Six months ago, I fired my therapist. I said then that I hoped it was a temporary thing, more of a lay-off than a firing. It was really hard for me to do and I had a lot of fear and anxiety about it when I did it. I was genuinely worried that I was risking a lot, that I might not be able to maintain my emotional health on my own.
I really had no choice in the matter, however, my finances had gotten completely out of control and I had to do something:
Over the last few months I have gotten farther and farther behind on my utility bills. My three credit cards are all maxed out and even though I keep making my payments, they’re not always before the due date and as a result I’m incurring fees on top of the finance charges and I’ve been unable to get ahead of all that. And as the final straw, my December car payment didn’t go through because of a typographical error. Due to my own ineptitude, or stupidity or whatever, I actually thought I had seen this payment post to my on-line banking for my checking account and that I was in good shape. As a result, by the time I knew that the payment hadn’t gone through; I no longer had the funds to make the payment. Now they want two months worth of a payment (and they’ve charged me a late/returned payment fee.) I hold them partially responsible because while they have both my phone number (they’ve called when I was a day late with the payment) and my e-mail address (I get receipts for my on-line payments this way), they’ve made no effort to contact me about this other than to send me a letter that didn’t arrive for five days after the payment was reversed, but I recognize that it is ultimately my own responsibility which is why it’s so difficult for me to tolerate the situation.
For as long as I can remember I have been living paycheck to paycheck and I just can’t take it anymore. So I made the very difficult decision to discontinue therapy for the foreseeable future (Deb, my therapist, called it a hiatus – which I much prefer.) Starting with my next paycheck I’ll have an additional $500.00 to $550.00 a month (the Health Care Spending account – for my invisalign – deductions were pre-tax so I don’t know how that will all shake out.) It is my intention to pay off my credit cards and cancel two of the three, and get my bills back to current and stay on top of them. I want to get some money in savings. I would also like to start paying ahead on my car and get that expense paid off as quickly as possible.
Recently when I decided I want to go to college and I began to contemplate the prospect of moving to New York and living with my sister and her family and what that would mean for me, I realized that I needed to get back to therapy. I shouldn’t be allowed to make a decision like this alone. It’s much too big.
I wish I could say I’ve learned all my lessons. I wish I could say that the credit cards are all paid off and there’s money in the bank and I’m ahead on my car payments and that everything is fine. I wish I could say I was a different person now. I can’t.
I’ve gotten things more under control and I’m current with all my utilities, for now. I’ve gotten my credit card balances paid down enough that I’m not in danger of going over the limit if anything goes wrong. Unfortunately, the credit cards are not paid off as I hoped they would be and I have found it more difficult to make the large payments on them I wanted to be making.
I’ve gotten somewhat complacent about it. It’s important to make these large payments on the cards, and I do, but then, I run out of money (because I spent it all paying the cards off) and so I use the cards to get through till payday. This is a counter productive strategy and I’m already working on reversing that pattern. But now I’ve added the cost of therapy to the budget and I’m not sure, yet, how that’s going to impact things. Unfortunately, in my absence my therapist raised her rate and since I pay out of pocket, that really sucks but I’ll deal with it.
I had a strategy worked out regarding school, or so I thought. And when I realized that strategy wasn’t going to work and that there were no other obvious solutions, I began to fret and things became very muddled and cloudy in my mind. This is what happens to me when things don’t just happen, when things don’t just work, when things don’t just make sense. I’m a very intelligent person and a lot of things do just make sense, but when they don’t it’s very frustrating and the factors become incoherent for me. Everything runs together. It’s like a part of my brain just wants to shut down. Things start sounding like they’re written for someone who already understands them. So all the factors and circumstances are bleeding over onto one another and I was beginning to lose focus… and I was beginning to lose hope. And then the lack of focus and hope spreads, and I’m not just hopeless about the particular issue, but hopeless about everything. This is how depression starts for me, and that is not something I want to experience again.
So I had my first therapy session in nearly six months yesterday and it was really nice. I am, by no means, any closer to figuring out what I’m going to do, but I’m not so cloudy anymore. I have hope.
And that feels best of all!