Levels of anxiety and depression seemingly climb every day. This week, we are covering a different subject. It’s incredibly important, personal, and relevant.
I want to go over my personal struggle with mental illness, the things that I use/do to help, and how I figure out when I need help. Towards the end, I’ll tie some instances of how your finances can impact your mental health.
I have anxiety and depression. I was diagnosed earlier this year. Once you can put a name to how you’re feeling, your eyes open.
When I was diagnosed, it forced me to look back on my life and I realized that I’ve had this for a long time. Mannerisms, behaviors, etc. all made sense.
With the diagnosis, however, came a new challenge. How do I treat this? How do I cope?
For a little more insight, I want to provide some more information about where I am in life.
I’m in the middle of a divorce that, unfortunately, I didn’t want. Add onto that the fact that I now spend half as much time with my son as I used to.
It sucks. It hurts, and some days are better than others. Your circumstances could be different or similar.
How I feel
At the time of writing, not great. I call these, funks. A funk meaning I’m depressed. Reluctant to hang out with friends and family. Reluctant to talk to anyone. I just want to be alone.
That said, the funks don’t usually last long. My current one is going on for four days.
The question I often ask myself when I’m in these funks, is this the depression or the divorce that’s causing this? The answer is both, but is one playing a bigger role than the other? That question will never have an answer because there is no way of knowing.
What I do
There are a few things that I’ve started to help cope with anxiety and depression.
- Exercise – You have to. In my opinion, this is the most important thing you can do for your mental health.
- Talk to someone – I go to therapy every three weeks. When I started, I was going every other week, but I got to the point where I felt good enough to wait one more week. It’s also a good idea to have a “person” you can go and vent to. Get it off of your chest.
- Journal – Before I go to sleep, I review the day to see how I felt throughout and try to figure out why I was feeling a certain way. I also list a few specific things I was grateful for.
- Medication – I’m on an anti-depressant, which has helped, but I also think I need to change this up. Talk to your therapist and/or psychiatrist to get this figured out.
- Meditation – I don’t have a formal mindfulness practice. Mine is centered around movement and breathing. Specifically, I do Tai-Chi every morning. It has helped tremendously.
When to get help
I have a very obvious line in the sand for when I need to get more help.
When I’m depressed and in a funk, I know it’s only temporary and will get better, but if I ever think that it won’t get better, that’s the sign.
That’s when the thought of suicide can become more prevalent.
There are a few examples when your finances can hurt your mental state.
- Too much debt – If you are in a hole and can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.
- Feeling like you aren’t where you thought you’d be.
- Making just enough to pay your bills, with very little, if any, leftover.
- Investments – having an emotional attachment to your portfolio is never good. In this case, I usually recommend people ask themselves two questions.
- What type of portfolio allocation will help me meet my goals?
- What type of portfolio allocation will help me sleep at night?
- The right allocation is usually somewhere in the middle, but it’s a good idea to backtest the allocation to see what you are really comfortable with.
My pledge to you
Whether it’s finance-related or not, I’m here if any of you need to talk. Below you’ll find my email.
Mental illness is a big problem in this country and around the world. If you or anyone you know is struggling, utilize the resources below!
Remember, you are never alone. There is always, ALWAYS, someone that wants to help.