It’s hard to write or think or breathe after seeing a zero balance on my bank account. That’s one reason I try not to start the day with banking.

Sticking my head in the sand, clearly, is not a good way to start the day either. Yet I might at least be able to breathe.

The feelings are intense, and it’s amazing how quickly I can go from, “Wonder how my money is doing,” to “Where did all the money go?” to “I need money fast” to “I better not tell anyone about this so they don’t think I’m a failure” to “Now my failure is evident to the world.”

First of all, Failure? Where did that come from?

I haven’t failed at all. The zero balance is offset by the fact that I have a cushion in my savings account and my credit union will make transfers so I have no overdrafts. I have credit cards. I have a business account and a PayPal account. Don’t worry about me.

But secondly, how do I go from reading “zero balance” to feeling like a failure so quickly? I have hope this is a question I can answer and a problem I might really be able to solve.

When I was 20, I lived with a bad boyfriend. One day, when the badness was nearing its crescendo, I said to him, “I love you,” and he said, “I don’t know how I feel about you.” My brain’s translation software converted that instantly to “I don’t love you” then to “I hate you” then to “You better move out right away.”

Looking back, I see that the translation was perfectly correct (though the hating of me was really warped anger). The end was nigh, and I knew how to read the unwritten messages on the wall.

Money talk and love talk get intermingled, but I don’t believe that my negative self-talk is at all accurate. I am not a failure. I am a success.

I’m more successful materially than I’ve ever been. Though I still have unmet needs and unfulfilled goals, I am happier and saner than at any time I remember. I’m sitting here preparing for a client call with a delightful woman who believes in me without reservation. If the temperature is right, I’ll go swimming today with my daughter. My husband and I are deep into a marriage renaissance that confirms our choice to link our fortunes together.

This moment will pass. I will get my text alerts set up from the bank, and I will get my head out of the sand and take a better look at my money.

And unless I get that text message, and until I get stronger mentally, I’m not going to start the day checking my bank balance.

Do you find it harder to talk openly about sex or about money? I have a theory; comment below if you want to help me gather data.