So this started out as a comment over at DefineFunctioning, but it got really long and awkward and then I was like, hey, why don’t I just make it a blog post and link back. So that’s what I’m doing.
To paraphrase, we are talking about how mental illness may or may not have impacted our ability to care for ourselves (and others) financially. So here’s my deal:
Katsu and I were making good money, towards the end there. Like, GOOD money. It was nice. We ate fancy food, I wore beautiful shoes, and we were paying down debt hand over fist. Then, you know, I lost it. I quit my job, I went to The Bin, and I was there for six weeks. During those six weeks, of course, I was ineligible for unemployment, and it took another four weeks after that for the state to approve my check. So ten weeks with no income.
(Very) Thankfully, I had my husband to take care of the rent and utilities, and our health insurance covered most of the costs associated with my hospitalization. But it was a hit nonetheless, and we had to take a very uncomfortable look at our budget. But I wondered, you know, what do other people do? People who don’t have a Katsu to float them when they’re waiting for the dole? People with families? People without insurance? I was thankful.
Then, of course, Katsu and I split up. Making only a fraction of my previous income, I chose to move back in with my parents rather than continue squatting in the apartment we once shared. Having second-interviewed for many jobs and gotten no offers, in April 2010, as an experiment, I posted an ad on Craigslist for wedding videography. Within a week, I’d booked my first gig. So that helped out. Living at home, I was able to save money like who knows what – especially after I landed two part-time summer jobs with two local producers.
Meanwhile, as we all know, I was planning to drag B! across the country. I’d saved enough to get us an apartment, and I’d saved enough to allow us to make it our own. One of my part-time jobs turned full, which was awesome, but somewhere around Christmas I realized that the money I was making wasn’t actually… enough. Not saying anything bad about my pay rate, mind you, but footing the bill for two smokers can really drain one’s resources. Then there was the whole insurance deductible thing, which definitely brought the rain to my already-soggy parade.
Now, I’m not complaining. I’m comfortable. I have two cats, I have wine when I want it, and I smoke as many cigarettes as I please. Far be it from me to cry poverty. But in terms of mental health, I’m very aware that what happened to me in summer ’09 had a severe impact on my financial status and my earning potential. Like, my name is totally on this site, which one could count as questionable, and a google search of me links back to some weird old ghost page that somebody hacked and reformatted. Also, I’m aware that my particular blend of crazies can be as limiting as it is prolific.
My therapist asked me, the other week, if I ever hoped to reattain the standard of living I enjoyed before my breakdown.
“No,” I answered, not blinking a lash.
I’d rather be happy than rich.