So I went home for Thanksgiving, as one is wont to do when the opportunity is there. I had a mini-meltdown when I got my bills paid and realized that paying my mother the $60 I owe her would leave me with $140 for food and gas for the following two weeks, and the cupboards are pretty bare as it is. I could hear mom’s eyes rolling across the phone, and she told me to just come home already and not to worry about the money. She also snuck $60 into my purse before I left, so that essentially made my drive home free, as that was roughly what I spent in gas getting there and back. Mom said I could pay her back if I wanted later, but not to worry about it, she was just glad my car was in working order. (I borrowed the money to get my oil changed; I was already more than 2000 miles overdue. I was checking the oil obsessively and I think overall it was fine, as I’m very regular with my maintenance, but things are just so tight right now…)
My sister and I are the only two who live out of state, and my sister was going to her fiance’s family Thanksgiving in New York, so it was just me in the house. I got to spend a lot of time with my mom, which was awesome. Thanksgiving evening, I sat and talked with my parents, and explained my financial woes.
Basically, since moving out on my own, I live on a razor-fine budget now. Getting the crisis phone at work is literally the only reason I have money for gas and food every month. My coworker leaving was actually good for me in that respect; not only will my productivity increase and make it easier to maintain my employment, I will now get the phone two out of every three paychecks, rather than every other, putting me ahead by $250 every two months.
I explained this all to my parents, and we walked through all of my monthly expenses. My stepdad got stuck on the significant amount of money I spend on my psychiatrist and psychologist; he wanted to know why I have to see my psychiatrist every two months, and why I see my psychologist bimonthly, and made it pretty clear he finds that a waste of my money. He suggested I find a good support group and go there instead for therapy, insisting that he goes to his AA meetings, gets a lot of support, and only has to pay a dollar per meeting.
Differences in problems aside, I tried to explain why seeing both doctors regularly is important. I would see my psychiatrist monthly if I could afford it, because I fret about my meds a lot. I would also see my therapist weekly if possible, but again, monetary constraints. I’m lucky she lets me carry a balance there or I’d be totally screwed.
I would like to find a support group, though my problem is, I know a ton of people who attend groups in this county and the county I work in, so I’d have to go to a third county to find a group where I didn’t know everyone. Laziness tends to take over when I realize that locating groups requires effort and thus, it doesn’t happen. I think support groups are valuable, and a good tool to bring alongside my pharmacological treatment and cognitive-behavioral treatment.
My stepdad continued to push, though, talking about how he only sees his psychiatrist once a year (which I find horribly irresponsible, how are they supposed to develop something approximating a working relationship like that? How are they supposed to monitor mental status?) and how he decided to quit all of his meds once his doctor took him off of one they never should’ve put him on. What sort of idiot puts someone with a long history of alcoholism on a benzo? He then discontinued his Celexa as well, which has horrible withdrawal symptoms which my stepdad is clearly showing- the man is irritable and constantly picking fights with people, mostly my mom. He doesn’t see why I should be paying $65 every other week for “perfectly good therapy” I could get at a support group such as AlAnon. I tried to explain that AlAnon triggers my PTSD something awful, and seeing my therapist doesn’t. Mom suggested a NAMI group which is what I’ll look for once I get off my reluctant ass and find one. I suggested they go to one of the family support groups. I also later talked with my stepdad about medications he could try for his anxiety that wouldn’t be habit forming and would give him that little extra help he needs, should he decide to go back on meds.
I mostly felt backed into a corner during the first conversation Thanksgiving night, where it was all focused on me and saving money so I’m not living on so tight a margin. I explained that in May of 2014 my car will be paid off, and once I’ve made 100 payments on my student loans while working at a community agency, my remaining college debt will be forgiven, and I’m getting close on that one, too. The end is in sight, I just have to hold on in the interim. I turned the tables on my stepdad on Black Friday, and talked to him about his anxiety and medications. I probably pissed him off, but these days everything does, so I ignored it.
Having to justify my personal choices in treatment sucks.