Finally, there is clarity? Then and now with OnceAndFuture

Thank you for your writing. You're a very good writer by the way. Not everyone can make a story out of hardship like you. Your last post, although we don't know if it's indeed prefiguring a positive plot twist, seems to convey hope. And because of that, your story is still incredibly helpful. For me, it's a reminder that even the darkest moments can pass.
I wish you best of luck, the kind of true strength that only comes from knowing what you already overcame, and a newfound meaning in life.
I hate coming back here, even just to check in, under such dire circumstances. I thought I had some hope back in December when I posted here. But once again everything has gotten crushed.

My financial situation is incredibly grim. I've almost depleted my savings and I'm owed over $10,000 by my business partners and $2,500 by a bank. I'm down to less than $500 in my bank account after I pay my rent this month and there is no guarantee I will see even a cent from either my business partners and the bank by the end of March. I've stopped going out to anything, even to my therapy group, that I don't have to go to in a desperate attempt to save money. I haven't left the apartment since Friday as a result. I have no friends, no online friends, no nothing. The only people I have left to talk to are my relatives, none of whom even live in this state. The only saving grace right now is that I have enough to eat for about two weeks.

My migraines have come back terribly and I spent the entire month of January with one. My neurologist said that I had the highest migraine pain score she had ever seen--and this is with my botox treatment--but we have largely run out of treatment options. I want to move to somewhere with more stable weather so that I am not in constant pain, but I cannot afford to, and I cannot break the apartment lease I had to take here.

My divorce with The Signal is almost formalized. We met with the mediator last week. I think the agreement was fair. But I don't know how I'm going to pay her for her share of the mortgage unless I get paid soon. And once the divorce is finalized I will no longer have health insurance. I won't be able to have the botox treatment--of course it seems as if it is no longer working anyway--and I won't even be able to afford my rescue meds. And though things were bad between us, we were always able to talk. Now I have nobody to talk to. I spend pretty much all the time crying to be honest.

The most frustrating thing is that I am working almost all the time. But I just feel more lonely. Working at home with almost no contact with my clients has just isolated me more than ever. I know I need to find a full-time job somewhere. But there aren't any jobs here in my field, and I can't afford to move or break the apartment lease to move somewhere else. I feel completely trapped here. I keep trying to look for a silver lining but there is none. I have been crying, screaming for help from everybody I can think of but I am getting no answer. There is nobody to talk to.

I'm sorry this has been so much of a downer. Know that I am still alive. It has to get better--I'm afraid it can't get much worse.
I am SO sorry. Is there any possible way you could have another person in your therapy group give you rides? It seems like you really need to go.
My legal brain is telling me that there's something not right with your situation. Does the divorce mediator know about your financial situation? Does The Signal have no means of support? How are you owed $12,500 during a divorce, that your divorce attorney isn't trying to collect for you or at least have applied on the "losses" side of the column? Do you have an attorney that you could consult with? If you don't have an attorney, please, please, please look into getting an attorney. You might qualify for a free or low-cost attorney through legal aid, particularly since you have some serious physical hardships.

About your financial situation, a lot of people file for bankruptcy after a divorce since divorces are seriously expensive for everyone involved. In the end, it might be worth it to break your lease for a better job and better living prospects in a different city, even if you don't end up filing for bankruptcy. You'll take a hit to your credit score, but breaking your lease isn't the end of the world. Especially when you are uncollectable... which is what it sounds like you are rapidly approaching. Legal aid might also be of some help there.

Anyway, no need for a response to me, just some things that you might not have thought about. Wishing you well.
Please Once and Future, know that there is help and hope for you if you hang on. I am so sorry for your ongoing pain. If there is anything we can do long distance aside from offering sympathy, understanding and advice let us know. Avid researchers here could possibly find you the help you need if you let us know where you are located.

For medical insurance, Medicaid covers people with disabilities, which you probably could qualify for, and if your state has its own program the coverage may be quite good.

Your depression makes everything an uphill battle but you NEED help. Try the group you had been attending. Leave a message for the group leader, or go by the meeting and talk to anyone there you felt even a bit of connection to. It must feel nearly impossible to reach out for connection and services, they are out there though.

Your lease is not an unbreakable thing. You do not need to live in poverty and pain because of a lease! If you were to find a job elsewhere you could always make a payment plan for the landlord, if the landlord cannot find a new lessee quickly. See if your landlord can take late delayed payment. Heck, if you are sick and disabled but working let them go through the eviction process, it can take awhile,you can at least pay for other necessities and your finances might improve.

Do your partners understand your situation? Are they in similar straits, or do they have some money to start paying you? You may feel getting a lawyer is more than you can handle so you can try insisting on your legal pay yourself. Let your partners borrow from someone to pay what they owe you!

Please keep reaching out, even a little bit if that is all you can do, there are people out there who will help.

“And I’ve been waiting for nine years now and…” – Jale, “Nine Years”

Yes, this is really me.

So what all happened in the (looks carefully) five and a half years since I posted last? Well I unintentionally left on a bit of a cliffhanger, being near broke and being owed about $10,000. Thankfully—if I remember right—my business partner fronted me $2,000 so I could make it through the next month. And eventually the whole $10,000 came through, followed by a gig that gave me enough money to finance a move out of where I was staying so I could move to the Southwest, and even enough to rebuild a small nest egg.

In March 2019 I moved to Tucson, AZ. At first the gig continued for a while, and I was able to start to make a living there. I met up with a couple of meetup groups and slowly started to feel like I’d made the right decision for one. My migraines, which had wrecked my previous year, started to disappear. Then the gig suddenly dried up with nothing to replace it. After a couple of months I was desperate enough to start filling out surveys for small bits of cash. I think I went about four months without any consulting work, though in October I got one small gig. The nest egg was down to almost nothing. I had to borrow money to pay rent. Things were looking bad again. I traveled back to visit my dad for Christmas. I came close to asking him for a loan, something I’d held back from doing before and really didn’t want to do again. He’d gotten re-married in April and I still didn’t know how he was feeling about his future. At the end of the visit he started feeling violently ill. Also the news started talking about some strange disease showing up in China. Those were the last things I remember before I left.

On the drive back I really thought about ending it all. This wasn’t the life I wanted to have. I started thinking that I’d never be able to do any of the things I’d really wanted to do in life. It was looking increasingly unlikely that the consulting job would work out. But I was still mentally and physically unready to start working in an office again. I still felt crushed by my past. The only thing that kept me on the road were my cats…who would feed them if I wasn’t there? I still felt indebted to them for keeping me company during the migraines back East.

I got back to Tucson to a phone call from dad’s wife. He had an intestinal blockage that needed major surgery. A few days later he called me to tell me the blockage was a large malignant tumor. I remember then lying in bed for days, thinking to myself I had to get out of this for him. Even though we’d never really been close, I felt like I couldn’t end things now, not while he was sick. It wouldn’t be fair to him or his new wife or my sister or anyone. I started doing some more things for the consultancy, even putting together an online course—it didn’t make enough money to pay for everything, but it at least allowed me to hold on.

Of course in March 2020 the pandemic started. The bad news was that my meetup groups stopped, never to start again unfortunately. The one social outlet I had disappeared overnight. The good news was that I managed to get an almost full-time gig, one that lasted over two years. That one gig managed to pull me out of not just my financial hole but my emotional pit as well. In my off time I built a pool table in the living room of my place and played for hours a day. When the pandemic started to lift I joined a pool league…I didn’t make many friends there, but at least it was a way to get out. The full-time gig was so successful that other places started noticing, and I was getting more work. Eventually I saved up enough money to move to an apartment closer to the city center—though I had to leave my pool table behind as it didn’t fit in the new place. But the downside was that I was working more and more. The pool league eventually stopped, and I didn’t join another one. I was spending all of my time either working, sleeping, or eating. I wasn’t exercising, and I started putting on a lot of weight. My clothes didn’t fit any more—too embarrassed to go out and get better-fitting clothes, I started spending more time sitting at home in the dark rotating the few outfits I could still fit into, or my bathrobe, or on really bad days, just underwear.

All this time dad still battled his cancer. By late 2021 it had spread to his lungs and liver. By mid-2022 it was starting to become clear that his chemo wasn’t reversing his condition. I visited him for Thanksgiving last year and asked his wife to give me a clear diagnosis (by now he wasn’t really updating me on anything). She was honest that she wasn’t sure how long he had. I had saved up enough that I could afford to move away from Tucson. I decided it was time to move closer to dad. I had been away from my mom when she passed away and I felt like I couldn’t forgive myself if I was away again when dad passed. So I started looking at apartments nearby, even though my apartment lease in Tucson didn’t run out until August 2023. I was hoping he’d still be around when I was able to move. (Spoiler alert before the next entry: he is.)

Part 2 when I can write it.
The 12 months between July 2022 and July 2023 were about the worst I've ever had thrown at me. In July 2022 I had a nervous breakdown over work. My main client was asking me to do work that really shouldn't have been done by someone outside of the office, and my solutions to their problem ended up alienating everybody. After the breakdown I was asked to take a month away. I'd been working 60-70 hours a week and literally didn't know what to do with myself now that my work went to almost zero. I took a two-week trip to visit relatives and friends, and came back and slept for two weeks. Afterwards my main client quickly cut me off, which was a relief but left me with almost no income. Fortunately this time I had enough savings to live on. Unfortunately without much else to do I started eating and eating and eating. I think I put on 40 pounds over those 12 months. In December I started working with another main client...the good news is that I am still working with this client and they are very happy with everything I've done. The bad news was that five side clients were handed to me, and soon I was working 60-70 hours a week again.

And that, and one of my relatives passing away, and a side client which seemed determined to drive me to an early grave led to another nervous breakdown in mid-July. That was particularly tough as I had to pull myself together to go on vacation with my dad and his new family, then get back to Tucson to move immediately afterwards. Somehow I did manage to get through everything, get everything into boxes, the cats into carriers, and myself into my car to make it to my new place. I've been here now for a month and a half, and although it's been an adventure--for starters, my car was stolen two weeks after move-in, but I had a tracker on it so it was recovered quickly--things are getting better. My business partner has noted that I seem happier than in years, and I have started dieting and exercising finally.

The other things, though...I am going through the longest case of anhedonia I could have ever imagined. Nothing seems remotely fun anymore. I'm just eating and sleeping and working mainly. I used to enjoy playing computer games, but I almost have to force myself to play now. I don't read any more. I haven't watched a TV show or a movie in years. Just about all I can stand to do to pass the time is to drive around and listen to podcasts or music. Really the most I'm enjoying anything is lying in bed at night listening to music and holding my cat while she sleeps. I don't know what I'd do without her.

I haven't been on a date in five years. I can easily see myself going another five without one. Or maybe the rest of my life. I don't want to go through it any more. I don't want to put someone having to be around me any more either. I'm not saying this to attract pity, I'm saying it because I know it's true. I'm not enjoying life now and I can't imagine anyone spending a lot of time around me would enjoy it either. I don't know what I need to do to make my life any better. I've been to four different counselors and therapists over the last five years, and been on three or four different medications. Nothing has worked...nothing even feels like it might work.

I know this isn't common to read on a board like this but...I am really, really angry at myself that I tried being poly. Would my life be any better if I hadn't? I'm starting to think so. I don't know if I'd still be with The Signal. With all the breakdowns I've had recently...I can't see anyone wanting to stay with me, and I wouldn't blame them. The worst thing is that I can't even talk about what's wrong to anyone. Talking to the counselors about it was like talking in a foreign language. And there's nobody else to turn to. I guess that's why I'm writing about it here and not somewhere else.

It's been a miracle that my dad has managed to stay alive as long as he has. He's been in Stage 4 for over two years now. The cancer has spread around his body so much that one of his tumors has actually broken through his skin. A few other tumors are so large you can see them even when he wears a baggy t-shirt (and since he's lost over 80 pounds since his diagnosis, all his shirts are baggy). He hasn't had chemo for over six months. Instead he's been on this weird diet in an effort to "starve the cancer". It's not working but he and his wife have put so much faith in it nobody can talk them out of it. But somehow he's still mowing the lawn at his farmhouse and working on a few odd jobs around the place. He is a lot more tired. I'm grateful that I've moved here while he can still get around and do a few things. But I lost my mom to this. I know how it ends.

So, right now there is no future for me. There's today, and a list of things that will happen in the next two months. That's as far ahead as I'm thinking right now, and even those things are just dates on a calendar. Any day my life could change dramatically--I could lose my elderly stepgrandmother, or my dad during that time. Even myself if I'm not careful. Right now I am just trying to do my best today, go to sleep, wake up, and do my best tomorrow. That's all I can handle.
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I am glad to hear from you! I have thought of you over the years and hoped you were making it through. I am sorry you have not found a treatment that works against your depression. One of my partners has suffered from it most of his life and is fed up with treatments that do not help. If you have the energy at some point, you could see if your diagnosis is correct. I suspect my partner is actually bipolar with his “manic“ phases mainly manifesting as becoming so wrapped up in projects he goes without much sleep. That makes him feel good so it never occurred to him to mention this to his doctors.

I think it is good both of, and for, you to have found a way to be with your Dad during this time. You both seem to share an admirable determination.

Please keep trying as you clearly have people who you care about and you have more of value to contribute to those around you.

Just sending a caring thought your way. I doubt any advice could help. It's just very tough right now :(