Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself


Thursday, May 28, 2009

How It Starts

The last couple of days have been less than stellar. You know how it goes... you start to feel stronger and more able to cope with life's logistics. You spend some time (in my case, ably "advised" by parents) going over the financial train wreck once known as Your Budget. It's never a cheerful prospect, and for someone separated from her bread-winner husband just on 12 months (a bread-winner who is gleefully gorging on all his own damn bread now thank you very much), it really hurts. When we split, the two main debts Mr Ex and I had were split down the middle, with me taking on the $23,000 personal loan and him taking on the $19,000 car loan. Then, in those early heady days of post-marriage possibility, I was still working fulltime. I was living with my parents, splitting rent and bills, but still with a solid support base if and when required. He was moving out on his own, and the decision to do so had been thrust upon him, so I cut him some financial slack. He doesn't pay child support for the three animals we have, I have paid for his private health insurance since the split, and a couple of weeks ago he flew across the country on vacation paid for by his family. Bitter much? Ha!

Now, a year and a breakdown later, the repayments on the loan are about 1/3 of my total earnings. I've had to cancel my health insurance and gym membership. I can't declare bankruptcy without the loan defaulting to Mr Ex, which would painfully and permanently put an end to the amicable divorce. On top of this, Mr Ex's sister generously gave him her as-new laptop computer, so he "gave" me back the rental PC we had signed up for, along with the $100 a month payment. I found out that the rental contract can't be cancelled and to buy it out will cost $1500 (more than a new PC is worth), so I am stuck paying the $100 a month til Feb 2010.

I don't know why I'm even re-living this, or sharing it. I suppose this is a space for venting, and I do need to vent about the roiling fury that simmers in my stomach when I think about my finances, which are currently sitting on death row with no hope for a pardon. I got myself into this, don't get me wrong. I know that the BPD-fuelled spending, and general lack of budgeting, over the last 10 years have created a pit of debt that I deserve to inhabit. It's just that my day-to-day living is so damn pathetic and dismal (compared to the whirlwind of fancypants mania spending), and this New Deal budget my folks and I have worked out basically means I have to not buy coffee, lunch, magazines or food - ever. And the one outing I have per week, tenpin bowling, is in serious danger of being taken away. I literally can barely afford to survive. My food and rent and bills are subsidised by my family, only slightly but enough to make me feel unworthy and invalid. Ah, the catch cry of the Borderline...

I am trying to stay focused on the reasons for the belt-tightening, which are that I am dealing with a serious mental illness and therefore am only able to work part-time. The fact that I have a great job, and can function pretty well there, are things to be proud of. So what if I have to live like a pauper for the next five years? One day I will be free and clear of this stupid personal loan, and free of other debts because I won't qualify for any credit until hell freezes over. I am trying to focus on the things that don't need money, the important parts of my life that I love and adore which don't cost a cent (thanks Michelle!).

It scared me, this week, to feel derailed again and to lose the early glow of great-job-happiness. My favourite saying at the moment is "there is no recovery without relapse", and these less-than-stellar times will test my mental health. Today, my day off, I watched Buffy and slept. In a way, this was kind of the last straw. I had to get the Buffy videos out of the local library as my DVD-by-mail monthly rental plan is another casualty of the New Deal. Luckily, my ancient VCR still works...


Anonymous Drifter said...

Hang in there Lil. The thing to keep in mind is that this won't last forever. 5 years may seem like a long time but it WILL get better. I can understand what you're going through as I'm finding things pretty tight myself. Having going through bankruptcy, my credit is basically screwed until the second coming. you'll eventually have those bills out of your hair and your credit will improve as well. I can see why you'd be less than impressed by your ex, he seems to have walked away from your split in a better position. The $100 bill for the rental laptop was just plain wrong. Why should you incur this debt? Anyway, try to focus on those things you can enjoy that don't cost money and realize that things will eventually improve. (((Lil)))

Dee said...

I hate being in debt...only mine is not the just stuff like this. its worse when you are on a fixed income and you damn if you go earn more but you are damn if you don't earn more just to survive.

Some people just don't get it! one day it will hit them and they will see, life is not a bed of flowers after all!

Elizabeth B. Alexander said...

Sounds like you've got a good hold on everything, despite it being "less than optimal." That's a phrase my roommate and I always used for shit that really sucked.

My credit totally sucks from college. I just couldn't deal when the collectors called, especially from the hospital because then I had to think about my self inflicted two day visit to the ICU. And because I didn't have the money anyway. Keep your head up, everything will resolve itself.

I always think about the hard work it took to get into "recovery." You can DO IT!!! Okay, I'm getting too cheesy, but it really sounds like you're doing well.

Wandering Coyote said...

This sucks and I know how stressful it is, having been saddled with a huge student loan post-marriage. You sound calm and rational about it, very much in your wise mind, which is another thing to pat yourself on your back about. DBT is kicking in!

Borderline Lil said...

@ AD - thank you for the support, it really does help to know there are others in a similar situation. You're right about the PB rental, that $100/month just pushed me over the edge lol.
@ Dee - thanks for reading and supporting. I agree that some people seem to live outside the real world and some of us are too much in reality! Not fair!
@ Elizabeth - I love the cheesiness!! And I feel like I AM doing okay. It's horrifying dealing with creditors, isn't it?? The number of times I've said "I split up from my husband and had a breakdown", and even then it's rare to get sympathy from them. "Less than optimal" - love it.
@WC - I hope you're right, it does feel like DBT thinking is getting more and more "second-nature" for me. Ugh, student loans, luckily their repayments are income-related, and as I earn so little I haven't had to worry about paying back THAT $50 grand. A positive reason to be only marginally-employed haha!

Thanks for being here everyone xx

John said...

Try and take it easy lil... I have a shitload of debt from paying for shit expensive drugs, champagne and lapdancers when I split up with Ms. Ex. I get the odd pang of anxiety, but really I think... fuckit... what's the worst that can happen?

It's the right thing to do, paying it back. But with everything else you shouldn't let debt affect your health.

Take it easy...

John x

Borderline Lil said...

John, where are you man - I miss your rantings X: