I have been unbelievably blessed this week.
I try to avoid declaring my precarious financial situation as best as possible- I don’t find it overly gracious to complain too loudly that I can’t afford to pay my electricity bill but still be putting my kids in to private school. Well, without the help of my parents, my kids would most definately be in public school. A lot hides behind the surface of many families- they all have their own financial burdens and are struggling to make ends meet. Therefore I am not overly fond of asking for help, as I see it as a sign that I have, well, fucked up somewhere or am living beyond my means.
However, after talking with my psych and family I have come to the realisation that the fact that we can’t make our loan repayments isn’t my fault. We haven’t splurged on anything in the last 6 months, we still drive our shitbox car with the broken bumper, no aerial and no airconditioning. I have taken up baking to provide our kids with snacks in lieu of having packaged lunchbox treats in the cupboard. We survived on $3 a kilo sausages for weeks. I am trying my best, but it just wasn’t good enough. And that is hard to accept.
Hubby and I moved to the city to increase our job prospects and earning potential. It was great for over a year. But then he lost overtime privileges. And now my hours are dwindling to half of what I was on 6 months ago. Our weekly income has dropped by over $500 through no fault of our own. I need to remind myself that. Its not my fault. I am doing my best.
I am used to being the one that helps. I offer to pick people up and drive them home at stupid oçlock when they have been drinking. I pick people up from the airport at 4am. I take baking and treats to work to share and did a food shop for a friend when she was struggling financially. As much as I love helping and would do anything for anyone (ask my husband, it’s a frustrating trait of mine for him to accept!) I don’t do it for recognition or reward. I do it cos I love it and like helping people. So why is it so hard to ask for and accept help when it is offered?
Over the weekend I was stunned when my visiting parents and grandparents generously provided us financial help to pay our upcoming expenses. It was beyond what we needed and I sobbed when I thanked them. I hate feeling like I am failing and need bailing out, but I knew they were doing it for the same reasons I would do it for anyone else if I was able to do so.
On Monday morning I was left a very, very generous random act of kindness from a very beautiful friend of mine, which was very unexpected and left me sobbing for nearly an hour. I didn’t feel like I deserved it- I don’t do it much tougher than other families. But this gift, although he said it ‘wasn’t much’, changed my whole family’s week.
I had a total of $90 to do the shopping with this week. We had one roll of toilet paper- which between two toilets resulted in “Kids! Bring mummy the toilet paper from the downstairs toilet up here please!!” being yelled quite often. We had four empty tubes of toothpaste that we had squeezed every ounce out of for the past week, and we were blowing our noses with whatever we could get our hands on. We only had apples for fruit and my husband had started eating our kids gluten free baking for lunch as he had no chips or museli bars. It was pretty dire. I hate to admit it and I never would have before to avoid being offered money to help. I wouldn’t have accepted.
However, after these amazing gestures (also one from the MIL, as a ‘treat’ to hubby and I) we were able to completely stock our cupboard, fridge and bathroom again this week. My trolley was so full I looked like I was feeding an army. Words still failed to describe how helpful these beautiful people had been that I had to do it with photos of my bare pantry and overflowing trolley. I still feel like no thanks will ever be enough, and will be forever grateful.
The one issue I am struggling with is that although my depression was in most part due to financial issues, it hurts me that even with our more promising situation now that I feel no different mentally. I still feel like the depressed girl struggling to pay her bills, stressed about how to disperse the money in the best way and keep everything on track in the coming months. However, I know I need to pull back and say “Right, things are ok today, things will be ok this week. That’s good enough for now.” Next weeks worries can wait until next week. I know my head will get better, but for now, one day at a time. And I need to learn how to graciously accept help when it is offered.
We are having roast pork for dinner tonight. I didn’t buy any sausages this week. My heart even skipped a beat as I typed that.