Why is it that we tell ourselves we’re happy when my husband is always stressed about having too much work, my daughter doesn’t want to leave me to go to school, and I don’t want to get off the couch? We are always broke with student loan payments creeping up higher and higher. We have health insurance but no money to pay the deductible. I keep trying to find money by working with the numbers, obsessively counting and recounting. I thought about trying to earn some money myself, but both jobs I applied for–and actually thought I was qualified for–never called. One didn’t even require a college degree and still no call back. It’s not like I’m very capable right now anyway. But eventually my basic existence will drive us into deeper debt. I realize money is necessary, but, like many others, it never seems like we have enough. For the first time in our lives, my family has its own house; we rent, but we have no roommates. My daughter is much happier, as are my pets, but I’m afraid it won’t last. Very soon another student loan will come due and I have no idea how to pay it. I don’t want to go back to an apartment, but it might happen.
I imagine it is depressing for all of us who count pennies monthly–the constant anxiety. For me, it puts a price on my life. I think about my own worth in terms of dollars. It could cost a whole month’s food budget just to see a new doctor and pay for a month’s supply of medication. How do I do that now, let alone when the new student loan bill comes due in 2 months. It seems hopeless–too much money to commit to a longterm process that can be cut so much easier than a bill from a giant bank. How can I pay for the help I need when I have no income? How do I justify it? My husband is doing everything he can financially just to keep us afloat. What can I do? I can get a part-time job while my daughter is in school, but that is easier said than done, and, to be honest, my depression makes me an unreliable employee. There are days I can’t even stand to put on my glasses to see clearly–even clear vision is too much stimulation–how am I supposed to commit to a daily job when I can’t even guarantee my husband that I’ll do dishes every day? And I’m so tired of asking family for money. I feel like a loser. I can’t keep up. I face so much internal struggle, that having to face my real-world problems is too much. It’s too overwhelming. I feel like I can’t make it.
But I will. I don’t really feel confident saying that, but I have little choice but to say it anyway. One foot in front of the other, right? Even if I lose my house, my daughter still needs me. Even if I go bankrupt, my family will still love me. But my depression wants to take me down by any means necessary. I’m trying to keep my head up, but this fear of no money is trying to force me under. I take and take with no give. I give time, but that is worth nothing in the economy, so it feels like it means nothing. Money doesn’t provide happiness, but it does offer security, and it’s hard to be happy when you aren’t secure.
I don’t know what to do about this situation. I will still go to the doctor when I find one who will take me and get medication because I’m supposed to, but I feel like a failure. And it may help my illness, but we’ll still have all of these other problems. I will be better able to handle our problems, but I will also have driven us deeper into debt. It feels like I can’t win.
My advice today is don’t be like me. Don’t put a price tag on yourself. Don’t be fooled by the price of healthcare into thinking that you are not worth help. Fuck the bills, fuck the banks! You are priceless. Keep going in a world that systemically doesn’t want to help you. Be a rebel and choose love over money. There is no amount of money that could replace me as a wife, mother, daughter, or sister. I don’t want to admit it, but it is probably true. Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” I must believe that I am more than a dollar amount. I am a unique creation. There is something more for me than the amount of income I can bring in, right? So I’ll trust in the Lord that all my struggles have meaning, and that it will eventually all pass away. No matter the roll of the dice, I have value that cannot be found on my taxes. I just have to believe and accept it.