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I have read the frugal forums since 2002. I have been under or unemployed since 2004. I've been receiving SSDI because I developed a permanent mental health problem from a nervous breakdown followed by major depressive episode.

The mental health community here does not work on 'recovery' or 'coping skills'. It's just biweekly shots, monthly/bimonthly pdoc visits, therapist monthly for those who qualify (LMSW - worthless with very little training) and for just some people we get medical care to make sure the drugs don't destroy our physical health. There is a day program but it's more like daycare.

I did try taking classes but found it impossible to function with my new problem. I worked when I could find a job.

I spent a lot of time worrying about money and then spending to get out of the house and cheer myself up. I collected a few computer programs to learn to increase my skills in my field but they sat almost untouched. I realized that all the time I spent studying how to save money, the best thing for me to do is to put my effort into increasing my productive job skills and bring in more money.

We are studying something that doesn't earn a living and immersing ourselves in something that doesn't bring in more money. It is great to use the principles presented here but you must be bringing in some money and always looking for more ways to make money in order to make it any more.

The way to make money isn't just frugal living, it's to make a better living. When you are just barely making it, it's just one Murphy after another from which there is no escape except earning a better living.
 

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I agree with the difficulty of climbing out of "the hole" of not having enough money.

I think one of the great things about this site is it helps you to stretch out the money that you DO have, to take advantage of every penny. I think there is a point, if you are careful, where you can honestly feel that you make "enough" money to live comfortably, and the principles here help you find that point at a lower income than you might have otherwise thought was necessary.
 

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if you want recovery or coping skills al - anon is free.
 
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I agree with you. Frugality can stretch the money you have, but it won't put more in the bank account. The two sides of the coin are spend less AND earn more. Sometimes we ignore the "earn more" part and concentrate entirely on "spend less."
 

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One theory is that if you spend an hour to save a $1, and could have instead worked for minimum wage, then there is no question that you should be working. You really should only do the relatively easy things to save money, or the things you find enjoyable. (for example, if you enjoy knitting, and your hobby may take up a lot of time, and save a little bit of money - who cares - it is a hobby so don't give that up!)

And if you cut coupons on your lunch break, or in the doctors office you are not losing any time...

And of course if you are disabled, need to be home with your kids, or can't drive, that's a different story... but if you are ABLE to work you should be focusing on earning more money!
 

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Perhaps reach out to temp agencies? See if you can work with them around your condition. If that's possible, then you can go to the temp office nearest you and ask if they have training you can use to improve your skills.

If that's not an option, try going to the library and asking if they have anything there. There are usually flyers on the wall or things set up through the library itself.
 

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I too suffer from mental health issues. Mine are severe enough I cannot work outside the home. The stress and anxiety just wing me out of control. :( You are correct. A lot of these forums focus on saving money. For me that's a godsend. It's exactly what we need to live on one income comfortably.

But if you have no money coming in, you simply have to figure out a way to earn a living...period. And it often comes with limited energy if you're on anti-depressants or anti-psychotics. Which means you have limited energy reserves to pull on for practicing frugality.

The answer for me has been to support my DH in whatever way possible, as he is the major breadwinner. In other words, take care of yourself first so you can hold the job to earn the money. That means learning about coping skills and stress on your own. If you haven't done so, I'd highly recommend "The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook" by Edmund Bourne. I know it isn't on depression, but he covers topics in common with depression - self talk, mistaken beliefs, etc. Order it through Interlibrary Loan or take it out of your library. He also has another one "Beyond Anxiety and Phobia" which is good. If you're just looking for information on depression, check out "Feeling Good" by Burns.

Have you checked your local hospital to see if they have an out-patient program for mental health patients? What about support groups in any of your local churches, temples or whatever faith you may be?

If all else fails, make friends with doctors and nurses in the field of mental health. They are a wealth of information! Or see if there is a provincial/state mental health organization you can seek help from or holds support groups. Often those organizations have libraries you can loan material from as well.

Don't forget the Internet as a resource too. Google "Depression" and read everything. Some of it is junk. Some of it is "tow the party line" medical stuff. Some of it is good solid lifestyle changes you can make to make your life easier for you.

I think you can do the frugal life, but tweak it to work for you. You have to set priorities.

1) Get well
2) Set up a lifestyle that keeps you well...a routine.
3) (and possibly #1 as well!) Get a job you can manage.
4) Reward yourself every now and then so you continue to feel good about yourself (this does not have to cost money!).

Hope to see you around more. Take care. And remember we are always here to help. You might want to check out my blog under the category "Mental Illness".
 

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I have to agree with it being frustrating sometimes not having enough money. But I also know that the skills I have learned and applied have helped me immensly make ends meet and helped me feel in control of my finances. For a while I had a car. But the reality is that I could not afford it so I gave it up. I ended up moving to an area where buses were available and could take me to where I needed to go. I also have a cart which is very helpful when going shopping to nearby stores or carting anything heavy to the dumpster.

Make sure to take advantage of any programs out there that you can qualify for financially such as help with medicine, low cost but good quality healthcare, heating and electric assistance, food stamps, etc. Also check with places such as catholic charities, easter seals, salvation army, etc. I would also state to whomever at the place you receive scripts for medication or therapy that you want to learn coping skills and whatever else. If they can not give you advice right then and there ask them to help you find what you need.

If your area does not have the support you need see if there are any reputable websites where you can speak with people who may be able to help.

Hang in there and I hope your financial situation becomes more manageable.
 

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I agree that it all too easy to focus on the saving money rather than the earning money. Plus if someone is unemployed, particularly if there are reasons behind it like health issues, it becomes a challenge to focus on what actually CAN be done instead of what one can no longer do.

But I am a firm believer that there is almost always a way to earn more money out there as long as you are open to looking for ways to do it. (Now mind you, this may exclude individuals who really beyond the capability, of course).
 
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