I haven’t been very active for a few weeks, either on the podcast or here on the blog, because depression has reared its ugly head and has been lying to me on a daily basis. Telling me I’m not good enough. Telling me I’m not smart enough. Telling me I’ll never succeed at anything. Telling me I should just stop trying.
Also, funds have been very, VERY limited recently. Somehow, even though I’m trying to budget and paying more attention to my spending than ever, there’s less and less money to go around. A big part of that is because my daughter recently turned 18, which means I lost all those lovely parental tax credits I was getting from the government. And let me tell you, that was a pretty significant portion of my monthly budget. That tax credit used to pay for my car insurance, our tenant insurance, and my monthly bus pass. It also paid for any meals we had “out” (usually delivery).
So anyway, all that to say I’m having to pinch my pennies a bit harder, and it’s difficult, which makes the depression get a better toe-hold into me. Why am I telling you all this? Because I’m trying to dig myself out of it. And one of the ways I do that is to make myself a little bit accountable outside my own head. One of the plans is to meal plan a bit better. Today being payday, I went through the discount grocery chain’s flyer with a fine-tooth comb, made a list, and made some plans about what we’re going to eat for the next seven days.
I plan on making a pot of Budget Bytes Gingerbread Steel-Cut Oats in the Instant Pot (recipe will be followed except for the method – I’ll follow the method I usually use for steel cut oats in the IP). That, and a pot of seriously-discounted yogurt (yay sales!) will cover breakfasts. I also bought some bananas, so I may make a second batch of steel-cut oats with bananas if I run out of gingerbread. I bought some seasoned chicken legs (with back attached). When I picked up the package, both my kids groaned. See, a few weeks ago, chicken legs were on a deep discount at my store, so I bought a crapton. We’ve been eating nothing but chicken legs for a long time, and the troops are tired of them. So those are my work lunch for the next four workdays (I’ll cook them momentarily).
I bought some chickpeas and tahini to make Real Simple Five-minute hummus (my daughter eats it like it’s going out of style, so why not save a bit of money and make it at home?) There are fresh vegetables to go with that. She also has cans of condensed soup, which are one of her favorite foods – those will be doled out one per day. I bought chicken hotdogs and buns for my son’s lunches, and I usually leave him a big pot of rice in the fridge at the beginning of the week. I managed to get two barded king roasts for less than $12, and some ground pork that should be enough to make 3 meals (along with 3-lb bags of onions and carrots). My budget was $100. I spent $101.16. I feel okay about that. I need to do more advance food prep, and I need to make sure I have decently healthy food for my grocery store shifts, so I don’t end up buying something to eat on my break (I literally can’t buy anything this week).
Anyway, beyond the money and food thing, I know I need help to pull myself out of this. Both my kids are in therapy currently, so I can’t really afford to go that route myself, but my employer has a rather impressive Employee Assistance Program that I intend to contact some time before the end of the week. I got stressed out at work this morning, for entirely valid reasons, but I was 100% unable to prevent myself from bursting into tears over it in my boss’s office. Don’t worry, my boss is entirely in my corner and wants to do whatever she can to support and assist me. I wasn’t stressed out about her 🙂
So since the EAP is available to me, and costs nothing, I will avail myself of the assistance offered. Because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help. Depression and anxiety affect a lot of people, and a lot of them don’t have access to the kind of assistance I have available to me. So as difficult as things have been for me in recent weeks, I am privileged to have assistance available to me.
I guess my point in bringing all this up is, if you need help, ask for it. Talk to your doctor, if you can. Talk to a friend. Talk to your family (if that’s something that would help – not everyone has a supportive family, or even family at all). Talk to me. We all need a helping hand once in a while. And some of us need that a bit more often. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Also, everybody’s always looking for ways to save money, so if you have a favorite tip, share it in the comments 🙂