Can you have an intervention for yourself?

Well, I don't think you can call it an intervention really. I don't exactly have any addictions, except maybe chai tea and chocolate... What I do have is not officially diagnosed.  Mainly because there's a $1200 deductible before BC/BS starts paying its 80% - so I've not gone to a Dr about it yet. But from instinct and extensive research (and full agreement from my family and friends), I am 99% positive I am bi-polar. (I know I've written about this before, stick with me.)

It's actually rather difficult to write about this publicly. I can imagine some people would just roll their eyes and say I was trying to garner sympathy or attention or something. But that's not the case. I am writing this just in case there's some else out there who is diagnosed and might have some suggestions for me... or someone who might be struggling like I am and needs encouragement too.

I do intend to see a Dr. But first, I have to clean up the financial mess left from my last down days.

I've kind of thought I was bi-polar for a long time now, but for some stupid reason it never clicked as to how it was affecting OTHER THINGS AND PEOPLE BESIDES ME.  My family has always known me like this and my husband is the most sensitive and forgiving guy I know, but I'm sure they'd love for this cycle to end. My bank account and creditors are not so understanding. See, the problem that I somehow JUST REALIZED is that *I* single handedly (well my illness) have been the one "sabotaging" our finances our entire married life. That's 20 years.  Actually I thought I was just "Depressed" most of these years.  The run of the mill average boring depressed. Not enough that I was suicidal,... just enough to stay in bed too long, stop showering, stop laundry, stop caring at all... and then it would go away and things would be fine. The problem is this happened over and over and over and over again for YEARS.  it got to be NORMAL. So, I never really noticed why things kept messing up.  I did often refer to myself as two different people - the one who would make the budget, and the one who would ignore it and spend all the money.

I've been trying to be more conscious of it recently.  Acknowledging down days, understanding up days and trying to use them to prepare for the down days.  The blog has really helped once I realized it was evidence of the cycles. If you notice for about 3-4 weeks, I only blogged about once a week, and even then they were just whine and rant letters or feeling guilty about not blogging and trying to catch up.  I even tried to write about this illness while I was on a down day here.  And back in January with the Organizing Challenge, I was positively manic. While having everything spotless is a great dream, I would seriously like to just find a nice even ground between perfect and miserable.  Anyway, as I was discovering this cycle in my writing, it also finally dawned on me that the down days corresponded exactly with the budget going all to hell. This year I had been doing really well, the budget was being followed pretty well week after week, housework caught up, my sink shining every night... then it started going downhill. I stopped doing laundry, stopped cleaning my kitchen or even caring if the dishes were done.  Stopped making and packing lunches because the kitchen was a mess all the time and I was just too tired to stay up after work to do it. Family was irritated they didn't have any clean clothes and were being told to do the dishes when I hadn't asked in weeks, they didn't want friends coming in and seeing the house a mess... so you know what I do when all that's happening and I'm at my lowest?  SHOPPING THERAPY!

The ability to go into a store and buy something, especially for my home to try to make it clean and welcoming again and then have the money to buy it without the fear of a card being declined or something... THAT made me feel better. Empowered over SOMETHING  when I felt helpless in everything else. Things I've bought during down days include new bathmats, shower curtains, 5-6 bottles of laundry detergent to know I always have some (even though I hadn't done laundry in days), new clothes for the girls and Christopher so they'd be happy and I could say it was a good deal or they needed new socks or he had no nice casual shirts, etc.  Well, that's all nice and all... except that money I was using to cover all that stuff was the house payment, electric payment, water, cable, grocery, gas, etc money.

According to the budget I did at the first of the year which we had stuck to til now, we should have paid off all the cash advances, have $500 in emergency fund savings, and be paying off the credit cards now.  Instead, none of them have been paid off and in fact after covering the overdrawn amount, his paycheck doesn't even have enough left to do the cash advances. They're going to have to wait til I get paid and that's not for a week and a half now. I have redone the budget and there's some money for basic groceries, gas for the Explorer, and an autodraft payment on old medical bills we had set up to come out monthly. And that's about it. I also have other bills that really need to be paid like next week or we risk losing things. I only have a half payment left on our HGTV, and 4 payments left on my computer... and the first car pmt is due.  I guess we'll have to use overdraft again and hope that nothing bad happens between now and June 4th, which is when I think we'll be sort of back on track. Thankfully we are making enough now that I can dig us out of the hole a lot faster than I used to. Seriously I thank God for that ALL THE TIME.  I know how many people are trying to get by on one income or are trying to find work after being laid off... we've been there done that. The stress led to my husband's heart attack. I know. I do not ever want to go back to that. But I have GOT to do something NOW to make sure I don't sabotage us even worse.

So, I decided I obviously could not do this on my own.  I cannot trust myself with money when I'm on a down day or week or month. Unfortunately, managing money is also not my husband's strong suit.  But I did encourage him by telling him that I have done everything I can to make sure he's taken care of healthwise.  The best doctors, going to appts, getting his meds filled, keeping up with 6-month tests... and I needed him to do the same for me.  I needed him to make sure I got the help I needed, whether that be with a Dr when we can handle another Dr bill, or making sure I can't do more damage with the finances. He has to help protect me from myself.  Then to make sure he didn't just walk away and have this talk mean nothing, I told him we had to make a plan of action right then and if he needed to solicit help from his intelligent teenage daughters, then please do.  So, I put the cards in his wallet, so I have zero access to money unless I go to him first. (well except online but I can TRY not to use that.) Then he had a talk with the girls and told them about the issue and they nodded about the being bi-polar.  It's not really a surprise heh. But he did get them to promise to be more understanding and not nag me for money at any time, and especially when I'm feeling down.... they're to help out when things stop being done.  When they notice laundry is piling up or the kitchen is a mess... it's to be a red flag. The budget pages I will make copies of and post above the calendar so everyone in the family can see what the incoming is and when, and what's supposed to come out and who it's going to and when it has to be paid. They see amounts set for groceries, gas, and any extras that may be on there.  If it's not budgeted that week - don't ask for it - and don't let Mom buy it.

I'm afraid I may end up getting worse when this starts because I won't have my shopping therapy to help me get through these down days to come...  but if all goes well and I can hold off for a couple weeks to a month, then I'll get in to see a Dr and get the medication I need to keep it nice and even and stop the vicious cycle. 

I want to thank you all for having stuck with me this long as you've witnessed the ups and down which were not always so pretty.  I would say things about my loved ones that I don't really mean. I appreciate you all for sticking with me and understanding.  And thanks especially to those of you who comment and encourage me.  You guys mean more to me than you know.

Here's hoping for a long run of Up Days and then some nice magical medication LOL. Thanks again y'all!