Financial stress, part 2

Well, I did it to myself again.

Namely, I forgot that every GST cheque month is also a five week month.

That’s natures way of making sure poor people never get ahead or feel good.

So I have been spending as if my dough only had to last four weeks instead of five. It’s not that big a deal as I have, actually, managed to get a little ahead in the game and have enough of a surplus that it plus the GST cheque will cover my expenses.

But it’s just so damned frustrating. And depressing. I was planning to deposit most of the cheque onto my reloadable VISA card and thus shore up my savings, but now I will be lucky if I have anything left over at the end of the month.

Oh well. The Good Lord giveth and the government taketh away.

The kicker is that I did remember the five week thing. Then I forgot. So I had my chance to avoid this emotional kick to the gut, but I messed it up.

Oh well. It’s not that huge a deal on a practical level.

It’s just depressing, that’s all. And it reactivates the financial stress I had managed to disabled by developing the surplus.

And like I said before, financial stress is really bad for my mood. It erodes my paper thin feeling of security and that everything will be OK.

On the plus side, I applied for a bunch of freelance jobs on UpWork yesterday and today I have two nibbles. So I might be on the way to actually earning some money.

Now I just have to overcome the panicky feeling I get when I get work. It’s a known thing for me and it comes from all that mindless fear that keeps me locked up in this cage of mine. Getting work makes me feel exposed and afraid and that makes me freeze up.

But this will pass. Tomorrow afternoon I will respond to the nibbles and force myself out there into the world no matter how I feel about it, and that will be good exercise for the muscles I will be using to resist the fear in the future.

Neither of the jobs pay much, of course.  I am still a third string freelancer despite my Uno work, and so I take what I can get. Plus I haven’t done any UpWork work in a long time so in that sense, I have lost my UpWork cred.

But I don’t mind. I will be using this experience primarily as a way to practice overcoming the cold, clutching fear that has kept me from having an adult life. It will work just fine for that.

The money is just a nice moment.

For me at least, depression and anxiety are two sides of the same coin. Thing like these potential jobs reminds me of that. It’s all too easy for me to forget all about the anxiety part of the equation when I haven’t challenged it in a while. As long as I obey the fear in all ways at all times, it doesn’t hurt me and I can forget it’s there.

Sounds like an abusive relationship, doesn’t it? Or life in a fascist regime.

It’s only when I start straining against my bonds that the fear comes. From that point of view, a case could be made for simply never fighting back.

But I have to fight back because this cage is way too goddamned small and keeps me from having any kind of healthy adult life and makes me miserable.

That’s the depression half of the equation. So it’s like being trapped between two awful things, anxiety and depression. If I fight back, I get anxious, if I don’t,  I get depressed.

The only solution is to learn to endure the fear and fight back anyway. That’s going to be tough – panic attacks are a powerful disincentive – but if I keep at it, I will beat back the fear and develop some confidence in myself and my ability to handle things.

And it’s not that big a deal on a practical level. It’s not like I am suddenly be working a nine to five job.

It just means I will have something productive to do with my time now and then instead of dreading filling up all those empty hours.

I’ve realized something about my video game addiction – it has a lot to do with the kind of false sense of accomplishment games give me.

I realized this as a result of another revelation, that I was treating whatever game I was playing like it was a job. Like I was somehow obligated to get as far in the game as I could and if I didn’t, I had failed on some level.

That’s fucked up, man.

I mean, these are video GAMES. Games! As in, things one does for fun. Things which don’t really matter so you can relax and enjoy yourself.

That last thing they should be is stressful. But somehow, as part of the Skyrim addiction from which I am still recovering, the whole thing became invested with this sense of urgency and fervor.

And I think it’s because it become my substitute for true purposeful action. Video games give me a sense of having accomplished something. After all, I pured my energy into it and I got ahead in the game. The proof is that I am a higher level now, and all the cool gear I have accumulated, and where I am in the plot.

So it really is like the game is my job. And that’s clearly wrong. If I want to get out of my cage, I will have to find truly purposeful labour that means something to me.

An my inner demons will howl and scream and I will get anxious and panicky and I will not have some core of inner strength to call upon to counter it.

I will just have to keep going no matter what.

Luckily, I am good at that.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.


That’s one fat burger

Ordered from Fatburger (that’s right, we have one up here, I was surpised too) via tonight, and so far everything is delicious.

I did something I haven’t done much and paid for my order online. Usually I pay cash for everything because cash is accepted everywhere, my wallet doesn’t ding me with a service charge every time I open it, and cash still works even if the “betwork” is down.

But I got bribed into putting on the card tonight by Skip The Dishes’ “skip credits” program.  The credits are deducted from your tab, if you want them to be,  when you order food online through Skip.

The catch, though, is that you can’t apply those credits to a cash order. Which makes sense,. I am sure, I just don’t feel like figuring out how.

So I ordered online, with my credit card, and got the $5 in discount that Skip gave me for signing up. And I have to admit, it was awfully convenient.

And now Skip has my credit card on file, so the next time I order from them it will be even easier. Just a few clicks, and food will be on my way.

I’m thinking this may be the thin edge of the wedge that will eventually lead me to putting all my money on the card and using it everywhere, like everyone else.

Or at least putting my Saturday Night Ordering In money there.

I am loving Fatburger’s cuisine. My bacon cheddar burger is top notch, with both the savoury components (meat, cheese) and the veggie components (lettice, tomato) adding strongly to the flavour.

And that’s how I like it. To me, the veggies on a burger are not an afterthought. They are an important part of what makes a good burrger taste good.

And Fatburger know that.

And then there’s the fries. Oh, the fries. The fries are very good – best fries I have ever gotten from a fast food chain. They are so good, in fact, that not only do they not need ketchup, ketchup actually ruins the flavour.

And holy CRAP, that’s a lot of fries. As in, covers 2/3 of a dinner plate in a pile two inches thick. I had an inkling that it would be a lot of fries when the

The drink that came with the meal was listed as “diet cola” on the website. I was immediately suspicious. Did that mean Diet Coke, or Diet Pepsi, or…

It meant “generic cola”, which is fine by me. Not only do I also have my handy Diet Coke (giver of life) at hand, but on my leaner weeks I drink generic cola and it’s fine. Not as good as Diet Coke, but fine.

Especially when it’s very cold.

I also ordered 5 mini-donuts, which I have yet to sample. Getting them was extra super naughty because not only is this the kind of sugary treat that is bad for my diabeetus, I have perfectly lovely slices of sugar-free marble cake slices in the cupboard.

But what the hell. Sometimes you have to do what you want to do instead of what is the “smart” thing to do, otherwise your spirit becomes dull and listless and so do you.

Impulses are reinforced by being acted upon and when they are reinforced, your will grows in strength and power, as does your self-confidence.

It’s a lesson I am in the process of learning, and so I thought I should make sure to put it into words to aid me in that process.

It’s much easier for me to act on something when the words for it are out of my head and therefore out of the way.

I know I need to feed my starving soul. It has been starving for a very long time but I have only been conscious of it in the last six months. One of the vital inputs I have been missing is life experience. Life lived in realtime, directly, with no five second delay.

Just had a mini-donut. YUM. Skipping the chocolate dip it comes with tho. That would be way too much.

The inobvious (and for some of us, downright counterintuitive) truth is that life experiences are worth far, far more than possessions or wealth. With every experience, you strengthen your self-worth because you add to the list of things you have been through and come out of it fine.

And that gives you the concrete evidence you need to fight the voice of fear that always makes things seem like they will be far, far worse than they actually are.

I have beenj thinking a lot about that lately. About how the predictions made by our emotions are so often completely wrong. Things do not turn out how it feels like they will turn out, at least if you’re a big bulging bag of neuroses like me, and that means those predictions are absolutely worthless.

But they are all we have to go on. And the human mind would rather act on wrong information than do nothing until more information comes in.

After all, no matter how shitty the information is, a decision still has to be made.

But say I rejected these neurotic inputs due to their unreliability. What then? I suppose I would have to make decisions based on previous experience and reasoned prediction.

In such a decision matrix, the statement “I enjoyed this the last time I did it” would hold more weight than a strong but undefined feeling of fear and panic, as would the statement “my friends will be there and so it won’t be too scary”.

Part of me still rebels against the idea, though. Ironically, it’s the same part of me that makes all those bad predictions. It now predicts that going against its predictions will only lead to terrible (but undefined) consequences.

Well knock it off, o unfaithful Prognosticator. The jig is up, mate, and everybody knows that you make terrible predictions and then actively punish any attempt to verify whether those predictions come true.

After all, if I never go out, I will never find out whether it will be as horrible as you make it out to be, will I?

Well I am done with that. From now on, I will remember that my emotional predictions ain’t worth shit and do my best to make those kinds of decisions based on sensible thinking and true reflection on my emotions, and tell that hysterical ninny in the Data Projections department that he is fired as of NOW.

Don’t make me call security on you, dickhead!

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.