Tag Archives: depression

Getting to Where I Want to Be, Part Who’s Counting Anyway

Returning from a romantic weekend with my s/o, I’m tingling with happiness and love. Here is, for the most part, the man of my dreams – kind, gentle, caring, funny, and willing to put up with my shenanigans as well. We spend too much time staring into each other’s eyes and talking about our plans for the future together: getting married in 2014, trying to start a family soon after, and so on.

That’s where I hit a wall. The story I like to dream of still seems impossible. I’m pushing along as hard as possible, setting my mental health issues to the side, trying to save as much as possible without a so-called frugal lifestyle, and here I am, almost at 30, and feel so terribly far behind. I look at my friends (and I know it’s a bad idea to compare oneself to anyone) and they seem somehow more ahead and settled then I’ll be in the next few years. My Facebook newsfeed is filled with images of too-cute babies, some who aren’t even babies anymore, some who have siblings to boot, and all created by people who are my age or younger. The younger sisters and brothers of people in my class are getting married off, some who are 5, 6, 7 years younger than me, are already popping buns out of their ovens.

Here I am, nearing the big 3-0, with no clear direction in my life other than this fantasy of adulthood that doesn’t seem real at all. A very irrational part of me wants to wake up one day a mother. She no longer cares about a big fancy wedding – in fact, she’s been with her s/0 for nearly 7 years and with that practically feels married anyway. Vows are not necessary to prove love. Many marriages end before the seven year anniversary of a couple meeting in real life, what’s to say those marriages are any more real than the one that we haven’t signed documents or been stuck with needles to verify? I’ve always thought marriage was a silly concept. Either you love someone and you’ll stay with them or you won’t, but having a binding legal contract to tie you to another person doesn’t make sense (unless divorce were to be illegal. Otherwise, the only winners are the lawyers.) Continue reading

$1000 a month on a psychologist?

I’ve written before on my concerns on over-spending on healthcare, particularly mental healthcare, as my income has ranged from $50k to $100k. Even though today I make more money than I did years ago, it still seems a bit unreasonable to spend $1000 a month on a psychologist. However, that’s how much qualified mental health costs in my neck of the woods. I just spoke with a local psychologist who sounds like he may be able to help me reduce stress and be more functional, yet he costs $235 a 45 minute session. Does it make sense to spend $1000 a month on mental health therapy when my rent is only $600?

You could argue in the long run I’ll make more money if I get appropriate mental health help. I may be able to keep my job longer… be more successful in my tasks… prove to management that I’m capable of sustained success and therefore worthy of a raise… etc. But it certainly won’t help my bottom line in the short term. And wouldn’t something like yoga (even at the really expensive studios around here) or straight-up personal training be cheaper and actually make me healthier in the long run?

Perhaps I’m just resistant to allowing therapy to work because I don’t want to believe I can pay for someone to tell me how to fix something that isn’t physically broken. That said, these days I’ve been about at my wit’s end and need help. I need help enough that I’ve started to call local psychologists. Yet, then I remember that they charge $200 a session, and that means $800-$1000 a month, or $12,000 a year. Even though my take-home pay is $4200 a month after 401k and taxes, that’s still a lot. How much should I spend on mental health?

life after DUI: attempting to start over without really starting over.

Life happens. Mistakes are made. How the rest of your life turns out depends on how quickly you’re able to bounce back, as well as how you’re able to turn things around and not make the same mistakes again.

It’s been six months since pleading “no contest” to my DUI arrest at .08% BAC, and 10 months since the actual evening of the arrest. I’ve gone through many phases after the arrest, including depression, shame, guilt, anger, and now, coping and trying to move on.

I’ve been without a car for months now — thought I’m eligible to register for a restricted license to get to work, I’ve been avoiding that and driving because I’m scared to let myself get near a car. On Monday, I’ve finally made myself a DMV appointment to purchase a restricted license. This summer, once my classes are over, I should be able to get a full license and attempt to bring my life back to normal, or better yet, move forward to a place I’ve never been — in control, and in charge of my own happiness.

In my DUI class the other day, we had to do an exercise called “the 12 hours before your DUI.” It had a series of multiple choice questions, that because with — “was it on a usual or unusual day?” For me, it was an unusual day. I was having a huge bought of anxiety and hadn’t moved from my bed for the entire day, not even to eat. I don’t even remember why I was so stressed, but I was having a bad enough panic attack that I requested to work from home that day. Then, around 5pm I decided it would be best to force myself to get out of the house and go to a meetup event, where I could try to be social and get myself some food. Unfortunately, instead of food, there was only wine and a lot more anxiety. So I had four or so glasses to drink on a very empty stomach.

The questionnaire went on to ask what time you started drinking, where you were, and what time you were arrested. I started at 7pm, finished at 9:30pm, and was arrested around 12:30pm. Why were you arrested? My option was “other.” Most people in the class had been pulled over for driving poorly. I have the lowest BAC in the class at .08%. Most people had .14% or higher, with a few .20% and higher. Some stories are so crazy (like the guy who got arrested with three kids in the back seat and a .24% and, because he had a good lawyer, got less of a punishment than I did with my .08% and no traffic violation) or the woman who was drinking all day and ended up driving with a .22% to help her friend out who forgot her seizure medication at a party. Most people were celebrating, a few had been drinking all night, went to sleep and woke up the next morning to drive, only to get a DUI because the alcohol hadn’t left their system.

At the end, the questionnaire asked four final questions:

1. Do you feel responsible for the events leading up to your DUI?
2. Do you think it was fair that you were arrested?
3. How likely are you to get a DUI again?
4. How hard will it be for you to get a second DUI?

We’re told that 40% of first DUI offenders will get a second DUI. That seems ridiculously high, but in forcing myself to answer these questions honestly, I understood why.

1. Do you feel responsible for the events leading up to your DUI? Yes, entirely.

2. Do you think it was fair that you were arrested? Somewhat. I think it was unfair I was arrested that night because someone called 911 on me walking to my car — not even because I was driving poorly — and all of the videos they force us to watch show accidents with people who had .15% or higher — but I also am glad they did because it was much better to learn this lesson on a night I was just barely over the legal limit, then another night when I might have been more depressed, more intoxicated, and hurt someone. I still think it is unfair how people who have clearly had a lot more to drink end up with the same punishment or even lesser punishment if they have good lawyers.

3. How likely are you to get a DUI again? Very unlikely. I wanted, so desperately, to put that it definitely wouldn’t happen, but then I wanted to be honest.

4. How hard will it be for you not to get a second DUI?  The only real way for me to guarantee that I will never get a DUI again is to stop drinking. Of course when I’m sober I can say I wouldn’t drive after I drink, but the problem is that when you drink you think irrationally. I’m a lightweight, and after even one drink my logic goes to shit. I am glad that this experience after the DUI is so frustrating — because it’s easier to “forget” paying $10k over the years, but it’s not easy to forget the night in jail, the five days of SWAP program where I was a part time convict and freedoms were taken away from me, and now, this year of my life which has been really difficult due to not having a car, putting a great deal of stress on not only my life, but also my boyfriend’s life, as he has so kindly helped drive me over the year. Somehow I’m managed to maintain my job this last year, but I’ve been severely depressed, and have gained more than 20 pounds, now at my largest weight ever. I feel so out of control, and so I just eat and eat. This is another reason I must get my life back in order.

I won’t get a second DUI, I promise myself, and I promise the world, but I also said I wouldn’t get a first. I think that sort of messes with your mind also… which might lead to the likelihood of people getting a second or third, even. But I refuse to be a statistic.
Beyond the DUI, though, there is a question of whether I should drink in the first place. It’s challenging not to, with my work culture tied to our weekly happy hour. I like drinking too, because I’m so shy and awkward, at the time, it helps me be social, and feel like I belong. It isn’t like I’m going out to get shit faced, but even one drink of red wine makes me more comfortable with others. I wish I could figure out a way to feel like that without the alcohol. It also turns out that since the DUI, I’ve started drinking more than I used to, because of this depression and hatred over losing the last bit of control I felt like I had with life.
In any case, I’m really focused on moving on with my life. There’s a lot going on right now causing me to be depressed beyond this issue, things that the rational, not depressed person would be able to deal with, things that are really making getting through each day difficult. Luckily there is a lot of positive things in my life right now too, so it all balances out. There are days when I feel like giving up. I’ll write more about that in my next post.
I just want all of the DUI penalties to be done with, so I can really move on. I’ve finished seven of my 17 classes (which are taking a long time because they are weekly and I frequently travel for work), and I’ll be paying the fines and increase in insurance for years to come. I finally filled my SR-22 with my insurance, so I can get the restricted license, and will be getting that on Monday. My car apparently isn’t turning on because it hasn’t been driven in months, so I need to see if it can be fixed or if I need a new car. Soon this will be over. And I really, desperately, need to change my life so this — and other things like this — do not happen again. My next post will be on self sabotage and how this effects life and my financial stability.

 

 

The ever unwinding journey to selflessness.

The only time I’m every happy is when I forget myself and give something to others, so why is this so hard to do? My overarching ego gets in the way of satisfaction; I’m no better or worse than everyone else, and there is no reason I have to be.

I don’t want to give out of some subconscious desire to receive in return, whether through admiration, boomerang generosity, or karma. I want to let myself be happy making other people happy. After all, no matter how much I ramble about my selfishness, my freak outs, my quest for millions of dollars, I just want to make people smile a bit and feel not so alone in this world. Then again, is wanting that selfish too?

Today, I took a minor step in the right direction. I receive a quarterly bonus based on my performance and if my team succeeds it just isn’t fair for the entire bonus to go to me. I can’t fairly accept that entire bonus (if it is offered) without splitting that with my team. I’m not doing this to buy back the respect I lost, I know that it’s fair to use this bonus as a way to reward my team, not just myself. It’s still selfish of me not to split the bonus 50/50, but I have reason to believe my team members, who are supposedly my subordinates, make a higher salary than I do, and if the entire bonus is received the amount offered is still substantial enough that it will be noticeably absent from my bank account, and hopefully and more importantly noticeably present as a bonus where it was earned. Continue reading

Desire for Chaos, Lust for Stability

Is the meaning of life chaos or consistency? I hunger for wealth, but why? Beyond this “wealth” seeming impossible to achieve, I lust for a life of guided spontaneity, for someone, or someones, to take me out of my comfort zone, to force me to live a life of some sort of excess; perhaps one of indecency, of sin and vice, of gluttony or lust, of jumping out of metaphorical airplanes and pulling the rip cord moments before slamming into the earth, the adrenaline rush of youthful risk, with everything to lose at a moment’s notice; instead of coming home to warm, cozy, love, security, and sleep.

It’s so easy to forget how awful it is to be alone, how awful it is to be amidst the chaos, how any longing to live a life of deep emotional turmoil, passionate kisses, hellos and goodbyes, is not what one should want, or does want, when presented that fate in the moment. I spent my entire life feeling so alone, and with him I’m home. I’m not traveling the world, I’m not out at the symphony, I’m not sharing a $100 bottle of Chianti in the Italian countryside, or over a gourmet dinner, or bringing home another woman to the bedroom, or seducing someone who I’ve longed to have, or having that seduction reversed, where I’m the prize, won in a fight of an intellectual bullfight where each glance is a flick of a red cape.

Yet I’ve never felt at home amongst artists, emotional yet pretentious, nor businessmen, competitive with a constant hunger to win, nor housewives, humble caretakers who find happiness in being someone else’s home. I feel at home with him. We have stillness. Our love is the clearest night when thousands of stars twinkle across the sky. It is the calmness of a puddle that forgot the downpour from which it came. And that is what I see in the future of my life: a glorious puddle. No more want, no more desire, no more longing. It’s all here, whether I make millions of dollars or get by on a salary of less than what I make now, I don’t understand how wealth helps matters any — with it I’d have an option not to work, but I could never not work, I don’t enjoy quiet time, I’d be terribly bored, I can’t live with stillness, I can’t even allow my mind to shut off to sleep; instead I stay awake and try to understand the future that this path is leading me on, try to comprehend my choices as another year has turned its final page to the next chapter.

What do other millennials do for fun? According to my Facebook, those who are the most successful tend to go to the bar or a club the second the weekend starts on Friday, and remain blissfully intoxicated until the weekend concludes. They take vacations to beaches or ski resorts where they waste hundreds of dollars on drinking in bars where they socialize; they wear bikinis and go to Las Vegas where they play Blackjack and lose or win, it doesn’t matter, and they have their friends over and pour cocktails and sangria or pass around a joint or eat mushrooms or snort cocaine or roll on ecstasy and despite illegalities these are all elements of life I’ve see that people my age do in order to lead a normal life. They go on dates, to concerts, and above all they are living their lives in a way that aligns with what all of society tells us that 20 and 30-somethings are supposed to be doing prior to marriage and officially settling down.

Is that what I really want? I’ve spent too many days traveling for work to conferences with some of the most impressive people in the world, out at parties, at the bars, and I feel terribly awkward in this situations, I wander around, alone, look in my purse to pass the time, check my phone, and I am alone, a voyeur of normality, yet it all seems so terribly odd to me; I am a ghost of an onlooker, and even thrown into the center of what I think I want I find it isn’t at all what I want.

Still, I watch my stocks, I invest, I hope to turn my $150k networth into something much much more so I can not worry so much. Or so I can buy a life. How much money do you need to buy a life? How much money do you need to buy friends? To buy experiences? To buy laughter and to buy feeling not so alone in real life, not on some social networking account where it’s easy to collect friends and fans and followers?

I think I am a capitalist. I live to want. I hate that about myself. My boyfriend is a hippie socialist who thinks desire is the root of all evil. I agree with him. He is sweet and I love him and I love everything we have together. I couldn’t bare to be with another capitalist, I’d hate them, I need a bleeding heart liberal to remind me of my values. I dated a man once who refused to give, now I date a man who would give everything if he could.

But this isn’t about who I’m dating exactly. It’s about finding a life for myself independent of my relationship. And finding time for it. And figuring out what that life is. Social lives, however depressing, are rather easy to define a purpose for when you’re single. Your life revolves around finding a partner. And when you do — then what? What does all the money in the world provide when you have someone and have no one to share it all with in occasional gluttonous excess?

Or do I really deep down still want someone to provide the financial stability, the social stability, someone who can help define my life instead of my being thrown a lump of wet clay to mold without another strong hand to reach in, grasping over mine, to guide our creation with a purpose, to mold life together, with passionate kisses, with trips around the world, sharing a bottle of red wine, a dance, a surprise, a cruise, something messy, sticky, imperfect, uncontrolled; I long for someone to make a life of art with me; or to find my own art, and find out how to make it, and to not feel so alone on this global canvas with each solitary yet substantial brushstroke.

Feeling Needed: More than money can buy

After yesterday’s monologue about my overwhelmingly successful yet somehow hopeless sentiment about life, I had to take a long public transit ride home from work since I can’t drive for a month. Even though it’s only six miles away, the train and bus times don’t line up at all for people traveling my direction, so I took a two minute train ride and had to wait an hour for a bus to take me three miles up a large hill. That gave me some time to think, and wander around a mini mall.

I decided to spend that hour in a CVS, because drugstores are oh-so exciting. Kind of like a museum of cheap things that define American culture. While in the store, I was wandering for a while and at one point this 40-something year old man came up to me and asked me a very weird question — what should he do about a spot on his head that was both dry and oily. Really weird question. I was immediately suspicious of his motives, first thinking he might be working fraud protection for the store and attempting to determine if my hour-long wandering around was actually me stealing a bunch of stuff (of course it wasn’t, I was just killing time I didn’t have to kill).

I tried to blow him off, saying “I don’t know,” but he was pretty set on getting an answer from me. Then I thought, I have this hour to kill anyway, can’t I help the guy out? He wasn’t hitting on me (or if he was he was doing a terrible job at it) and if he happened to be a store employee testing out my motives for lingering in the makeup department with a giant purse and backpack, then I might as well play along.

I told him that it sounds like he has combination skin, so he should probably get a moisturizer without oil in it. He was perplexed — “a moisturizer without oil, what do they use for moisture, water?” So I took him over to the aisle with the moisturizers and acne products, which he thought was in a “woman’s” section of the store. I showed him some anti-acne moisturizers that were oil free, then decided those wouldn’t be right for him since he was, apparently flaking. I found him another Aveeno moisturizer that I thought would be good, but it was $16, and he didn’t want to spend $16 on moisturizer. So I then identified a CVS-brand moisturizer that was labeled “for combination skin” and it was $9. “Here you go,” I said. “This is perfect for you.” He thanked me, and I walked away.  I have no idea if he actually bought that, or if he was just a nut job, or a security guard.

Either way, when I left the store, despite being mildly creeped out, I felt really good. After a long day of feeling hopeless, I, with my not-so-deep knowledge of moisturizers, might have helped a man solve his skin problem. How random is that? But I know I feel good when I feel helpful, and I feel depressed when I feel helpless. So I guess the question I need to solve is, how do I make myself feel less helpless and out of control and drowning on a daily basis? And can I afford the psychotherapy required to help me get to an answer to that question?

The Rocky Road of Life

There are moments in life when I’m not terribly depressed. Those are the moments that go by quickly, when time disappears, and I miss its passing. These are the days, weeks even, when I barely sleep, when I distract myself by watching too much TV, randomly browsing the internet, in my limited free time. But more and more life is just a run-on sentence of mild success and the ever-growing fear of failure.

Yesterday, the 22 year old co-founder of a social network called Diaspora was found dead, a victim of what was rumored to be suicide. The motives for this potential suicide weren’t broadcasted on the news, but plenty of people could guess it was due to a failed endeavor. So much hope for success, so much hype, and such a long way to fall. Continue reading

The Gluttony of Choice: Why Options Make Us Depressed and Fat

As much as I love that we live in a free society with an extensive selection of options at any given moment regarding what we eat, wear, drive, etc, etc, I’ve forced myself to step outside of materialism for a few moments every now and again, to discover the square root of unhappiness is often the sheer quantity of choices available everyday.

Because we live in a capitalist society, choices available are often what we want, not what we need. I look no further than my experience today at The Cheesecake Factory as a metaphor for all of the “choice gluttony” we face in modern society. The Cheesecake Factory menu is ridiculous. I love the place. It has so many options of meals to eat, including appetizers, entrees, drinks, and of course, cheesecakes and desserts. Continue reading

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

When I was filling out the “10 financial commandments for your 20s” post, one of the commandments said that you should be focusing on having fun in your 20s. That one bullet sent me into a bit of an identity crisis. I started to try to remember what I consider fun… and it was really difficult to find something. I’m struggling to find anything outside of my job that is fun in my life.

I’m turning 28 next month, and while the birthdays before this one haven’t felt significant, I am starting to feel, well, old. Now, I know some of you who read my blog are much older than I am, and I don’t mean that you’re extra old. I’m just saying that — as the world around me ages — I question not just what I’m living for, but also what I’m not living for. One thing I’ve realized lately is that I’ve died a few times so far in my life. For instance, the young me that I once was died a long time ago. She doesn’t exist any more. She might not be buried under ground, but she’s just as dead as a corpse. And although I never loved her, I still miss her and need to take the time to morn her passing. I also need to remember what made her happy, and try to bring some of that back into my life. Continue reading

Overwhelmed at Work: For Better or Worse

My job isn’t nearly as high stress as a career as an emergency room surgeon, but it has its ongoing stress nonetheless. The stress comes from carving a path that is not clear, and the responsibility that comes with both carving it on your own, while also the pressure of not trying anything too far out in left field, as there isn’t enough time to waste on something that doesn’t work. And you can still mess up quite a bit, even while keeping your work fairly ordinary.

I love the challenge that comes with my current job. I truly have the opportunity to make a huge difference in my company. I also have the opportunity to really hurt my company (not on purpose, of course, but if I just can’t meet my commitments for whatever reason.)

My confusion is when I am fairly overwhelmed and when I’m not organized/focused enough to get things done as they should be. It’s hard to say because I know I do have a tendency to procrastinate, but I’m still working 60+ hours a week, barely sleeping, staying up all night to get projects done. So I might not be the most productive at the office straight through the day, but I’m still putting in quite a lot of hours into this job. I can’t imagine – even if I could manage to retain focus from 8am to 7pm – that I’d be much more productive. I might sleep more, but my output would likely be around the same. Continue reading