Author Topic: Struggling to save with a mental illness  (Read 5897 times)

ChesterFetuccini

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Struggling to save with a mental illness
« on: February 14, 2017, 02:03:02 AM »
Hi everyone! This is my first post on the forum. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I ordinarily consider myself to be a frugal person (perhaps not quite mustachian yet) and I have implemented much of the advice given on this blog. However, as the title indicates, I struggle to maintain any sort of nest egg or a permanently frugal and financially responsible lifestyle. I am currently diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, which is basically a combination of bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. Over the past 3 years I have experienced 2 manic episodes and both have left me practically destitute. It's kind of like having an alter ego that comes out every few years but instead of turning into the Hulk I become something like if Kanye West and Jesus had a baby. The last time this happened I spent $40,000 on fancy clothes, shoes, watches etc. in a few weeks, bought a $70,000 sports car and then proceeded to give all of my earthly possessions away to charity leaving myself only a superman shirt, a pair of pants and some flip flops. Thankfully my family helped me get most of my things back but I was left with over 20k in credit card debt and I have still yet to get rid of the V8 monstrosity that costs me over $1,000 a month (for 8 years....) as I am underwater on the car loan by about 15k.

Short of keeping my life savings under lock and key with one of my family members, I am not sure how to prevent this from happening again. Even if I do keep my stash in a family members name, there will be no stopping me from maxing out any credit card or any sort of debt I can get my hands on. Or from buying another ridiculous car. I am just now starting to recover financially from the last episode that was just over a year ago and I should be able to get rid of the car within the next few weeks. The only other option I can think of, which I know my family and friends are very apprehensive about, is to check me into a hospital as soon as it happens and I can wait it out until it blows over. But the mental hospital is a truly terrible place. I hate being there and my family hates to see me in there.

former player

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2017, 02:21:26 AM »
Hi, and welcome to the forums and to the way of the Mustache.

I'm sorry to hear of your troubles.  The thing that occurs to me is that the uncontrolled spending is a symptom rather than an initiating factor: it's a medical issue before it's a financial one.  Do you have a doctor who is good and who you trust that you can talk to about this?  Compliance with medication regimes and early recognition that you are going into an episode seem key here.  (Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, so no offence intended and please disregard if inappropriate.)

I'm guessing that the credit limits and car purchase mean that you have good earning potential, which would put you ahead of many people with chronic illness.

I think retirement funds are safe from being possible bankruptcy actions, and you may also be able to set them up so that any loans/withdrawals need a co-signature from someone you trust, so putting money into a 401k would give you some security for the future.  So the usual financial advice here of putting the maximum allowed each year that you can afford into a 401k/IRA etc. might also be good advice for you.

If you ordinarily have spare income over maxing out your retirement contributions that could go to taxable investments, putting them into a trust (this would need two trustees) that can make voluntary disbursements to you might also be the way to go: they might use it to clear your debts but would not be obliged to and it might also be safe from any bankruptcy proceedings or creditors arrangement, although I think you (and they) would need to take advice on that.

I hope others have suggestions for you.  Best of luck.

ChesterFetuccini

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2017, 02:54:41 AM »
Thank you! Such an excellent reply!

You're right, the uncontrolled spending certainly is a symptom rather than the true underlying problem. Fortunately I do finally have a good doctor now and though medical compliance has been an issue for me in the past (I lost faith in psychiatry after being given different diagnoses from each different doctor I visited), I have been compliant with my meds.

My earning potential isn't what it was before all of this started which has exacerbated the situation somewhat but it's still enough that I was able to recover from this without claiming bankruptcy.

I should mention that I am Canadian and I'll have to find out if RSP's have the option to require a co-signer. Even though the whole concept sort of goes against the idea of financial independence. But I guess that's just the reality of the situation that I have to accept in order to prevent this from happening again.

MayDay

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2017, 04:11:57 AM »
Another option to look into is freezing your credit. You can do this on the US and no new loans or credit cards can be taken out. Perhaps NB if you locked your credit then gave all info to a relative so you were logistically unable to unlock it (I'm sure you could if you tried really hard but it would add a barrier).


Lyssa

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2017, 05:54:26 AM »
First of all: considering the circumstances I think you are doing a great job! It must have been quite a piece of work putting your life together after each episode.

Re possible solutions I'm afraid there is no way around healthy you putting legal restraints on KanyeJesus you... Not sure if a family member is the right choice... Does KanyeJesus get angry? If not, family could work. If yes, you need somebody else. Maybe an attorney?

If possible, such restriction should not only safeguard your assets against KanyeJesus but also against the third party, e.g. in the form: transactions exceeding xyz amount need to be authorized by you AND the third party but not by either acting alone.

Maybe you could also set a low limit for yourself with every CreditCard Company and let them know not to increase it until a third party (family or attorney) approves of the increase?

Lyssa

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2017, 06:00:24 AM »
PS: not a US or Canadian lawyer but in Germany you could void any legal transactions if an MD would certify that your purchase was the result of 'temporary insanity' (I do not mean calling you insane, the legal concepts have been coined in 19th century...). Maybe there is a similar possibility in North America?
« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 06:01:58 AM by Lyssa »

Mezzie

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2017, 06:15:42 AM »
I can put notes on my credit card regarding things like travel. Perhaps you can add something like "freeze if X amount is exceeded in one day". I don't know if you can set it so someone else has to unfreeze it, but it may slow you down enough to limit the damage.

Giving things away and buying a car, though... those are hard to stop.

Do you have any signs that the mania is coming? Maybe that's something you can figure out with your doctors.

Best of luck!

ElleFiji

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2017, 06:22:31 AM »
Hi!

My first posts here, years ago were about how to save up with some of the challenges associated with my disability. In am really happy that everyone answering you so far is trying to work with you. If you get any completely wrong answers from people who don't get your limitations, don't give up on the forum. People will really want to help you.

Like everyone suggested, I would talk to all of your financial institutions about how to put limits and delays on each account, nd then to the credit bureau about different kinds of freezes.

Regarding having a lower earning power, this one really hurts. I'm there. One thing to consider is looking at different fields or ways of working that are better for your health and more accommodating of disability. Unfortunately most private employers will limit your career growth. Government jobs can be a good option if you want a corporate environment. I chose to be self employed so that I can scale my workload up and down as needed.

As you start to build your stash again, having some funds in accounts that can't be taken from you to pay debts is good, but so is building options for passive income. Rental properties with property managers could be a good revenue stream.

I also think Lyssa may be onto something, any purchase with a contract (car, house, memberships) should be able to be voided. CAMH might now who has info on that.

From working at an RESP provider, I know you can have limited powers of attorney, and some customers also had pass phrases set to increase security.

ChesterFetuccini

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2017, 06:28:10 AM »
Mayday

From what I'm reading now it seems that credit freezes aren't available in Canada. Thanks for the tip though!

Lyssa

Lol! Actually we call him Guido Jesus but I do like that nickname. I don`t typically get angry its more of a constant state of euphoria. Except I did get arrested at the border for tossing my passport out the window at an officer (not charged with anything, temporary insanity... long story). My dad keeps tabs on me pretty often so I think giving him access to my accounts wouldn`t be such a bad idea. Maybe my SO as well but it is a fairly new relationship.

We really should have brought the car back and with some type of insanity claim, the dealership in question has been charged before for selling an elderly man with dementia several brand new SUV`s. But when I was on a high I would have never given up that car and when I came down I was too embarrassed to bring it back. Plus I`m pretty composed even in that state so the salesman probably had no idea.

ChesterFetuccini

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2017, 07:00:18 AM »
Mezzie

I`ll have to look into adding daily limits to my credit card, I have gone down to 1 card and the limit is only $3500 as a preventative measure. A far cry from a year ago! Also there are warning signs of mania, but I think they very from person to person. For me a good indicator is sleep, when I`m manic I barely sleep and can function on 2-3 hours of sleep for weeks on end.

ElleFiji

Thanks so much for the support! I was pretty nervous posting this, I wasn`t sure how it would be received. But so far everyone has been so welcoming and helpful. I find that for the most part people are pretty understanding about it, especially people who have seen this kind of stuff before. As much as I don`t want to accept my limitations and value my financial independence I have to realize that in order to protect myself I have to give up some of that independence.

Freedomin5

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2017, 07:19:55 AM »
Having the freedom to work within limits IS independence. Independence is about knowing your limits, having the presence of mind to know when to ask for help when you need it, etc.  So by choosing the limits, and taking responsibility, you are demonstrating good insight into your illness and good awareness.

In a way, when you are manic and "free" to spend your money, you really aren't free -- you are being controlled by your mania. By taking action to prevent your mania from controlling you, you are demonstrating independence and self-will and true freedom -- the freedom to live in accordance with your values and to work towards your goals.

Of course, being medication compliant and checking in regularly with your therapist and loved ones goes a long way to keeping you stable. At the same time, while I know from personal experience that hospital inpatient psych wards are not that great, if you really can't manage, waiting it out in a place where you get around the clock care and where you really can't spend money is not a bad option as a last resort. Please don't completely discount it.

marielle

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2017, 08:22:05 AM »
I only have terrible advice...maybe. And that is to destroy your credit so that you can never borrow money for a car, get new credit cards, etc. In the US it's entirely possible to never need credit, I don't know how it is up there. Obviously if you ever want to buy a house it's terrible advice.

Maybe seriously consider moving to the US so you can freeze your credit? As long as you don't have family ties, etc...might be the best for you in the long term. Could be a long term plan, like 5-10+ years down the road?

Not very helpful but it's some last resort options. I hope you can figure things out, I can't imagine what it's like.

Kaybee

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2017, 08:41:36 AM »
I'm piping up to go *against* Marielle's advice.  As someone who also suffers from Bipolar Disorder (my various labels were clinically depressed -> BP #1 -> BP #2) I would suggest staying near your family, especially if you find them a good support network.  Moving to the US/destroying your credit would likely just lead to much larger problems down the road.

As far as having someone act as a signing authority over your financial affairs...I totally understand how hard it would be to accept something like that but honestly, I think it's a really smart idea.  As someone else posted, it's a safeguard that you would put into place when you're well (so your co-signor shouldn't have issues with signing things when you *aren't* showing signs of mania) to make sure that someone has your back when you ARE having issues. 

Being BP2 means I don't have the same type of manic episodes (although they have exised for me which is why my diagnosis was tricky to figure out) but I've been very clear with my friends and family about my highs/lows and have asked them to verbalize concerns to me if they start to notice unusual behaviour.  I don't always notice if I start becoming more irritable/lethargic or when I start getting a bit spendy/overly energetic but if a friend points out that I've been going a mile a minute for a week (or have become an absolute hermit), it signals to me that I need to pay more attention to my sleeping patterns, to what I'm eating, if I'm working out and possibly check in with my healthcare providers.  I'm pretty good at managing my condition so it was embarrassing at first to ask for that tiny bit of watchfulness from friends but honestly, now that I have, I feel more comfortable.  I know that if *I* miss that I'm slipping, there's a "fail-safe" built right into my support network and I won't end up in the same terrible place I slid to before.

Welcome to the community!!  I'm still at the beginning of my journey so I don't have much financial advice I can share but I can definitely be a sounding board if you need one. :)

CmFtns

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2017, 09:17:11 AM »
I only have terrible advice...maybe. And that is to destroy your credit so that you can never borrow money for a car, get new credit cards, etc. In the US it's entirely possible to never need credit, I don't know how it is up there. Obviously if you ever want to buy a house it's terrible advice.

Maybe seriously consider moving to the US so you can freeze your credit? As long as you don't have family ties, etc...might be the best for you in the long term. Could be a long term plan, like 5-10+ years down the road?

Not very helpful but it's some last resort options. I hope you can figure things out, I can't imagine what it's like.

When i first read OP's post my first thought was the same thing lol... destroy credit... but probably a bad idea when you think through it more. First of all it is still possible to get funding with bad credit for some things and when you do the terms of loans will be TERRIBLE... Also, I cannot think of a way to kill your credit score without getting lots of fees for late payments and other stuff. Also, unless there is a way to keep credit low it will work its way back up in a few years and OP will start qualify for stuff again but at really bad rates. Plus, if OP actually needs credit for legitimate smart proposes then they could not use it.

marielle

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2017, 09:37:11 AM »
I only have terrible advice...maybe. And that is to destroy your credit so that you can never borrow money for a car, get new credit cards, etc. In the US it's entirely possible to never need credit, I don't know how it is up there. Obviously if you ever want to buy a house it's terrible advice.

Maybe seriously consider moving to the US so you can freeze your credit? As long as you don't have family ties, etc...might be the best for you in the long term. Could be a long term plan, like 5-10+ years down the road?

Not very helpful but it's some last resort options. I hope you can figure things out, I can't imagine what it's like.

When i first read OP's post my first thought was the same thing lol... destroy credit... but probably a bad idea when you think through it more. First of all it is still possible to get funding with bad credit for some things and when you do the terms of loans will be TERRIBLE... Also, I cannot think of a way to kill your credit score without getting lots of fees for late payments and other stuff. Also, unless there is a way to keep credit low it will work its way back up in a few years and OP will start qualify for stuff again but at really bad rates. Plus, if OP actually needs credit for legitimate smart proposes then they could not use it.

Yeah...I also thought about the possibility of still buying stuff without credit/bad credit.

It looks like in Canada you can get fraud alerts from Equifax/Transunion but I don't know if that would help in this situation.
http://canada.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/file-alerts-are-Canadas-answer-to-US-report-freezes-1264/

What is required to buy a car or other stuff on credit in Canada? Can you just show up and give your information or do you need paystubs, the Canadian equivalent of a social security card, etc? Maybe a trusty family member could hold on to that information, like the paystubs, so you don't have access to it at a moment's notice. If there is a certain identity number like social security to apply for credit (SIN I think) you could request a new number but don't keep the card/information with you, and don't memorize the number. I don't know how often you'd use it, could be a problem when starting a new job though...

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2017, 09:42:56 AM »
Hey ChesterFetuccini, welcome :)

I have All The Diagnoses, and made a blog (and book) for us :)
https://financialtipsforthebroke.com/

For my tips for rebuilding a financial life from the ground up, the book is the way to go.
For posts on random selections from that, the blog works.

I'm in Canada too, so you'll find some Cdn references.

Great that you're here!

Case

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2017, 09:52:41 AM »
Hi everyone! This is my first post on the forum. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I ordinarily consider myself to be a frugal person (perhaps not quite mustachian yet) and I have implemented much of the advice given on this blog. However, as the title indicates, I struggle to maintain any sort of nest egg or a permanently frugal and financially responsible lifestyle. I am currently diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, which is basically a combination of bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. Over the past 3 years I have experienced 2 manic episodes and both have left me practically destitute. It's kind of like having an alter ego that comes out every few years but instead of turning into the Hulk I become something like if Kanye West and Jesus had a baby. The last time this happened I spent $40,000 on fancy clothes, shoes, watches etc. in a few weeks, bought a $70,000 sports car and then proceeded to give all of my earthly possessions away to charity leaving myself only a superman shirt, a pair of pants and some flip flops. Thankfully my family helped me get most of my things back but I was left with over 20k in credit card debt and I have still yet to get rid of the V8 monstrosity that costs me over $1,000 a month (for 8 years....) as I am underwater on the car loan by about 15k.

Short of keeping my life savings under lock and key with one of my family members, I am not sure how to prevent this from happening again. Even if I do keep my stash in a family members name, there will be no stopping me from maxing out any credit card or any sort of debt I can get my hands on. Or from buying another ridiculous car. I am just now starting to recover financially from the last episode that was just over a year ago and I should be able to get rid of the car within the next few weeks. The only other option I can think of, which I know my family and friends are very apprehensive about, is to check me into a hospital as soon as it happens and I can wait it out until it blows over. But the mental hospital is a truly terrible place. I hate being there and my family hates to see me in there.

For your own safety, maybe you can relinquish some control of your money over to your parents or whatever appropriate custodian?  Not sure if there is a sort of trust that limits your ability to withdraw funds unless it is OK'ed by a supervisor?

SimpleCycle

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2017, 10:31:32 AM »
Welcome and good job reaching out for help on a difficult issue.  I am sorry to hear about your struggles, but encouraged that you are doing well now with medical treatment and looking for ways to move forward.

I also have struggles with mental illness, and while it has not affected my finances in the same way, it has been a struggle at times to maintain my income and steady employment, especially when I have needed more intensive treatment.  Living a Mustachian life can be especially helpful in this situation because it gives you a lot of flexibility and some "insurance" against drops in income.

I think your #1 defense is maintaining your wellness through whatever means possible - medication, therapy, peer support, etc.  Managing a serious mental illness is a lifelong journey, unfortunately, and you will be more confident in your ability to manage your life and your symptoms over time.  However, you are right that in case of a serious episode, it can undo a lot of progress in a short time.

I think the specifics of how to structure your finances to minimize the damage that a manic episode could cause is probably beyond the scope of this forum, especially because you are in Canada and the legal and mental health resources and guidance vary by province.  I know that while there is no equivalent of freezing your credit in Canada, there are fraud alerts that require the creditor verify certain details before granting credit.  This might be able to be combined with some sort of mental health trusteeship of your finances, but the details of how this would work are beyond me.

I would suggest seeking out information from local mental health support agencies, possibly a CPA who is used to dealing with disability issues, and/or a disability lawyer who is familiar with structuring finances in this situation.  There are almost certainly things they will know about  that we can't advise you on.  A lawyer or CPA may cost some money, but it seems like it would be worth it considering the potential financial impact.

Good luck to you in navigating this.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2017, 10:33:12 AM »
Also, while I do think the hospital has an important role in managing acute phases of mental illnesses, at least in the U.S. it is unlikely you would be hospitalized for an extended time to ride out an episode.  I think it might be more common in Canada, but still uncommon.

milliemchi

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2017, 11:13:06 AM »
Are you fairly new to the diagnosis? There is a whole number of support sites and self-help books dealing specifically with handling bipolar episodes. I can't think of a good book of the top of my head, but you should read at least five anyway, hopefully more, and hopefully on an ongoing basis, so you're sure to come to one that 'clicks' for you. You can start with 'Bipolar Disorder for Dummies', for example. Other resources are DBSA, of course, and you can also try the BP magazine (bphope.com), which offers a lot of really helpful hands-on advice.

Most of these resources will lay out a detailed example of an 'emergency plan' for dealing with an upcoming episode, which will include a list of symptoms to look for (both you and others around you), and the precise steps to take when the criteria are met for initiating action. You have to decide what the action is (see a doctor, up meds, whatever). Very often, and certainly for people for whom mania manifests through damaging spending, this includes handing over the control over your finances to others. This is standard advice, and of course, you do that before you get sick. The steps of the plan will differ for manic vs depressive vs mixed episode, and with severity, but the plan needs to be made while you are well, with buy-in from you and people on whose help you will be relying on. Then it's a good idea to sign and date the document (and keep a copy for yourself), because it wouldn't be unheard of if you questioned its authenticity while in the middle of an episode. This is all stuff countless people have struggled with, and the above measures are a product of a lot of common trial-and-error experience. Many, many people have willingly surrendered control of their finances precisely to prevent what you are now dealing with.

Another point I want to make is that you should not discount a trip to the hospital. If you were able to do that much damage, you were so gone that you should have been in the hospital NO DOUBT. The hospital is not to ride out the episode, it's about getting immediate treatment so that you don't have to ride it out, so that it doesn't get worse, so that the possible later depressive episode is not as severe, and so that everything, including your earning potential, goes back to normal as soon as possible. This is what the hospital is about. I can't speak of what it's like, and I assume that it can't be fun, but I have a friend who went to the hospital for a debilitating depression, got diagnosed (bipolar II), treated, discharged, and was back at work all within a month. It can be really good for you.

I wish you best luck.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 11:28:27 AM by milliemchi »

PJ

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2017, 11:17:20 AM »
I'm not sure that I have anything to add, given the excellent input you've received above, and especially the feedback from people who share some of the same struggles that you do. 

But I just wanted to add another compassionate voice saying that you are wise and insightful into your own needs by asking these questions, and brave to speak up and share some of your experience in a public place.  It's only by people actually doing that, that the general public will start to understand the needs of people with mental illnesses, and that these conditions will become normalized rather than stigmatized.  There are people I love who are living with their own versions of your experiences, and they would also commend you for speaking up.

I do hope you'll continue to post, and let us know how things go.

milliemchi

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2017, 11:26:38 AM »
Forgot to mention... Handing over finances to others also means handing over your high-limit credit cards. Some people freeze their cards in a block of ice, so that they have to wait a while to get them out - this could help control the impulse purchases, but it seems that your problems are more longer-term...

You are very lucky to have a support circle who cared about you enough to help you put your life back in order, somewhat. Many people have no one to watch their back, so you are ahead of the curve. You can get this under control.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2017, 12:22:53 PM »
I should mention that I am Canadian and I'll have to find out if RSP's have the option to require a co-signer. Even though the whole concept sort of goes against the idea of financial independence. But I guess that's just the reality of the situation that I have to accept in order to prevent this from happening again.

I think maybe reframing this thought might help; in taking steps to prevent this from happening in the future, you're working toward gaining independence from your worst self. Relying on people who care about you, and whom you trust, isn't giving up independence, it's self-awareness.

I would hesitate to grant a non-spouse, non-family person that kind of control over my finances, but you need to decide that for yourself. Barring that, an attorney would be an excellent choice.

The trust idea mentioned by several previous posters is a good one. I hope you get back on more solid footing, and are able to improve your situation.

:)

SEAKSR

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2017, 01:54:18 PM »
I'm not Canadian... but I have some direction that could help.  https://financialtipsforthebroke.com/ is a blog by a fellow Mustachian who has been inspirational.

Like you, my family is the reason I'm not destitute, but I know with my own bi-polar, I could run my way back to the dark side very easily. The above blog has given good insight to the value of labels and diagnoses. You're concerned about protecting your hard work from the version of yourself that seeks to destroy the work you've done, with the best of intentions in the process. One potential option for you is to put your accounts in a trust... it takes more work, but then you set up the trust in a way that prevents you from accessing and thus wiping out all your money without at least a good amount of work. In my manic stages, if it required a lot of work, it wasn't going to happen.

ChesterFetuccini

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2017, 01:57:20 PM »
Quote
Having the freedom to work within limits IS independence. Independence is about knowing your limits, having the presence of mind to know when to ask for help when you need it, etc.  So by choosing the limits, and taking responsibility, you are demonstrating good insight into your illness and good awareness.

This really got me, I guess I have been looking at this the wrong way as if it were an all or nothing scenario. I assumed I was losing independence by safeguarding my accounts. Which isn't the case at all, the reality is that we all rely on others from time to time, financially or otherwise. But that doesn't make us any less independent.

A few people mentioned that keeping the hospital open as an option is a good idea, and I reluctantly agree. As terrible as the psych ward can be, it is far better to seek treatment then to run around spending my life's savings on fancy stuff that I don't need. Just thinking about all the time spent hard at work to make that sort of money is enough to send a chill down my spine worse than any psych ward could.

Moving away is definitely not an option for me for a few reasons. I have such a strong and amazing support system here which I am so thankful for, with friends and family that I rely on when things get ugly. My employer's health plan covers my meds which can cost up to $5k every 8 weeks (I have ulcerative colitis as well).


snacky

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2017, 02:06:22 PM »
Hey there.

The public trustee manages money for people who can't do it themselves. It sounds like almost all the time you don't need that, and the restrictions they place would be awful, but maybe call them up and ask them what legal mechanisms are in place for people in your situation?You aren't the first person to face this, and if someone else's solution works for you, then great!

The other place to contact would be the alzheimer's society. They deal with people who need restrictions on their freedoms, but the least restrictive possible. They might have some good ideas.

Finally, there will be different organizations in your province for people with mental health issues or disabilities. They will understand what you're describing and might have ideas.

Basically, ask the pros. There are mechanisms and legal structures that exist to help with people who experience mania, and they would be happy to help you.

Amesenator

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2017, 02:09:21 PM »
Hey ChesterFetuccini, welcome :)

I have All The Diagnoses, and made a blog (and book) for us :)
https://financialtipsforthebroke.com/

For my tips for rebuilding a financial life from the ground up, the book is the way to go.
For posts on random selections from that, the blog works.

I'm in Canada too, so you'll find some Cdn references.

Great that you're here!

I'm so glad that Jooniper Berries has weighed in. Her book and blog offer a wonderful combination of concrete, practical information AND compassion/authenticity.

ChesterFetuccini

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2017, 02:22:28 PM »
Are you fairly new to the diagnosis? There is a whole number of support sites and self-help books dealing specifically with handling bipolar episodes. I can't think of a good book of the top of my head, but you should read at least five anyway, hopefully more, and hopefully on an ongoing basis, so you're sure to come to one that 'clicks' for you. You can start with 'Bipolar Disorder for Dummies', for example. Other resources are DBSA, of course, and you can also try the BP magazine (bphope.com), which offers a lot of really helpful hands-on advice.

I am fairly new to the diagnosis, I was initially diagnosed at 22. Although I've been dealing with this for 3 years I haven't been able to get a handle on it until this year, partly due to the poor psychiatric care I was receiving and then later due to my own non-compliance issues. Though I am formally diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, I am still not convinced that's the right diagnosis. It has changed so many times from steroid induced psychosis during the first episode (was on prednisone for colitis), to Bi-polar I, to severe OCD and finally to schizoaffective. Every doctor I've seen sticks me in a different category! I will definitely take a look at those resources though!


milliemchi

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2017, 02:33:16 PM »
I am fairly new to the diagnosis, I was initially diagnosed at 22. Although I've been dealing with this for 3 years I haven't been able to get a handle on it until this year, partly due to the poor psychiatric care I was receiving and then later due to my own non-compliance issues. Though I am formally diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, I am still not convinced that's the right diagnosis. It has changed so many times from steroid induced psychosis during the first episode (was on prednisone for colitis), to Bi-polar I, to severe OCD and finally to schizoaffective. Every doctor I've seen sticks me in a different category! I will definitely take a look at those resources though!

Your whole experience has been par for the course, unfortunately. Keep being compliant, keep getting educated, and it will keep getting better (with ups and downs of course). The trick is to be self-aware, which you seem to be, and track your symptoms, triggers, cycles, etc. Bipolar disorder is very idiosyncratic, so you have to master your own personal version of it. Then you'll be fine.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Struggling to save with a mental illness
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2017, 08:56:18 PM »
SEAKSR and Amesenator: Thank you!!! What a lovely surprise to read those words about my work here!

ChesterFetuccini: I have now made a blog post just for you! It is here:
https://financialtipsforthebroke.com/2017/02/14/high-spending-during-manic-episodes-canada/