still this career. Being in a larger company is helping… but I’m still extremely stressed everyday, feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing. I know I need to hang on for four years in this job, to build that stability profile, to capture the value of the stock, to really add value to my company’s business. My objective is to be a wonderful employee. I don’t plan to ever ask for a raise, or anything more than what I have now. I just want to survive and be known as an asset to the business. Continue reading

To go to the doctor, or not go to the doctor – that is the question

High deductible health plans are great when you hit your deductible – except when they’re not. Specifically, they’re not great when over the course of the year you have to start over paying your deductible due to company health plan changes and/or changing companies. Thus, this leads me to move away from my former infatuation with the HSA-enabled HDHP.

In November, my $2600 deductible restarted. I figured I could survive until the end of the year without seeing a doctor. Then, I got pregnant. And then, I got sick. Sick with a cold / sore throat / lost voice that’s likely a virus that has no cure anyway… not worth a doctor’s visit and certainly not worth spending $300 on. I already made that mistake a few times this year when I didn’t realize my deductible had not only reset, but doubled (thanks to my former company who didn’t notify me that as of Aug 1 they switched plans and the $1500 deductible was now $2600 and reset *cough*bullshit*cough.*) Yes, that cost me $1000 in medical fees that I expected to be covered due to a series of “fuck I lost my job and I’m incredibly depressed” psychologist appointments (nothing like a surprise $1000 bill you fix your mental health!)

But now, I’m going back and forth on whether to go to the doctor. Being pregnant changes things. I’m five weeks, two days pregnant… and, 3 weeks, 6 days away from a brand new year of health insurance and deductibles. Since I’m switching to Kaiser, my medical costs are going to go way down next year (it’s a $1500 out of pocket max, no deductible,  no more surprise charges PPO BS. I hope I do not regret this decision.) Can’t I just stop talking for a few weeks (who needs a voice anyway) and hold out?

I do get to see my reproductive endocrinologist tomorrow – or at least the nurse – and perhaps they’ll be able to advise if I should do anything about this stupid cold. Luckily, my follow up appointments for my pregnancy at my RE are “free” (well, covered by my monthly $800 cycle fee) until I’m handed off to an ObGyn… so I’m hoping they can help at least provide some medical advice of what to do if I’m super sick and cannot talk.

The good news is I haven’t had a fever yet. I know fevers can be dangerous to baby and the second I get a high fever I’m paying that $300 and going to the doctor. For now, I think I just need to figure out how to get some rest and eat a lot of chicken soup.