Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Stressed Out

with 9 comments

Total Black: $41.89
Total Red: $229,148.69

Over the past few days, I’ve been feeling extremely and unusually stressed out.  Not exactly panicky, but damn near it.  And it’s really over nothing.  Total red creeped up a bit because of finance charges and a few purchases.  It’s only up by about by about $200.  Not unreasonable.  Images come to mind of dough that keeps rising and then needs to be punched back down.  Or whack-a-mole.  Or even a hydra: cut off one head and two more grow back in its place.  I’m working two jobs.  Last week I put in sixty-three hours at the contract attorney position.  Yet it feels like I’m spinning my wheels.  I’m not.  Not really.  The only major drain on incoming finance is my apartment.  And I’ve heard enough from commenters on that one.  So much so that I’m almost beginning to dread going home.  That’s a horrible feeling to dread the only refuge you have.  I’ve been bringing or making my lunch nearly every day this week and last.  Me and Dinty Moore have grown apart.  I’ve been steppin’ out with Hormel.  Add some ketchup, a bit of brown sugar, and nuke it for about three minutes and you’ve got a tasty lunch that fills you for quite a while.  So why am I still so nervous?

Debt really does take an emotional toll on us.  As always, the credit card companies keep calling.  And there’s nothing I can do about it until my next paycheck.  It’s just the incessant drip, drip, drip of debt.  Sometimes I’m overcome with an urge to just take my entire paycheck and throw it at the credit card company if only to make their calls stop.  Somehow Bank of American has obtained my cellphone number too; something that makes me irate.  I ignore their calls, primarily because I’d have to go off the clock, and therefore lose money, to take their call.  But maybe next time they call my cellphone, I will take that moment to answer just to tell them to stop calling.  Perhaps it’s something that simple.  And they’re not calling about past due amounts.  At least not specifically.  Instead, they’re calling to “talk with me” about some “fantastic options” they have available for me.  But it’s not a sales call, of course.  No.  They just get some sort of commission on whatever they sign me up for, I’m sure.  It’s funny too that every few weeks the person calling me with urgent business and fantastic options changes.  One week it’s a woman in Maine.  Next it’s a man from Ohio.  Back and forth.

It’s funny that just as I’m beginning to bring my debt down.  Just as I’m starting to feel the burn in my abs from this tug-of-war with my debtors, I suddenly start feeling overcome by stress and worry.  I was more happy-go-lucky when I was sitting on my ass on my couch collecting unemployment benefits.  There’s something demoralizing about working so many hours and yet only to being able to put a nick in your debt. 

I know it’s temporary.  It’ll pass.  Today I reread a post I wrote back in November.  Someone had found my blog by searching for Emerald Tablet.  I couldn’t recall ever having heard that phrase, so I had to see how a search for it led to my blog.  But, apparently I knew what that phrase at some point because I tagged Emerald Tablet in As Above, So Below.  Rereading that post brought me back to that weekend I spent cleaning and drifting in and out of nearly-overwhelming stress.  I suppose this is just another similar phase.  It is the beginning of the month too, as that was back then.  Perhaps there’s a pattern.

But I repeat as I have in many prior posts: stressing and worrying accomplish nothing.  We don’t feel better after spending an hour worrying.  It doesn’t make our problems any better lighter.  Just the opposite perhaps.  So I need to wait for this bout of stress to pass.  Like it has in the past.  When Thursday arrives, I’ll pay my landlord something towards rent and also something on a credit card.  Not sure yet which since they’re all vying for my attention.

9 Responses

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  1. What is going on man??? No posts — stop working and entertain/educate us.

    Prince Michael III

    February 2, 2010 at 18:26

  2. Black is down and red is up. Not good at all.


    February 2, 2010 at 20:42

  3. hope all is well and you are just busy workin your ass off chasin that paper.


    February 2, 2010 at 21:56

  4. Let’s face it – unless Laid-Off finds a really rich boyfriend there is NO way he is going to pay off that debt by August. He knows that, we know that. Just hopin’ and prayin’ he finds some sugar lover – soon!!

    Prince Michael III

    February 2, 2010 at 22:06

  5. [will leave comment tomorrow]

    Minnesota Man

    February 2, 2010 at 22:23

  6. Touché.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    February 3, 2010 at 00:40

  7. You should take their calls and see what they offer. Right now BoA has programs that slash your interest and lower your payments, so what you pay goes a lot further. You typically can’t use your card during the program, but you can’t use it if it’s maxxed out anyway, and your goal is to get rid of debt, not add to it. Do you really want to keep paying extra interest?


    February 3, 2010 at 12:15

  8. Yessiree, I recently signed up with Bofa – they reduced my interest rate and even gave me credit for last six months of interest if I froze my card. Which essentially means I cannot use it. They also reduced my monthly payment. So now most of what I pay goes towards my debt.

    Jelly Bean

    February 3, 2010 at 13:21

  9. You still do not appear to have attempted to get your student-loan payments put on an income-dependent plan. Such programs have been made more generous to the borrower recently, so you should REALLY make the effort to call/surf and find out if you can be helped.
    Here is a link to a recent article — if you won’t lift the phone to negotiate with Bank of America, maybe you will lift the phone (or your web navigating finger) to negotiate on your student loans.


    February 4, 2010 at 12:42

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