“You’re a problem solver.”
That’s what my therapist told me last session. I’ll get things figured out, because I’m a problem solver.
I do like solving problems. I have always liked solving problems.
I like solving mathematical problems. I was a bit of a math genius growing up. In elementary school, someone could give me a multiplication problem of any difficulty, and I could give an answer without even working it out on paper. I sat in the corner at school every day engrossed in learning and solving mathematical equations, and by the 3rd grade, I was already working on high school level math. I love math.
Why do I love math? I don’t know if my reasons were the same as a child as they are now, but I love math because you are solving problems that have an answer. (Most) math is finite. Math is logical. Math has rules and methods. Zero multiplied by any number will always be zero. Two plus two will always equal four. There is always an answer in some way or another. In math, little to nothing is left up to chance. It’s clean-cut problem-solving.
Problem solving in life? Not finite. Not always logical. No established set of working rules. Not always an answer. Not at all like math.
It is extremely difficult for a logical-minded person to make decisions with his or her heart. In the months (even longer, really) leading up to my escape, I was burdened with tremendous fear and anxiety. Not only about the actual escape, that’s understandable – but because my mind and my heart were never in agreement. My heart would tell me you need to get out now while my logic-driven brain would tell me no, you need more money before you can leave, this will lead to financial ruin. My heart would tell me you should tell the people you care about while my brain would tell me no, telling people increases the risk. Numbers. My brain is always about the numbers.
Obviously, I solved a huge problem when I ran away. But did I really? I solved the problem by leaving the abuse, yes, but I just set myself up for different problems. And now I have to put on my problem solver cap and solve a new set of problems that don’t have simple answers.
Finances. Blah. Most times, I’m really good at saving money. I pay all of my bills on time. I have managed to feed myself for under $25 a month. I only buy things that are on sale, even if it’s not what I particularly like. Some frugality has become a necessity.
With that being said, I’m still paying bills that aren’t all mine. I’m stuck paying off my mother’s bills because they are in my name. I don’t have any other way to solve that problem. I’m paying a bill for a friend because that bill is also in my name. I own a car that I don’t even have because I don’t drive. All problems. All problems that I’ve created by my own doing. All problems that I will need to solve.
Therapy. I could save more money by cutting down my therapy to once a week, or choosing a Medicaid-covered therapist that I wouldn’t have to pay for at all. Except I need therapy multiple times a week. It keeps me functional. To be honest, I should probably be in therapy every day sometimes. I couldn’t imagine myself existing without therapy. And when I say therapy, I mean my current therapy schedule with my current therapist. I pay out-of-pocket for a competent, professional, knowledgeable, and experienced therapist, because that is what I need after 15 years of absolutely shit therapists.
Which leads to my next issue, and why I have avoided using mental health care covered by Medicaid. It sucks. Medicaid here covers mostly social workers, mostly fresh out of college with little experience. While there is nothing wrong with that, my issues are a little complex. Many social workers don’t even know what a dissociative disorder is, let alone how to treat one.
I need my therapist just as much as I need oxygen to breathe. I can’t give that up.
School. What a conundrum. Even if I wanted to continue with this grad school, I can’t afford it. I’ve done the math. It’s not possible. I will run out of aid half way through the program. And then want? Then I’d really be fucked. Aside from finances, I have to figure out if I am even capable of being a counselor. Am I too damaged? Are people right? If I am a counselor, I would be limited in my ability to share and write about my life, because being a counselor requires a considerable amount of privacy. My writing is important to me, and so is sharing my story. Can’t I find a way to be able to do both? I need to solve this problem, too.
I am a problem solver, but I am not that good. This equation of life is too complex for me to solve.