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Your Price of Happiness

Thought Exercise:

If there was a price tag on your happiness, what would that be? You may think, the $500 in my bank account, up to $100k, all my assets or priceless. Before reading more, take a second to think about what you would give to be fulfilled with pure happiness.

I have thought about this quite a bit and it came up again while Neil and I were listening to a Podcast on our drive to Breckenridge. The podcast speaker was sharing his story of being a victim to pedophilia at a boarding school. Although these incidents shaped who he had become, he didn't seek revenge. Instead he sued the school for the exact price for his therapy. He didn't care to sue for personal injury or other reason that resulted in more money. He wanted repayment to cover his mental health, because that was the most important thing for him. He wanted to live a normal life and therapy was his solution.

Since publicly opening up about depression, a few friends have asked me what I pay per therapy session and if I use my insurance for it. Before I answer them, I have this quick internal conversation with myself. It's something along the lines of "does the price matter? If I told you this is a life or death situation, would you be concerned with the price? What's the difference between paying for therapy and going out to a nice dinner or picking up drinks for you and your friends over the weekend?"

I can relate to both sides of this answer from different stages in my life:

1. (Why pay for therapy when...) I'm in debt and have zero to nothing in savings. I already live paycheck to paycheck. Therapy is a financial constraint and will just cause more stress to my life.

I have been here. I was here for years and this was one of the reasons I didn't follow through with consistent therapy. You have to break this thought or you will be the "thing" standing in the way of your healing.

If you are a student, most colleges offer complimentary counseling services. At Colorado State University, students are offered 5 free sessions per semester. That's almost one per month!

Insurance is a great option to lower the price. You should ask for homework each time you leave so that you can work on things outside of therapy and be ready for each session. If you come unprepared, you will only take longer to move through barriers in your life. You determine your path towards healing and ultimately the success.

Another free option is to download the Pacifica app. It offers daily tools to manage your anxiety, stress or depression using CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy). I am not paid to endorse them, I love to use it for daily meditation, mood tracking, setting goals and tracking thoughts. There is an option to upgrade your experience to have a personal therapist or enhanced guided activities. Pacifica is not a solution for treatment and I still recommend finding treatment. It is a great tool to help you get started or stay on track.

2. (I think I can adult) If there's a will, there's a way. Spending money on therapy would replace spending money on other activities.

I wish everyone had this mentality. It took me a long time to realize that I had to find a way to afford therapy. I hit a point of desperation, which is why I have dramatized this questions to be a life or death decision. The reality is that for some people it is a life or death decision. I had to get help because the unknown of not getting help, was scarier. Once I knew my stance, I asked for help from the people closest to me, which cycled into finding a therapist and using my insurance to help reduce the price.

My financial solutions were to hustle harder by walking dogs in the afternoon every day, making more meals at home, opting for water over cocktails when out and avoiding pointless trips to Target (aka my form of retail therapy). I did a quick search for average therapy session without insurance and the range is $75-150. The average with insurance is $25-100 with most falling between $50-60 per session.

Now I ask again, what is the price of happiness? Only you can answer this question and my hope for you or anyone you know going through a hard time is that it is worth everything that will keep you going in life.

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