Author Topic: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?  (Read 6270 times)

FoundPeace

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Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« on: February 20, 2015, 02:23:12 PM »
My wife has always been very Mustachian (didn't get she graduated from college, saved half of her income, etc.) She recently started getting anxiety about small purchases and the stuff we have in our house. Right now she can't stop thinking about a pair of glasses she ordered ($60 after insurance) because they might not be perfect. Also she really wanted to make an upgrade to them that would make the glasses look better and more comfortable, but couldn't spend the extra $20 for it. She has also started wanting to get rid of some of our stuff because it gives her anxiety to have it in the house (some extra clothes, baby stuff, etc.). Although I think it is great that she is careful with our money and wants to become more minimalist, it worries me that she has nearly constant anxiety because of these relatively minor things.

Having clear financial goals has brought me a lot of peace, but it gives her anxiety. We had a great savings rate before MMM, but doing the same things we did before MMM now create stress.

Do any of you (or your partners) deal with anxiety caused by MMM, financial planning, or spending money? If so, how do you minimize or overcome your anxiety?

garion

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2015, 02:58:57 PM »
Assuming you don't have actual financial hardships that make wasting $60 a dangerous proposition, it sounds like your wife is dealing with an anxiety disorder. Constant anxiety and obsessive thoughts are symptoms of an actual disorder. Has she been evaluated by a professional?

Gone Fishing

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2015, 03:21:33 PM »
I'll admit I probably dwell on purchases longer than necesary.  Do I have an anxiety disorder?  Probably not.  I have a goal and I want to achieve it.  Every misstep slows my progress. 

Things to consider before worrying about something clinical

Caffeine consumption
Adequate sleep
Post partem hormones (you mentioned baby stuff)
Work stress
Lack of exercise
Seasonal effects (I always get a little cagey in the winter)

She might just need a distraction. 

frugaldrummer

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2015, 03:28:42 PM »
Sounds to me like she may be developing OCD.  Anxiety is the manifesting symptom when the person with OCD cannot control or perform the compulsive behavior.  Does she have any other symptoms or history that could be connected to OCD?  (Tapping, counting, checking, germ phobias, eating disorder history, tics?). 

Extreme frugality may be unhealthy for her, just as dieting may plunge a susceptible person into an anorexic eating disorder.

bigalsmith101

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2015, 05:36:48 PM »
Sounds to me like she may be developing OCD.  Anxiety is the manifesting symptom when the person with OCD cannot control or perform the compulsive behavior.  Does she have any other symptoms or history that could be connected to OCD?  (Tapping, counting, checking, germ phobias, eating disorder history, tics?). 

Extreme frugality may be unhealthy for her, just as dieting may plunge a susceptible person into an anorexic eating disorder.

Before I read this post, I too was thinking, "Man, it sounds like she's experiencing an onset of OCD. It doesn't just "happen" as far as I am aware, but takes place over a period of time, developing into a full fledged problem. The overall time frame obviously differs between individuals.

This is out of my realm of advice giving, but that was my initial reaction as well.

FoundPeace

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2015, 06:50:28 PM »
Thanks! I know you guys it helps to just get an outside perspective. She thanks it may be an anxiety disorder, but it is hard to admit to having something like this.

DeltaBond

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2015, 07:14:56 AM »
Well, here's a thought to add, does she have anxiety about anything other than money?

Is it just her stuff in the house that bothers her, or yours, as well?

Why did spending an extra $20 on glasses bother her?  Does she feel she doesn't deserve comfort, or was it strictly about wanting to save that $20 rather than spend it?

After I had my daughter, I had a really hard time spending money on myself, or doing anything for myself that might have been instead done for my daughter  - saving for her college, buying her stuff she liked, etc.  But also, if the anxiety bleeds over into other things than money, that might not be a money issue and a valid anxiety issue.  Having children is a huge mental shift and the world, at least for a while, seems truly scary and people can go through phases of over-worrying about things like this.  Its not uncommon.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2015, 07:18:17 AM by DeltaBond »

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2015, 07:41:12 AM »
Caffeine consumption
Adequate sleep
Post partem hormones (you mentioned baby stuff)
Work stress
Lack of exercise
Seasonal effects (I always get a little cagey in the winter)

She might just need a distraction.

As someone who used to have an anxiety disorder, +1 to all that. I'll add excessive sugar and any alcohol as other things to cut out.

Having a creative outlet is also a big time coping mechanism. Writing (even just journaling), drawing (a nature journal is a great low-key art pursuit), and gardening are my favorites.

Chamomile tea can help take the edge off, especially if the attacks come near bedtime and prevent good sleep.

Exhale

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2015, 09:12:37 AM »
Caffeine consumption
Adequate sleep
Post partem hormones (you mentioned baby stuff)
Work stress
Lack of exercise
Seasonal effects (I always get a little cagey in the winter)
She might just need a distraction.
I'll add excessive sugar and any alcohol as other things to cut out.
Having a creative outlet is also a big time coping mechanism. Writing (even just journaling), drawing (a nature journal is a great low-key art pursuit), and gardening are my favorites.
Chamomile tea can help take the edge off, especially if the attacks come near bedtime and prevent good sleep.
+1

Also, some type of meditation/mindfulness/meditation practice - help her separate from her anxious thoughts, evaluate them and decide if/how she wishes to act on them. A great resource for this is: The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Book & CD) by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, Jon Kabat-Zinn. Very concrete strategies that I use every day in my life and work.

Also, I can't emphasize enough the benefit of a daily walk - 15-20 minutes is enough to "just" be outside, phone off, be present.

« Last Edit: February 21, 2015, 09:14:18 AM by Exhale »

tracylayton

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2015, 09:42:25 AM »
I also get a little obsessive about saving money sometimes. I just have to reel my obsessive tendency in, when I notice it getting out of whack. After reading this forum over the past 6 months, I think it makes me more obsessive. I see other people tracking every dollar they earn and think I should be doing better. Or I spend money on something not in the budget, and I can just imagine all the MMM face punches. The truth is that it's all about BALANCE. Maybe your wife needs a little break from reading the forum. I can see the benefit of being rigid about a budget/spending if your hair is on fire, but if it's not...don't forget to relax and enjoy life a little.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2015, 09:52:12 AM »
I also get a little obsessive about saving money sometimes. I just have to reel my obsessive tendency in, when I notice it getting out of whack. After reading this forum over the past 6 months, I think it makes me more obsessive. I see other people tracking every dollar they earn and think I should be doing better. Or I spend money on something not in the budget, and I can just imagine all the MMM face punches. The truth is that it's all about BALANCE. Maybe your wife needs a little break from reading the forum. I can see the benefit of being rigid about a budget/spending if your hair is on fire, but if it's not...don't forget to relax and enjoy life a little.

I tend to be pretty Zen about it. I do track every penny because I feel it's a helpful tool to ensure we're getting appropriate value for our life energy (money is just a chit representing the finite life energy we've sold). But it's your life, and lifestyle design (of which MMM is just a flavor) is all about figuring out what things you can jettison, others you love, and still others - hopefully - you truly want/need to flourish as a full human being.

Fretting over the dollar is never the point. In our case, my wife (who is now the only paid worker) earns a real hourly wage the conveniently rounds to $15. So, when spending, we have that figure in mind. Is a purchase of $X worth X/15 hours of my wife's life?

The more you find your lifestyle and listen to the Authentic Voice (instead of the Mammoth of advertising and social pressure), the more effortless it becomes. Eventually you may get to a place like forum mod arebelspy has, where he can quite honestly say he and his wife spends money on whatever they want, but they don't want very much.

If that bit about the Mammoth makes no sense, read this: http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/06/taming-mammoth-let-peoples-opinions-run-life.html

ender

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2015, 10:10:00 AM »
Do you actively budget?

I'm guessing no - having a budget frees you from that anxiety in many regards. When you budget $100/month for "misc" or "vision" it becomes much easier to spend guiltfree. You aren't "taking" from other categories, you are spending preallocated money.

If you don't actively budget, every $1 you spend is in effect pulling from a "savings" category.

While minor in implementation, this is a psychological thing. You only have to elect to "spend" once a month with a budget, but without a budget you "spend" each time you buy glasses or spend $20 to fix them.

Making every single decision a priority evaluation can be really stressful for some people (myself included). Others don't care.

Sibley

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2015, 11:34:46 AM »
I'd recommend that she talk to a therapist or someone. A third party may be able to help her sort things out. If there's a more serious problem, then that can be identified more clearly and she can get whatever help is needed.

CestMoi

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2015, 01:14:01 PM »
Has she experienced any trauma in her recent past? I've read this sometimes leads to the onset of OCD in susceptible people. Whether she has or not, she should definitely speak to a therapist about her anxiety. There's nothing to be ashamed of; many people suffer from anxiety. I agree with others that meaningful distraction can be helpful (art, exercise, journaling), but ignoring anxiety symptoms rarely helps.

FoundPeace

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2015, 02:59:22 PM »
Thanks guys. She SAHM and it has been a bit much for her lately. We've also moved 4 times in the past year and are finally settled down for the long term and have been thinking about buying a house. Also, our toddler has been having some problems (likely caused by moving all over the world in the last year) and we also have an 8 month old. I think these have been the major stresses. Normally these feelings are pretty minor for her, but the stress has been pretty high lately. So after a lot of talking we've decided to do a few things.

Some thing's we're trying:
She applied for a bunch of tutoring positions and will start with one student next week. She loves being a tutor and it is a bit of a creative outlet for her.
I do the grocery shopping with our toddler. This way she doesn't have to stress about picking the right kind of cheese and she also gets some one-on-one cuddle time with our 8 month old.
Also, we just talk a lot about it. This helps her more than anything, because she knows she can tell me anything.

As for the therapist suggestion, she'll go if we can't manage it ourselves. But she would like to avoid it. She tried a therapist once, but the therapist mostly just made her feel awful. She doesn't fully trust therapists, and she would worry about them judging her.




forummm

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2015, 06:59:43 AM »
I spend time thinking about expenses. But I think mustachianism reduces my anxiety a lot. The more my stache has grown, the less worried I get about things. And the less my spending is, and the higher my savings rate is, the less worried I get about things. I don't want to waste $60 on glasses. But if it happened, that's a relatively small portion of my monthly savings and even smaller portion of my growing stache. It's really freeing.

Maybe a shift in perspective would help her.

SK Joyous

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2015, 10:07:24 AM »
I also get a little obsessive about saving money sometimes. I just have to reel my obsessive tendency in, when I notice it getting out of whack. After reading this forum over the past 6 months, I think it makes me more obsessive. I see other people tracking every dollar they earn and think I should be doing better. Or I spend money on something not in the budget, and I can just imagine all the MMM face punches. The truth is that it's all about BALANCE. Maybe your wife needs a little break from reading the forum. I can see the benefit of being rigid about a budget/spending if your hair is on fire, but if it's not...don't forget to relax and enjoy life a little.

I tend to be pretty Zen about it. I do track every penny because I feel it's a helpful tool to ensure we're getting appropriate value for our life energy (money is just a chit representing the finite life energy we've sold). But it's your life, and lifestyle design (of which MMM is just a flavor) is all about figuring out what things you can jettison, others you love, and still others - hopefully - you truly want/need to flourish as a full human being.

Fretting over the dollar is never the point. In our case, my wife (who is now the only paid worker) earns a real hourly wage the conveniently rounds to $15. So, when spending, we have that figure in mind. Is a purchase of $X worth X/15 hours of my wife's life?

The more you find your lifestyle and listen to the Authentic Voice (instead of the Mammoth of advertising and social pressure), the more effortless it becomes. Eventually you may get to a place like forum mod arebelspy has, where he can quite honestly say he and his wife spends money on whatever they want, but they don't want very much.

If that bit about the Mammoth makes no sense, read this: http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/06/taming-mammoth-let-peoples-opinions-run-life.html

Thank you Thegoblinchief, I LOVE the mammoth taming!  It is essentially what every one of us is trying to do - every Mustachian should read this (and I am immediately sending it to my husband, who has a harder time with Mustachianism BECAUSE OF THE MAMMOTH! Thanks again!

Random Hangers

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Re: Mustachianism induced anxiety? HOw do you handle it?
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2015, 10:35:20 AM »
Mustachianism actually increased my anxiety initially. Like someone else said, I was constantly comparing myself to others and freaking out that we weren't yet saving 50% yet (almost there; 49% at the moment!), that we were using the car too much, etc. I had to step back for a few months until I got my anxiety under control (it wasn't MMM that was causing it; I'm prone to anxiety and will sometimes just hone in on one thing to be anxious about). Some people are just more prone to anxiety.

Love that your wife can talk to you about things. Using my husband as a sounding board also helped. He would gently remind me that we were still doing really well, that we could always make adjustments to account for the one time we went over our eating out budget, etc.

I saw a therapist as part of my EAP at my last job when I started to feel my anxiety ramping up. We talked out a few things, I guess, but the way she was most helpful was in the physical sense. I know not everyone is the same, but I manifest both mental AND physical symptoms: I tense up, I feel it in my stomach, etc. She taught me to be more mindful of the symptoms coming on, and take a moment to take deep breaths (it's very difficult to remain tense after say, 5 to 7 breaths). I've since taken up Pilates, and even though it's only once a week, it's really helped to put my deep breathing on autopilot for tense situations.

(If it helps, she also suggested writing the feelings down, so I could identify the exact issues and sort of put them to bed, as well as verbally reminding myself that everything has always worked out in the past, and will likely continue to do so in the future. Oh, and I started a gratitude journal, which also helped me realize that regardless of what I was worried about, I also had the same number or more things to be grateful/appreciative/happy about.)

Good luck!