In college I had 4 close girlfriends. We went on a road trip to everyone’s hometowns right after graduation. That was an amazing trip and I have so many hilarious memories. We’ve never all been together at the same time since then, but we decided to meet up because one of the girls, Tina, is losing her fight with brain cancer. She’s in hospice now, so we all flew across the country to visit her.
The reunion was amazing. Talking and reminiscing with these girls was so much fun. Fortunately, Tina is on some really good drugs, so she was herself the whole time. She got tired easily and had to rest a lot, but when she was with us, she was talking and laughing just like old times. Seeing her handle cancer with such grace was so inspiring to me. It made me feel motivated to deal with a lot of stuff in my life that’s been holding me back. Tina knows that she has only days or weeks left to live and she’s making the most of it. I’ll always admire her spirit, courage and faith.
So, on to the things in my life that I’ve been hiding from. I’m not sure where to start because I think it’s all connected. Hmmm, well, a big one is my $$ situation. I use this as an excuse for not being proactive about my physical and mental health. Yes, I have shitty health insurance that covers almost nothing. Yes, I make enough to pay my bills and not much else. Yes, I’ve been struggling with depression and have used my shitty health insurance and lack of financial resources as an excuse to do nothing about it but cry.
So, it’s time to stop this nonsense. I have a lot of credit available on my credit cards. I still have a few thousand dollars worth of credit card debt, and I’d like to pay it off rather than run up more debt. However, in order to do that I need to work some extra jobs or projects. And in order to do that, I need mental and physical health and energy. So, I need to invest in my health, even if that means more debt in the short term.
And the great part is that once I commit to this path, I may come across extra money that I didn’t expect. Here’s an example that happened just last month. I’ve also had chronic neck and back pain. I’m sure it’s related to my stress over money, depression, spirituality, relationships, etc. But it’s also physical because of the car accident that I had 6 months ago. I thought that the insurance company wouldn’t pay for any treatments, so I was hoping that things would just get better on their own. Ha. Finally, after an easy workout left me feeling awful and achy, I decided it was time to go into debt in order to finance a few trips to the chiropractor.
I started to feel better pretty quickly after visiting the chiropractor. And then they gave me the estimate that the rest of my treatments would cost about $2000. I felt daunted at the idea of spending that much, but I was prepared to charge it and figure it out later. Then, along comes a letter in the mail that I almost threw away. The car insurance company had been trying to contact me because I was eligible for a $5000 medical benefit if I had been injured in the car accident! I called immediately to let them know that I had been injured. Suddenly, I had $5000 to pay for my treatments at the chiropractor. So I’ve upped my visits to 3 times a week and I’m getting a massage once a week. Overall, I’m definitely feeling better, but I still have bad days. I just feel encouraged by these events that the universe will provide a way for me to take care of myself.
So, now that I’m starting to feel somewhat better in my neck and back, I’m still noticing a lot of things that are out of whack with my body. I clench my teeth at night, I still get really sore, tight muscles, I don’t have the energy that I want to have. I still take a lot of pills. Sleeping pills, pain pills, herpes pills, vitamins. Some of this has to do with depression, I’m sure. Some of it also has to do with my diet. So, I’m considering a 3-pronged approach to improve all of these aspects.
To improve mental health, spiritual connection and physical wellness:
1. Voice Dialogue Therapy. My carpool buddy recommended a voice dialogue coach who helped him a lot. Basically, this therapy helps you get in touch with parts of you that you’ve disowned and strike more of a balance in your personality. I’ve noticed that I have some very persistent, screamy, mean, cruel, horrid inner personalities that make me miserable. My inner critic runs rampant through my brain and so does my pusher, which wants me to be up and doing stuff all the time. I know that this issue is probably the main cause of my depression. So, I’m hoping this therapy could help me tame the wild beasts in my mind, and create more control and balance. Cost: $325 for 3 sessions.
2. Join a yoga studio. Doing yoga more often will help me to improve all three areas. I find yoga really calming and soothing. I also like the effects on my body as far as strengthening and flexibility. I’d also like to explore the spiritual side of yoga a little more including meditation and deep breathing. In addition, doing a lot of yoga makes me more conscious of my body and what I’m eating, which will support my next step in the plan. Cost: $30-$100 per month depending on the studio
3. Start juicing and try cutting out gluten. One of my co-workers is super into juicing and I feel a little jealous of her every time I see her grinding up her fruits and vegetables in the teachers lounge. I’m really craving some juicing in my life and it feels like the right time to start. Costs include a juicer $50-$100 and more fruits and vegetables every week, $30-$40 a month. The costs here are a little trickier to calculate, because I’ll cut out some of the money I spend on certain foods that I can re-allocate to more fruit and veg, but I think I’ll still end up spending more on food every month. Also, cutting out gluten will cost me more when I’m grocery shopping.
4. In the future, when I’m a little healthier and up to the challenge, I want to attend church at the Center for Spiritual Living. This won’t cost me any money, but I’m feeling a little too much anxiety around the whole idea, so I’ll wait until after I have some therapy first.
So, how will I afford this? I’ve got a few ideas there too.
1. Cut down on alcohol. I easily spend about $20 a week ($80 a month) on alcohol at the liquor store that I drink at home. And I probably average $10-20 per week on happy hour drinks and whatnot. That means I could be spending up to $160 a month on alcohol!! Every week I buy either a box of wine, bottle of vodka or a couple six-packs of beer. I have at least one drink almost every day. I’m pretty sure that this is related to depression, anxiety, physical pain in my body and general unhappiness. Also, it’s just a habit to drink something every night after work.
However, I’ve really been noticing ill effects from alcohol lately. I’ve been getting a hot, red rash on my face from drinking. Also, after I had about 6 drinks in one long evening, my feet started to hurt. When I got home, I realized they were swollen. I felt awful. Not worth it. When my money is so tight, I need to spend it on things that make me feel good.
I’m not going to try to completely cut out alcohol, I’m just going to start juicing, doing yoga and drinking tea at night. I think those things will help me to feel good rather than deprived and craving alcohol. And it’s ok if I drink sometimes. I just don’t need as much as I’ve been having lately.
2. Summer day camp. I’ll put on a summer camp for the kids at my school. I’ve started the process as far as getting permission and nailing down the dates. I’m nervous to get started and I know that the depression/anxiety monster is holding me back from going for it. But, if I push through, I could make about $1000 for 20 hours of time with the kids, plus 10-20 more hours of planning time. Not a bad deal at all! This week, my goal is to create a flyer and send it home with the kids on Friday so that parents can start signing up.
3. Baby-sitting, dog-sitting, etc. Again, it’s hard for me to put myself out there like this right now, but I think once I get a little healthier, I won’t have a problem with networking a little bit to find some temporary gigs to make extra money this summer.
4. Writing. I’m also not mentally ready for this right now. But once I get healthier, I have a lot of ideas and cool stuff to create. Once I clear the clutter in my head and get some coaching in the right direction, this could be a serious form of income for me into the future.
So, I’m feeling pretty good right now. I think I have figured out some steps to take as far as improving my health, happiness and inner peace. I’m starting to feel like a real adult who is taking responsibility for her life, rather than a naughty child who isn’t a Christian anymore and must be punished. I think I’ve punished myself long enough for turning away from my faith and it’s time to move forward. And really, I haven’t turned away from all faith. I’ve just moved past the faith that I was raised with and I’m looking for something that’s a better fit for me.