I have been doing cognitive behavioural therapy with a doctor at the practice—it helps you deal with negative thoughts and stress. But a lot of my stress comes from financial insecurity, and that’s really not something you can think yourself out of. The doctor encourages me to see the practice’s social worker to help me budget.
I make an appointment. I talk about how it feels impossible to improve my situation when I can barely get by, let alone put money aside. I talk about the panic at the end of the month, knowing exactly how much is in my account, hoping that I don’t have to buy anything before the next cheque arrives. “It’s stupid, but sometimes I’ve worried about dropping the carton of eggs because I didn’t have the $2.50 to buy another one.”
“It’s hard,” he says. “I see other people on social assistance and everyone worries about the same thing—the end of the month, the end of the month. And people do drop the eggs sometimes.”
I ask him how other people manage.
“Sometimes they go hungry.”
He gives me the addresses of a couple Parkdale food banks and says I can make another appointment if I’m having trouble with ODSP or anything like that.
“Thanks for your help,” I tell him.