• Posts Tagged ‘depression’

    Reached Your Deductible? Maximize Healthcare Expenses Before the New Year

    by  • November 20, 2012 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    pill box

    This sorta looks like my pillbox. Sorta.

    Due to an unfortunate stint in the emergency room this past summer, I single-handedly hit our health insurance deductible for the year. You know what that means? FREE STUFF!

    (well, not for my employer or the other people who are paying in this insurance plan, but I digress…)

    A few days ago I had my regular checkup with my psychiatrist who is managing the medication regimen that I use for depression. I’m pretty frank with my psychiatrist about money matters, so I always ask what’s the best way to get my money’s worth so that I can maximize my HSA dollars. I was down to my last few pills and was prescribed a 30 day supply of the medication (Wellbutrin, if you’re curious). My psychiatrist told me to fill my prescription ASAP so that I could get a “free” refill before the end of the year. How does that work, you ask?

    My insurance company will allow most prescriptions to be refilled every 28 days (or whenever there should be about 90% remaining). By filling my prescription before tomorrow (November 5), I will be able to refill my prescription twice for “free” (remember I hit my deductible for the year) since there are two 28-day intervals before January 1; the last dates that I’d be able to refill are December 3 and 31. If I refilled my prescription every 30 days starting November 5, I will have to refill my prescription on December 5 and January 2. In that scenario, the second time I refill my prescription would be in 2012, so I would have to pay out-of-pocket (minus the insurance discount). By refilling my prescription a little early, I’ll be getting my January allotment of pills for “free” since I will be refilling the prescription this calendar year.

    If you’ve hit your healthcare insurance deductible for this year, try to maximize your healthcare expenses before the year is up. You could potentially save a lot of money.

    image:  Dvortygirl

    This post was originally published on November 4, 2011. I was going to write pretty much the exact post but remembered this was in the archives.

    Cost-Effective Ways to Fight Mild/Moderate Depression

    by  • October 24, 2012 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments


    This feels about right.

    It’s no secret that I suffer from depression, sometimes major, sometimes moderate, sometimes mild. It was only a few years ago that I got actual medical help, and as it turns out, treatments can be quite expensive. In the past few years I’ve also read a lot of the medical literature on depression and have used myself as a guinea pig to gauge the effectiveness of some of the remedies. I’ll share with you some of the things that worked for me. Before I get into the list, I’ll add the caveat that these are most effective for mild or moderate depression; if you suffer from major depression, you’ll probably need some more powerful interventions.

    Generic antidepressants

    It’s no secret that generic equivalents to brand name medications can be just as effective and cost less. There’s a few ways you can save even more money: many pharmacies offer incentives of $25 to switch, shopping around may reveal one pharmacy that charges less than others, and you can use a mail-order pharmacy service. There is one catch with generics: sometimes they don’t work. This week it was found that generic buproprion (aka, Wellbutrin) made by Teva Pharmaceuticals was not equivalent to the brand-name drug. While this is definitely an exception and not the rule, it’s a risk one takes when saves a little money and switches to generic.

    Daylight therapy

    When I realized that my bouts of depression were worse in the winter than any other months, I realized that I may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Basically, my body and brain conspired against me and stopped making chemicals necessary for me to be a functioning human being. But I have learned that I can fight that with SCIENCE! I bought a daylight therapy lamp to use in the winter months. Make sure to follow the instructions as the light has to hit your eye in a specific manner for a good amount of time. I would do this in the morning and read the news on my laptop at the same time. But honestly, these days with a toddler around, it’s difficult to get up in the morning just to shine a light in my face. Which leads me to my next item…


    There’s a vicious cycle when it comes to sleep and depression. If I don’t get enough sleep, my mood worsens; because of my depression, I am often unable to get good sleep. Just like with kids, it helps to have a bedtime routine to follow so that I’m able to get my mind ready to sleep.  Like many things, it takes practice to get a good night of sleep, but a wealth of scientific data show that getting enough sleep is a Very Good Thing. A few weeks ago I was feeling AWESOME — I was sick and went to bed at 8 pm for four nights in a row. That was four nights of 10-hours of sleep! I got enough good sleep to get back on track sleeping well consistently and have been feeling better because of it.


    Now when I say exercise, I’m not always talking about putting on a leotard and hitting the gym for a good sweat session. Anything that raises heart rate and gets blood flowing for a good amount of time is ok. According to research, 30 minutes of moderate activity 3-5 days a week can do the trick…and it doesn’t all have to be done at the same time. Take three 10-minute walks a day. Play basketball in the morning and tennis at night. Have morning sex, a few quickies, evening sex, and, uh, however many sexytimes it takes to get to 30 minutes. You get the picture.

    Depression sucks and the answer to feeling better is often more than “hang out with friends” or “watch a funny movie.” There’s real changes going on with the central nervous system that are causing the malaise. It’s important to not be depressed to be able to fully participate in life. And it doesn’t have to be expensive.

    image: shattered.art66

    A Look Back At 2008

    by  • January 9, 2009 • Tagged: , , , , ,  • Comments

    Whew, 2008 was quite a year. For us, it will forever be remembered as the year that we got married! But what else happened this year for us financially?

    To cut expenses, we cut Netflix out of our life. We also cut back on weekend trips. I was officially diagnosed with depression and learned some of socioeconomic aspects of dealing with it. After we were married, our first fight was about…money. It wasn’t as bad as the financial infidelity that Her’s brother went through.

    After much trial and error, we finally made a budget that we stick to.

    Our crazy but generous landlord increased our rent a whopping $8 per month.

    We started a Big Dreams Savings Fund with the spoils of our wedding and related showers. We’ve decided that 2009 will be a balls-to-the-wall savings year.

    The biggest news was the huge gift we received that wiped a good portion of the student loan debt. We even succeeded in not taking any more debt for the wedding and the honeymoon. As newlyweds, we’ve decided that tackling the student loans will be our first financial priority.

    This year taxes got crazy. I had a hard time dealing with them early in the year but somehow figured it out. But, at the end of this year I went back to a dumbfounded state about taxes. We didn’t know if we would have to pay taxes on the student loan gift payment, but it turns out that we didn’t have to.

    In 2008 we were light on the posts, especially the meaty financial ones. Our main focus was on the wedding and not much else. Since we now have a future together to plan for we have a lot of financial stuff to talk about in the upcoming months. Stay tuned!

    Depression and Finances: Socioeconomic Status

    by  • May 16, 2008 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    First off, I’d like to thank everyone for their support and warm comments regarding my newly diagnosed depression. I’m still learning much about it and how to effectively treat it, and welcome your stories and comments.

    My psychiatrist gave me a document that outlines depression, from the etiology to risk factors to complications to treatments. It is an interesting and eye-opening read, and is also available on the web. In it, I found an interesting tidbits on depression and social/economic status:

    The role of society and economics has specific implications for women. Being in a low socioeconomic group is a major risk factor for depression in anyone. Money, of course, allows greater access to good medical care, but this factor does not fully explain the higher rates of depression in impoverished people. People at any income level are likely to be depressed if they have poor health and are socially isolated. Some studies suggest that Western cultural attitudes that link income to social status may play a significant role in the connection between poverty and depression:

    • In one British study, actual poverty or unemployment increased the duration of any existing depression, but it did not appear to play any important causal role. Feelings of financial insecurity, however, both caused and prolonged depression.
    • Another study reported that Mexican adults who immigrated to America had half the psychiatric illnesses as did Mexican-Americans born in the U.S., regardless of their income. But the longer the immigrants lived in the U.S., the greater their risk for psychiatric problems. Traditional influences of Mexican culture and social ties appeared to protect newly arrived immigrants from mental illness, even when they were poor. Eventually, however, the consequences of Americanization added to poverty and led to feelings of alienation and inferiority.

    It is indeed interesting how finances and social/economic status contributes to mood. When Her realized that she was on the path to financial hell, she suffered from anxiety and loss of sleep. Since we’ve managed to clean up our financial act, she sleeps much more soundly.

    Her and I have seen how finances affects our moods both ways: Our finances have affected our mood, and our moods have affected our finances. Hopefully we will be able to get all of this in check.

    Depression is Expensive, Denial Much More So

    by  • May 14, 2008 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    I’m depressed.

    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.