My Depression History

The last couple of months I have been battling with depression. I’m happy to report that I appear to be over this bout of depression. The last few days I’ve been in a pretty good mood. Sunday, I even felt energetic enough to give my apartment a good cleaning. Although I like having things nice and neat I dislike actual cleaning tasks such as sweeping, mopping, and scrubbing. Those things don’t get done when I’m depressed. Thus, the fact that is swept and mopped my entire apartment, and scrubbed the sink, shower, and toilet is an indicator that I’m no longer depressed.

This bout of depression set in a few days after I returned from Thailand. After returning from Thailand I moved back to KC to the basement studio apartment I lived in last year. The apartment was worse than I remembered. I had planned to start working at my document review job after returning to KC. It soon became clear that it was going to be a while before they had a position for me. I think the combination of those two things contributed to the onset of this bout of depression.

I’ve been depressed before. I’m not referring to “the blues” or being a little sad. I’m referring to clinical depression. I’ve battled with depression since I was a teenager. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I was first diagnosed with depression. I was lucky at that time to be able to participate in a psychological study to help with my depression. The study involved using cognitive behavioral therapy to treat the depression. I was skeptical that it would be effective, but I do believe it helped a little. That bout of depression did eventually go away even though I quit the study.

When I was in law school I became depressed again. The plus to becoming depressed in law school is that it isn’t that uncommon and they have resources available to deal with it. At my 1L law school the doctor put me on Lexapro and I had a couple of therapy sessions. It was the last month of the school year when I went to the doctor and got diagnosed with depression. That prevented me from being able to continue with the therapy. The Lexapro didn’t seem to have any effect on me. As far as I was concerned I might as well have been taking a sugar pill. Shortly, after my IL year ended I quit taking the Lexapro. That turned out to be a big mistake since my depression got even worse.

I transferred to a new law school for my 2L year. I didn’t seek out any treatment for my depression at the new school. It didn’t seem like the treatment did any good and I was embarrassed to admit I couldn’t fix my depression. After almost failing out of law school my 2L year I admitted to my academic adviser that I was depressed and I was referred to the school’s clinic. They psychiatrist there put me on another medication. I don’t remember the name of that medication, but it also had no effect on me.

After a dosage increase in the first medication still didn’t produce any results the doc put me on Wellbutrin. That medicine did have an effect on me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good effect. It made me feel drugged and fuzzy all the time. I didn’t take that medicine very long and refused to try any other medications.

I continued going to therapy for about a year more. I didn’t feel like it helped much. I eventually quit going as the depression went away.

I’m not sure why my depression went away this time. I think the chemicals in my brain get back in balance after a while. Getting them back in balance is largely out of my control. Things like exercise, eating healthy, and being productive help with the depression. Of course, those are all things I find very hard to do when I’m depressed. Now that I’m over this bout of depression I will try to exercise, eat healthy, and keep busy to hopefully lessen my chances of suffering another bout of depression.

To tie this in to personal finance I will add that depression has cost me a lot of money. It has kept from working long term at a job and building a career. I should have made a lot more money in my life at this point than I have. It was a factor in me switching law schools from a top 25 law school to a tier 3 law school and barely graduating from the tier 3 school. I think it was also a factor in the gambling addiction I had in my 20’s which resulted in bankruptcy. I lost thousands of dollars more even after the bankruptcy. Those are just a few of the ways depression has cost me money.

There is nothing I can do about how depression has affected me in the past. I just need to be sure that if I ever have another bout of depression that I don’t delay treating it.

Beating the Summer Doldrums

I’ve been back from my hike for over three weeks now and the Summer Doldrums have started. I have been extremely lazy since coming back from my hike. First, I took a few days to relax and get settled. Then I went and visited a friend at his lake house for a couple of days and afterwards visited my mom for a few days. I returned home last Friday and I have not motivated myself to get much done since returning.

Some of the reasons I took a sabbatical from my job this year was to lose weight/get healthy and to work on my blog/develop other sources of income. I have managed to lose a few pounds, but that has stalled out the last couple of weeks and I know I should be doing much better. I haven’t done any work on this blog. Since returning from my hike the only posts I’ve published are my monthly income and expense posts that I publish every month. Now that I have time I should be publishing more  posts and trying to improve this blog.

Right now, since I don’t have to do anything it is very easy for me to do nothing. I have no problem filling a day with various wastes of time such as reading random articles on the internet, watching Netflix, going to the movies, reading books and magazines, watching random YouTube clips, etc. I don’t get bored with my random time wasters. However, my enjoyment of them does decrease as I spend more time doing them. These time wasters would be more fun if I did them after spending a few hours working.

There are a couple of things I’m going to try to start being reasonably productive. One is that I’m going to stop claiming unemployment. Having that steady supply of income gives me less incentive to try to develop other sources of income. I may have a temp job soon. If the temp job doesn’t happen, I will drive for Uber, do Amazon FBA, work on the blog, and work on other sources of self-employment income.

The other thing I need to do is to work as soon as I get up in the morning.  If I decide to relax in the morning with the plan of working later in the day the odds are very good that I won’t get anything done that day. If I start off the day working or otherwise being productive I usually continue working for most of the day. I need to remind myself of this every morning when I’m deciding whether I should go out for a leisurely breakfast or go for a run/drive for Uber/write a blog post. If I go out to breakfast the day is probably shot. If I do one of the other things I’ll get stuff done and still have time for a leisurely meal later in the day. This is going to be a continuing battle, but I do not want to let this summer get away from me. This time off is a great opportunity and I do not want to waste it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  If you’re not able to leave a comment please let me know via email/Twitter/Facebook. The comments appear to be working correctly on my end, but I’ve had a lot of problems keeping them working this year and I’d like to know for sure if they are working correctly or not.

Working and Comments are Fixed

This year I am working a slightly different position at my tax job. Although I’m doing a lot of the same things I was doing in previous years I also have a bit of a supervisory role. The new position didn’t come with a raise, but it did come with unlimited overtime during tax season. I’m currently scheduled for 10 hour days M-F and 7 hours on Saturday. I can usually take off an hour or so early on one weekday. There are other days that I end up working over 10 hours. It ends up with me working about 60 hours a week. For me, working 60 hours a week isn’t much worse than working 40 hours a week. Either way I am not going to feel like doing anything except relaxing after work. The plus side of the 60 hours a week is that I get paid 20 hours overtime for the week. Friday will be my first paycheck with the 60 hour weeks so I’m looking forward to seeing how much that will be.

Since I’m working so much I don’t feel like spending much time blogging after work. Not that I was doing a lot of blogging before.  I’ll keep the usual monthly income and expense posts coming and try to get more other posts published the next couple of months.

I also wanted to let people know that if they had problems commenting on the blog in the past couple of months they should be able to comment now. The comment spam plugin I was using seemed to block everybody. It only took me a couple of months of no comments to figure that out. I’ve gotten a few comments since removing the plugin so comments seem to be working correctly now.

Paris Vacation and Other News

paris eiffel tower There haven’t been many posts this month since I started my tax job. I know a lot of people work full-time jobs and keep blogs going, but once I’m done with a day of work I don’t feel like doing anything. I procrastinated so long there is no point in doing my net worth post this month because it is almost next month. Starting this week I will have one day off during the week and Sundays off. My plan is to do any blogging on my weekday off. The job is going about as well as could be expected.  The main thing I don’t like about this job is that I have to be there forty hours a week. That is a problem with about any job I would work. Next season I might be able to snag a remote position. I think the job would be a lot more palatable if I were able to work from home. The main reason I’m working this job is to build up a nice cushion of money. I didn’t have any specific plans for using the money other than a hope to travel some this year.

I now have something to spend that money on. Last week I booked a flight for me and my GF to Paris where she will stay ten days and I will stay twenty-three. The Paris trip came about due to there being some super cheap flights from Boston to Paris. I was able to book a round-trip ticket for $324. I booked the flight through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal using my Sapphire Preferred card which gives me 1.5 my points when they are used for travel. That meant I only had to use about $215 worth of points to book the ticket. I was able to book both of our tickets using my credit card points and I still have enough points left for another $1500 of travel. Most of the points came from the very generous credit card sign up bonus. Credit card spending for my FBA business helped boost my points quite a bit as well. We’re using Southwest points to get from Kansas City to Boston.  I now have to come up with a plan to cover our hotel for the trip. My GF and I both just signed up for a credit card that will give us each two free nights. That will take care of four nights so we’ll need to cover six more nights. I’m considering booking a place through AirBnB. Their prices are pretty cheap compared to a hotel and they would be very convenient. There is still plenty of time before I have to decide on that.

In addition to the flight and hotel there will be the cost of seeing the various sights, local transportation, food and other stuff. I’ll try to get deals on that stuff too. Since I got such a good deal on airfare I can probably splurge a little on that stuff and still have a relatively low-budget vacation so I won’t worry about getting deals too much. If any of  you have tips on what we should and shouldn’t do while in Paris I would love to hear them.

Back to Work and Other News

customerserviceI started at a new document review job this Thursday. I had been waiting for the document review company I worked for previously to contact me. I hadn’t yet heard from them on Tuesday and decided to search a couple of job sites online. I found a couple of document review jobs and submitted my resume for both of the jobs. One of the companies emailed me later that day offering me a job and the other company contacted me on Wednesday offering a job. Since the job for the first company was only scheduled for a week and the job at the second company is predicted to last through the summer I accepted the job with the second company. On Friday the document review company that I’ve worked for in the past contacted me about a new project.  I had to let them know that I’d already started at another company. I found it slightly amusing that I waited two weeks without hearing anything and as soon as I accepted a job I was offered jobs at two more companies.

There are a couple of good things about my new doc review job. One is that they are open 7-7 Monday through Friday, 8-6 on Saturday, and I can work my 40 hours whenever I want to during that time frame. If I wanted to I’m allowed to work up to 60 hours a week. Since there is no overtime and I find 40 hours a week to be enough work for me it is extremely unlikely I’ll ever work 60 hours a week but it is nice to have the option. Another nice thing about this job is they have a casual dress code. As in it is okay to wear shorts and a t-shirt casual. This is the first doc review job I’ve worked that had that casual of a dress code everyday. It is nice to be comfortable while I’m working.

The drawbacks to the job are that it is very boring just like all the other doc review jobs. I can listen to music or podcasts while working which does help alleviate the boredom. The other drawback is that it is thirty miles from my house. That is a longer commute than I’d prefer. The traffic hasn’t been too bad yet so at least the commute isn’t stressful. It is just time-consuming.

Next month I will be attending the Missouri Solo and Small Firm Conference. I’m hoping I will learn enough there to be able to start my own law practice. Or at least learn enough to start the process of opening my own firm. Doc review jobs here pays $22-$23 an hour. Before law school I would have thought that was a great rate of pay. Now that I have six figures of debt that level of pay just doesn’t cut it. If I’m going to be able to pay off my student loan I need to make a lot more money. I’ll let you know how the conference went after it is done.

That is all the news I have for now. I probably won’t be writing much the next few weeks since I generally don’t feel much like writing for the blog when I’m working full-time. If there are any topics you would like me to write about let me know and I’ll eventually write a post on the topic.