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.