There, I said it. Not just depressed like in a bad mood or someone just kicked my puppy, but actually clinically depressed. This has actually been a recurrent theme in my life, and I suspect that it’s also tied in with Seasonal Affective Disorder as well, because this NEVERENDING CHICAGO WINTER has sucked the life out of me and the other few million Chicagoans around here. The thing that was different about this time is that it has never been as bad as it has been the past few months.
Since this is a financial blog, I’ll go about how dealing with depression can affect one’s finances. Let me correct that: I’ll go about how trying to thwart depression by doing everything except getting treatment can affect one’s finances.
One of the crappiest symptoms of depression is losing pleasure or interest at things that used to offer them normally. When I first started feeling pretty crummy, I thought to myself, “Maybe if I go out with friends/eat at a nice restaurant/buy myself something I’ve put off for a while now that I’ll feel better.” I actually chose all 3 of those routes: I went out with friends more, went out for more meals, and bought myself a used Nikon D200 and a nice new lens with my tax refund. I don’t even want to think about the amount of money I threw at the problem.
A few months ago, Her and I agreed that my depression started to affect our relationship; there’s no money in the world that would be able to magically fix that. So I decided to go and see a therapist that I saw a few years back.
Seeing the therapist isn’t cheap; when I saw her in prior years my out of pocket costs were about $75 a session, with the rest taken care of by my insurance company. Now that I have an HDHP/HSA I have to to take care of most of the fee out of my HSA account. Since there really wasn’t anything going on in my life that could have been causing my depressive state, I was referred to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist proceeded to prescribe an anti-depressant for me. Due to the way that payment is handled with the HDHP/HSA account, the costs of both seeing the psychiatrist and the meds will be revealed to me at a later time. I’ve just started on the meds, so only time will tell if this particular one is worth the money.
Depression sucks. Other than the obvious joy-deflating and relationship straining properties, depression can have major financial ramifications as well. Therefore, if you’re feeling depressed or just not right, there’s no shame in going to a psychiatrist/therapist/someone who loves you to talk about it. My method of “self-medicating” by blowing all sorts of money got me nowhere (well, I do have a sweet camera). The depression also messed with my concentration and sleep, making it difficult to focus on my job, this blog, our finances, and my life in general. If went unchecked, a lot of stuff could possibly have been messed up.
Right now I’m grateful for a few things: insurance for making all of this vastly possible without completely breaking the bank; the availability and acesss to great healthcare providers; and most importantly, Her, for sticking with me, offering her support, and remembering that we’re a team.