Weekly Accountability: The Happiness (and Money) Edition

The Ever Changing Appointment

I haven’t kept it a secret that I am struggling with happiness and mental health issues. I am still seeing my counselor which is helping, but it isn’t enough. My last counsellor suggested going on anti-depressants, and in the first meeting with my current counselor I told her I wanted to go that route and could she suggest someone I could go to for a prescription. She sent a referral to an outpatient program they use and told me I would get in a little quicker because of their relationship. Unfortunately, when they called to schedule, the appointment was a month away. That was a bummer, but there was nothing I could do but be patient.

A week later they called to tell me that they actually scheduled me during the doctor’s vacation and they needed to reschedule. That meant another two week wait but again, what else can I d but be patient. My appointment was rescheduled for Monday. On Sunday I got a call saying that my appointment had to be rescheduled AGAIN because of an emergency. So, my appointment is in 2 weeks and hopefully it won’t be canceled a third time. They did say that if I felt I “really needed” an appointment to call and see if they could get me in sooner. I wanted to say “I really needed the appointment 2 months ago when I initially made it” but didn’t because I don’t want to say things out of anger.

It kills me that this is the reality of attempting to get mental health treatment. I am not at risk for suicide or self harm so if this has to happen to someone then better me than someone who is at risk for those things. But it shouldn’t take two months to get a foot in the door to see a doctor.

 

Happiness and Personal Finance

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to take control of my own happiness. If only I could say to myself “be happy!” and then a switch would flick and I would be happy! Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. What I am starting to do is to try to choose to be not unhappy. It’s not the same thing as being happy, but it is a step in the right direction.  

This week there were a lot of reminders in the personal finance world about money and happiness. Cait Flanders wrote The Best Gift My Emergency Fund Has Ever Given Me this week about using her emergency fund to pay for counseling sessions. Seriously, if you think seeing a counselor/therapist/mental health professional is something you want to do, but are worried about spending the money please use your emergency fund! If your leg was broken you wouldn’t debate seeing a doctor because of the cost. You should treat your mental health the same way!

There are a ton of reasons to want to see a couselor. One major reason might be anxiety or depression because of debt. Money After Graduation wrote this week about how taking care of your mental health can help you take better care of your money. She also gives some great actionable advice for dealing with debt-induced stress and anxiety.

Sometimes it might feel like you can’t have fun or be happy if you are in debt. Fun things cost money, right? Well, not always. The Simple Dollar wrote about a ton of free things you can do if you feel yourself getting down about being broke. I think it’s important to remember that even if you have debt, debt is not your whole life. You’re allowed to live still. I often forget about some of the many free things available to us. Like, because I work for a university, I get free tickets to a lot of the sports games (not football and basketball, though, since those are huge moneymakers for the university.) Baseball is my favorite sport and it is free for me to see! Plus, it’s really exciting to think about how we are probably watching future MLB super stars! (Fun fact: on one of our first dates, Mr. Beach Life and I got to see Kyle Schwarber catching in a NCAA regional game. Little did we know that in 3 years we would watch Schwarby help the Cubs win the World Series!)

This Week’s Accountability Update

(Note: the numbers are a little wonky because I am using the day the transactions posted to my account, and not necessarily the day I spent the money.)
April 21:

No spend day!

 

April 22:

No spend day!

 

April 23:

5.49- Groceries

7.99- Hulu subscription. I have been really excited about A Handmaid’s Tale series, and Swagbucks had a terrific deal on Hulu which basically gave enough SBs for 3 months of free Hulu (Hulu gift cards are one of the choices for redeeming SBs!) The deal isn’t quite as good now, but you can get 1500 SBs-which is about 2 months of free Hulu if you sign up now.)

14.20- Groceries

6.99- Groceries

 

April 24:

80.67- Sam’s Club. This includes 120 pounds of kitty litter, and pecans and almonds and ground beef.

$12.85- Groceries

$18.28 ($17 future reimbursement)- Grocery Mystery shop

$5.13- Groceries

$17.55 ($17 future reimbursement)- Grocery Mystery Shop

$29.37 ($17 future reimbursement)- Grocery Mystery Shop

$212.93- Lawn Mower. We bought a gas lawn mower when we moved into the house. We don’t have a garage or a shed, and we didn’t store it properly over the winter. It would have cost more to repair to buy a new one, so we bought a new one. This time we stored it exactly as you’re supposed to. But when we tried to use it last week it wouldn’t start. Time was of the essence because we got a snarky note from the city telling us we’d be fined if we didn’t mow by Monday. This year we bought a push mower with the expectation that it was last much, much longer than a year!

 

April 25:

$27.29 ($12 reimbursed)- Grocery Mystery Shop

$6.65-USPS. The ongoing problems I’ve had with putting my rental property into a trust (you can read about it here and here) have not been resolved. I had to send my mom’s death certificate to the lawyer again because the county keeps rejecting everything they’ve asked him to send to them. It’s getting expensive-I received another $1,100 bill and I am still trying to figure out how to pay it.

 

April 26:

$36.38- Petsmart. Petsmart has a sale on 7lb bags of select dry cat food. If you buy one you get the second 50% off. They also have a sale going where you get $10 off a $50 purchase. If you shop through TopCashBack you can get 8% cashback. I chose in store pick up because we were nearly out of dry food, but there is free shipping on orders over $49.

$17.11 Refund- While I was at Petsmart, I returned some hairball medicine I never opened when Boney had her trouble problems.

 

April 27:

Gas (for the house)- $52.04

 

Total $550.92! Including $63 in reimbursements and $17.11 in refunds!

 

I have to say I am surprised with how low that number is. It felt like I was constantly in the store buying things-mostly groceries. Mr. Beach Life and I have decided to try the Keto diet and it meant buying different foods than we had in the house. We will still eat the food in the house, but it can’t be the main staple anymore. The good news is that eating out should be rare since I have no self control in restaurants.

 

Previous weeks’ spending
Week 1 $632.77

Week 2 $357.01

Week 3 $534.76

 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

6 Responses

  1. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    I hate, hate, hate that it takes so much effort to get a damn doctor’s appointment for mental health. In our city, there’s a TWELVE MONTH waiting list to see a psychiatrist. The only alternatives are medical docs and counselors, but I prefer to have someone who’s both a doc and a counselor. Ridiculous. I hope you get the treatment you need, quickly. For what it’s worth, I was on anti-depressants, and it can take a bit of experimenting to find one that works with your body. Prozac made me a zombie (it actually made me so slow that I forgot how to spell; it was bad). I was on a beta blocker and that had way less side effects, so I recommend those if you have a choice.

    Anyhoo, good luck with everything, and way to power through with those money goals!! 🙂

    • Jax-This post may contain affiliate links

      A 12 month wait?! That is outrageous!

      Twice I’ve been on anti-depressants for the short term-the lowest level of Zoloft. It worked really well in treated the racing/obsessive thoughts and general depression, but it also blocked all emotion. We were watching Downton Abbey and a really, really, really sad thing happened that normally I would cry my eyes out at, but I couldn’t manage anything. And it made things I did enjoy less enjoyable. Luckily, my appointment is with a psychiatrist and I’ll be able to talk out what I am looking for with her.

  2. DC @ Young Adult Money

    The demand for mental health services certainly seems to be increasing. I don’t think there are more mental health issues, just people willing to go in and get help/guidance these days. My wife works at a network of mental health clinics so I’m not surprised to hear about the scheduling difficulties. It could be years before scheduling isn’t an issue in this space as the demand increases but the supply stays steady.

    • Jax-This post may contain affiliate links

      I fear your right that it will be years before scheduling isn’t an issue, DC. I am hoping that the more people are open about mental health, the faster the change will come but I know it will still be slow.

  3. David

    Thank you for talking about this topic. It is very difficult to get an appointment with Psychiatrists. Many don’t accept insurance because the payouts are very low. The ones who do have very long waiting periods like you are experiencing. What’s worse is that it is very difficult to navigate this whole process while you are depressed, anxious, etc.

    I hope your treatment goes well. Your new doctor might have you try different combinations of drugs until you find one that works best. It will probably take several weeks or even months, but it will be worth it. Good luck.

    • Jax-This post may contain affiliate links

      Thanks for stopping by, David. I agree, it’s bad enough that the wait times to see a psychiatrist are super long, but the process is difficult even when you’re in a good mental state. I hope that the more people talk about mental health and the issues surrounding getting care, the easier it will become to get care, but I feel it’s going to be a long, slow road for that.

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