Not letting black dogs lie...

in Debt free diaries
20 replies 1.6K views fact I have decided that I'm not just going to stop it laying - I'm going to chase it out kicking and screaming.

I have lurked on these forums for a while and earlier this week a post prompted me to write my first reply, from there I have finally decided to stop putting it off and actually talk to you guys because it seems I need you a little more than I realised :embarasse

To (briefly!) explain how I ended up here (and where ‘here’ is!)
  • I worked part time from the moment I could, working in retail and waitressing throughout college and university. I worked two jobs whenever I could and generally spent my money making sure I didn't cost my parents anything, running a car and treating myself (in my case that usually involves food haha!)

    Three years ago…
  • I stopped working for the last two months of my degree to concentrate on my studies and graduated with a high 2:1
  • My parents had the opportunity to buy a postage stamp sized house in my hometown and as my OH at the time as being made redundant; we decided to go for it. My parents re-mortgaged their house in order to buy the LH and my partner and I moved in. The agreement was that we would pay my parents rent to cover all bills, council tax etc and the interest on the mortgage. We settled on a monthly amount that would ensure that the debt on the house didn't increase but of course they were not making money off us.
  • It took me 6 months to find a job :( I can't stress how heartbreaking this was for those of you that haven't been there, though I'm sure many have. As someone who has always worked, who lives to work, applying for dozens of jobs each week and never getting a response, let alone a job, is soul destroying. I had an excellent degree; a tonne of experience and at the time was a confident, outgoing person. But with experience and qualifications also comes the 'you're overqualified' response. I was applying for anything and everything to make ends meet whilst I looked for my 'dream job' but unfortunately it seemed like no one wanted me.

    Two years ago…
  • I am offered the opportunity to become a teacher! I have to clarify - this was not one of those 'those who can't - teach' situations! Going to university made me realise how much I wanted to lecture but to become a lecturer you need a PhD and teaching experience - I couldn't afford the PhD but this was an opportunity for me to get my teaching hours and valuable experience. The other advantage (which I guess should have come first really!) was that I was passionate about my subject – it is something I live and breathe – and this was an opportunity to help young people achieve and possibly inspire this passion in them.

    Eighteen months ago…
  • I realise that my school is not actually interested in my teacher training; I am in fact just a cheaper option to a fully qualified teacher. I am given everything the others in my department don’t want. If I’m not fielding inappropriate comments from teenage boys I’m being sworn at by other pupils and their parents. The department is understaffed, poorly managed and cliquier than the students themselves. I am working 20 hours a day just to keep my head above water and am offered no support from my ‘mentor’. It is frustrating at best – heartbreakingly demoralising at worst, but I ‘don’t “do” giving up’.

    Just over twelve months ago…
  • I come home from a particularly difficult day and get in the bath to try to calm down and try to de-stress. Hours later my OH finds me catatonic. He leaves a message to say I won’t be at work the next day and books me an emergency doctors appointment.
  • I was diagnosed as having major depressive disorder and mixed anxiety conditions. My world collapsed.

To say the last twelve months have been hard is laughable. I had to make the decision to withdraw from my teacher training course, burden my parents with paying my contribution to the rent and come to terms with an illness that I cannot be ‘cured’ of. When you go to sleep each night praying that you won’t wake up in the morning, the thought that you will never lose that those thoughts completely is probably the hardest thing to deal with. Actually that’s not quite true; the hardest thing to deal with is the thought your family will have to live with you like this for the rest of your life. I had never been a burden on my family, and from this point, on top of everything they had to deal with; they had to deal with this. I had become the stone tied to the drowning man’s leg. The only thing keeping me here was the thought of what it would do to them if I gave up. I’m not better as such.

There have been periods in the last 12 months where I have been amazed that I’m still here. However, there have also been times where I have wanted to stand and shout ‘I did that, that was me!’. The last six months in particular have changed my life, I found myself in a situation where I could build my confidence back up and day by day it has got easier. At some point in this diary I’ll explain but for now I think I’ve waffled for long enough!

They say that when you are struggling you should set yourself aims and goals for the things you are doing. Well my aim is to get back on my own two feet and as one of the biggest stresses in my life is this feeling of being a burden because of relying on people for money and the debts I have with my parents and SLC I thought this might be an appropriate place to work towards this aim. I have a lot of questions and could do with a lot of support if you’ve got the time, I don’t mean to write as much as I do but I can offer coffee and cookies to those that stick with it!

Money related questions coming very soon!!!

Thanks for reading my tale, or the start of it!

Hounded by a black dog, saved by a bay horse


  • please-let-me-be-luckyplease-let-me-be-lucky Forumite
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    Just wanted to say smiley-greet025.gif and welcome to diary land. Well done for making it through the last year, it sounds like hell on earth.

    I don't pretend to understand what you are going through and the severity of it, but I do know what it's like having your whole world turned upside down, and my DH has had some very depressed and dark days so I know it's not fun at all. I, and lots of others, will be here to lend an ear when it's needed. I have certainly found my diary helpful, and I'm sure you will too.

    Hugs smiley-hug008.gif

    plmbl Xx
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  • mumsiemummumsiemum Forumite
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    I have a black dog too but have recently been able to shew it out of my garden for a while (hopefully longer!)

    I just wanted to say well done for posting. It takes guts to share this kind of thing - and hopefully you will find support here (as well as your friends and family).

    Keep posting so we know how you are. I have subscribed and lookforward to following your journey and cheering you on as you progress! :j
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  • NewLeaf_2NewLeaf_2 Forumite
    2.1K Posts
    I agree with what was said above. You have amazing strength to get this far and to want to set goals.

    what a terrible time you have had and hopefully you will see the light at the end of the tunnel soon
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  • KitchenbunnyKitchenbunny Forumite
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    Sometimes you need to go through the bad to appreciate the good. I really do empathise with you, and will follow your diary with interest if you don't mind. You might not feel strong some days, but you are.

    I'll have a virtual latte and a cookie sounds great! :D

    K xx
    Trying for daily wins, and a little security in an insecure world.
  • Just wanted to say hi and well done for posting. I hope you get lots of support on here and manage to get back on your feet. I have suffered from depression too and I know how awful it feels not wanting to wake up in the morning and feeling like a burden. I will subscribe to your diary and hopefully watch your progress. x
  • NewTaubNewTaub Forumite
    10 Posts
    wow guys.

    The last few days have been hard and I was really starting to regret posting if I'm honest but wow, those few replies have really made me realise why I wanted to do this. So thanks, I really mean that, I hope you realise how wonderful a few little hello's can make someone feel :T

    For a little while I've been picking through the FAQs and Newbie tips and am sad that it isn't that simple for me to put down on paper. Here is the best statement of affairs I can give you.

    Money coming in:
    £213.80 (JSA)
    Total income: £213.80 pm

    Money going out:
    £60 (petrol)
    £80 (MH)
    £50 (Food)
    Total outgoings £190 pm

    I am in a lucky position in some ways. As I mentioned in my original post, my parents are currently covering the rent that I should be paying to them. My dad is wonderful with money; he was the one that put me on to this site years ago. He has sorted my parents finances out no end but unfortunately they are steadily falling back into uncomfortable territory because of me. So the money I owe them increases each month and unfortunately it has got to the point where I am putting them under too much pressure. Currently my plan is that the last day of each month I will transfer any of the £213 I have saved into their account. Unfortunately the £23 left over each month from my minimum spend does not go far towards the £330 I should be paying them! Dad and I set up a spreadsheet for my debt, and each month we add any new payments in or out to it. It's a depressing read. Each month the £330 rent goes onto the 'debt' side of the spreadsheet and as of yet very little goes onto the 'paid' :( but I am adding 'pay dad left over money' to my monthly 'must do' list. Not sure how I'd cope without such an organised, astute dad - one day I'm going to make it up to him!

    This diary malarky is hard. I want to write about everything! I feel like I need to explain various things before I talk about day to day. I rarely discuss money or my illness so I sort of feel I need to clarify bits and pieces for myself not just so the entries make sense haha! However I am determined not to turn each post into an essay so please bear with my indulgent monologues!

    Thanks again for the support - I hope it becomes a more positive diary very soon!

    Hounded by a black dog, saved by a bay horse
  • edited 23 July 2012 at 12:01PM
    Rainbow_BridgeRainbow_Bridge Forumite
    363 Posts
    edited 23 July 2012 at 12:01PM
    Hi there,

    Big hug, it's quite an eye opener, reading these diaires and seeing how many of us have had breakdowns of one form or another, you are definitely among a bunch of empathic souls here.

    When I had a major breakdown, which was labeled much the same as yours has been, two years ago and was completely off this planet, I found Dr Tim Cantopher's books really helpful. His premise is that breakdown's are the curse of the strong, and of people who give too much, not the weak and selfish, and that we have to learn to be balanced and to look after ourselves as much as we look after everyone else, or we end up running on empty and completely draining our batteries. We become pressure cookers, with a faulty release valve that inevitably explodes. At this point recovery is slow, but definitely achievable!!

    Post whatever is in your heart and head, I doubt you'll be judged harshly and if you are, they lack compassion and that is a very sad thing, and you will help many as you recover, I promise. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and I wish you all the best on your journey xxxxx.
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  • nonnatusnonnatus Forumite
    1.5K Posts
    Hello :)

    I don't normally pass comment on these threads because I'm not sure I have much to contribute, but felt compelled to point something out to you!

    You have a beautiful "Written Voice" if you see what i mean. A great use of language that reads really easily. If you speak as well as you write, you have the makings of a brilliant teacher (pity the idiots can't recognise that eh?). Have you put the written word to use commercially? Have you thought about it?
    Perhaps you could start with your own Biography, intended intially for your eyes only, but then you could diarize it here and see what everyone thinks...
    It's very relaxing, writing for pleasure - especially when you're good at it ;).
  • KitchenbunnyKitchenbunny Forumite
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    NewTaub wrote: »

    This diary malarky is hard. I want to write about everything! I feel like I need to explain various things before I talk about day to day. I rarely discuss money or my illness so I sort of feel I need to clarify bits and pieces for myself not just so the entries make sense haha! However I am determined not to turn each post into an essay so please bear with my indulgent monologues!

    Thanks again for the support - I hope it becomes a more positive diary very soon!


    Write as much or as little as you need to, or as you feel able to. Some days I feel like if I write too much something bad will happen as it has usually worked out that way in the past. As my name suggests - I like kitchens, cooking, etc, and find that is a good way for me to relax and save money. If I can help at all, just ask. :)

    K xx
    Trying for daily wins, and a little security in an insecure world.
  • NewTaubNewTaub Forumite
    10 Posts
    Aren't you a lovely lot! Have very much cheered me up after a rather catastrophic two days (will explain that later!)

    Firstly wanted to say thanks to you all for these positive vibes, it is a massive help to be honest.

    KitchenBunny, have put some milk on for a latte and am a bit of a whiz with a coffe machine (long long hours as a waitress during university!) so feel free to place your orders :) You're certainly right about cooking etc. I've found it helps me too. Have always loved food and love to cook and treat people but when things were really dark I had to shut myself out of the kitchen to try and make it harder to self harm. After a lot of time and help from friends I have managed to stay on top of the cravings most of the time and I took up baking as a babystep back into cooking (fewer sharp things!). Found it a super relief as I don't think there is better stress relief than kneading bread :p and I found a talent for cupcakes. It has made things much easier during christmas and birthdays as not having the money to buy gifts for my friends and family was a big knock for me - but when I discovered they were just as happy with cakes it has made things much easier! So yes - I'm all for the kitchen stress relief haha!

    RainbowB thanks so much for your post - a friend also suggested Dr Cantopher's books and unfortunately one of the most frustrating parts of being ill is that I struggle to focus and read for more than a few minutes at a time before my concentration slides off somewhere - I am hoping that pushing myself to keep this diary will change that as I'd love to think his philosophy is right, it is the only hopeful one I think! I might have a look to see if they have any audiobooks of his at the library.

    Nonnatus you're post was too kind! I would love to write but I am aware that I tend to waffle - my mum always says I seem to have the attitude of 'why use 3 words when you can use 10' :embarasse! On the other hand I must saywriting thngs down has been unimaginabley therapeutic so I may at least carry on and who knows what could happen with practice! I am a scientist at heart and have written a few well recieved academic papers and have a passion for research - would love to write more in that way at least but not sure I have the mind for it anymore!

    Genuinely though, from the bottom of my heart - thanks so much to those who have commented - you've made me want to do something again - and that is something really special!

    Will be posting about yesterday's horrorstory shortly - I dont know how long this bad luck will last!

    Hounded by a black dog, saved by a bay horse
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