The best-laid plans of mice and men go oft awry

Posted: 25 January 2018
Updated: 25 January 2018

Eating & buying food; poverty & fear; anxiety; PTSD: it’s complicated

Humans must eat, but I usually fear eating because I usually don’t know if I can buy more food. Similarly, buying food is stressful because I can’t waste one peso and buying food usually means I don’t know if I can buy medicine. Those fears are appropriate and proportional responses to my poverty. I have generalized anxiety disorder, too, and my anxiety sometimes causes an additional emotional response that is disproportionate to the situation.

The fear that comes from my poverty is a healthy emotional response that helps remind me to pay attention to money and to be cautious: the result is that I slow down, I delay purchases, and I limit my purchases. Anxiety is an unhealthy emotional response that distorts my view of my need to eat, the relative values of my options, and requires time and energy to evaluate my emotions: the result is that I slow down, I delay purchases, and I limit my purchases.

Yes, the results are the same, and that highlights the difficulty I face when I must find the small differences between healthy frugality because of poverty and unhealthy starvation and stress because of anxiety. When I can perfectly distinguish them, then I eat enough, I spend little, and I mitigate my anxiety. But if I delay eating, then all of my symptoms worsen, and that costs time, energy, stress, and money.

Similar to generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD creates unhealthy, disproportionate feelings that are difficult to distinguish from appropriate, healthy emotions. A significant aspect of PTSD is reduced trust in other people. Because of my disorders, I must rely on other people so I can eat and survive: I must trust other people.

When I spend money, I am unsure when I will have more money. It is healthy for me to make decisions while considering the constant uncertainty of my poverty. But this healthy behavior is difficult to distinguish from a disproportionate lack of trust caused by my PTSD.

Anxiety and PTSD make it much more difficult for me to navigate the problems of poverty. Poverty makes it impossible to properly manage my symptoms of anxiety and PTSD. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s painful. It’s expensive.

I bought groceries

I have not been eating properly for at least a week. I’ve not had an adequate supply of groceries in the house for multiple weeks. Today, I took 0.5mg of alprazolam, and I pushed through four hours of stress to order groceries.

Using a website has huge advantages: notably, it’s much easier for me to find the products that are the best value. Full size grocery stores have the best prices but I live far from all of them. If I purchase several days of food, I save a lot of money compared to buying from the corner grocery.

I spent MXN$1253.60, which PayPal converted to US$69.96. I have a little over US$40 left. I need to buy venlafaxine: 10 days is MXN$127. My expected income is $0.00.

I have a lot of fear about whether I will be able to buy food when I next need it, or buy medicine, or pay rent. With only forty dollars, I should have fear, right?

And my anxiety and PTSD are causing my emotions to freak out. Ironically, even though I’m extremely hungry, I can’t eat because my stomach is a tight fist from the stress of buying food.

Please. I’m begging you. Please 1) help me save money by purchasing food this way rather than from the corner grocery, and 2) please don’t force me into crisis mode. I must buy medicine. I must take medicine, but my money is so low that I must ration my medicine. That jeopardizes my recovery. Please don’t punish me for saving money and for trying to heal. PayPal account: [email protected]

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