Depression is a sneaky illness. It can creep up on you or hit you like a smack in the face, depending on your circumstances. The ads on television remind us that ‘depression hurts’, but it can also wreck your finances.
Speaking from experience, as someone who has battled clinical depression since I was a teenager, I know exactly how depression can affect your money, both in the way you earn it and the way you manage it. Depression can make it impossible to focus on the day to day business of managing your money, making you miss payments or spend money without keeping track of it. It can even affect your ability to earn money to support yourself and your family.
You can actually become depressed from having money worries. This type of situational depression is extremely common, especially around the holiday season. If you are sitting under a mountain of debt and facing a Christmas with few gifts, it can be extremely stressful.
Getting Help for Depression
How can you cope with depression that’s affecting your finances? To start with, understand that it’s okay to ask for help. Whether you choose to see a doctor or therapist, or you rely on your friends and family to help you through the tough times, know that it’s extremely important to accept help.
There is no shame in being depressed. In many cases, depression is an illness caused by an imbalance in the brain, just like ADHD or ADD. In these cases a doctor can help, but even if your depression is a result of being overly stressed, there are ways you can feel better and take control of your life and money again.
1. First and foremost, if you are feeling severely depressed and considering harming yourself, go see your doctor! You may benefit from an antidepressant that can help you start to feel better. Sometimes, just getting a diagnosis and talking to a professional can help you feel more in control.
2. Whether your depression is situational or something you’ve battled your entire life, you’ll benefit from getting some exercise daily and eating healthily. Taking care of your physical well-being can also help improve your mental health, so make it a priority to take care of yourself.
3. If you are feeling depressed because you don’t seem to have enough money to make ends meet, make a list of your financial priorities. Food, shelter, healthcare and transportation are the minimum basics. Everything else, including debts, can be addressed once your basic needs are met. Just making a list and having a plan can help you feel more in control.
4. Don’t give into self-medicating your depression through overspending or binging on food or alcohol. It won’t help, and it will make your situation worse!
5. Talk to someone. Whether you turn to your doctor, your spouse or just a trusted friend, don’t suffer in silence. Often, just discussing your depression with someone who understands can help you feel a lot better.
I hope that if you are struggling with depression you do seek help…we all deserve to feel happy and hopeful, no matter what our finances look like!
Do you have any helpful tips to share for dealing with depression and your money? Please feel free to share below!