We’re not OK, and that’s OK, OK?

It’s no secret that my mental health is, at times, not so healthy. The COVID-19 restrictions we’re dealing with in South Africa is not helping. Generally, I’m fine with not leaving the house, and I’m fortunate to be isolating with Grant, so I’m not completely on my own, and with him around my personal hygiene isn’t suffering as it would’ve if I’d stay on my own. I don’t think Grant is so fortunate to have me around. I think my depression is something he can’t make sense of. And because he’s a fixer, he feels frustrated.

Image by  Dan Meyers on Unsplash

It’s not the isolation, it’s the unemployment

You may or may not know that I was retrenched in November. Fortunately, I got a contract placement immediately and it was even extended by an extra month – to the end of March. It didn’t quite cover my expenses but somehow I made it work. During March I also had a couple of really positive interviews. But then the lockdown happened and two weeks later I was unemployed.

I’ve applied for UIF (no response yet, adding to my panic) and debt relief from Absa for the student loan I took out for my nephew (still waiting for feedback on this too). Somehow we made it through the end of March and the end of April. Well, somehow was in no small part thanks to the help of friends and strangers. I’ve set up a BackaBuddy crowdfund and have received a few direct donations.

Cut to the bone

Of course I’ve cut my expenses right down. I’ve cancelled my car insurance and have only been able to buy groceries twice. As it stands I need R13 000 per month to cover my expenses. Almost two thirds of that is for my mom and my medical aid. The rest is life insurance, the student loan, funeral policy and cellphone contract. I’ve managed to secure a payment holiday on my retirement annuity.

I feel overwhelmed. And I feel like a burden on Grant. He’s under enough pressure trying to keep his company going and can’t help me – financially or in terms of my emotions. He just doesn’t get my depression – through no fault of his own.

Getting help

Fortunately, I guess, I had an appointment with my psychologist two weeks ago, and thanks to the Prescribed Minimum Benefit (PMB – find out how to apply for it with your medical aid) I didn’t have to pay for the consultation. We agreed that there’s not much we can change about my circumstances. I scour the job sites daily and apply for anything even remotely within my skills, I’ve started an online shop for the bits and bobs my mom and I make, and I have a shower every day. Good job. So we had to adjust my meds. Unfortunately, the medical aid doesn’t pay for the additional dose, so I resentfully spent R350 with the hope that I’ll be lifted out of the depths of despair. More than the meds, having amazing friends helps immensely.

It’s the little things

I’m trying to find glimmers of joy where I can. I’m not the kind of person to keep a gratitude journal. I try not to stew in my misery. But I do like a long soak in a hot bath at least once a week, and a surprising pick-me-up is the Nivea shower gel I bought recently. Their cheerful colours and wonderful scents instantly improve my mood. I should probably switch over to their shower cream and oil because I hate body lotions and winter is taking a toll on my skin.

How are you?

Tell me how you’re doing. What you’re doing to keep going. Who’s keeping you sane. Leave a comment or mail me if you want.

Can you help me?

Lastly, and the most difficult part, I’m asking you to help if you can. I know everyone is going through a tough time. I have few choices other than to beg the kindness of people.

At the top of navigation on the right, there’s a PayPal donate button you can use to send us money. Alternatively, you can make a donation through my BackaBudy link, and if you prefer to make a direct EFT, please mail me and I’ll send you my banking details.

Let’s chat x

Reminder above my bed, stitched by my mom.

1 Comment

  1. Mandy Ann

    Hi Martha, I totally understand you especially in this trying times. For myself, good music and good food gets me in the right head space. I’ll try to cook up something unique and interesting for myself and it’s all good fun.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself! Some days are difficult but press on. Here’s hoping we’re all safe and healthy.


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2021 Reading Challenge

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Martha has completed her goal of reading 120 books in 2021!