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  • FIRST POST
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 30th Jul 15, 1:30 PM
    • 603Posts
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    AspiringButAnxious
    Battling Debt and Mental Illness — and (hopefully) Winning!
    • #1
    • 30th Jul 15, 1:30 PM
    Battling Debt and Mental Illness — and (hopefully) Winning! 30th Jul 15 at 1:30 PM
    Hi everyone

    I've been lurking on the Debt-Free Wannabe forums for ages and thought it was high time I joined in. I'm also hoping that having my own diary will motivate me to keep going — I've been reading some of the other diaries on here and feel inspired.

    About me: I'm 31, single, unemployed and living with my parents. Ain't life great? After many years of mental illness, I can finally see a chink of light at the end of the tunnel. I have depression and borderline personality disorder as well, but my anxiety is my biggest obstacle at the moment.

    I got into debt partly to fulfil a lifelong dream and get a BA and an MA. I lived at home while I was studying, but travel expenses and book buying take their toll. As did my chocolate bar habit and learning to drive... I was also prone to compulsive spending (still am, but less so since I have more of a handle on my mental health issues) and made many ridiculous decisions.

    The upshot is that I ended up owing several thousand pounds to my parents, over £6,000 on my credit card and a £2000 overdraft. I gradually reduced my debt a little, then was helped by a £2000 inheritance when my grandmother died. However, I was also struggling to keep a car on the road and my beloved dog died a couple of weeks before my grandmother, which was a horrible shock and led to me buying a new dog to give me a reason to live. I know that sounds melodramatic, but it's true. My old dog kept me hanging on during the dark times and I couldn't face life not only without her, but without any pet of my own.

    Anyhoo, I was struggling to pay £60 a month interest on my credit card and make overpayments every month. I slipped into putting more unnecessary purchases on the credit card because I thought "what difference will it make?" I had a LBM at the end of June 2015 and realised I needed to do something drastic.

    Since I couldn't get a loan to pay off my credit card, let alone what I owed my parents, I hatched a plan for my parents to take out an unsecured loan for £13,000, covering the £7000 I owed them and my credit card balance. I did the maths and realised it would take me 5 years just to pay off my credit card, without paying a penny back to my parents, if I continued as I was. If my parents took out a loan on my behalf, I could clear the whole debt in 6 years. My parents agreed that taking out a loan was the sensible option — especially as it would relieve them of being £7000 out of pocket. My credit card balance is Nil and, strangely, I'm not even tempted to spend on it.
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    • reality_check
    • By reality_check 1st Feb 17, 9:47 AM
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    reality_check
    I'm so sorry you're feeling this way. I think some people just don't think and if your friends knew how you were feeling, they would feel embarrassed how they have been and would change, or....some people just are chancers and that might be what Petrol friend is - not with you specifically but just like that with anyone. Some people just can't help being self absorbed and think their problems are the be all and end all! Try not take it to heart, easier said than done I know.

    Well done with blogging and getting out there for a walk, spring is on it's way...soon(ish)!!

    Hoping you feel better soon xx
    • crazy_cat_lady
    • By crazy_cat_lady 1st Feb 17, 7:35 PM
    • 3,240 Posts
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    crazy_cat_lady
    I think there is an element of thoughtlessness on the part of your friends there. I think it'll probably be difficult for you, but you should consider just asking your friends for a share towards what you contributed. Some people really don't think, and although I don't know the situation I know that your anxiety will be making you think the worst about it. I'm sure you've seen the 'unhelpful thinking styles' - I'm guilty of every single one of these most of the time and it takes a lot of talking to myself to look more realistically on the situation I'm in.
    Pleased that you survived the weekend anyway and hope that you enjoyed most of it.
    NSTAugust #13 NSD 4/15 RYSAW17 #1 £472.63 20p Savers #88 £1 a day for Xmas # DFD 6 Nov 15 - paid £28,447
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 3rd Feb 17, 7:40 PM
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    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks guys Glad it's not just me who thinks Petrol Friend was out of order! She does lack a certain kind of empathy, which I think comes from being an only child — it means she doesn't consider other people's comfort or perspectives. Like when we went to London and I pointed out that taking cabs would be more comfortable for our heavily pregnant friend instead of the tube, she said "she still plays badminton" as if sweating for an hour doing exercise was comparable to hours in London on a hot summer's day!

    Think I'll let it go this time, unless someone else brings it up, but hopefully I will be confident enough to speak up next time. Being out of pocket doesn't bother me as much as the lack of consideration.

    The past couple of days have been a lot better. I earned over £7 for my first month using Adsense on my blog, which was more than I expected because I have heard it builds slowly and my blogging was erratic. I also went to jive last night, which was fun despite my anxiety. I drove on my own for the first time since November, too.

    Today has been very good. I had my counselling assessment this morning and am starting counselling next week I think it will help a lot, like it did last year. I have to keep reminding myself that no matter how awful I feel at any goven time, I'm in a much better position than I was a year ago.

    I have also had 4 donations, meaning I have hit my initial fundraising target of £250! Thank you to both those of you who have sponsored me and those who have supported me on here — I can't express adequately how much it means to me. I feel less stressed about Machu Picchu and am now a massive 25% of the way to my ultimate target of £1000
    Rainy day fund — 500/500 Emergency fund — 589/1000
    Loan — 0/17,000 = 0% Fun fund: £400 Credit card balance — £295 (currently on 0% interest) Very account (interest-free until November): £2865
    • crazy_cat_lady
    • By crazy_cat_lady 4th Feb 17, 9:45 AM
    • 3,240 Posts
    • 27,951 Thanks
    crazy_cat_lady
    So pleased to read that things are looking good ABA - happy days for you. Hang onto the good times, they'll help you get through the not-so-good times.
    Well done on reaching your target fundraising
    And hope the counselling helps you out.
    NSTAugust #13 NSD 4/15 RYSAW17 #1 £472.63 20p Savers #88 £1 a day for Xmas # DFD 6 Nov 15 - paid £28,447
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 9th Feb 17, 9:55 AM
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    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks ccl

    I have another cough/cold, so am feeling a bit sorry for myself this week. Didn't help when I forced myself to toddle off to Exeter library on Tuesday for an Internet Icons event streaming live from the British Library... only for their sound not to work! They said they will email us a link though, so I should still get to watch it — think there might be some useful tips for developing my blog and online presence.

    Paid £100 off cc yesterday, which is now £370. Will be relieved when it's clear, although it's far more manageable now and less daunting.

    Got £5 sponsorship from someone who works for the mental health charity I volunteer at, which was very kind of her. Woke up to a £100 donation from a close friend this morning, which was awesome — I know she is quite well off, but I didn't expect so much! I appreciate every donation and am thrilled to have achieved 35.5% of my ultimate target

    Failed to blog yesterday, which is a shame but I felt so c**p I can't beat myself up about it. Aim to write an extra-good post today to atone
    Rainy day fund — 500/500 Emergency fund — 589/1000
    Loan — 0/17,000 = 0% Fun fund: £400 Credit card balance — £295 (currently on 0% interest) Very account (interest-free until November): £2865
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 15th Feb 17, 10:04 AM
    • 603 Posts
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    AspiringButAnxious
    Paid £90 off cc (£5 of which was interest) so new balance is £285. It's going down...

    I'm still feeling really ill and wretched. Even looked into seeing the doctor, but couldn't get an appointment for over a week. I hope to have improved by then, so didn't make an appointment. Looking online, the helpful advice for treating a chest infection without antibiotics is to drink plenty of fluids and rest. I'm already doing that, so I guess I just carry on...

    It was going to be a quiet week anyway, since there's no jive and no counselling. I'm neglecting my blog horribly, but just don't have the energy right now. Things feel pretty bleak, so my mood is low, but I'm too exhausted to get too upset.
    Rainy day fund — 500/500 Emergency fund — 589/1000
    Loan — 0/17,000 = 0% Fun fund: £400 Credit card balance — £295 (currently on 0% interest) Very account (interest-free until November): £2865
    • reality_check
    • By reality_check 15th Feb 17, 3:06 PM
    • 615 Posts
    • 1,183 Thanks
    reality_check
    You should call bck and take the appointment and cancel if you don't need it?

    Lots of water, green tea and fruit and veg. Homemade soup, lots of baths, candles and fresh bed sheets helps me when I don't feel great. Hope you feel better soon.

    Credit card is coming down nicely! xx
    • crazy_cat_lady
    • By crazy_cat_lady 15th Feb 17, 6:56 PM
    • 3,240 Posts
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    crazy_cat_lady
    Feel better soon. And if you don't, get yourself to a walk in centre. The last thing you need is for it to become pneumonia. x
    NSTAugust #13 NSD 4/15 RYSAW17 #1 £472.63 20p Savers #88 £1 a day for Xmas # DFD 6 Nov 15 - paid £28,447
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 22nd Feb 17, 9:38 AM
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    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks guys I have a eoctor's appointment tomorrow — feel better than I was last week, but still not great and it hurts to breathe when I try to walk.

    Paid £50 off cc today, bringing it down to £235. I will be sooooooo relieved once it's all paid off — I hate having it hanging around.

    Haven't done much over the past week, but did meet someone who is going to Peru with me. She is very nice and reassured me a lot, because she feels the same as I do. She is even worried about training, like me, because she has shin splints. Also messaged the other woman I have been in touch with from the Peru trek fb group a lot on Saturday; she is a size 18, like me, so I won't be completely surrounded with skinny people! We both aim to lose weight by the trek, but it's good to know someone else in the same boat. I feel a little more confident

    My mood is still pretty low, not helped by the suspected chest infection. It's a struggle to do anything. I have done a couple of bits of work for my volunteer roles and a bit of writing (I have 2 and 2 half ideas for short stories!), but it's so little. The blog is still being neglected, because I simply don't have the energy.

    Everything feels awful atm. I'm trying to cling to the glimmers of hope, but failing most of the time.
    Rainy day fund — 500/500 Emergency fund — 589/1000
    Loan — 0/17,000 = 0% Fun fund: £400 Credit card balance — £295 (currently on 0% interest) Very account (interest-free until November): £2865
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 27th Feb 17, 9:29 PM
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    AspiringButAnxious
    The doctor's appointment confirmed what I had suspected: my chest infection is viral. That means I can't do anything more than I have been. I asked if exercise would make it worse and was told no, but "take it easy". Whatever that means! Seriously, even short walks hurt my chest so I have no idea whether what I would normally class as light or moderate activity is taking it easy.

    However, I do feel a bit better than I have been of late and have some energy, which is more than I can say for the past few weeks. I went up the lane today, which is about 2.5 miles and was fine — apart from a heavy shower, which made my chest hurt even more because the wind got pretty strong and was very cold. I survived though, so intend to do it again tomorrow! It feels good just to be doing some sort of training again.

    My mental health has improved over the past 2 days and I have been able to do a little work. I need to get back to blogging this week and there are several short story deadlines I want to meet over the next few months. One of my goals for this year is to submit 30 stories (each story can be submitted multiple times when it gets rejected) and despite the slow start to the year, I have submitted 3 — 2 of them yesterday!

    I reached the points threshold for getting £30 from GTM, but had problems processing the order. Now my account doesn't seem to recognise any of my information... I'm in contact with them and hopefully it will get sorted soon. It's very frustrating and annoying — I want the money asap so I can pay off more of the cc.

    I'm trying to take each day as it comes and not stress out about money. I keep reading advice to focus on the positives — my passions, what I can do right now, etc. — and while I'm not convinced it will solve my problems, it helps me through. I guess that's the main thing atm.
    Rainy day fund — 500/500 Emergency fund — 589/1000
    Loan — 0/17,000 = 0% Fun fund: £400 Credit card balance — £295 (currently on 0% interest) Very account (interest-free until November): £2865
    • misstara
    • By misstara 28th Feb 17, 9:17 PM
    • 2,313 Posts
    • 16,060 Thanks
    misstara
    Glad to hear you've got a bit more energy and that your mental health has improved. Sucks that it's a viral infection though.
    Debt at LBM Jan 2014 £10458.09 Now £0
    New flat debt Jan 2017 £2302.75 Now £1407.74 (38.9% paid)
    Mini Targets
    Exercise target - 6/12 Groceries target £141.66/£150. NSD target 9/16.
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 1st Mar 17, 9:29 AM
    • 603 Posts
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    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks, Tara

    Paid £100 off cc this morning, which brings it down to £145 (I spent £10 on a story competition entry fee on Sunday). Feeling a bit better about it, because it feels more under control.

    Received £3.32 in Amazon ebook royalties yesterday

    My GTM troubles have been sorted and I should receive my £30 within 10 working days

    When I did my 2.5 mile walk up the lane yesterday, I hit my pre-virus time! My chest whistled, but I did it

    Yesterday was also a good day — blogged, redrafted a short story and dyed my hair (my roots seemed to be 3 inches long, despite the rest of my hair only growing by 1.5 at most...) so I hope I've turned a corner.

    Had a bit of a revelation re money problems: I think my debt acts as evidence for a lot of negative beliefs I have held about myself for a long time. For example, that I'm worthless, I'm a burden to others, my skills aren't valuable, etc. Think I will bring it up at counselling on Friday...
    Rainy day fund — 500/500 Emergency fund — 589/1000
    Loan — 0/17,000 = 0% Fun fund: £400 Credit card balance — £295 (currently on 0% interest) Very account (interest-free until November): £2865
    • crazy_cat_lady
    • By crazy_cat_lady 1st Mar 17, 7:36 PM
    • 3,240 Posts
    • 27,951 Thanks
    crazy_cat_lady
    Pleased that you're feeling a bit better ABA. Don't push yourself too hard and I hope that virus disappears soon.
    NSTAugust #13 NSD 4/15 RYSAW17 #1 £472.63 20p Savers #88 £1 a day for Xmas # DFD 6 Nov 15 - paid £28,447
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 15th Mar 17, 12:33 PM
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    • 2,460 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks, ccl

    Things have been challenging lately... my grandad died suddenly last week, after recovering from pneumonia so well that he seemed better than he had been for a good few years. It's sad, of course, but also really stressful. My mum is stressed, which makes me stresssed and anxious. My depression has also worsened a little. My life seems empty and pointless right now.

    I'm also stressed about whether I will continue to get Working Tax Credits in April. If I don't, I will have to either try to force myself into any job I can get, which would probably be one which makes my mental health worse, or apply for esa again and feel like I've taken a massive step back, plus I would have to put up with the associated stresses of claiming, which will make my mental health worse. Either way, it would feel like I have wasted the past year of working on my business and trying to improve my mental health. The progress I have made would disappear and I'd be left in worse health.

    The only bit of good news is that I have cleared my cc balance. I have added to what I owe my parents, but at least my repayments won't be eaten up by interest.

    I'm trying to focus on my Machu Picchu challenge. I intended to go back to kettlebells class today, but lost my nerve and cancelled the booking. Maybe once the funeral's out the way I will feel less anxious. I have been doing some longer walks and am going for a hike with a couple of my fellow trekkers on Saturday, so hopefully I won't embarrass myself too much on the challenge.
    Rainy day fund — 500/500 Emergency fund — 589/1000
    Loan — 0/17,000 = 0% Fun fund: £400 Credit card balance — £295 (currently on 0% interest) Very account (interest-free until November): £2865
    • crazy_cat_lady
    • By crazy_cat_lady 15th Mar 17, 8:49 PM
    • 3,240 Posts
    • 27,951 Thanks
    crazy_cat_lady
    Sorry to read about your granddad ABA. Remember to be kind to yourself, and allow yourself to have all the feelings that grief brings along with it. Lots of love to you.
    And congrats on clearing your cc. x
    NSTAugust #13 NSD 4/15 RYSAW17 #1 £472.63 20p Savers #88 £1 a day for Xmas # DFD 6 Nov 15 - paid £28,447
    • Luckystepho
    • By Luckystepho 20th Mar 17, 11:44 AM
    • 332 Posts
    • 636 Thanks
    Luckystepho
    Sorry to hear about your Grandad, that is bound to knock you back especially as you can see how it's affecting your Mum.

    It would be a good idea if you can to train on hilly stuff, or even marching up stairs or using a stepper at the gym- that will help to prepare your legs for walking up those stone steps to Machu Picchu!
    Last edited by Luckystepho; 20-03-2017 at 11:46 AM.

    • reality_check
    • By reality_check 26th Mar 17, 12:16 PM
    • 615 Posts
    • 1,183 Thanks
    reality_check
    So sorry to hear about your Grandad ABA. I hope you start to feel better within yourself soon xxx
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 30th Mar 17, 2:55 PM
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    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks guys

    I'm still very stressed and anxious, but starting to get back to things. Blogged this week, for the first time in what feels like ages.

    My Rainy Day Fund is up to £114, plus I have £54 in my fun fund. It's looking good, but will get eaten up within 2/3 months if my Working Tax Credits don't get renewed. Also need to start repaying my parents again next month...

    Been walking more, including a couple of long ones. I'm more confident in my fitness, but fell over a few times on Dartmoor... Hills aren't much of an issue, since I live in such a hilly area that it's impossible to do a walk without at least a few!

    Just trying to focus on writing and walking atm, instead of worrying a out other stuff.
    Rainy day fund — 500/500 Emergency fund — 589/1000
    Loan — 0/17,000 = 0% Fun fund: £400 Credit card balance — £295 (currently on 0% interest) Very account (interest-free until November): £2865
    • reality_check
    • By reality_check 4th Apr 17, 8:39 PM
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    • 1,183 Thanks
    reality_check
    Good news ABA! Yeah too much is overwhelming for anyone, I think focusing on writing and walking is a good idea, and with a bit of luck everything else will click into place.

    How long is it until you go?!

    What survey websites do you recommend trying? I'm going to give it a go and see if I can earn a few extra £££ xxx
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 13th Apr 17, 1:13 PM
    • 603 Posts
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    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks, rc I leave 5 weeks today! Different survey sites work well for me at different times, but Global Test Market is the main one I've been using atm. Valued Opinions and YouGov are the only others I'm using regularly. I was doing well on Opinion Outpost and a similar one whose names escapes me back along, but the invitations appear to have dried up.

    So... I received my wtc as normal yesterday turns out I was stressing over nothing, but I have had benefits stopped in the past with no warning or explanation and it was a huge hassle to get them reinstated, which had a negative impact on my mental health. I'm relieved that didn't happen, but it has made me determined to priorise my savings so that I could survive several months without an income if need be. I also want to increase my earnings, obviously, so will be seeking and seizing more opportunities from now on.

    I'm still pretty anxious atm, but less depressed. My travel vaccinations floored me last week — I was fine for a couple of days (apart from a sore arm!), then spent 5 days feeling tired and getting a lot of headaches. I'm back to being more productive this week, which is good ��

    My counsellor pointed out that I seem to feel better when following a routine, so I'm now actively working towards building one. It's going okay, but there's plenty of room for improvement! I'm trying to schedule different writing activites (novel, short stories, blogging, volunteering, other nonfiction, etc.) and it's helping me to get more done, though it's still early days....

    I got a £10 Amazon voucher on Monday, so bought an ebook I have wanted for AGES. It's called Grit by Angela Duckworth and examines how success is down to grittiness, rather than luck or innate talent. I'm just over halfway through and it's very interesting — I'm already thinking of ways I can apply it to my career.

    Talking of which, I have been thinking about doing some training in mental health/psychology, but am not sure how to approach it. I want to help people with mental health problems and reduce stigma by using my writing skills. Obviously finance is a huge consideration, but even if it weren't, I'm not sure what direction I would take. I love learning, so am drawn towards academic modules/courses, which makes the OU an obvious choice — especially since my past experiences with them have been positive — but I don't know. I have only just started thinking about it and haven't done any research yet. My instinct is that some training and even a qualification would help give my blogs and related articles more authority, plus it would help me feel more confident in writing them.

    Gosh, that's a long post! The gist is: things are slowly getting better
    Rainy day fund — 500/500 Emergency fund — 589/1000
    Loan — 0/17,000 = 0% Fun fund: £400 Credit card balance — £295 (currently on 0% interest) Very account (interest-free until November): £2865
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