It’s difficult to deal with mental illness. It’s also difficult to deal with money. It’s even harder to deal with both at the same time.
Struggling with depression and anxiety while also trying to build up my savings account and my credit has proven one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. There were times when having less than $2,000 in my savings and less than $100 in my checking made me to feel like I was failing financially even my cash flow, but end up impulse spending and getting upset with myself. It wasn’t a fun cycle.
It has taken a lot of hard work to break that cycle, but I have taught myself how to budget properly, pay all of my bills, and still put money away in savings every month. I know I’m not the only one who has struggled with money while also dealing with depression and anxiety, so I’m sharing how I was able to gain control.
Disconnect Anxiety and Depression from Money
I realized I couldn’t let my mental illness control my finances—and I couldn’t let my finances control my mental illness. Just because I have depression doesn’t mean I have to beat myself up for spending more than I intended or improperly budgeting or whatever it was I did. Just because I have anxiety doesn’t mean that I have to be constantly worried about my account being above a completely unrealistic point considering my income. I also couldn’t let my account being low cause me to be low emotionally. This realization and being conscious of it every single day made it a part of my daily thoughts naturally.
Get Smart about Budgeting
The other thing I did was set up an account with Mint.com. I really thought that this would be a dumb approach to dealing with my finances, but why not give it a chance? It ended up working out really great. I have budgets set up for rent, groceries, eating out, doctor’s visits, mental health, etc. I get an alert any time I get close to my budget, exceed my budget, etc. I even get an alert if my income is more than I had anticipated. When that happens, the excess money gets put directly into my savings account for a rainy day. My Mint account, if nothing else, makes me conscious of what I’m spending.
Mental illness doesn’t have to control your finances and your finances don’t have to control your mental state. Don’t let one overrule the other!