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Mental Health Setback

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I can’t post today without acknowledging my mental health took a beating this week. And that’s affecting our finances. I’m becoming familiar with the CDC’s phases of a pandemic, but it seems they don’t include my current stage on their list: Explosive Anxiety Freak-Out.

I’ve been a worrier for as long as I can remember. I remember in college I called it “excessive worrying” because I didn’t know how else to describe it or how to stop it. Even as I started my career, got married, and had kids, I didn’t know how to manage all that worrying.

Diagnosing Anxiety

In the summer of 2016, I was spread to the limit. My dad was on hospice care after seven years of cancer, and I was traveling back and forth to Denver to see him. In July we bought our business, and then in August my dad passed away. In the midst of my grief, I still had small children to care for and a business to get rolling.

One day, I had a panic attack. It was equal parts new and familiar, and it scared me. Gratefully, my sister was able to recognize it and point out that I most likely had anxiety.

Anxiety! Of course. Just having a name for it was empowering. I was able to research it, study it, and find a wonderful therapist who gave me tools to improve my mental health.

Anxiety Flare-Up

Like many people, the pandemic is causing my mental health problems to spike. The seemingly endless uncertainty, the weirdness of everything, and the loss of income are all throwing gas on the fire. Anxiety can affect your mood and thoughts, and it can make it hard to think clearly and solve problems. Plus I’m not sleeping well and have no energy.

So even normal problems or things I could usually shake are causing me to shut down. Pet bunny escaped? Rattled me for hours. Car battery died in a Lowe’s parking lot? Set me off course for a full day. Hearing colleagues opened their offices even though the governor’s mandate forbade it? Still bugging me.

Financial Effects

And since mental health issues are closely tied to financial issues, here are some financial effects:

  • I haven’t been updating our budget in the Every Dollar app
  • I’ve stopped regularly checking our bank accounts
  • I can’t motivate myself to still prep our house to eventually sell
  • I have been ignoring our debt payoffs, and honestly can’t even stomach checking in on it

 

So I know I’m not the worst I’ve ever been, but I’m not in good shape. I’m recommitting to my tools that help: exercise, meditation, time outdoors, less time online, and eating better (enough is enough, lingering Easter candy). I have hope this week will be better.

I keep seeing Facebook posts about the pandemic that say “we’re all in the same storm, but we’re not in the same boat.” #Accurate. So if you’re in a boat that’s tipping sideways due to anxiety, depression, or some other mental health struggle, I feel you. And I’m cheering for you.


10 Comments

  • Reply Laura |

    If you haven’t already please recruit your husband to help with the financial stuff. Apply for every forbearance and small business loan you can. My heart goes out to you.

    • Reply Sara |

      Thank you! He’s applied for everything we can, fortunately. We’ve gotten the forbearance, but we’re still waiting on the SBA loans.

  • Reply JP |

    You are not alone! I think we are all going through some of the toughest times of our lives, all in different ways. Some of mine is financial, but also depression. And I have never had any mental issues in my life. So I’m hoping as our routines get back, we will all be better off. Good luck to you.

  • Reply Cwaltz |

    Hugs Sara. My skin is finally starting to recover from my excessive obsessing for month 1. I live with three essential workers and Lysol wipes and antibacterial were placed every where and being used on everything. I am limiting my tv and internet too because otherwise I spend a great deal of time bawling. Five year old of first responders gone…..eyes well up. 86 year old veteran and brother of Elizabeth Warren…….eyes well up. Disney sing along ..daughter are reminding me people are struggling to feed themselves…..eyes well up. I’ve cried more tears this month than I ever have even as I recognize that before this pandemic good people died and after this pandemic good people will still die. It’s been hard, really really hard and I think there is positively nothing wrong with acknowledging that. As a matter of fact I think people should do exactly what you did and lean in and admit that this is hard and means some of our healthy or unhealthy habits may crop up. Good for you for being aware.

  • Reply Cynthia |

    I applaud your honesty. It’s HARD to hold it together. If it helps, you and I are in a similar boat. My husband (sole bread winner) got laid off and we lost benefits. His company fought unemployment. I got an ear infection that cost $500 without insurance. One kid has wildly out of control asthma that required an ER visit, chest xray, labs, 4 prescriptions and still not real resolution yet. The other kid may have hpylori so thats more labs, visits etc which is fine if the kids end up healthy when it’s all done. We have a rental in another state and the tenant called and said she is moving out with 3 months on her lease and so we are scrambling to figure that out….I’m sure I’m forgetting something. The anxiety seems to come in waves and sometimes you just have to take life 1 minute at a time. Give yourself some grace. I’ll be praying for you..and all of us.

    • Reply Sara |

      It’s just all so much. I’m so sorry for your rough few months! I so appreciate your prayers, and I’ll be praying for you too.

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