It’s… a lot, I know. The facts are grim, and they’re only getting grimmer.
But if you’re feeling like all of this death, economic destruction, and tragedy came out of nowhere, I have even worse news for you: it didn’t. For the sad effects of the pandemic are neither sudden, isolated, nor unpredictable.
Rather, they are the results of a system that has been balancing on a precipice for decades. A global pandemic was simply the last push needed to send this car over the cliff and hurtling spectacularly to the rocks below.
The coronavirus has singlehandedly revealed the pre-existing conditions our country has been ignoring, denying, and dismissing since dinosaurs Ronald Reagan roamed the Earth White House.
Piggy and I decided to halt our regularly scheduled programming to talk to you a little about what’s going on in the world right now.
We will be writing more about this topic very soon—particularly the financial and economic aspects, as they are ~*kinda our thing*~. So if you’re worried about how to handle absences at work, or being fired, or what to do with the money you have in the bank right now, stay tuned for more. We’re speeding up our normal writing schedule to answer questions as fast as we can. (Anyone can submit questions through our Tumblr. Patreon donors can message us directly.)
Today we’re going to reinforce the most important advice: how to be good at coronavirusing!
Which is to say: how to be a safe, respectful, engaged, and helpful member of the global community during this crisis where we need each other desperately, yet ironically should be physically avoiding each other!
And for that, we’re gonna need any viral researchers, vaccine synthesizers, medical professionals, state governors, and similar to go ahead and stop reading BGR articles. Piggy and I really agonized over this decision, but it’s final. I know we have a very witty and relatable writing style, but it’s time for you to Go Do The Thing. So go on now, y’all—git!
… Are they gone?
Okay. For the rest of you: we have great news! Your job is significantly simpler and easier. In fact, there are really only a few things you can do. Here’s what you can (and must) do to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
Hey Bitches, Patreon supporter here! Friday I had my very first physical, which was covered by my insurance. I told my new doctor about starting back up on antidepressants to save me a visit/copay. He gave me a script based on the ones I tried before, plus Zoloft has been around long enough it’s super cheap instead of the couple hundred/month my last one was to start. The doc also agreed gardening would help with the depression. Any produce growing tips or motivation to make sure I actually stick to my meds this time instead of ditching after a few weeks?
Before I get too deep into this, I want to remind y’all that I am not a medical professional of any kind. I’m not even a financial professional. No—I am a self-important PowerPoint jockey who came this close to opening this site under a .net address! If you’re torn between listening to yourself, listening to your doctor, and listening to a random bossy Internet nobody, choose the bossy Internet nobody last, okay?
I’ve never personally been on antidepressants. So my direct experience here is somewhat limited. (Any depressive periods I’ve had in the past have been solved by irresponsibly ignoring the problem while feverishly spending all of my spoons trying to convince the people around me that everything is juuuuuust fine until suddenly, one day, it is. Don’t be like me. I’m trying to change.)
HOWEVER! I certainly know the joys of going on and coming off of meds.
O! The joie of hormonal fluctuations!
For various reasons not related to the desire to become pregnant, I’ve been on and off of birth control pills over the past few years. And lord, what a trip that has been.
Birth control is pretty damn weird. It’s a well-established drug. Millions of people take it. It’s not thought of as particularly volatile or significantly mood-altering. Some people feel no side effects at all. And yet… let’s go to the tape.
Kitty’s thoughts restarting birth control:
“Thank goodness for the overwhelming feeling that my body is hideous and disgusting—this sudden wave of self hatred is the helpful alarm clock announcing my period is starting soon!”
“Gosh, I can’t believe that guy cut me off in traffic! I’m gonna find out where his ancestors are buried, dig them up, and pose them humping each other on his front lawn.”
“Whither my dear friend Jawline Acne? O’er the purple moors? Beyond the mountain made of glass?”
“Now seems like a fine time to lay on the couch and stare at the ceiling until I muster the strength to attempt the impossible: move the laundry from the washer to the dryer.”
“Google, is this amount of period blood a ‘go to the ER’ sitch or…?”
Kitty’s thoughts coming down off of birth control:
“If somebody doesn’t bring me the puffy kind of Cheetos within the next nine minutes, the precious life my confused body is convinced I’m nurturing will NEVER GET INTO HARVARD.”
“I am actually kind of sure that if I concentrated hard enough, I could just Code Geass people.”
“I can’t believe how attractive I am. Oops, lil’ blood on the pillow from that painfully massive zit rupturing in the night. Anyway, regarding my undeniable sexiness, which rages around all of us like a wildfire—”
“I should probably sign up for skydiving now. Like, RIGHT now.”
“Google, can I get so horny I die?”
… So, letter writer, I feel you. I know exactly why someone would really want to start, but also really want to stop taking medication.
I’m going to assume that anyone who wants to start or stop a medication has thoroughly weighed their options, considered their best interests, and gotten their doctor’s blessing. I know that the awesome members of Bitch Nation will join me in this assumption! And none of you will leave judgmental, concern-troll-y comments about people’s medical shit.
So here are some strategies for sticking with any kinda meds!
We’ve gotten a lot of questions recently about a hypothetical looming recession. The stock market has taken a bruising; bellwether companies are stumbling. Do such omens and portents mean that another recession on its way?
The good news is, we can answer this one very easily.
Yes. Another recession is coming.
We know this with 100% certainty.
The same way we know with 100% certainty that Piggy and I will be dead within the next hundred years. It is in the nature of a living being to die, just as it is in the nature of economies to grow and contract. The sun rises; the sun falls. The tides go in; the tides go out. It’s just the way things are.
Sounds kinda shitty, right? It’s possible that, someday far in the future, someone will devise some new system that will smooth out or even eliminate these cycles. Maybe the nature of goods and services will change so fundamentally that economies will transform in ways we can’t even imagine. But that’s Phillip K. Dick stuff—innovations that live so far in a hypothetical future that they’re still science fiction. You should plan to endure these market cycles throughout your lifetime.
And yes, there are lots of things you can do to make yourself more prepared. Let’s go through them.
That thing we don’t have to do anymore because they’re finally getting married!
Hold on please, my producer is speaking into my earpiece… Okay, my producer is saying that evidently legal integration into the institution of marriage is actually not the final and defining achievement of queerdom.
Our clear-eyed, big-hearted Patreon donors have requested an article on how queerness affects people’s finances. It’s good timing because I just finished watching The Haunting of Hill House and I’ve never felt bi-er! (And yes, before you ask, my official order is Theo > Shirley > Luke > Nell > dead kitten > Steven.)
I am ready and raring to accept my crown as queer queen of bummer-ass articles!
Note: Throughout this article, I will use the word “queer” to encompass all people who are not both cisgender and heterosexual. I’ll talk a lot about gay people and trans people specifically because those are the populations that usually have all the good scientific studies and economic surveys to shellac my ramblings with a gorgeous patina of Facts.
But we love all you aces, aros, bis, enbies, pans, polys, intersex individuals, questioners, queens, and whatever the hell other gender and sexual minorities I left out.
When the subject of mental health arises, I’m perennially dismayed to see a very narrow, circumscribed answer appear again and again and again. It goes something like this:
“Go see a therapist; get counseling; find a psychologist; get into therapy; go see your school’s counselor; go to a mental health clinic; you need to be in therapy; find a support group; have you talked to your therapist; have you tried group therapy; talk to your doctor; therapy, therapy, counseling, therapy…”
And this really bothers me.
It’s not that this advice is bad. It’s not bad! All things being equal, most people would probably benefit from therapy. I have no doubt that the net benefit of professional mental healthcare is incalculably vast.
But it pains me to see therapy described as a one-size-fits-all solution for every person in every situation. I’m someone who experiences intermittent depression. Like half of all mentally ill people in the United States, I’m not currently receiving medical care for it. This doesn’t mean I’m irresponsible or helpless. There are a lot of very understandable reasons why people can’t or won’t seek professional help. Let’s talk about a few of them.
I have always been accident prone. Like a real-life heroine in a YA novel featuring vampires and forbidden romance, my most benign character flaw is that I’m clumsy as fuck.
I guess I just never grew out of that stage of puberty where you walk smack into walls that have been there for your whole life and end up with bruises of mysterious origin all over your legs. I just don’t know where my ends are! I’m missing whatever survival instinct informs the human body not to grievously injure itself on a regular basis.
So I guess it was just a matter of time before I ended up in the emergency room, writhing and blinded by the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life.
You guys. I hurt myself really, really badly. And I’m going to be paying for it for a long time.
We recently wrote an article about how raising awareness isn’t enough. Our thesis was that you need to pair awareness with some kind of action. Well, good thing we practice what we preach!
Last time we talked about some of the many ways being white brings unearned financial privileges. We got a ton of great responses from readers—many of them white—who are happy that the talk is being talked within the personal finance community.
Now let’s tell you how we think you can walk the walk. Here are our suggestions to make the personal finance community more realistic, more inclusive, more ambitious, and all-around better.
Being unhealthy and generally unfit is expensive. Living a truly sedentary lifestyle (one in which the word “exercise” is avoided at all cost and bursts of physical motion are vanishingly rare) is associated with all kinds of expensive illnesses and health risks. It literally costs you money to be lazy and out of shape.
But being fit and healthy is affordable by comparison. You can save yourself all kinds of money on healthcare costs and lifestyle expenses just by working your muscles periodically throughout the day. As far as frugality goes, physical fitness is an all-around genius tactic for saving.