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04 October, 2019

Anxiety and the inability of action

Let us, once again, discuss anxiety. The fun, paralysis-inducing anxiety that we often don't see and can't feel until it's too late and we end up fucking ourselves because sometimes a thing seems so fucking big that we don't know how to tackle it... so it grows and grows and we keep ignoring it... then it all comes falling down and tries to drown us in the bullshit.

Because, you know, that's fun!

In this instance - I'm talking about debt, finances, and, most importantly, student loans.

Lady Bourbon and I live comfortably. Not like SUPER comfortably, but we get to go out to eat from time to time, our bills are generally paid on time, and we have some stuff set aside for an emergency. But, like many Americans, we are one serious illness away from probably being homeless. And, for that at least, I blame the American healthcare system and insurance companies. Unless we happen to become millionaires overnight - this will probably never change.

Student loans, on the other hand... fuck me.

Lady Bourbon does not have them. But I do. I have a lot of them. My first couple of years were at a private college with $24,000/year tuition. I had a scholarship - but not for $48,000. Then, I joined the army and did all that shit and was told I'd get "student loan repayment" as part of my incentive. What they did NOT tell me, however, was that said repayment was for "pre-existing loans" and they "had to be from a State College or University."  So that $48,000 tab I ran up... still a thing.

But let us fast forward many years where I've been putting my loans on forbearance  or paying the absolute minimum possible just because I didn't want to fuck with them. Then, I get a nice "payment holiday" for a year and they are forgotten completely.

Then... I get a letter with the words "defaulted" in the title.

And I'm terrified.

I made the calls, I've got the forms, but I just keep putting it off like some magical thing is going to come down, do it for me, and life will go on. I get absolutely frozen with anxiety and fear about this shit. I don't know how to handle it. What if I send this paperwork in and they're all "Sorry, dude. Your new payment plan is $600 a month." - because that would probably fucking kill me.

The bigger problem is that this anxiety also trickles down into other things and in other ways... I focus on stupid shit and things that matter pile up. Did I pay the gas bill last month? I don't know. I haven't seen a disconnect notice. What about cable? Surely I paid the cable bill... right? They all become an "oh, fuck, am I completely screwing everything up?" pile of anxiety. Then that ball rolls and rolls and rolls until one day I declare "Okay, I will fix this shit!" And I start making progress. I double-check the bills. I set up auto-pay on some of them... but what if we have a short month and the auto-pay fucks us? Better not do that... surely you'll remember to pay it... right?

So I've got a notebook and a pen on my desk today. I'm calling Nelnet and Naviant. I've caught up the bills, I've put things in place... and I'm trying to not freak the fuck out about being poor. Or poor-er than we are...

On top of the crippling anxiety that comes with facing your failures in life - comes the "let us just drink at night and forget about our problems in hopes that we can sleep." So I drink more. I eat bad food. I smoke a LOT of cigarettes. Why? Fuck if I know. Something about dopamine and the brain... When I get super anxiety-filled... I just want to eat, smoke, drink, and fuck... Because this causes my brain to excrete some tiny chemical that pushes back at the anxiety and allows me to go one for just a little longer... to just eke-out another day of existence before accepting the shit decisions I've made and having to face the fucking music...

There you go, dear internet... Welcome to a small glimpse into my anxiety nightmare for the time being.

On the bright side - it's all being dealt with at the moment... How well and how long remains to be seen.

It's my first day