Today I did number 20 on my Total Health List: did my taxes for the past four years. As it turns out, this was not as happy an occasion as I thought it would be. Okay I never really thought it would be fun, but didn’t think it would be as bad as it was.
Let me start from the beginning: Three years ago I had a pretty bad breakdown and went off sick for a couple of months. during that time I ended up with a few extra debts, which came on top of a few extra debts from the seven months leading up to the breakdown where I was drinking and gambling quite heavily. After I got sick, I didn’t want to face real life things like taxes. Actually, I rarely want to face real life things like my taxes; part of my disorder is living with a certain amount of chaos and drama; for whatever reason I can manage huge budgets at work and effectively manage 15 or so staff, but give me accountability for my personal finances and I’m like a five year old with her hands over her ears saying “i can’t hearrrr yoooouuuuu!”.
Regardless, I didn’t do my taxes and had been trying to pay some of the debt down from the bank and from a relative. I paid most of the bank loan and ⅖ of the personal loan. I knew I owed from the year in 2010 so I thought, in fact my plan itself was to wait a few years to hopefully work out that a refund from a few years was more than the money I owed and poof, it would all balance out! In hindsight, maybe a few flaws in the plan, like interest owed on the back taxes and the fact that I was in a higher tax bracket and was not having enough money taken off my bi-weekly pay. so poof, my plan to not pay a certain amount years ago was not smart, and today I found out I owe four times that amount!
The question now you, the reader, may be asking is, “why is this about health? I thought this was a health blog?”. Well first of all thanks for asking :), but more importantly I have to say that even though I now know the reality of my financial situation, I feel great! For years personal finances loomed over my head like a big elephant in the room to be dealt with. Every time I would get close to doing it, something in my life would take over, either a mental health episode, children issues, comedy shows etc. you name it, it could distract me from doing my taxes. So today by achieving personal responsibility for my finances and focussing on reality, I can at least make a sustainable plan to get ahead. This is what is good for mental health, and I am proud of myself.
The accountant I worked with started talking to me about RRSPs. Whoa!! Hold the phone! While I want to take responsibiliy for my past, I rarely want to think about the future. This is what my health change is about, looking beyond the past and now. The only time I really focus on the future is to obsess over people abandoning me, which ironically kind of screws up the present. See, me, like many with Borderline Personality Disorder, I am an RFN kind of gal. RFN of course stands for: Right Fucking Now! I live in the now, but not in the good way. I focus on the RFN for wanting things to take away the torment and pain that comes as part of my disorder. RFN was often used for excessive use of alcohol, gambling, overeating, overshopping etc. etc. etc. Basically it was a bandaid to cover the pain I felt in the moment. This also happens when things are going really well, I don’t want those feelings to end and RFN means to keep doing things that make me feel good NOW. Often doing taxes, healthy eating, exercising etc. is not an RFN move.
Times are changing for me, and as I am in my 39th year, it’s time that RFN moved to TAF (Think About Future). As I begin to love myself and manage my pain I have to think about avoiding chaos in my life such as poor finances. I have to think about living for the next 50 years, not about covering the pain of the moment with a Quarter Pounder meal. It’s time to look beyond the RFN, and focus on building a sustainable future, all while balancing my mental health needs. I need to see that doing my taxes and other grown up things today will help avoid a crash later on.
So I did something on my list that I can cross off. I will look at these RRSP things after my account is cleared with the government, and will try to get someone to explain them to me in a way that makes sense.
Everyday is a journey, and today, instead of fighting the usual Sunday pain and chaos in my head, I straight up did something I didn’t want to do and gave me no immediate pleasure. Ironically, just getting this off my worries and back was enough to suffice for now.
Thanks for reading! Also, in a plug for my awesome play, come check out Jesus Loves a Crazy Horny Feminist coming in March!