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.
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.
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.
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.