How Does Mental Health Affect Your Financial Situation?

how does mental health affect financial situationsI am mentally ill.

Those four words are an explanation for so many aspects of my life.

Those four words are not an excuse, they are a reality.

Those damn four words stop me from living the life that I want to live!

Those four words scare me more than any other words I could post on this blog.

I hate those four words!

When I was 9, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In 1983, for a young girl to be diagnosed, the case had to be pretty severe. Throughout my life I have lived with it without the help of medication. However, I have always felt like I wasn’t really managing it. I have had multiple jobs, never staying anywhere more than 2 years. I have always had a messy, disorganized house. I frequently loose things and forget A LOT. I have always felt like my brain is a big huge party and everyone is talking at once. And I’ve never really felt like I was in control of it.

I’ve never really felt like I was in control of my own life.

In my early twenties, I started therapy for my shopping addiction. I spent a good two years seeing a great counselor at my university. He was amazing and he taught me a lot about why I did what I did. I really understood the relationship between credit cards and my mood/mental health. I felt like I had a grasp on my life for a short time.

A few years later, after getting further into debt, I started therapy again. I was diagnosed Bipolar and began to see a psychiatrist as well as another amazing therapist! I got healthy through the help of medications and took on my life full force.

I went through a period of time during my marriage when I doubted the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. I was doing really well. I wasn’t on medication.  I didn’t get super depressed and I never got manic. I thought the professionals must have made a mistake. I took medication for depression after I had my first son due to some postpartum anxiety but it didn’t really help. I started to feel out of control again. I was a stay at home mom but I wasn’t being the productive person that I wanted to be. I felt lazy, disorganized and very lonely.  I tried medication for ADHD but I had adverse reactions to it. The doctors suspected there was more going on than just ADHD and postpartum depression.

They were right, of course. I am mentally ill.

I went back to a psychiatrist during the past few years. He also diagnosed me as being Bipolar. I finally realized that after three professionals diagnose it, I truly must have it. I have started taking medication again. I recognized that part of my problem was deep depression and another part was my ADHD. I have seen my moods stabilize and I’ve felt a lot happier. I have seen some improvements in the ADHD area but not enough.

I’ve once again started to feel out of control. I feel like the ADHD is ruling my life. I feel lazy and disorganized. I feel like I’m walking on the outside of my life and only sometimes I get to step into it but only for a brief moment.

I am mentally ill.

I realized, in just the past week or so, that the ADHD is completely ruling me. I’m trying to be a freelance writer and I’m failing parts of it. I’m going to grad school and while I’m doing well, I’m not managing my time very well. I am putting off assignments until the very last minute (as I’m typing this, I should be working on my last assignment for a class, it’s due tomorrow.). I’ve recently moved and have yet to completely unpack.

ADHD is running my life and I do not like it one bit.

Bills aren’t getting paid because I don’t look at them. I ran out of money because I didn’t budget, at all. Now I’m short and can’t pay anything. My rent is due in 2 days and I don’t have the money to pay it. I haven’t paid my utilities yet. My phone was shut off today because I’m grossly behind on it.

A lot of these problems could have been solved if I would have managed my time better and finished a freelance project that I was assigned months ago. I fear that they will fire me soon. They probably should.

My financial problems are the least of my worries some days.

I am mentally ill.

I want to tackle this monster in my head. It has controlled me and forced me to live in a way that makes me sad and lonely.

I want to manage my mental illness. I want to control it!

I want to fight harder than I have been fighting. I want to understand myself better so that I can get out of those endless cycle of financial problems that I continue to find myself in.

I was recently thinking back over the past few years and wondering how I could have fixed things. There are a TON of “should have’s” and I know it doesn’t do me any good to focus on them. Yet, I can’t help but realize that my mental health played a huge part in creating the situation I was in. It also, stopped me from fighting to get out of it. Tomorrow, I want to talk a bit more about how my mental health affected my financial situation. I hope you’ll check back to read it as well.

This was an extremely difficult post for me to write. I haven’t wanted to address it but I’ve known it needed to be. I am only posting this because I think this is a part of the problem for many people. If you are one of those people, please consult a mental health worker in your area or look for resources on the National Aliance on Mental Health website.

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31 comments for “How Does Mental Health Affect Your Financial Situation?

  1. Alexis
    November 30, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I feel like I am reading my own story!! We are alike on so many ways… Can’t wait to read your next post. ;-)


  2. Jesort415
    November 30, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I too suffer from a mental illness. I don’t talk about it becuase it is so taboo to do so, just like money until recently I guess. Anyway I did spend a week in a mental health facility a few years back. It was a tough decision given I was a single mom who’s daughters father waited in the wings for anything he could use in court to get custody (not that he wanted her, just wanted to make my life harder). Anyway while it did effect my custody temporairly (i.e. I ended up having weekends while her paternal grandparents had phyical custody..which I didn’t mind I still love my ex in laws & they treat her like their own) it really was for the best. I got on the right regime of meds, added some exercise, and learned to get in to arts and crafts which gave me an outlet (I still do stain glass and mosiacs at times) plus alot of me time to figure stuff out without the constant interuption of “life”. I was unemployed at the time, close to eviction, beyond broke, and desperate to find out what was wrong with me. Fortunately years later I have never been back to that dark place. Life isn’t always easy for me and I don’t take meds anymore (with small ones being loopy all day is not an option) but I learned my triggers and learned when to ask for help and people know when I ask I really need it. I still exercise (though not everyday) and I take a holistic approach now with herbs. Not saying you should do this or it will work for you just letting you know you are not alone and things can and will get better.


    • November 30, 2011 at 11:41 am

      Thank you so much for your comment!

      The first thing I need to do is find a new psychiatrist up here. I was seeing one before I moved but I’ve been lazy with finding a new one. I think I’m due for a med change. And I completely agree with you, I NEED to exercise. My mental health is just one of the many reasons why I need to (overweight, high bp too) and I’d really like to start. I’m working on a better time management schedule for myself I’m going to schedule in exercise as a must.

      I use to do pottery. Back when I felt like I really rocked at life, I was doing it. I LOVED it. I can’t do it now because of the cost of classes but I’m wondering if I could sneak a pottery class into my schedule at school just for fun. I need to find a hobby beyond writing and reading. I think I need to find something more social. I need to meet real people. I’m pretty lonely here.

      I’m glad you are doing well now. It’s empowering to overcome mental health, I think.


  3. November 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Jessica…I think this post was a stepping stone for ya! I love what you are doing- your writing rocks!
    Your story is one that many, many people can relate to. Thanks for sharing!



  4. Suzanne Cramer
    Twitter: ADivorcedMom
    November 30, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Your story is like many other people I have met and talked to; their mental illness (such as ADHD) keeps them from enjoying life and constantly gets in the way. While I have not been officially diagnosed with this, my 8 year old son has and I see flashes of it in me.
    You are so brave to share both this story and your struggles with debt. You rock!!!


    • December 1, 2011 at 10:05 pm

      Thank you Suzanne. It’s tough to initially talk about mental health because so many times the stigma of it clouds peoples judgement. I was once asked by a principal of the school I was working at if she had to worry about the kids. It was a day I’ll never forget. I kept my mouth shut about the disease for the longest time after that.


  5. November 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    My uncle is bipolar, and he has the same issues with shopping. Medication and a new job have finally helped. I’m glad to hear your story as well. It will help him feel less alone.


    • December 1, 2011 at 10:06 pm

      Christa, I have a feeling there are millions of people who are in debt because of mental illness. It’s just too easy to fuel our emotions and self-medicate as well as make poor choices.


  6. November 30, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    My family has a strong history of lots of depression and a case of borderline (very similar to bipolar). I can tell you that today you are miles ahead of most in that you have recognized and admitted the problem. That alone will help you immensely, fighting against it only makes it worse.

    I fight my family history of depression and my own tendencies with exercise, lots of talking to therapists and my good friends and family. Exercise is my true saving grace on keeping my mood steady.

    You can do this, just keep after it.


    • December 1, 2011 at 10:07 pm

      Thank you Andrea! I’m going to fight this. I’ve decided to tackle it on a few fronts: diet, excercise, meds and therapy. I’m hoping to feel like a new me very soon.


  7. December 1, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I’ve been with the same disorder from birth, ADHD is a part of my life. I’ve tried a lot of medications and it helps for a short time, but after 5-6 months of taking one drug it becomes useless and i feel that don’t manage my life again. I decided to go with one drug for 5-6 months, next i trying to handle without any medication for 1-3 months and then i’m starting the therapy again. It works, not so good, problems is still with me, but i can do something and make plans of my life.
    Emily Meier recently posted..The Rise Of Super Bacteria In The Cleanest Wastewater


    • December 1, 2011 at 10:08 pm

      I don’t know if taking a new medication every few months is the best course of action. Maybe consider a new doctor, this doesn’t seem like a healthy way to manage mental illness. Best of luck to you!


  8. Jana @ Daily Money Shot
    Twitter: dailymoneypf
    December 6, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    I think you are so brave for sharing this. So many people treat mental illness like leprosy, and feel that if they’re near someone who has it, they’ll catch it. I used to suffer from depression and while I can’t say that it affected my debt 100%, it certainly did have an impact. I think that so many people will be able to learn from you and your experience.
    Jana @ Daily Money Shot recently posted..Love Drop Tuesday: Diomi


  9. Katrina
    December 11, 2011 at 3:11 am

    Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve suffered from depression for the past 13 yrs, which definitely causes lots of unneeded agonizing, procrastination, and fear over dealing with the important things in life like paying bills or, as you said, even more important things like finding a new therapist after moving. Believe me, while the pressure would ease if you had no debt – it’s not a cure. I’m glad you’re working on it…er, both debt and illness! :)


    • December 12, 2011 at 11:09 am

      Well good luck to the both of us!! It’s a tough road on both ends but I know it is possible to overcome.


  10. April 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    (hugs!) I have some of the same issues. It’s hard living a quality life with what you’re going through. Good luck, and take care of yourself.


  11. August 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your further write ups thanks once again.


  12. Brenda Scott
    Twitter: joyjoseph_arjoy
    October 25, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    If you think RICH!!! You’re Rich…Remember the Law of Attraction!


  13. January 6, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Deal with stress. Be aware of what triggers your stress and how you react. You may be able to avoid some of the triggers and learn to prepare for or manage others. Stress is a part of life and affects people in different ways. It only becomes a problem when it makes you feel uncomfortable or distressed. A balanced lifestyle can help you manage stress better. If you have trouble winding down, you may find that relaxation breathing, yoga or meditation can help.


  14. July 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    This was a pretty sad post. One thing that can be taken away from it is, each time you sought help you were able to retain some control of your life. If you ever feel out of control or overwhelmed in your life please seek help.


  15. April 11, 2014 at 8:09 am

    This is my first time pay a visit at here and i am actually happy to read everthing at alone place.
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