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  • FIRST POST
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 30th Jul 15, 1:30 PM
    • 646Posts
    • 2,391Thanks
    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 20th Apr 17, 8:28 AM
    • 500 Posts
    • 830 Thanks
    reality_check
    Thanks - will hopefully motivate myself to give them a go x
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 24th Apr 17, 12:19 PM
    • 646 Posts
    • 2,391 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    You're welcome, rc

    After starting last week firing on all cylinders, the end took a downturn... Fell ill on Friday, spending the night shivering and sweating. Been taking paracetamol since then, which has helped me to not feel so achey — the main issue is a sore throat and mild headache. Grrr! Thought I was done with being ill... I am sure there's a life lesson in all these viruses (you know, other than "getting out more exposes you to more viruses"), but right now it feels like being slapped with a slimy fish. And I hate fish.

    Having said that, I did get some good work done last week — including submitting a short story Also went to jive alone, after my friend pulled out with an upset stomach. She texted me 40min before I was due to leave, which was a bit stressful, but I went anyway and I coped. Reversed my mum's new car into a bay for te first time, too. Which still counts, though it was in the middle of about 7 empty bays!

    Sadly, we were told that this week's class will be the last at the venue. I can go to the class in my hometown, which is easier to get to since I can walk, but too far to expect my friend to come — plus she does other classes on Wednesdays. I'm terrified, but it took me over 3 years to start modern jive and I'm determined not to quit. I know the teacher and coaches, plus there are bound to be at least a few people I have met in classes, so it's not as daunting as it might have been. Perhaps there's a sense of relief, too: doing the class alone removes anxiety over whether or not my friend will make it. I will miss seeing her so regularly, but c'est la vie.

    Ironically, as I was feeling ill over the weekend, my fundraising for Machu Picchu (see www.justgiving.com/fundraising/HayleyNJones) went well! I raised another 100, thanks to a few donations from my dad's family and a couple of unexpected ones (including from my awesome mentor, Emylia Hall — everyone buy her books!). This brings me 25 short of the 50% mark I don't think I will hit my 1000 target, though I suppose you never know, but raising 500 is still a big achievement for me — especially as I hate askig people for help and promoting myself, even if it is for a worthwhile cause!

    I leave for Peru in just over 3 weeks and am trying to reframe my anxiety as excitement — which helps reduce anxiety and lets me appreciate the excitement I feel underneath. I'm also into my last month of being 32, which makes me feel reflective. I want to use my Machu Picchu challenge as a springboard to create a better life for myself, but I'm not sure how...
    Rainy day fund 213.38/500 Emergency fund target 508.99/1000 Nest egg circa 40
    Loan 3181/15,487 = 20.5% Fun fund: 54.07 Credit card balance 0
    • misstara
    • By misstara 24th Apr 17, 8:50 PM
    • 2,175 Posts
    • 15,139 Thanks
    misstara
    Sorry to hear you've been ill. So exciting that your trip is only 3 weeks away, I'm very jealous! I'm also in my last few weeks of 32 which likewise has made me feel reflective
    Debt at LBM Jan 2014 10458.09 Now 190.42 (98.2% paid)
    New flat debt Jan 2017 2302.75 Now 1758.22 (23.6% paid)
    Mini Targets
    Exercise target - 7/12. Groceries target 147.84/150. NSD target 15/16.
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 27th Apr 17, 1:41 PM
    • 646 Posts
    • 2,391 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks, tara wow, we're very close in age! Lol — kind of thing you never think about, until someone memtions it.

    This week has been kinda good, but not done a lot. Was supposed to have an eye appointment today, but it got cancelled yesterday because my doctor got scheduled for emergency surgery — on someone else, I presume, since he's a surgeon! I know it can't be helped and I've accepted it, but late cancellations are soooo hard to deal with when you have anxiety. I spent the past 2 weeks mentally preparing. It's a bit annoying and frustrating, especially since it's 6 months overdue and already got rescheduled once (at 4 days' notice).

    Been walking more, heading up the lane with my dog. Going to Dartmoor with a couple of my fellow trekkers on Sunday, so that will be a good chunk of training on tougher terrain.

    Got a credit card deal from my provider this morning — 0% interest on new purchses from 18th May to 17th November — so I phoned them to activate it. Very handy timing, since my website costs renew om 21st May and I need to pay just under 150 on my Very account in June. This will allow me to spread the cost and ease the pressure a bit.

    Been doing a lot of introspection work with a fantastic journal of exercises called Start Where You Are. It has clarified some things for me, including the fact that I really, really want to do a psychology course with the OU and possibly build it into a degree. It would benefit me personally and professionally, but I have no idea how I would pay for it.

    Also realised I'm ready to make a concerted effort to lose weight again, after several months of staying around 235-240lbs (down from 263.5 last June). I've started this week and am using a 365 day journal I bought a while back to track my progress and record my thoughts. I need to find ways to keep my motivation high and not get discouraged by slow progress or other stuff happening in my life.

    Soooo... Pretty boring, but still on track
    Rainy day fund 213.38/500 Emergency fund target 508.99/1000 Nest egg circa 40
    Loan 3181/15,487 = 20.5% Fun fund: 54.07 Credit card balance 0
    • reality_check
    • By reality_check 27th Apr 17, 1:51 PM
    • 500 Posts
    • 830 Thanks
    reality_check
    At least you've not just turned 35 like me ABA....don't know how that happened!!

    Great timing with the credit card!!

    I would love to keep a bullet journal, but I am too scatty to remember to update it! And mistakes on paper annoy me, would spend ages ripping out pages and starting again!

    Good luck with the Dartmoor walk! xxx
    Last edited by reality_check; 27-04-2017 at 2:20 PM.
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 27th Apr 17, 2:06 PM
    • 646 Posts
    • 2,391 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks, rc I'm sure I'll get there soon enough — have a feeling turning 40 is just around the corner!

    I have a huge number of notebooks, journals, etc. It's almost an addiction
    Rainy day fund 213.38/500 Emergency fund target 508.99/1000 Nest egg circa 40
    Loan 3181/15,487 = 20.5% Fun fund: 54.07 Credit card balance 0
    • dimestorediamond
    • By dimestorediamond 27th Apr 17, 2:44 PM
    • 187 Posts
    • 216 Thanks
    dimestorediamond
    Hi ABA, I'm with the OU and I don't know if you have done their courses before, but I have had a fantastic experience. Every tutor has been brilliant, especially last year's who helped me get some real perspective when I had a bit of a breakdown last year (work/uni/MHealth/physical illness). Please speak to the OU about financing and grants, I am in Wales and don't have any other university qualifications, but I am actually getting paid, essentially, to do this course. I know England has different rules, but please speak to the finance team, they have been great for me!
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 28th Apr 17, 12:35 PM
    • 646 Posts
    • 2,391 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks, dimestore I have studied with the OU before and really like them. I already have a BA, so I'm not eligible for student loans or grants. I'm considering paying by installments, but think even that would be a struggle (if not impossible) given my current low income and debt repayments.

    Renewed my working tax credits today — nothing has changed in my circumstances, so hopefully I will continue to receive them, but still feel stressed about it. Need to figure out ways to earn more money so I feel more secure and can eventually survive without government assistance. Trouble is, I lost several months when I was ill; even when I kept plugging away at writing, I couldn't think clearly enough to come up with any strategies. Having said that, I find it hard to pick strategies and maintain confidence in them — I need someone to tell me what to do!
    Rainy day fund 213.38/500 Emergency fund target 508.99/1000 Nest egg circa 40
    Loan 3181/15,487 = 20.5% Fun fund: 54.07 Credit card balance 0
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 1st May 17, 2:40 PM
    • 646 Posts
    • 2,391 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    I was wrong! Apparently, you may be eligible for a part time tuition fee loan if you already have a degree, as long as you choose certain qualifications in certain subjects — and a Psychology BSc is one of them! So I'm going to give it a shot and apply Ran into a snag on the OU website though — it won't let me register for a Psychology BSc and says I have to contact them, since I have already studied with the OU. I'm confused as to why, since I don't want to count any of my previous credits (which went towards a diploma anyway) and wasn't expecting to be able to. I have emailed them, so hopefully will sort it out. I need to enrol for my first module before contacting Student Finance England, according to the OU's step by step guide and while it doesn't explicitly say you have to register for the Psychology BSc before applying, I assume that's the case and it might harm my loan application if I don't register. Hopefully all will begin to go smoothly soon and I will receive funding It will definitely open up a lot of doors for me, as I would like to be involved in helping people's mental health in other ways, as well as blogging/writing.

    I went on a 10 mile hike on Dartmoor yesterday. It rained. A lot of the terrain was rough. I felt miserable. But I did it! I keep reminding myself to focus on the next few steps and not worry about being far behind the others — good advice for life, methinks

    Was party to a really awkward discussion/argument over whether my writing group should sponsor me. The vote (from which I abstained) ended in a tie and since some of the objections were strong, it was decided that individuals should sponsor me if they wished but the group's funds would not be used. I got 40 sponsorship on the day and the promise of sponsorship from a few more people, which is great. The situation was incredibly awkward — to the extent that a couple of members emailed me to apologise on behalf of a few of the more vehement objectors — especially as I didn't ask for sponsorship from the group (another member suggested it, thinking it would be a nice thing to do, which it would have been). Never mind!

    Filled in my tax return today, which took ages because the website was so slow I made a very small profit, which is more than I managed last year, so I guess that's progress.

    Feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything going on atm, but still reasonably positive. Just need to keep pushing through and focusing on the next few steps
    Rainy day fund 213.38/500 Emergency fund target 508.99/1000 Nest egg circa 40
    Loan 3181/15,487 = 20.5% Fun fund: 54.07 Credit card balance 0
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 1st May 17, 2:43 PM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 6,946 Thanks
    Florence J
    Hi ABA, i know you have posted it before, but I was wondering if you would be so kind as to message me a link to your blog? I would love to have a read
    Sealed Pot Challenge 10 #553 (90) Wombling free 2017 = 581.68 Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (1797.90/3000) Debt to OH paid back 601.75/1001.75
    April 2017 Credit Card Debt: 4919.44
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 2nd May 17, 9:55 AM
    • 646 Posts
    • 2,391 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Sure, Florence: www.resurfacingandrewriting.com takes you directly to the blog
    Rainy day fund 213.38/500 Emergency fund target 508.99/1000 Nest egg circa 40
    Loan 3181/15,487 = 20.5% Fun fund: 54.07 Credit card balance 0
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 3rd May 17, 1:08 PM
    • 646 Posts
    • 2,391 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Added 100 to Rainy Day Fund, bringing it up to 213.38

    I feel more secure for having more in savings and am taking advantage of my cashflow being a mess until next month, when I go back to repaying my loan from my parents regularly.
    Rainy day fund 213.38/500 Emergency fund target 508.99/1000 Nest egg circa 40
    Loan 3181/15,487 = 20.5% Fun fund: 54.07 Credit card balance 0
    • Luckystepho
    • By Luckystepho 10th May 17, 7:02 AM
    • 331 Posts
    • 635 Thanks
    Luckystepho
    Dartmoor is lovely- ideal training ground for hills! Not long to go now- bet you're so excited and probably also scared, which is entirely normal!! When I did the Inca Trail I was petrified I wouldn't be able to do it but everyone was able to just walk at their own pace and take their time and it was the most wonderful adventure!

    • DiLine
    • By DiLine 13th May 17, 8:57 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    DiLine
    Hi there I have just read your post and thought I would reply, I am the Mum of a 30yr old son who has just had to move back home with us due to mental health and debt problems. This has only in the last three days so we are stiil in a bit of shock at the amount of debt our son has ran up (over 14,000) in payday loans and I am really terrified if i am honest on where this will go I am imagining thousands being added on in interest everyday, but most importantly our son is now accessing mental health support and we have been to citizens advice with him for debt advice which was useful but still really scary. Your post struck a nerve with me because of your similarities in age and our son had also worked hard to get his MA and has been a social worker for the past 4 years. I think I am waffling now but I just wanted to let you know your post has given me some hope that our son will feel better and work his way through this. I also wanted to wish you good luck.
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 15th May 17, 10:17 AM
    • 646 Posts
    • 2,391 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks, Lucky — that makes me feel a little more optimistic!

    Thanks, DiLine — you also have to remember that most people recover from episodes of mental illness and return to "normal" in a relatively short period of time (though it obviously feels like much longer) and a big percentage of them don't experience another episode. Although my own mental health has gone up and down, it's not typical of the majority because it's prevented me from functioning properly for at least 15 years (probably 20, but I wasn't diagnosed until 18). However, I do want to show people in similar positions to me that you can find meaning, purpose and pleasure at some points and hopefully this will happen enough to tip the balance and make life worth living.

    The past week has been difficult. I had meant to do loads of blogging for myself and the charity I volunteer for, since it was Mental Health Awareness Week, but my own mental health prevented it... The universe has a string sense of irony!

    Thankfully I had counselling on Friday and that helped me to feel better. I also went to jive class alone last week, at the new (to me) venue, so I'm glad I was able to do that. My best friend came over on Saturday night and we went to a jive freestyle, which was fun. I got my hair sorted out, too — cut on Thursday and then dyed it myself on Friday. It was a total mess before, so it feels good to actually like it again.

    The OU replied to my email and registed me for the Psychology BSc and I enrolled on the first module. They will email me when applications open for part time tuition loans. They ask a few eligibility check questions, which referred to previous qualifications (which shouldn't be an issue since exceptions are made for STEM subjects, including Psychology) and residential status, so I shouldn't have problems getting the loan.

    I feel a bit weird posting in this forum nowadays, since I have been increasing my debt over the last 9 months or so. I feel guilty for spending so much. I'm trying to view some purchases (i.e. Machu Picchu) as investments in my future, but I do wonder if I'm just making excuses. I suppose my focus has been on my mental health, rather than money, yet money influences my mental health a lot...

    Guess I will have to face up to all of this when I get back in a couple of weeks — when I find out how much I owe my parents now (it's a lot more than what my sig says). I also need to get going with work/career plans and earn more. Again, this is difficult because my mental health is unpredictable and I'm aftaid of makin it worse by pushing myself too far, as I have done in the past. Just wish I knew I was doing the right thing. I need someone to guide me and tell me what to do, though if someone tried that, I would probably rebel!
    Rainy day fund 213.38/500 Emergency fund target 508.99/1000 Nest egg circa 40
    Loan 3181/15,487 = 20.5% Fun fund: 54.07 Credit card balance 0
    • crazy_cat_lady
    • By crazy_cat_lady 15th May 17, 9:02 PM
    • 3,801 Posts
    • 26,646 Thanks
    crazy_cat_lady
    Sounds like it's all go at the moment for you. You know you need to make the most of the good times and ride through the bad times. You're not a fraud for posting on here and your debt increasing. It's your diary, your blog, your choice. And in my opinion, it's good debt if it's helping your future plans. My sister is a psychologist and she loves it.
    NST May #13 NSD 7/16 RYSAW17 #1 412.74 20p Savers #88 1 a day for Xmas # DFD 6 Nov 15 - paid 28,447
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 15th May 17, 9:29 PM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 6,946 Thanks
    Florence J
    ABA, I am having a hard time at the moment with my mental health, and just knowing you are on here. with your diary, your journey, the same problems as me but with the strength to deal with them makes me feel like I can do the same.

    Take care lovely
    Sealed Pot Challenge 10 #553 (90) Wombling free 2017 = 581.68 Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (1797.90/3000) Debt to OH paid back 601.75/1001.75
    April 2017 Credit Card Debt: 4919.44
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 17th May 17, 10:02 AM
    • 646 Posts
    • 2,391 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks, guys that means a lot.

    I guess I feel weird partly because my debt-free (hopefully!) journey is taking some twists and turns which I didn't anticipate. There's also the issue of my overspending last year, when I felt out of control again, though this has been remedied. Of course, stopping all my plans and paying every penny towards my debt wouldn't be the right answer either, since it would have a negative impact on my mental health.

    In theory, this expenditure will help me to earn more money in the medium to long term, so it makes financial sense from that perespective. It's not as if my money problems are going to have life or death consequences, since I doubt my parents would let me starve or chuck me out. Unless I did something really awful, of course. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on myself: while I had hoped to be earning more by now, the reasons for doing my Machu Picchu trek are still good ones. Ditto my reasons for wanting to do a Psychology degree.

    Gosh, I've gone all philosophical! I suppose it's difficult to assess my situation properly because I don't know what effect my Machu Picchu challenge will have on my life. I'm hoping it will increase my confidence and motivation, but I don't know that for certain.
    Rainy day fund 213.38/500 Emergency fund target 508.99/1000 Nest egg circa 40
    Loan 3181/15,487 = 20.5% Fun fund: 54.07 Credit card balance 0
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