The Second Elephant on my Chest

This pneumonia business is taking its sweet time clearing out.  I’m still having trouble taking a deep breath.  It’s like the proverbial elephant sitting on my chest.  But this morning I realized there’s another pachyderm squatting on me as well.

Last night I had an opportunity to go shopping with my girlfriends.  But I only had $40 to last me until my next Disability check comes on October 3.  That $40 had to cover groceries, gas for the truck, and any other purchases.  So, I did a rare and scary thing.  I asked my sister to let me take $200 out of my emergency fund (which she controls).  My sister is a gentle guardian.  She always sends me the money I ask for—no interrogations, no judgments.  When the check came in the mail, I put $100 in my checking account and kept $100 in cash.

Even though I’ve been too depressed to think clearly, I was giddy last night.  I actually bought myself Halloween twinkle lights ($5) and two new spiral notebooks ($2 each)—one with The Dark Knight on the cover and the other with The Avengers.  I felt deliciously decadent and rich beyond measure.  While my friends shopped for clothes, I wandered through the racks.  Such gorgeous fabrics!  Such flattering designs!  It was a visual feast.  When I checked the price tags, I just couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing.  One top cost as much as a week’s worth of groceries.  Clearly, I’d taken a misstep somewhere.  I felt dizzy and couldn’t catch my breath.

Poverty is the second elephant pinning me down.  Last night I let loose and stocked up on spaghetti and soup at Costco, but normally I fret over every dime.  When my bipolar compulsions push me to “throw money away,” it’s usually to buy a pizza or get take out from the local Chinese restaurant.  We’re talking $15 at the most, but that’s enough to make me park the truck for the rest of the month and walk everywhere I need to go.

There is no margin in poverty.  There’s only shuffling around the few dollars I have.  Do I pay the doctor bill this month or try to whittle down my VISA bill (which I use to pay for gas)?  Can I afford coffee today, or do I need to stick to ice water?  Can I make myself cook a meal when I’m so depressed I’m afraid to turn on the stove?

I don’t write this for sympathy or as a plug for donations.  Most of the time, I manage just fine.  I’ve learned to live very simply and to mediate my bipolar splurges.  It’s just when the elephant eases up a little, like she did last night, I see how heavy she really is.  Money, or the lack of it, colors every interaction with my family and friends, it determines my activities, my diet, my grooming—every choice there is to make.  I’ve become a person who relies on the generosity of my circle—someone who has gotten comfortable accepting gifts.  Pride is a thing of the past—well—I still worry about looking like a homeless person.  Maybe that’s because I’m so close to being one.

I don’t know what to do to make this situation any better.  I’ve tried going back to work—several times—to disastrous results.  I’ve applied for all social assistance programs.  I try to keep my expenses to the bare minimum.  The only thing I could think of today was to research Etsy and try to sell my greeting cards online.  So I worked on that for hours.  In a few days, I’ll have a “shop” up and running, but I can’t think much money will come pouring in.

All I can do is put the Word out to the Universe—I need more abundance in my life.  Since this is the cusp of the Autumn Equinox, it seems fitting to be setting an intention for balance and plenty.  I’m well aware that the Universe answers in unexpected and startling ways.  I’m ready for whatever answer comes.

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cauldrons and Cupcakes
    Sep 22, 2012 @ 00:28:52

    Wishing you ease and flow. Sending love.
    And keep writing – because your write so honestly and beautifully.
    I trust that something will show up for you.
    Bless xx

    Reply

  2. minlit
    Sep 22, 2012 @ 06:32:06

    You can use a system called payvment on facebook to sell your artwork. It’s free to use and allows people to pay you directly. You make some very interesting images. You should put them out there. The margins on Greeting Cards are SMALL (trust me, I know :)) but if you can part with originals, then there are definitely ways to get to market. WP also has some lovely gallery styles. Maybe you could showcase all work you’d be prepared to sell on a separate blog? d

    Reply

  3. docrob50
    Sep 22, 2012 @ 23:22:26

    we are pretty darn near in the same boat or at least the same choppy seas.

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      Sep 23, 2012 @ 08:27:22

      I’m sorry to hear this. I thought your wife worked. I thought you guys had a house. So many assumptions.

      Reply

      • docrob50
        Sep 25, 2012 @ 15:24:10

        oh dear i meant going out to sea needing more abundance and just trusting that what ever comes we will be able to accept it – eventually – as part of living….

        yes, wife works we have a mortgage – i am unemployed and headed towards my last 6 months as an official leach on the American soul…..and at 62 not many makers out there ready to take me on…….

        and here your compassion for others comes shining through – even during a bleak period for you Sandy Sue the caring of your heart speaks with clarity and strength.

      • Sandy Sue
        Sep 25, 2012 @ 16:37:04

        Oh, Rob. Think again about the leach business.

  4. littlesundog
    Sep 23, 2012 @ 20:34:59

    I will be sending some positive energy your way! Looks like you could use a big booster shot of it!

    Reply

  5. pegoleg
    Sep 24, 2012 @ 09:12:38

    You write so well, Sandy, even about subjects that must be painful for you.

    Reply

  6. Trackback: Links to Those Writing About the World of Dual Diagnosis | The World of Dual Diagnosis is a Quagmire!
    • Sandy Sue
      May 22, 2014 @ 20:50:59

      This post really isn’t about dual diagnosis. It’s about being bipolar and poor. Though I am in a treatment program now for folks who suffer from dual diagnoses. Does that count?

      Reply

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