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Debt and Mental Health - How have your debts affected you?

edited 8 May 2015 at 12:08PM in Debt-Free Wannabe
215 replies 200.5K views


  • edited 31 May 2015 at 5:33PM
    Bananas777Bananas777 Forumite
    75 posts
    edited 31 May 2015 at 5:33PM
    I was given a large student overdraft as a teenager free of charges. When I suffered from depression during my degree it was difficult as I took an extra year to complete it then afterwards the bank gave me a graduate loan and graduate overdraft which had higher interest and charges. I also had credit cards and felt totally overwhelmed. I took out a DMP and am now ten years into it. As I claim sickness benefits such as ESA and PIP the payments are quite small but I'm getting there. It has meade a lot of difference to my state of mind just to have the one simple bank account (Co-op Cashminder). I know the payment goes out the first day of each month so the money I have left is mine for the rest of the month. I think it's a lot less stressful mentally. You can see you are in the 'black' instead of always in the 'red' (as with an overdraft) Another good thing is the Co-op don't send me lots of offers etc like the other banks used to, and if you are close to the limit it just declines the purchase rather than putting on lots of charges. I would recommend this approach to others with mental health problems, also the online banking is simple to use and good if you are not going out, for example. The co-op one also seems more friendly and kind whereas at RBS and Lloyds they used to be a bit more grumpy, or so I remember (it's a long time ago now). Last year, Payplan along with a PPI company they recommend called Stake your Claim, helped me claim PPI as the bank shouldn't have added it due to the mental health history. Also, one of the questions the assessors ask for PIP is about managing money and having the DMP.
  • Thank you to all for posting on here, it's nice to know you're not alone. Both hubby & I suffer from depression (and anxiety) it's led to both of us having breakdowns and time off sick and being unable to leave the house, you then buy online or order takeaways so you don't have to see people or go out you then buy bits for the house (as if the house having something new in it will make you feel better when you haven't washed for two weeks) and the finances get worse and you can't stick to budgets and your wages are cut significantly so you borrow more and it's a horrible cycle. I agree that MH and debt go hand in hand, it gets to the point that you don't know if debt is exacerbating your MH or your MH is fueling the debt.

    I finally plucked up the courage and got help from the local mental health trust at the tail end of last year (rather than just seeing just the GP and popping tablets) and have done some CBT's and done some courses with groups and I'm beginning to feel like a person again, which has spurned Hubby to do the same and we're in much better shape mentally than we have been for well over three years.

    I think I actually had my lightbulb moment a few weeks ago when I realised there was just 18months left on our loan, I've read the leaflet a couple of times over the last few weeks and it's really helping to stiffen my resolve (I've downloaded it to iPad so I can browse whenever I'm feeling shaky) so I'm determined to get everything cleared (bar mortgage) in the next 18months, no loan, no store card, no over drafts, no credit card at the end. I've signed up (and done) lots of overtime and I've started decluttering all our stuff (which included my larger clothes from eating takeaways and popping tablets) and I might not have the mental or physical energy to put it online to sell it yet, but it's a start and the pile is there reminding me I've got a job to do and 18months to do it in.

    I might not feel like a whole person again yet, but it's coming, Hubby might not yet be on board or feel whole either, but that's coming too, and I'm darn skippy sure that these faceless organisations aren't going to keep getting my hard earned wages on interest and charges, I only want the good debt, and at the end of it all I'm going to reward myself by getting my bathroom wall properly sealed and tiled and enjoy Christmas 2016 and I'm going to use my wages to pay for it, not by borrowing more money.

    If it helps anyone one of the best things I got from my latest CBT course was something called 'The Assertive Bill of Rights", which has helped me clarify how I think of myself and deal with people, the one I think most of when thinking of debt is "the right to make your own decisions and deal with the consequences", I'm making the positive decision to pay this money back or not go into more debt even if it means eating out of the freezer for a month (freezer burned cauliflower! Lol!) and the consequences are also positive and we are not spending unnecessary money on food we've already got or on takeaway or borrowing any more and we are one step closer to that November 2016 goal... Even if the cauliflower does taste watery! Lol!

    Virtual hugs and support to anyone else affected by their mental health,
    At peak: £18548
    LBM: 21st May 2015
    Loan: £7686 C/C: £985 Argos: £684 O/D I: £850 O/D 2: £950 O/D J: £1100
    Total: £12255
    DFD: 1st December 2016
  • pointsguypointsguy Forumite
    72 posts
    We're all lucky that we've got a forum like this that we got to talk about these kind of issues. I got lots of lesson just by reading your posts...
  • Samoens12Samoens12 Forumite
    50 posts
    Debt-free and Proud!
    I have very luckily never suffered any mental health issues until my business started to fail. I am now not sleeping, struggling to cope with day-to-day tasks and memory problems. I plaster a smile on my face each morning but the struggle it takes to get to where I have to be to work is so hard. I feel so sorry for anyone that has these battles all their life. I hope that once I face up to my debt issues and start to deal with them my panic attacks and feelings of such low self esteem will start to recede
    Business : Landlord[STRIKE] £26k[/STRIKE] HSBC OD [STRIKE]£1225[/STRIKE]0 CC [STRIKE]£3720[/STRIKE] Suppliers [STRIKE]£1326[/STRIKE]

    Personal: CC1 [STRIKE]2923.20[/STRIKE] CC2 9638.29 now £2324 OD[STRIKE]4927.23[/STRIKE]
  • Totally agree with the words of immoral angel.
  • I do believe that debt can cause mental stress, and possibly illness, but it depends on the person. We all know that careless "free spirit" who "lives for the now" and has tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Yet they seem relatively stress free compared to many neurotic, debt free individuals (myself being one). So I would say it depends on the person.
  • Gaia2014Gaia2014 Forumite
    259 posts
    I do believe that debt can cause mental stress, and possibly illness, but it depends on the person. We all know that careless "free spirit" who "lives for the now" and has tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Yet they seem relatively stress free compared to many neurotic, debt free individuals (myself being one). So I would say it depends on the person.

    I completely agree with this. I am almost down to my last £5,000 of debt and although this isn't a lot of debt, my self-esteem is definitely affected by it. I wonder how I'll feel next Summer when it's all paid off. For me it represents irresponsible spending in my 20's and 30's and the impact this has had on my life in terms of potential savings and mortgage I might have had (especially the savings).
  • debt and mental health. my relative had multiple mental breakdowns in the 2000's and has struggled to support herself and family and has recently recovered from cancer. Over the past few years with her children older and her tumours we have been able to gather info together about her debts .

    She is bipolar on high dosage and amounts of drugs and it appears the debts she has been paying off were triggered by massive charges and massive increases in interest charged when she was both broke and ill.There are even disputed loans that she claims she never signed for or received by she is still paying back.

    Given the 6 year rule and hardship is there even any point chasing for info and reclaiming -she is is massive debt -and any repayments would help her significantly

    any ideas?
  • I had a really damn good credit rating, paid everything on time and money in the bank. Then a nutcase neighbour decided to start moving fences, taking land whilst away on holiday and came back to carnage! The result was four years spent in the solicitors offices and Courts. The toll has been beyond words. My physical health has suffered, I lost my job and at times my sanity, but you know I will be okay.

    I had to turn to credit cards to pay the legal bills. Having invoices come in from the solicitors for £7,000.00 at a time - I kid you not - it get damn frightening especially when you are working flat out, having next to nothing just to pay legal fees. I won the case, got my land back, but I did not get my legal fees returned - rought justice eh!

    At some of my lowest points I stand in the kitchen and squeeze my fists tight into a ball look upwards and say "I am going to be alright" and I believe I will. I just have one crappy debt hanging over me now but it has cause me worry and anxiety. Yes I am sacred whats going to happen to me - but I do have some fab friends. I am staying with one at the moment who is a fellow MSE contributor and she is helping me. Sometimes its just having someone to look after your inner child is all thats needed - someone to talk it through with.

    Through the worst I have had little sleep, gone to bed at 10pm slept hard until 1am then been awake worrying and pacing until 4am. Just constant fear and worry that drove me to some pretty dark places.
    I have at times felt very, very alone.

    I also have my faith and despite what others think it has kept me on an even keel through some pretty dire times. I still have faith that somehow it will all work out in the end.
  • Former_MSE_AndreaFormer_MSE_Andrea Former MSE
    9.6K posts
    I've helped Parliament Rampant Recycler Savvy Shopper! Stoptober Survivor
    Wow, over 5,000 views on this thread!

    Thanks for your posts everyone.

    Those alone will be helping lots of people, even ones who don't feel comfortable enough to join the forum and post yet :)
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