Debt and no income

Hi All,

I would truly appreciate some advice on what to do after having made some terrible financial choices. 

I'll try keeping this short but forgive me if it isn't:

I've been diagnosed with treatment resistant depression for several years and under regular psychiatric care. I spent a total of 4 years at university going back and forth from 2 uni's before ultimately dropping out completely; this was due to my poor mental health affecting my ability to study and to even go to university and dropping out was even worse as I've always been academically inclined and got good grades at school and love education. 
After getting a job in a supermarket in 2018 I did that okay for a year or so until mental health got very bad just before covid appeared. I met a guy at work who became my boyfriend and was staying with him before lockdown was announced and I had to stay with him for the entire duration (from living with my mother). 
I then ended up going off sick from work and spent the most of 2020 and 2021 off sick before having to resign due to poor mental health (near the end of 2021). 
Whilst living with my (now ex) boyfriend I got several loans and a credit card which I could no longer pay off after leaving work. I was already in a terrible financial state and basically had no choice to obtain payday loans if we wanted to survive. So on top of 4 years of student finance loans (at least 50/60k), I have about 4/5,000 in loans many of which are now with debt collection - including student finance as they realised 3 years later that I owed them about 1600 for a maintenance loan before I finished my last year. 

At the minute my depression and agoraphobia is so bad that I can't yet seek a job; I haven't stepped outside in months and my psychiatrist decided to vanish and was replaced with random doctors who don't know my situation anywhere close to my previously psych. And can't speak to him for months yet and so the professional help is almost non existent at the minute. 

Universal credit won't give anything because of deductions from advance payments and the fact they thought I was receiving new ESA (I did for 2/3 months but not since July 2021 and they thought I did until march 2022). 
They told me I need to contact ESA and tell them but again, my anxiety is so dreadful even a phone call is impossible - which leads me to the fact ive been not answering to debt collectors and loan companies so every second I'm getting calls and my anxiety is getting worse and worse and I'm basically in a vicious cycle and I am completely lost. 
I can't even explain this to my own family because I kept it all quiet knowing one day it would be sorted and would never need to be mentioned and they'd also get very upset with me. 
Apart from dying, what on earth do I do at this point I can't get myself to contact anyone I'm so scared 


  • EssexHebrideanEssexHebridean Forumite
    16.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Well done on fronting up to things as you have, would be the first thing - it's an awful situation to find yourself ion on all counts but you really have taken the right first step by acknowledging that there is an issue.

    Thinking about taking things one step at a time to start with - could you write to the ESA people perhaps? 

    Also on the subject of phone calls being difficult - you don't NEED to answer the phone to debt collectors - and even if you do answer, the best advice is always to simply tell them to put it in writing to you, in the post. Tell them that you will regard any further phone calls as harassment. That should then at least begin to alleviate the situation where you feel your heart start to race each time your phone rings. Do you think perhaps you could manage to deal with one of these calls each day while you start to get it sorted? Once you've answered one in a day you can then ignore all others until the next day. 

    Try to think about how you can take baby-steps towards dealing with things in the first instance. Everything is fixable and your health is more important than any money related stuff. 
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