Tag Archives: Other

Career Counseling, Psychiatry, Group Counseling, $$$

I went to a career counselor this morning. It cost $125 for an hour, but she knew I was trying to pack a lot into one session so it turned into more like 1.5 hours. She definitely didn’t have to spend that much time with me, and I think it was money well spent.

While I don’t have a clear picture on what my career should be yet, she did help me clarify why I’m not happy in my current job, and common themes that have been prevalent in my life (my inability to deal with authority, my love of creative pursuits, etc.) She sent me home with a ton of reading material including a workbook on communication, which she said is a birthday gift to me (oh, yea, it’s my 26th birthday today. I’m not sure how I feel about that.)

One interesting part of the session was when she had me identify, of the following four areas, which is most important to me, and rank the rest — people, ideas, data, and things.

I ranked them in this order: ideas, people, things, data

Then she asked me what order my current job had those things…

People, data, things, ideas.

Right, so I’m depressed because what I value most — ideas — is least valued in my current position. The question still remains – how do I find a job that values ideas most?

In the meantime, the counselor convinced me to try to stay at this position for as long as possible, or at least until I have a game plan for something else in place. Which makes sense, it would be stupid to quit right now. And even stupider to put myself in a position to get fired.

I might go back to see her again, but in the meantime she’s given me a bunch of tests and quizzes to fill out to find out more about myself and my values. I think I’m pretty aware of my values and wants, but it helps to put them all down on paper.

I also have an appointment with a psychiatrist next weekend, but I think I’m going to put that on hold because I just got accepted into the second phase of screening for a drug study on bipolar disorder. I’m not 100% sure I have bipolar disorder because I don’t necessarily have long periods of mania, but my mood is all over the freaking map at any given time of day. I know I have depression and depressive episodes, I’m just not clear on the mania. I don’t recall every being so hyper for days straight that I couldn’t sleep or that I’d do something risky. However, I do get super manic when I feel like I’ve accomplished something and it usually sends me on a skyrocketing mood trip for a few hours or even a day. A therapist I saw a few weeks ago thinks I might have rapid cycling bipolar. I don’t know what I have. Something is up with me and my moods, anyway.

So the option is to spend $285 on one appointment with a psychiatrist or to get screened for bipolar for free. I chose free. I have no idea what the quality of the screening will be, but at least they can tell me if I have bipolar or just depression. I can’t imagine I have pure depression because I go up and down. I know people who are always down, feeling empty and agitated. That’s just not me. I have my down phases, when I can barely move, I’m totally exhausted, and find no meaning in life. Then I have my up phases where the world can’t moved fast enough for me. Yet I feel “depressed” in my manic phases too, it’s just a total different kind of depression. I guess it’s more irritability and panic than depression. I just hate answering questions about when I had a manic phase or a depressed phase and how long it lasted. I have no idea. I just know that I’m not depressed as of this second.

In December I start group therapy, which is $50 a session. I think that may help me a lot, at least with my social issues. And my social issues are a HUGE problem which hinder my ability to live to my potential.

This is all costing a lot. On top of this, I’m getting some dental work done which is costing a few hundred dollars above what insurance covers.

I just know I need to sort out my mental health issues. I’ve gone through so much counseling / therapy and even some medication in the past, but it’s all been for anxiety or depression or ADD. I’ve never been treated for bipolar. Maybe that’s the problem.

On Depression, Money, and Other Things

I wonder what it’s like to be at a job where I am successfully in charge of projects, and feel like I’m maintaining quality over years of work in one location. At the moment, I’m falling, faltering, and getting to the point of no return. It seems it’s time to move on, but where do I move on to? My job is so specific, I don’t even know how to put what I’ve done for it on a compelling resume. Lately, I haven’t been doing enough. I’m not sure what to do. I want to do a good job, I want to help the company, and I feel like I am helping the company, but I just have a hard time showing how I’m helping the company to my boss and the rest of my superiors. It’s easy for the engineers and designers to show how they benefit the company, or even those in charge of business aspects, but I’m not really in charge of anything. Which limits what I can do to help. Not that I could help.

So I’m thinking of switching it up and changing careers yet again. But to what? What is it that I’m good at? And not only what am I good at, but what can I do day in and out and not get bored of?

I love feeling passionate about what I do. But sometimes too much passion drains me. I need a happy medium. I really enjoyed freelancing because I could do a project for a while and then move on to the next. I didn’t enjoy the instability or additional tax taken from contract work. Or not being able to get health insurance.

I really feel lost right now. Like I’ve come a long way and yet I’m all ready to go back to where I started. I don’t want that. But what do I do? I read job ad after job ad and I don’t have the qualifications for any of the jobs I’d be interested in. I don’t know how to get them (outside of academic requirements.) I just feel stuck. And worse than stuck, I feel I will become unstuck and fall backwards.

Cost of Improving My Mental Health

I haven’t been to a therapist in a while. The last time I went to a mental health professional, I went to a psychologist who diagnosed me with major depression and gave me Lexapro.

A few months later when I was out of a full-time job, I was unable to get health insurance because I had major depression on my record.

Now that I have health insurance again, I wanted to pursue mental health counseling.

But it turns out all the counselors I’ve found (that call me back) are not on my insurance. Plus, due to my high deductible insurance, it doesn’t really matter anyway because it is unlikely this year I will hit my $1500 deductible. I am at about $600 right now.

At the moment I’m likely going to do:

Group Therapy: $200 / month (and that’s a discount)
Career Counseling / ADHD Counseling: (2x a month) $240 / month

So that’s $420 a month on mental health services. None of which are covered by my insurance. Not that they should be. It’s just, well, it’s a lot of money. I’m earning more this year than I ever have before, but also spending a lot more on things like this. I wonder if it’s worth it. How much counseling can a person get. It would be cheaper just to get a refill on my antidepressants from my regular doctor, instead of going to counseling.

But then, if going to counseling can help me remain employed, then it is worth it, right? I mean, what’s $420 / month versus not having a job at all?

I wonder how helpful these various counseling methods will be. They are all so very expensive. I make enough money where I should be able to afford them ($75k / year). It just seems like I shouldn’t be spending that much on my stupid depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other mental disorders. And this isn’t even including seeing a psychiatrist who could prescribe me meds.

Carnival Will Be Posted Tomorrow!

Sorry to everyone who submitted to this week’s Carnival, that is scheduled to appear here. I got bogged down with work over the weekend, and as it’s important to keep my job right now, I made that a priority. However, I will get the carnival up here by tomorrow morning. Hope you’ll all bear with me. There were a lot of great submissions and it’s tough to decide which to include!

Under Construction – 2009 Makeover

This blog looks like bum right now. I’m redesigning it. That means re-learning how to re-layout the site and creating new graphics for a brand spanking new look. I’m thinking the old formatting was fun, but not very slick looking. I’ve been checking out a lot of PF blogs and wanted to take all of the best design ideas and steal them for my blog. 🙂

So, in short, sorry for the mess. It’ll be fixed soon.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

If you asked me that question 10 years ago, I would have said “a fashion designer.” Ten years before that, my answer would have likely been “an actress.” That was all before I realized that the point of work was to make money.

As a child, I was financially fortunate. My dad worked a job that made it possible for us to live in the “upper middle class” while my mother stayed at home and took care of me and my sister.

Sometimes I wonder if it would’ve been better to have grown up with a mother who had a “real job” for a living. Even though I knew I didn’t want to end up a housewife, it kind of felt like it was an option of last resort. Now I know I never want to stay home and take care of kids, at least not for an extended amount of time. Perhaps I’d take a year off or something, if I ever decide to pop out a baby or two, but I can’t see myself dedicating a chunk of my life just to raising kids.

Right now, I’m working both for money and to put myself in a good spot for my future career. I’m lucky that I have the opportunity to work for more than just money, even though I need the money to afford living on my own and the lifestyle I chose to live. But I believe that every job, even if it’s not perfect for you, always teaches you something about yourself and helps you take a step towards whatever is you’ll end up doing next in life.

While in some cases I’m high strung, when it came to my career, since graduating college I’ve generally followed the river where it took me. Sure, I went through really frustrating times, when I applied for job after job with no responses in my inbox for months. There was a time when a $12 an hour for a job seemed like my best bet, when pushing for $13 an hour seemed like a bit of a risk. I wasn’t sure what I was worth, with just my college education and experience of an internship or two.

I definitely have more experience now, but I’m still not sure what I’m worth. Being as I live in one of the most expensive area’s of the country, it’s hard to compare my salary with that made by my peers who graduated with me, and live in much more affordable areas. Still, sometimes I worry that I’m making too much. I know it’s silly to think that, given I’m working hard and trying to do the best I can. Besides, a salary ultimately ends up to be broken down into monthly earnings, and if you’re not worth your wage, the big boss will let you know before you have a chance to, uh, ask for a demotion.

Really, though, I just to find a job one day (like, a few years down the road) where I don’t even have to think about my work in relationship to my wage. I realize that might to be possible, given that work is always about money, unless you win the lottery or some giant inheritance, which makes it possible to work for fun alone. But I want to find a career path that makes it possible to do something where my ideas are a large chunk of the value I contribute to an organization. I like creating things, being part of a team and developing something – a product, a design, something that goes from zilch to an actual thing that can be used or looked at within a set amount of time. I like closure. It makes it easier for me to focus on a project, because even though the path from A to B isn’t clear, there’s a definitive start and some sort of way to measure the end result of a project.

Journalism is wonderful for so many reasons. In some ways, it allows for this sort of closure on a daily basis. Each story is a “project” in its own right. And then the collection of stories, looking back over the weeks and months of work, becomes a body of work one hopefully can be proud of. Still, sometimes I feel like I’d be better off in a career where the projects allow for a bit more time, and a lot more collaboration. I love brainstorming with other people, as long as my ideas (the good ones) are valued. I think I have pretty good ideas. At least one out of twenty of my ideas is worth listening to. It would be neat to work for a startup from the ground up – as an idea person – and to be part of a team doing that. I tried to get a job that would put me in that type of position out here, although it wasn’t for a just-born startup, but it would have given me the opportunity to be part of developing a product, which sounded cool. That didn’t work out, though.

And that’s fine. I’m really thrilled with how things worked out. My current job is 99% ideal. And the missing 1% has more to do with me and my abilities than anything else…. I just believe that the ideal job for anyone would be one where they can offer their best natural gifts to an organization. For me, I’m a visual person, and an idea person. I can write decently. I’m not the best at the details, though if I’m working with a team I can really focus on editing and fixing details along with a group of people coming up with ideas and making a project.

So what do I want to be when I grow up? I have no idea. I feel like I’m headed in the right direction to figure that out. I’m hoping I’ll have a clearer idea once I’m 25.

money, money, money

While my brilliant plan to make and stick to a budget hasn’t happened yet, I’m at least starting to track my finances. That is, I’m paying attention to how much money I’m losing versus how much money I’m gaining from my investments. Unfortunately I’m not taking such notes at any sort of regular intervals, so my data is rather splotchy.

At least now my work check is deposited consistently on time thanks to direct deposit. And my boyfriend helped me set up automatic payments for my phone and cable bills, which means that cash disappears from my checking account “on time” too. I’m saving plenty just paying these bills on time. Of course, my payment for my car insurance and car registration renewals are late. Or at least I think they are. And my rent check is due soon and God knows if I’ll get that in on time. I’m out of town for the weekend, so I’ll have about 24 hours to remember to drop off my rent check when I get back before I get a hefty $50 late fee tacked on to my already ridiculous $1050 a month rent.

Anyway, looking at my data, I see that on June 21 I had $25,140 (total in savings/checking/investments/etc) and on August 29, I have $24,762. That means I’ve lost a whopping $378. Ok, so that’s not too bad, considering my mutual fund and Roth IRA investments are down. It looks like somehow or other I haven’t been overspending by too much. After all, I didn’t even get a paycheck for one pay period in July since I was taking time off in between jobs. Still, I need to reverse that and start MAKING money each month. I’d be surprised if I end up spending more than I make next month, but we’ll see about that. I have one heck of a talent for overspending, regardless of how much money I’m making!


Her Every Cent Counts is written by a 25-year old woman trying to figure out personal finance before she’s hurdled with costs of home ownership, children and other potential expenses in the years to come.

This blog was originally started as a place to write about money issues in depth, beyond what she was comfortable writing in her blogs that friends and family read. It has grown into a resource for other girls (and guys) in their 20s – a place to discuss saving, spending, career growth, setbacks, and the costs of being a young adult.

I welcome you to look around and read a few of my entries. Send any comments/feedback to hereverycentcounts@yahoo.com

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