Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 30th Jul 15, 1:30 PM
    • 615Posts
    • 2,488Thanks
    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.
Page 32
    • crazy_cat_lady
    • By crazy_cat_lady 31st May 17, 9:18 PM
    • 3,368 Posts
    • 28,909 Thanks
    crazy_cat_lady
    Congratulations to you ABA - you did it!
    Sorry it wasn't quite what you thought it would be - and I hope that you feel better soon.
    NSTSeptember #32 NSD 8/18 RYSAW17 #1 £1313.42 20p Savers #88 £1 a day for Xmas # DFD 6 Nov 15 - paid £28,447
    • reality_check
    • By reality_check 1st Jun 17, 8:31 AM
    • 686 Posts
    • 1,478 Thanks
    reality_check
    Well done!! I can imagine a trek being horrific, but how amazing knowing you've actually completed it!!

    My debt has also increased over the last few weeks, but oh well, we just need to keep on plodding on. xxx
    • Luckystepho
    • By Luckystepho 2nd Jun 17, 11:09 PM
    • 332 Posts
    • 636 Thanks
    Luckystepho
    Well done you- a couple of people in the trekking group I went with struggled with the altitude and ended up going to Machu Picchu by train so well done on carrying on and completing it!

    • doingitanyway
    • By doingitanyway 3rd Jun 17, 6:35 AM
    • 2,089 Posts
    • 9,668 Thanks
    doingitanyway
    Well done for completing your mission!
    JANUARY 2016/SECURED DEBT=24,822/November 2017=4,490
    MORTGAGE FREE 25/07/16
    • erin_transport
    • By erin_transport 5th Jun 17, 8:12 AM
    • 322 Posts
    • 1,529 Thanks
    erin_transport
    Well done
    Great achievement!
    On a mission!
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 5th Jun 17, 11:52 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks, everyone Now I'm feeling a little more human, I'm pretty proud of myself!

    Having said that, I'm still very tired. Too tired to think about the big questions, like how to develop my career strategy. I feel like I should be making plans, riding high on the tide of inspiration, but I'm too knackered!

    I'm trying to stick to my usual bedtime/getting up time, so that I don't get stuck into another pattern of oversleeping and insomnia, but perhaps I should be trying to nap or something to catch up om sleep... Trouble is, I tend not to be able to nap. The mental and emotional tiredness are probably worse than the physical tiredness. It takes me a good couple of weeks to recover from a weekend with friends, let alone 10 days with strangers (albeit strangers who have become friends) with all kinds of physical and non-physical challenges thrown in.

    I think I completed the trek through stubbornness. And a determination not to be forced to ride a recovery horse — those poor animals don't deserve to carry my weight. Luckily, the two people who needed the horses are both very slim! I want to bring the same stubbornness to my work, so that I can write more and earn more from my writing.

    My big priority for this summer is to finish my novel. I'm halfway through a major redraft and it will need a couple more redrafts (at least) to reach a good standard. There's a novel competition I want to enter in September, so the aim is to get it as good as it can be by then.

    Other priorities are:
    • Write and submit short stories as much as I can
    • Get fitter and lose weight
    • Blog regularly and build the readership
    • Do a good job in my volunteer role for a local mental health charity

    So hopefully I will feel more human soon, so I can get on with it all!
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 5th Jun 17, 6:39 PM
    • 1,699 Posts
    • 9,556 Thanks
    Florence J
    I think you are tremedous ABA.

    I don't want to hear you disparage yourself anymore, that's a Flo order!

    I've been thinking, now I am only basing this on what I have read from your diary, but I take it like me you are unhappy with your weight, or feel it could be different.

    There's a book by a size 18 personal trainer from Canada that I read about in the paper a couple of months ago called 'Big Fit Girl' and it is worth a read. There have been studies recently that have shown that being overweight, maybe even obese, but quite active is much better than being a healthy weight but inactive, because it is the activity levels that do the good for your body, not necessarily only the weight aspect.

    So what I want to say is you have just trekked machu picchu despite your size, whatever it may or may not be, so you are awesome and you are doing yourself good.

    Also you have inspired me because I have always wanted to do those crazy '3 in 24 hours' challenges where you climb three mountains in the UK within 24 hours, but have been worried because of my size, so thank you for showing me you don't have to be a size 0 to do something cool.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 10 #553 (£94.58) £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253 Wombling free 2017 = £1982.64 Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3118.08/£3000) Debt to OH paid back £1146.96/1146.96
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £4025
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 7th Jun 17, 10:17 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Aw, thanks Flo! I am indeed a size 18 and currently 232lbs. 6 years ago, I was a size 26 and didn't weigh myself, but was definitely over 300lbs. In a way, I think my size has helped me to communicate to people how difficult the trek was for me. They can't see my mental illness and I coped fairly well, despite a couple of panic attacks and uncontrollable crying early one morning (thankfully I was quiet enough not to wake my roommate!), but they can see I'm obese and realise that both the training and the trek must have been a huge challenge.

    I'm trying to eat more healthily and lose weight, but fitness is my priority. I think the personal trainer you mentioned was on This Morning — I definitely agree that fitness is essential, whatever your weight. I also think being thin can cause people to be complacent, so they don't consider the impact of a bad diet and no exercise on their health.

    Anyhoo, no more disparaging myself... I'll try!

    Added £70 to my fun fund today. Want to use it to do a skydive — aiming for September and hoping to lose enough weight to avoid the surcharge. Or at least minimise it.

    Still haven't found out exactly how much I owe my parents...
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 8th Jun 17, 9:17 PM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Okay, bit the bullet... I owe my parents £17,000. It's more than I'd like, but less than I'd dreaded.

    If I pay off 1% a month, it will take me 8 years and 4 months to clear — so October 2025.

    While that's a scary thought, I'm okay with it. I can afford the repayments and would have a bit of flexibility, allowing me to save more and enjoy my life. However, I also know that every extra 1% (or £170) paid will bring my debt-free date forward by 1 month, which is pretty motivating.
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 15th Jun 17, 9:55 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Paid my mum £100 yesterday.

    It's been an expensive week, though for positive reasons — I have entered 3 short story competitions and bought a workbook which will help me build my blog into something more successful.

    I'm being more productive and getting back into the swing of things, which feels good. Also been back to kettlebells, this time with my mum in tow! It was our 3rd session last night and I ache a lot less than I did last week

    My main aims are to keep going and gradually add more — more writing, more exercise, more submitting work, more blogging, etc.
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 21st Jun 17, 9:19 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Added £100 to Rainy Day Fund, hitting my £500 target Now onto boosting my emergency fund!

    Sent a press release about my Machu Picchu challenge to the local newspaper, not expecting them to be interested but figuring I had nothing to lose. Turns out they were interested and published an article yesterday. So far, it has netted me an extra £30 sponsorship (albeit from my nan), meaning I have hit 90% of my £1000 target.

    Been blogging more again this week — the plan is to do Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Still working on novel and developing a cast iron plan to get it completed. Also started to redraft a short story and got another idea in the pipeline, so hoping to get submitting more over summer.

    It's going well
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • doingitanyway
    • By doingitanyway 21st Jun 17, 9:20 AM
    • 2,089 Posts
    • 9,668 Thanks
    doingitanyway
    You sound positive
    JANUARY 2016/SECURED DEBT=24,822/November 2017=4,490
    MORTGAGE FREE 25/07/16
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 21st Jun 17, 10:15 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    I feel positive!

    Part of me thinks I shouldn't be, considering the amount of debt I have, but as my counsellor points out, most of it's owed to my parents and I live with them, so I won't lose my home or starve to death. Focusing on my writing is the key to earning more in the long term — I know that intuitively, though it's hard to keep faith. The alternative is to risk my mental health by taking any job I can get, repeating my past pattern of feeling better for a few months and then my anxiety and depression taking a nosedive so I have to quit the job and end up in more debt after spending my savings on basic living expenses.

    Just need to trust myself to follow my own path and not worry about all the stuff which doesn't matter, like what other people think.
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 6th Jul 17, 11:35 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    It's been a quiet couple of weeks and things are going pretty well I have been working on my novel, ramping up my efforts because there is a competition I want to enter in September. I've also begun running again, on the treadmill, which is great for my mood and fitness. Been to kettlebells on my own twice in the past week, because my mum is on holiday, and coped.

    Moneywise, I have added some more to my fun fund, which is now £250. I would also like to bolster my emergency fund before long. Also paid off some of the credit card, to keep it at a more manageable level, so it's now at £350 (interest free).

    Feel like I should be doing more, but I'm just glad my mental health is better than it has been for a long while.
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • reality_check
    • By reality_check 6th Jul 17, 12:03 PM
    • 686 Posts
    • 1,478 Thanks
    reality_check
    Everything sounds like it is moving in the right direction, I am glad I am desperate to go out a run, but I think I am saying that because I am 8 months pregnant and know it is impossible, we will see if I am so enthusastic in a few months time

    Do you have any plans for the fun fund or just building it up until something you want to do comes up? xx
    Starting debt £18,675.63
    Current debt: £8,250
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 6th Jul 17, 7:51 PM
    • 1,699 Posts
    • 9,556 Thanks
    Florence J
    Everything sounds like it is moving in the right direction, I am glad I am desperate to go out a run, but I think I am saying that because I am 8 months pregnant and know it is impossible, we will see if I am so enthusastic in a few months time

    Do you have any plans for the fun fund or just building it up until something you want to do comes up? xx
    Originally posted by reality_check
    Congratulations Reality_Check! I didn't know you were expecting! Wishing you all the best.

    Glad to hear things are going ok for you ABA
    Sealed Pot Challenge 10 #553 (£94.58) £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253 Wombling free 2017 = £1982.64 Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3118.08/£3000) Debt to OH paid back £1146.96/1146.96
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £4025
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 8th Jul 17, 9:08 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks guys — and congratulations rc, if I haven't said it before (I lose track!)

    I would like to use the fun fund for a skydive, but don't know when that will happen. I would also like to keep some extra, too, just so I can do things if I fancy it, without having to consider my cashflow first. I suppose I see it acting as a lower priority version of my rainy day fund, so I can use it if something comes up.

    My main financial concern atm is what to do about my Very account balance. It's interest free until November, but then the interest will shoot up, so I need to get it out by then. Hoping my parents might help me out (again), which makes me feel guilty and pathetic, but makes financial sense since they have access to credit with lower interest rates and might not need to use credit to pay it, leaving me free to pay them back quicker — including the original loan, which would get neglected if I had to put Very balance on cc (which wouldn't cover the whole amount anyway).

    It's such a mess. I shouldn't have bought the camera and lens — it was an impulsive attempt to cheer myself up as my mental health nosedived and it's left me feeling more stressed. But I can't change it. It's too late to return the camera and I wouldn't get my money back by selling it — and I don't want to, since photography adds value to my life and is a handy skill to develop for my career.

    Trouble is, if I stress about it, my mental health will deteriorate again, leaving me more vulnerable to impulsive/compulsive spending. It's a vicious circle. At least I feel reasonably in control atm.
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 12th Jul 17, 9:11 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Paid £100 to my mum and £20 off cc, bringing it to £330.

    Progress, I suppose, but it doesn't feel much like it with the Very balance hanging over me.
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 14th Jul 17, 12:03 PM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    HUGE weight off my mind: my parents have agreed to pay the Very balance in November and I will pay it off (plus interest) through them. This makes my finances far more manageable and avoids the extortionate interest which Very will start charging if I don't pay off. The balance.

    Obviously this is a double-edged sword: relief and guilt. I don't want to place more of a burden on my parents, but paying Very loads of interest would place more of a burden on them because I would take longer to pay them back.

    It feels pretty crap to be paying for bad decisions I made during bad episodes of mental illness, but that's my life and I can't change it. All I can do is make better decisions from now on.

    My mental health has improved and I'm in a better place now, especially without the stress of how to pay the Very balance. This means I can turn my attention to changing my life in positive ways, including repaying my debt and earning more money.
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 20th Jul 17, 11:08 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    I read the first few posts of this thread a couple of days ago and had a minor epiphany: my attitude towards debt and life has changed. I used to view my debt as something which held me back, a weight which dragged me down and stopped me from being happy, achieving my goals and living. Nowadays, I realise that you can't put life on hold. I used to think I had to wait until I was debt-free to follow my dreams, but that wasn't true.

    Don't get me wrong — I still want to be debt free and wish I hadn't made many of my bad spending decisions. It's just not my top priority anymore. Instead, my priorities are goals which will make me happier and more successful, which should indirectly lead to my being able to repay my debt. At the beginning of this journey, I thought I had to sacrifice everything in order to repay my debt, but all that did was make me miserable — which meant I was more likely to make poor financial decisions, as compulsive spending and comfort eating are my go-to strategies to feel better (in the short term).

    I have followed the same thought processes in relation to other aspects of my life: I used to think "I'll do that when I'm thinner" or "I'll wait until I'm more confident." That hasn't worked well for me. In fact, both my life and my finances have (broadly — not including Machu Picchu) improved when I have focused on working towards the goals which are most important to me.

    I guess you would call this an holistic approach to debt. It combines learning to make better financial decisions (including repaying debt, spending less and saving more) with investing in myself. It will probably take me longer to become debt-free, but I am living in the meantime and becoming happier.
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

2,609Posts Today

6,721Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • I believe I can boldly go where no twitter poll has gone before https://t.co/HA0jC92gAK

  • OK I'm wilting to public pressure and there will be a star trek captain's poll at some point next week

  • I can get that. My order is 1. Picard 2. Janeway 3. Kirk. Too early to say where Lorca will end up (or would you? https://t.co/kawtCOe9RA

  • Follow Martin