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Getting the right support for debt problems helped my mental health

Tuesday, 09 May 2017 David Hill

Depression and anxiety contributed to David's debt problems. He blogs about how getting the right support helped him stop worrying and feel more positive.

David enjoys running and finds writing and humour help him stay positive. He's writing a book about his dog Luna.

I've recently blogged about my battles with anxiety and depression that cost me my job, and sent me spiralling into debt. This left me so broke that I struggled to feed myself, let alone pay off the creditors that were chasing me for money. The turning point for me was opening up to the debt charity, StepChange, who lifted the burden by getting the creditors off my back.

Finally, I could talk to professionals who weren't judgemental or condescending, and there was no mention of "How did you get into debt?" or "Why didn't you get help sooner?" like a well-meaning friend… because debt charities help people, many in a far worse position than me, every single day.

"Finally, I could talk to professionals who weren't judgemental or condescending."

My heart is now set on helping those on the breadline, who are losing sleep over how they're going to pay the bills this month. If I had more than I needed then I would help financially, but as I'm not in that position I can only offer my pearls of wisdom.

 Falling into poverty is much like falling down a well. You can attempt to escape without asking for help, but you're unlikely to get very far. Unless you're Batman. For the purposes of this blog let's just assume you're not Batman. 

My doctor referred me to a therapist, who suggested I reach out to a charity organisation to address my spiralling debt problems. Unfortunately, not firing on all cylinders, I convinced myself that I could get through it without being a burden to others. It took me another year before I figured out that maybe I had hit rock bottom, and that's when I went to StepChange. Sadly, I'd already been dealt a fatal blow, and it was just going to take a few more months before I had to succumb, and sell my home.

"It took me another year before I figured out that maybe I had hit rock bottom."

I'd tried multiple avenues - remortgage, mortgage payment holiday, a small consolidation loan, and had the bank helped me with just one of those, then I wouldn't have been forced into a corner. Let's just say that owning 50% of a property has its perks, but it also has its limitations.

It's pointless to beat yourself up about these things and wish you'd gone for help sooner, or done things differently. You don't have a TARDIS or an H.G. Well's Time Machine, so you just need to focus on the here and now, and move forward. It's really important not to dwell on things that can't be changed.

I'm not selling my home because I want to sell my home, and in the long term, financially,  it makes more sense to stay where I am. The problem is that I'm not going to get that "lump sum" I desperately need without selling, or falling into more debt. Selling will give me the opportunity to invest in my business, buy clothes, take a short holiday, and do all the things I once took for granted.

I can pay back a few friends for very kindly helping me through a time of darkness. It means the world to me that people, who certainly aren't rich, made a personal sacrifice in my hour of need. However, I've come to realise that I shouldn't rely on the kindness of others to help me out of a hole.

Selling my home may not be the easiest solution, but it will give me that financial breathing space; without being a burden to anyone else. And hopefully I'll find somewhere with a bigger garden for my dog, Luna. In all honesty, they're the only plus points I have for moving, so I'm going to focus on those.

Although being forced to sell is bad, I'm not an example of a worst case scenario. My home isn't being repossessed and I'm not facing the immediate prospect of living on the streets. Sadly, there are people out there who are homeless because they fell down the well and didn't cry out for help.

Not only did seeking help lift my burden financially, it also helped me mentally. Once I'd decided to make a change it liberated my mind from the incessant worry, and gave me a more positive outlook on life.

"Not only did seeking help lift my burden financially, it also helped me mentally."


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