Warning: this is a long post with no pictures! LOLWow, I have been so MIA here at The Thrifty Groove. I have to confess, it wasn’t intentional. And I have kinda of surprised myself. I didn’t realize I wasn’t blogging. It just happened.
As many of you long time readers of The Thrifty Groove know, these past few years have been tough for us here. We have gone through a lot of trials an tribulations. So many ups and downs. And then at the beginning of this year my husband was able to return to work full time for the first time in ten years. What a blessing! So, you would think I would just be blogging my heart out. A major stress was removed from my life. At least that is what I thought I would be doing.
My husbands job is an OTR Driver (Over the road). He is gone for at least two-three weeks at a time. So, all of a sudden I am the only one home. After being together 24/7 for ten years this is a major change.
For the past ten years, the major traumatic situations that have happened to us were out of my control. I would do what I could but, ultimately, I had no control over what was happening. And being a control freak, this is not a good thing. I needed to have some kind of control somewhere in my life. Something I could do and succeed at.
Due to all the things that were happening, money become unbelievable tight. So, that was my “control”. I threw everything I had into being as thrifty as possible and still feeling like we had a good life. Turning a penny into a nickel is what I needed to do. Fortunately, I grew up in a thrifty but very happy home. So, I had a good solid foundation to work with.
I created saving money and penny pinching into a game to help with the mental stress of it all. I went to the library regularly and checked out books on frugality, DIY and bartering and trading. I subscribed to as many money saving online newsletters I could find. I joined message boards that were focused completely on stretching money. I found alternatives to things we needed that didn’t cost as much as retail. I was a regular shopper at thrift stores looking for items that needed to be replaced that I couldn’t afford to buy new. I searched out methods to make a few dollars here and there. I did online surveys that would pay out at a couple of dollars. I delved into the world of Mystery Shopping and other self employed small jobs. We eventually started selling our extra herbs at a local farmers market and slowly created our small herb Business DTL Herbs.
In other words, it became a full time job just trying to make ends meet. And I did it. Don’t get me wrong, we had help from family and friends occasionally, but, overall I made it work. It was exhausting and scary all the time but, I was in control of something.
When I hit a wall as far as cutting back on expenses and squeezing every penny I could I knew I needed a new approach to the “Game”. I had to get past the depression of doing this everyday for years. I then found all the extreme couponing blogs. And threw myself into this arena. It worked. I was back in control. I got to the point of saving money via groceries and other household items that I was asked by a friend to start a blog and share the different coupons and ways to do extreme couponing with her and other friends. So I started The Thrifty Groove. I was in the groove daily with saving money so, that is how that name came about. The blog was just a tiny private “grab this coupon and use it with this other coupon for this item that is on sale” type of blog. I also started teaching classes on couponing. I had made up folders of all kinds of related information and shared this with friends, families and at places like church.
What I didn’t realize until just recently, was that I became like a horse with blinders on. I had ONE focus, make every penny count. All the other things that were happening that I had no control over I dealt with them by shoving it all in some deep dark area in my brain and locking the door. I couldn’t handle trying to work through those other issues. They hurt too much and I couldn’t do anything about them. And I had to continue to play the money game because due to these others issues, we were accumulating other bigger expenses.
Now move ahead to this year. We have a decent income. I never got us into credit card debt so, catching up on bills was pretty easy once we got a regular income into our home. Getting used to knowing we have some money and about how much every week was an absolute miracle! I had forgotten how amazing it is to have a regular income.
I started finding myself not sleeping, not eating properly, no motivation, letting my home slide into chaos, not taking care of my health and ultimately my mental health started going into a dark place. All of that quickly became a very ugly vicious circle. I couldn’t stop it. Everything just became worse.
And blogging? Forget about that. I used to blog everyday and then dropped down to 5 days and eventually dropped down to 3 days a week. Then the new year came and I didn’t have any energy or desire to blog. What on earth would I blog about when I felt the way I did?
I would try a little here and there but, nothing felt fun or new to me. I just didn’t care. I didn’t seem to care about anything.
None of this made any logical sense to me. I couldn’t figure it out. One of the biggest daily stresses, money was lifted from my shoulders. If anything I should be jumping with joy not falling into some dark pit!
So, what’s the problem right?
Demons. They started rearing their ugly heads in my mind.
All those horrible things that I couldn’t deal with and shoved into the dark recesses of my mind started to come forward. Once I was able to not have to put every bit of my energy into trying to make our money stretch the old locked door had room to open.
It has taken me weeks to finally figure out what was happening to me. My main focus in day to day life was suddenly gone. I felt freaked out. And I was alone. Troy was gone most of the time. I felt myself falling. It was so scary to feel myself lose control. I was able to publically put on an act, at least enough to not let my friends and family become worried about me.
Finally I talked to my doctor about the lack of sleep. It was/is a huge problem that effects every other aspect of my life. The quality of my life went into a deep hole and I couldn’t pull it out. Fortunately my doctor has been with us through the past ten years and knows all the things we have struggled with. So, we just talked.
She brought to light all the stuff I had pushed to the side was still there and until I can let go of it, things aren’t going to change. Well, that’s easier said than done! But, at least it did make sense. And recognizing the problem and acknowledging it is a huge first step.
Letting go of the pain, the hurt, the guilt, the anger and the feeling that I don’t deserve to be happy because of all the feelings above is not going to be easy. But, I have started to deal with them. And just knowing that is helping tremendously. And so I also decided to go ahead and deal with it here. It is kind of a therapy. LOL Plus, I know so many of you have always been there for me and deserved to know what was going on with me and this blog.
So, I am taking it one step at a time until I can get to a place where I am happy with me. A few tiny steps in the right direction have already begun to happen so, that makes me feel good!.
I want to thank all of you who have been there and are still here! You have always been a great source of motivation and inspiration.
Please forgive me if this sounds like a big rambled mess. I had no idea what I was going to write and I just went freestyle and let my fingers do the typing. If I go back and try to fix the sentences or paragraphs I will end up editing so much stuff out and I don’t want to do that. I just wanted to get it all out there.
And I guess we will discover together what direction The Thrifty Groove goes because I haven’t a clue!