Does anyone ever feel like they’re in a constant state of taking one step forward and two steps back?

That’s how I feel sometimes.

A few months ago, I paid off several thousand dollars of credit card debt. Shortly after, I discovered that a mix-up due to some misinformation I was given has led me to owing another $1,200. Fortunately, I should be able to cover that with my tax refund, but I had plans to save that money towards something other than debt payment.

For the longest time, I racked up debt and refused to save money. Why bother? It seemed that every time I started to slowly build up my savings, something would happen. Typically, the “something” would be suddenly needing to replace all of my car tires after getting one flat. The expense would wipe out the money I had set aside (and often more).

And yes, I could also see the good in that. It’s far better to wipe out my savings account than it would be to get a flat tire and have no savings at all. So, perhaps the fact that these financial emergencies came up when I was better equipped to handle them was a blessing.

It still sucks though.

Now, despite this minor setback with this debt, I am doing fairly well financially. I have a decent chunk of change in savings right now thanks to the most recent stimulus. I’m managing to put aside a little extra every time I get paid. For the first time in my adult life, despite only making about $175 a week, I’m not completely living paycheck to paycheck. The money I get from SNAP benefits helps, of course, but even without that, I have enough money to put gas in my car and buy food (with money left over for other expenses. Am I absolutely thriving? No. I’m still waiting on news about my appeal to Unemployment about my benefits (long story short, they were cut off even though, according to the data on the website, they shouldn’t have been; at my current job, I should still be entitled to those benefits). Do I particularly need the benefits? No. I’m managing without them. However, that extra $300 a week would be nice to put towards saving towards my dream home. (I want a tiny house).

It’s not just finances though. I’ve been struggling with finding a balance with my workouts. Nothing I do ever feels like it’s enough, yet I find myself feeling completely burned out by nothing. I’ve made a few changes to my routine which I think helps, but that nagging feeling that I should do more hasn’t gone away.

I’m also about a month-and-a-half into my reverse diet. It’s been wonderful in terms of me learning to break up with some of my old food rules. I’m enjoying foods I used to restrict because I was afraid I would binge on them. I definitely have a long way to go in breaking up with my food rules, but I’m still proud of the progress I’m making.

But I’m also having some body image struggles. I’m used to having the gratification of watching the number on the scale go down, but I’m not getting that anymore. Part of me loves the food freedom eating more is giving me, but there’s another part of me that wants to go back to restricting for the sake of seeing the scale go down again.

The thing I’m struggling with most, in this moment, is feeling like I’m always sabotaging myself. I have a habit of mentally celebrating a personal victory in the realm of my mental health- only to turn around and do the thing I was celebrating not doing before.

Sometimes, it really feels like I’ve made zero progress when it comes to managing my mental illnesses. True, the social anxiety has been less of an issue lately, but the lack of socializing due to the pandemic may be playing a factor there.

I haven’t seen a counselor in months. My work schedule is just too sporadic. Since I don’t have any consistency in my schedule (the days and hours I work each week change and I don’t have advance notice of my schedule), it makes scheduling the time for my mental health challenging. I knew this was a possibility when I started working; I turned down this particular job because the job was unable to accommodate my counseling appointments last year.

I probably should see one though. I don’t necessarily believe it helped any when I was seeing someone (I went through three counselors in the last year because they kept going on maternity leave). Plus, I also wonder if I should get some more evaluations done in regards to figuring out everything that’s wrong with me and exploring other treatment options. I already know I have Avoidant Personality Disorder, Mild Recurrent Depression, Social Anxiety Disorder, and General Anxiety Disorder. I was also told that I may have an unspecified trauma disorder and ADHD, but both of those require more testing to confirm or rule out.

There’s also a chance that some of my issues may be hormonal. Whether it’s something like PMDD (thankfully, without physical symptoms beyond being ravenous every few months) or simply just hormones exacerbating my existing mental illness symptoms, I’m not sure. But there’s something going on there.

I don’t know what any of this means. I can’t exactly afford to quit my job for the sake of therapy even if it does help. However, I’m also not keen on the idea of going back on medication to try to manage my symptoms. (Oh and the fact that I work with my mom which makes taking time off work for personal reasons nearly impossible; if I worked elsewhere, I’d be able to take time off and she wouldn’t know).

I just know that I feel completely stuck right now.