Understand your money and mood patterns
Working out your habits and thought patterns around money is a good place to start. It could help you start to think about things you want to work on.
- Think about when you spend or save money and why.
- Think about what aspects of dealing with money make your mental health worse. Is it attending appointments, opening envelopes, confrontation or being misunderstood? Or is it something else?
- It could help to keep a diary of your spending, and your mood. Try and record what you spent and why. Record how you were feeling before and afterwards too. This could help you work out any triggers or patterns.
When you understand more about what’s happening in your life, you can think about what might help. Sometimes just being aware of these patterns can help you feel more in control.
For example, these are some common ways money and mental health can affect each other:
- Certain situations might trigger feelings of anxiety and panic. Like talking to your bank, opening envelopes or attending a benefits assessment. Or you might feel very anxious about a decision to spend money, even when you can afford it.
- If you’re feeling low or depressed, you may lack motivation to manage your finances. It might not feel worthwhile trying.
- Spending may give you a brief high, so you might overspend to feel better.
- Going through a period of mania or hypomania may lead to some impulsive financial decisions.
- If a mental health problem affects your ability to work or study, that might have an affect on your income.
- Being in debt or dealing with the benefits system can cause ongoing feelings of stress.
- Worrying about money can lead to sleep problems.
- Money problems can affect your social life and relationships. You might feel lonely or isolated.
- Having a mental health problem might affect your insurance premiums, so you end up paying more.
- You might not be able to afford essential things we all need to feel well. This might be housing, food, water, heating, or treatments like medication and therapy.
“A big stressor for me is having to deal with major companies who get the bills wrong.”
If you can’t afford bills or food
You’re not alone. Help is out there.
You may be able to claim social security benefits to help with your living costs. Start by finding out what you can claim, and get advice on making an application.
The Social Welfare Department Hotline (Tel: 2343 2255) can provide you with information on welfare services.