Bipolar Disorder, Everyday Life, Uncategorized

The cost of mental health care

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It’s the time of the year where people may be submitting their tax returns or receiving their refunds.  I for one just received my refund.  It was not substantial, but it was something and I am happy to have received a gift as it goes right towards my credit card, the mighty piece of plastic that helps me to pay for my mental health care costs on a weekly basis.  Shockingly, my refund was almost to the dollar the amount of my mental health care costs for this last month.  Divine intervention perhaps?

As spring is quickly approaching, I am in the process of spring cleaning, the KonMari method to be exact, but I am also working on my finances.  If I am going to tidy up my clutter, I might as well take a look at my finances and weed out what is not needed there as well, right?  Well, gosh darn it, this is a bit harder than I expected it to be.  Deciding about whether to get rid of crafting supplies I have had since I was a Creative Memories consultant some 12 years ago versus trying to stretch a penny into a dollar well, they are not quite the same.

In each exercise there is stress involved, there is giving things up, processing feelings, especially that of grief and letting go, but they are not equal.  The budgeting, I am finding, is far harder.  And the area that is the hardest, is when it comes to evaluating the money that I am spending on my mental health care.

I broke out the number and tried several separate ways to see if I could reduce the amount that is being spent on a monthly basis.  Now, I must share that I have done this before, numerous times, and I have obviously wound back up in the same place.  Budgeting is not easy.  I mean it is easy to throw down a number on a spreadsheet and proclaim for all the household to hear that this shall be the number that we must not exceed as if we were a knight proclaiming a noble deed that was just done, but sticking to that number, well that is another task.  If the number is not realistic, and not sustainable, it is not going to stick.  And in the past, I have been stuck with this one number that I so want to work and it just wont work, for months, years now, Michelle Nicole, it just wont work, so just stop trying.  The triangle won’t fit through the circle hole!

One challenging aspect of managing a mental illness is the financial burden that is incorporated in the management process.  There are times that I feel like I work to feed my family, pay my debt and to pay for my medical bills.  It feels like a vicious circle and I get really frustrated with the process.  Healthcare in itself is expensive but adding in the time that is spent attending appointments and traveling to and from appointments it all adds up.  It makes it quite challenging to work a full-time job while managing a mental illness, although there is often a “need” to have a full-time income to pay for the expenses associated with the care and keeping of you.

I plan to work on my budget and use data to establish a realistic budget.  I also have taken steps to remove “frills” from my budget because they are not needed.  I don’t need packages of sample make up each month and audio books, I have access to those things from other resources that cost much less or for no cost at all.  I also can work to spend my money more wisely in other areas even though it is not as convenient or fun.  I am a big girl, and sometimes big girls eat at home on Friday nights.

Life is hard, but I know that I have been made stronger each and every day through what this hard life has taught me.  I also know that I am learning each day.  I make some bone headed mistakes and I pay the consequences, and then I pick myself up and I move on.  I cannot stretch a penny into a dollar, but I will do what I can to stretch it, and I will stop throwing away money effective immediately.  Plus there are hidden gems out there, like free samples of medication at my doctor’s office 😊

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