Monday, May 16, 2011

I am still here....and trying to be better.

I am still here, just have not had much to say. I am still depressed. I am still unhappy with myself. Unfortunately, family drama has taken over my life for the last few weeks. Luckily I am not really part of it, however I have been called on to pick sides. But that it that.

I am still very down. I seem to do well for a day or two, and then something triggers my tears again. I have decided I really don't like going out any more. I always feel good at the time, but then I see pictures or something and it is all over.

When I was younger (and hence thin) I never had a problem going out and turning heads. I recently went out with some friends and I felt invisible. No one even looked at me, I felt so unattractive and unwanted. It really dashed my self-esteem again. I need to get back to the gym and try to change this. But it is hard. I have been so tired lately. Not sure if it the depression, or the fact that my kids don't sleep well. Or maybe a combination of the two or stress. But it is really taking a toll on me.

There has been some new exciting and promising developments. I can't say much yet. But an opportunity has come about and things seem to be falling place to make it a reality. This could be a turning point, but I don't want to get my hopes up yet. I will let you know. Should have word by the end of the week.

Sorry this post was a bit rambling...but that it how my mind seems right now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I am not who you see...this is not the real me...

Awhile back while living in NYC, I had a summer internship, which required me to take the bus to get there. One morning while waiting for the bus, a little old man approached the stop. He was dress in an beautiful tweed vintage suit. He came over to me and smiled a sad smile. In his hands he held a framed 8 x 10 black and white portrait of a very handsome young man, which appeared to have been taken in the 1930-40s. He spoke and held up the picture. "This is the real me, what you see on the outside is not me, this is me, this is what is inside".  He turned and walked away. I sat there stunned. This encounter has haunted me to this day.

I get it though. I feel exactly like that man. I feel the need to carry around a picture from my "glory days". To say I wasn't always the hot mess you see in front of you. I used to be skinny, I used to be organized, I used to be a dancer, I used to be young, I used to be better....and I still feel this way inside even though now one else can see it...can see me, can see the "real" me....I can't even see her anymore.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Inside my head...the turmoil ....the struggle.

I am attempting a purge of my house. A very good friend/relative has agreed to help me. She it seems is the only one that understands what I need. When I ask my family for help, I just get chastised and told stories how they were able to keep their house spotless, with 5 kids working full time, with no help, with one hand tied behind their back, using only a dirty rag...yada yada yada. So once again pointing out that there is something wrong with me...

They don't understand that it is not the cleaning I need help with, it is the process of deciding what goes and letting go of it.

Let me say that my house is not "dirty" there are no piles of garbage strewn about, I do not collect empty bottles, I have electricity and running water, you will not find any decomposing animals or skeletons under mounds of junk. I have stuff. I have alot of stuff. A lot of clutter, A lot of toys, A lot of clothes. Why I have all of this and why a buy stuff is a subject for another post. But this is what is inside my head when attempting to pare it down.

Yesterday was really hard. Every item staring me in the face, slapping me with reality, that I do have a problem, I am not normal. Tears flow even as I write that statement. This is beyond me, I don't know how to fix it, or stop it. I want to scream what is wrong with me, how did this happen. I wasn't always like this.

My mind seems to work differently, to see things differently. Where my "helper" saw three or four items all the same (eg/ shape sorter toys), I saw three uniquely different objects, each with their own value for being kept. I struggled. At times putting something in the sell bin and removing it, and putting it back again several times.  I hated the feeling of taking my children's toys from them, it didn't matter to me that they had too much. I mean those are their things, it doesn't seem fair to take things away without their input. How would you like if you woke up and found someone had sorted through your things and decided what they thought you should keep and got rid of the rest with out asking you. It tore my heart to think that might be upset by this.

I heard myself trying to rationalize with my "helper" as to why each item needed to be was almost as if I was watching from outside myself. It embarrassed me, yet I still could not make the decisions, and let things go. I kept saying "I know I have too much stuff but I just really want to keep that, the kids like that..etc". So pathetic looking  back....but in the moment, my rational self just seems to be absent...
I really want to let go...I just can' one understands... it is NOT it one of the hardest things I have every gone through...

I hate the word hoarder, for what it connotes...I just see the show...perhaps the show has in a way "criminalized" the word, associating it with mainly with the extreme. I am not the extreme...thankfully...but I it does not matter...I still am not normal..

Why is this stuff so important, why can't I just let it go...why does it have such power over me...why does this overshadow my life...takes it over...what is wrong with me...why is it such a struggle....

I want people to understand, but for them to understand they would have to know the extent of the problem...which would be mortifying. See the problem...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Back to reality...too bad it bites!

So we are back from our trip. It really was nice, it was a breather to get away from everything for awhile, to leave all the "reality" back at home. It was great to see everyone, the kids had a ball with their grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins, the sun and warm weather was really a mood lifter. It was nice to "forget" for awhile.

But now I am back, and reality is a cold, hard slap in the face. The house is worse than ever. The finances are overwhelming. My depression has resurfaced. It is time to deal with all this, but all I want to do it slid under the covers and hide. Not too helpful.

I called Bank of America yesterday to try to negotiate a lower interest rate on my card, it is currently 17.9, it used to be 12.9 and they raised it because of "negative activity on my credit report", I have never been late with a payment, I have never been over the limit, I almost always pay more than the minimum payment, and I have been a customer of theirs since 1999. But apparently that means nothing to them. All that matters in the "negative activity" on my credit report which was a result of a dispute with Citibank which holds one of my student loans.  They also stated that my revolving debt is too high, and they would be happy to reduce my interest rate when approximately 50 percent of it it paid off. Huh?!?  Yet the high interest rate is preventing me from tackling little more than the interest each is a losing battle. Their only suggestion was giving me the number for Consumer Credit Counseling or the like, and stated they would reduce the interest rate if I was working with one of those agencies. It makes no sense to me.

So I starting looking in those types of agencies. Consumer Credit Counseling being the first one I examined. Their website was pretty upfront about how they work and the fees they charge. Yep, that's right they charge fees. $39 to sign up, and $4 per account enrolled per month, or $35 per month flat which ever it lower. They negotiate directly with the credit card banks for lower interest rate, sometimes as low as 1 or 2 %, and lump all you payments in one sum, which you pay to the CCR and they distribute to the credit cards each month. They set you up on a plan usually 5yrs after which you will be credit card debt free.

Doesn't sound too bad, however, the downfalls are,
#1 as soon as you enroll, all the credit card accounts you enroll in the programs are immediately closed, which negatively effects your credit score, sometimes quite a bit.
#2 the fact that your are participating in a debt management program is noted on your credit report, and it can be used as a negative when looking at the credit report.
#3 The only debts that are eligible for the program are credit cards, store cards, and unsecured loans. Student loans are not part, which is the majority of our debts.
So I am unsure if this is good option. We are not in default on any cards, and the 17.9 it the highest interest rate we currently hold. The other cards we have actually have fairly low Aprs. 

I plan on investigating it further, but I am to say I am a bit embarrassed by the whole prospect, I never pictured myself as one of "those" people.  But the actual counseling part of their services are free so it may be worth the time.

Things are just so difficult now that we are home, my mental state is precarious at best. I have cried several times, and just so paralyzed by the overwhelming implications of everything. My failure to be normal, slapping me in the face in every direction I look.  My mother told me upon coming home, that I need serious help. (in reference to the state of my house) but did not offer to help me. Peoples "helpful" suggestions are really bothersome, like telling me to just go get a job and that the kids would be much happier in daycare because they are really bored staying with me!? Yes, because I can just find a job tomorrow, they are handing them on out on the corner, right? And I am sure that daycare it just as easy to find, because who cares who watches your kids? It just makes me want to scream.

I would like to get counseling, but I really cannot afford the co-pays right now...not sure where to go from here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

When you think it can't possibly get does.

It turns out that I am not good a math. Turns out that forgotten income that was lost in January is much more detrimental to our precarious financial state that you would think.

The short story is that I forgot that I had some $400 a month coming in from a retainer type agreement for a local bank, I did all they needed as needed when needed for a set rate. I had arranged for this money to go directly toward a credit card bill so there was no chance of spending it and that way I would never miss it. Thus it become "forgotten" unseen money. Well that agreement ended with a change in management in December.
Now fast forward to March, we have been extremely short on money for the last two months, having to dip into reserved tax money and "vacation" money (not really ours given to us by in-laws so we could come visit), and for the life of me I could not figure out what the problem was. I mean, I had worked so hard to cut our expenses, I should have been seeing a difference but in fact we were coming up shorter than ever. As I sat in our bank parking lot on Friday in tears over the fact that my husband had gotten paid the day before and already all the money was completely gone (to bills), I realized I had forgotten about the $400 which had been taking care of one of the credit card bills completely. And then I began to cry harder (thankfully both kids were sleeping in their car seats as I try very hard to never let them see me upset), how am I supposed to come up $400 more a month. I feel like I have been backed into a corner, I am going to have no choice but to at least go back to work part-time, otherwise we are just going to keep drowning.

I feel like I have completely failed my family and myself.

And to top in off, in the mail I noticed a letter from my husband's student loan servicer (he never opens his mail) so I opened it and found that his loan had come out of deferment and they now would like $798 and by the way this is already past due 45 days.

I am so overwhelmed, I do not even know what to do. Bankruptcy really wouldn't even help that must as the majority of our debt is student loans which would not be forgiven.  I just want to run away or wake up from this nightmare.

How is it that two people with advanced degrees have ended up in such a mess.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

So I am back...

It has been awhile, a day turned in weeks, weeks turned into months, and before I knew it I hadn't been on here in a long time. It also means I haven't been that into my "journey".

But I am back...physically and mentally...or somewhat...

So what have I been doing? Well we joined the YMCA, which was a lot to lay out each month, especially when you are trying to save and cut back. But it has been worth it. I have been going to the gym almost every morning while my son is in preschool to work out, and I am able to leave me 1yr old in child watch at the ymca and have some "me" time.  I started out with just 30 mins and have worked up to 1 1/2 hours. I have rediscovered my love of YOGA and pilates. And have lost 10lbs.

Financially, we have cancelled Time Warner cable and internet and switched to Direct TV and DSL. Savings almost $100 per month, we also downgraded our smart phones to regular cell phones and have saved $80 per month. I have been diligently cutting coupons and trying very hard to save money at the Grocery store. I have greatly curtailed my outside coffee and lunch habits, trying to limit any unnecessary food  expenses. By joining the YMCA, I have been able to save Gas by going to a YMCA near my son's preschool, instead of driving home and back while he is at school. Also by creating a GYM habit I have been able to keep myself from shopping while he is at school, which used to be the favorite pastime.

Unfortunately we have had many unforeseen expenses over the last few months, lots of illness and ER visits with lots of copays. My husband's 16 yr old jeep finally became to unsafe to keep driving, and needed to many repairs to make it worth while, so we purchased a used mini-van and took a short term loan to finance it. Originally, we planned to pay off the loan with our Tax return but now I am not sure if that is right plan, as the interest rate on the loan it quite low. So I think it might be more prudent to put the tax money on the credit card with the highest interest rate. I guess we will seen.

We are also going on a trip in the coming month. My husband side of the family always gets together sometime near Easter, they all meet up in Florida where my in-laws live. We have not gone to this get together in several years. Unfortunately my husband's grandmother in not in good health and may not be with us much longer so my husband really wants to go this year to see her and have her see our children. So my mother in law has graciously given us money towards this trip. We cannot afford to fly, so we are going to be driving. I am sure that unexpected expenses will come up, but we will be staying with my in-laws so at least we do not have to pay for lodging. Family is more important than money....

So that is a quick catch up...I will be back more often, as I find I need this outlet in order to be more successful and accountable in this journey.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Family...the ties that bind, the ties that hurt, the ties that pierce you to the core.

Why is it that family, those who are supposed to be there for you, hurt you the most...

I have a large family, several siblings, all brothers. My youngest brother used to be sweetest cutest little thing. I loved him to death. In the last few years I have watched him grow into a negative mean spirited ass. It seems lately he never has anything nice to say to me. It seems that I have become his personal punching bag. He says biting nasty things to me when ever I am around. Why?

I have never done anything mean spirited or nasty to him. I have gone out of my way to help him when he has asked. I have tried to be a good sister. What do I get in return? I get my feeling hurt on a regular basis. It has gotten to the point that I don't even want to go to my parents house (he lives there) anymore. I don't want my children to see him treat me this way.

Why does what he says hurt me so much? Why do family think they can be so mean, would he say these things to others? He did this to me tonight while sitting next to his girlfriend. It was so embarrassing to be treated this way by him in front of someone I barely know.  I left in tears...

I have asked him why...and he just makes more snide comments and mean jabs at me. I give up. I am so done with this...with him. I miss my cute little brother..