I have discovered the strangest things in the last few weeks. For example, your phone won't actually work unless you pay the bill. Who knew?! Even more surprising - neither will your internet! IT'S THE APOCALYPSE!!!!!
It's a great day when you are finally offered the job you've been searching for, especially when it's fourteen thousand more per year than you were making before (working twelve hour shifts, holidays, weekends, on-call, hurricanes, the list goes on). It's a not so great day when you realize you aren't magically going to be able to pay all your bills again just as soon as you sign that offer letter. In fact, when you've basically been living off of minimum wage for six months, it's going to take at least that long to not only be able to pay all your bills on time and in full, but to have even the slightest hope of socking away a few pennies in savings. This is an even more bitter pill to swallow when you're 54.
I had to make some difficult choices. Was it more important to buy food or to pay the cell phone bill so that my new employers can actually reach me? Food is overrated. Should I get more dog food or put gas in the car? Well, there's not even really a choice there. The dog wins. The thing is, I wasn't even making these decisions with my own money. I was making these decisions through the generosity of friends and family, and I know that I will never be able to repay their kindness.
Asking for help is the hardest thing we can possibly do. Giving help is a no-brainer, and something I do whenever I am in a position to. If the situation were reversed, I wouldn't think twice. When you're the one asking for help, though.....well, just know that if I've asked you for financial help it's only after DAYS of agonizing over it and trying to figure a way out on my own.
You've probably figured out by now that having internet was lowest on the totem pole. After all, I knew you'd all still be here when I made my way back. While internet is definitely important these days, we HAVE to eat, our pets have to eat, we have to have gas in our cars to travel back and forth to work so that we can make the money to pay the bills. Now, for those of you who may be thinking to yourselves, "How does she keep getting herself into these situations? Isn't she a little old to still be struggling financially?", I would kindly invite you to kiss my lady balls. Very few people know exactly what I've dealt with and what I've survived (and what I almost didn't survive). So, no judgy-judgy, okay?
But here's the amazing thing. I made it through. There were a number of days over the last couple of months that I REALLY wanted to check out. It was all too overwhelming. I didn't know how I was going to pay rent, my first direct deposit didn't show up in my account (which, by the way, was closed by the bank), and when it finally did, I couldn't access it. I didn't want to ask friends and family for any more help than they had already given. I didn't want to see anyone, talk to anyone, I didn't even want to shower. Just a few years ago I could have easily ended up back in the hospital or worse. But I did it. I got up, I (usually) got dressed, I read my daily devotionals, I made the bed, I went outside. I CLAWED MY WAY THROUGH THE DEPRESSION AND CAME OUT THE OTHER SIDE. And for that, I am unbelievably proud of myself. Believe it or not, I consider this a win.
I wish I could say "it's over", that I won't have these feelings again. That's the thing about clinical depression. It's always there, lurking under the surface, waiting to rear its ugly head. For now, though, I choose to celebrate this accomplishment, by getting up, getting dressed, and putting myself out into the world, which I like to think is a little more interesting with me in it.
Which reminds me, I need to go take a shower.