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Money sucks, right? I mean, it’s great when you have enough of it, but less great when you don’t.
It’s no wonder than that money and mental health are linked.
Financial stress can put a lot of pressure on a person. Money makes the world go round and, without it, you can find yourself in a really difficult position. I’ve been there before. In debt up to my ears and not knowing how to get out of it.
When you’re struggling with your mental health, it can be hard to open up and talk about it. And talking about money is hard, too, which can just make the situation worse.
This year, I’ve decided that I need to sort out my finances and save more money. So now seems as good a time as any to talk about how my money problems are linked to my mental health problems.
Having no money doesn’t affect my mental health, so much as my mental health leads me to have no money.
When I was younger, I was really good at saving. Obviously, having a full time job made that easier, but that’s not the point. I would get paid and I’d put a big chunk of that into savings. Back then, it was all spent on going to Buffy and Angel conventions in London (don’t judge me – they were awesome!) and, in hindsight, I wish I’d saved it for actual savings. But the point is that I was good with my money. I lived within my means.
But when I’m feeling low, I like to buy shiny new things to cheer myself up. Or I start a new hobby, because I think that’s what I need to help me not feel so down, or because I think it will distract me from my anxiety. Sometimes, that’s true. When we were going through IVF, I took up knitting and it replaced the hand-wringing that I do when I get anxious. My sore knuckles were very grateful.
Now that I’m not working full time, I have to be more careful.
So much of my money, over the last year or so, has been wasted on things I convinced myself that I needed while I was struggling with depression or anxiety. It’s very difficult habit to break! I have to remind myself that I don’t have to buy everything I want straight away. Some things can wait and some things aren’t actually necessary at all.
It’s too easy to get into debt.
It’s too easy to think “I’ll just put that on the credit card and pay it off later” or “I can clear my overdraft next month”. And then little things become big things, right? It’s just too easy to slip into that mindset of “another tenner won’t hurt”.
I’m ashamed to say that Mr Becca had to bail me out last time I let my finances get out of control. It’s very important to me that I don’t let that happen again. So I need to work on why I got into trouble and make sure I stay out of it going forward.
And that means focusing on my mental health.
And being honest about it. This year, I’m going to keep track of my finances and any spare money I have (that isn’t put back into my Cambridge Weight Plan business), will be going into savings or towards something more important, like our first proper holiday since our wedding in Jamaica 6 years ago!
If I’m going to do that, I need to be honest with myself about when my mental health is influencing my spending, and put a stop to it.
To help me do that, I’ve started a wish list!
On it, I’ve written all the things I think I need to buy. Most of them are business related expenses that I will need to find the money for at some point. But they’re not all urgent. So I’m crossing out the ones that I definitely don’t need and just want, because I can’t afford stuff like that right now. And I’m putting a little asterix next to the ones that are the moment important, so that – when I have the money – those will be the things I buy first. Even if they’re not the most interesting things on the list.
And I’m telling Mr Becca when I’m feeling low, instead of just trying to deal with it on my own. Support is key to so many things and I definitely feel like I’m more in control when I’m letting him support me, instead of pretending that I’m OK.
2019 will be a good year for me. I’ve decided. And I won’t accept anything less.