"Mental Illness"

 

Mental Illness

Mental illness effects tons of people across the world in a variety of ways. I have suffered from a series of mental illnesses including alcoholism, bipolar and severe depression for most of my life. I would estimate that I didn’t even know I had issues for about 90% of it.  As sad as it sounds, I always just assumed that there was something wrong with me. Now that I know about these mental health issues I can look back and understand exactly how they have affected me. I’m also able to see how they fed off of each other making my mental state worse and worse as each one fought for dominance in my head. I used alcohol to combat my bipolar so things would seem normal, but that fed the depression and led to some incredibly erratic moments.

 

The Early Years

One of the earliest things that I remember is constantly spending money on superficial items. I used this as a way to boost my self-esteem. Another thing was my inability to focus in school, which affected my grades so much that I didn’t go to college. The lack of a college education resulted in missing out on a lot of job opportunities in life.  Nevertheless I was still ambitious about my opportunities.  I didn’t give up; I kept trying to live by the idea of “you can accomplish anything in life if you try hard enough”. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true. I ended up failing miserably at a lot of my life goals, which gave the depression a chance to gain a solid foothold. This opened the floodgates for all of my illnesses to band together and create a never-ending train wreck of epic proportions.

Train Wreck

This period of my life was a blur of wild drunken binges, manic phases that usually involved blowing large amounts of money, and severe bouts of depression that made my obsession with hating myself worse. Throughout these years I could barely hold down a job, and when I did there was this inevitable feeling that I would find a way to lose it. I finally got to the point in my life where it was just easier to do nothing rather than having to worry about something. My philosophy was “if you don’t do anything you can’t fail at anything”.

Meeting M

It wasn’t until I moved in with M that I started on my path of recovery. However, there were still a lot of hurdles to overcome and the process was slow. Finding yourself as a person isn’t easy, and having a mental illness makes it all the more difficult. Over the years she worked with me, and I began to overcome some of these issues. However, my mental illness fought back. I struggled to manage them and this was a trying period for both of us.

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Life on its terms

Currently there are still parts of my life that haven’t been fully corrected.  I have been slowly addressing all of the mental illnesses and seeing a therapist. I’m working on managing a budget and learning to live life on its own terms, whereas in the past I tried to fit everything into my own narrative. I have a job that I like, and I’ve started putting money into my 401K and buying company stock. It’s not much yet, but this is my start to FI/RE and my path to financial peace.

 

Mental Illness

My Path to FI/RE

I know my path to financial peace isn’t going to be quick or easy. It’s a long-haul journey,  and I’ve accepted that steady will win the race. I have a great start with a good job that offers a 401K. I’ve started putting away money (starting small, I know I can’t afford to give up 20% of my paycheck yet, and that’s ok!). You would be amazed at how far a small win like starting a 401K goes towards boosting my energy and making me actually want to do more with life. I’ve learned that having a mental illness doesn’t have to keep me from FI/RE or anything else in life. It can be tough, but it’s not impossible.

I want to stress that if you or someone you know struggles with mental illness it’s not impossible to get on the right path. The key is to start slow. Get the little things in life figured out first – find a good job and manage your medication correctly (Can’t stress how important this is!). It’s also incredibly important to see a therapist once or twice a month. Sometimes just being able to vent every once and awhile can make all the difference in the world. I’m not going to sugar coat things, it’s a long process that won’t be figured out overnight (One of the biggest mistakes I made was attempting to fix everything overnight). But nothing worth doing is easy, right?  It’s definitely achievable, and having partners on your path will make it that much easier.

I’ve just started my path to financial freedom, but I am loving the journey so far. Here’s to the coming years and all it has to offer.

– Sincerely, J

 

*Links with this next to it are affiliate links. That means I’ll receive a small commission if you decide to click on it and buy something. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost you anything extra!

 

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12 thoughts on “Mental Illness: Overcoming it and finding financial peace

  1. Welcome J!
    As hard as it is – thanks for sharing your story. Promoting awareness and education can be one of the best forms of therapy as well to help stay on a path to success!

    As well as surrounding yourself with those who are healthy for you…the blogging community is a pretty healthy group of people all supportive of one another, helping each other attain their goals. You can look to them for support and ideas when you feel like turning away.

    Wishing you well!

  2. Onward and Upward. Wish I’d started planning at your age or earlier (I didn’t plan to fail, I failed to plan). Stick with the plan, keep the faith, Be persistent. Proud of ya’ll. Uncle Brian

  3. I have an aunt that was diagnosed with bipolar disorder years ago. My mother doesn’t quite understand that a lot of her decisions are because of her disorder and she can’t change who she is. I’m always trying to find ways to explain to people that she doesn’t intentionally try to hurt people or do some of the things she does, it’s just apart of who she is.

    I like that you focus on financial stability for those with mental illness. I think this is really overlooked when we talk the effects of mental illnesses.

    • It is really hard for people without the disease to understand. Its been hard for me to understand why Jonathan does some of the things he does, but I’m trying to understand the disease

    • Its super hard. Sometimes it just takes control of your life. He’s working really hard on controlling it though, and hopefully symptoms will improve!

  4. This was a really informative article on mental illness. I don’t have a lot of exposure to this issue in my immediate family so I appreciate the information. I think the biggest issue between those who struggle with mental illness and those who don’t is the distance in understanding that lies between each other. How can you empathize with something in which you have no experience. Thank you for sharing.

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