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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
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  • Struggling a lot at the moment. After years of bad decisions (i was brought up in a very poor family so having a full time job and my own income felt great!), plus redundancies/maternity leave and a lack of options for flexible working resulting in a massive income drop. We found ourselves in a dmp. We’ve paid about half off but recently begun the CCA process which I’m not feeling the benefit of yet, I find it stressful not hearing from creditors and find myself waiting for the postman each day.
    Hubby was yet again made redundant (well jumped ship when salaries weren’t paid at Xmas) and although he got a new job he’s really not enjoying it and it doesn’t fit very well with childcare/work life balance and his overall happiness.
    We’re talking about him finding a new job, me finding a new job (to help financially) or giving up one of my current jobs (to ease the childcare issue), plus this constant pressure to save for a house-were almost 40 so the figure are getting worse for mortgages and working until we drop.
    It’s all a bit much to think about in one go!
  • sourcratessourcrates Forumite, Board Guide
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    We found ourselves in a dmp. We’ve paid about half off but recently begun the CCA process which I’m not feeling the benefit of yet, I find it stressful not hearing from creditors and find myself waiting for the postman each day.

    Best not to expect too much back from the CCA`s, after all its not that hard for a creditor to reconstitute a credit agreement, as i have mentioned in your previous posts, these things take time, and nothing is guarenteed.

    Best working on the asusmption of getting nothing, then any that turn out to be unenforacble will be a bonus for you.
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  • I found being in Debt really tough on my mental health. I've developed huge anxiety and struggle with depression. I get a bad anxious feeling in my stomach every time I spend money and feel extremely guilty. I am on my way to be debt free and I cannot wait till the day my credit card and loan are gone and I can start enjoying life again..Apart from a mortgage I don't want to have any other debt again.
    It's very daunting getting paid at the end of the month and all your hard earned money goes to debt and you have no spare money..also very embarrassing when you can't go to birthday's/events with your friends because you cannot afford a gift/tickets/anything really..
    Hits you hard when you want to go to the gym but can't because you only have enough fuel in your tank to get you to work and back and can't afford to buy any more.
  • edited 11 June 2019 at 5:15PM
    wordswordswordswords Forumite
    37 posts
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    edited 11 June 2019 at 5:15PM
    I was diagnosed with depression aged 19, and also with a serious anixety condition when I was 21. My psychologist at the time of diagnosis thought I would never be able to work. How wrong she was. I have struggled through life but am doing well for myself. I got a degree from a good university despite mental health problems. There have been bumps along the way - when I was living in Brighton I repeatedly got myself into debt due to the high cost of living and low wages and my spending, and my parents had to bail me out on several occasions. Eventually I got into so much debt I have to move back to live with them, which made me even more depressed.

    I recovered, and got a job in London and then Manchester where I own a house and am on a good wage and am married with my partner working as well, which helps. I am in a bit of debt still but it is not high compared to my wage, and I am being much more careful and better with my money than I was even just two years ago.

    Things that have helped me:

    • Medication. That is still the biggest help for me.
    • Job. This is basically unavoidable and you will need one you can stick with for the long term. I would prioritise getting trained up in a career that is in demand but you have to balance this with how stressful you find the career. Teachers and nurses are in demand but those jobs are very stressful at the moment and probably not good for your mental health. But there are always acceptable compromises, for example Teaching English as a foriegn language is better for stress but doesn't pay as well.
    • Move out of a high cost of living area to a low cost of living area. This has had a big affect for me - your pace of life just goes down to a much more manageable pace. I found London far too stressful unless you have a good professional career job and you're ultra competitive.
    • Having a supportive girlfriend. This is vital for me. You have to enjoy the relationship for what it is at the start and don't burden her wtih any problems, just enjoy your time together, and then as it gets deeper maybe she will offer to listen more about the serious stuff.
    • Having a group of friends, but you don't necessarily have to tell them that you're struggling with mental health, just enjoy their company for what it is. Often I find myself talking about their problems more than them mine, and that's fine - it actually helps to listen to someone elses' problems.
    • Maintaining good relationships with your family where possible - of course this depends if you view them as supportive or not, but some kind of family relationship is really good to keep going.
    • Exercise - this is the single best thing you can do for mental health besides medication. Just go for a couple of laps walk in your local park and come back to the computer and tell me it didn't make a positive difference. It will.
    • Online support groups. There are support groups online that focus on mentalh health and will help you if you reach out. Some offer a paid-for service but most are free and are mutual support groups.
  • I like many others have struggled with debt for as long as I can remember, just when I think I'm getting somewhere something will happen to knock me down I have bi polar, and Tourettes syndrome.

    Problems started when I helped an ex out with a couple of grand (I had spend so long to save) to start their business. Soon after we broke up and I found that other bills were not paid and I was accountable, this was someone I was with for 4 years, so to have been left with debt and no savings realy hit my hard, and my mental health suffered greatly due to my existing conditions.
    Soon I was in debt of around 4k and minus the 4k savings I had :(

    Then I lost both my parents within a 18 months, I felt I had no support.
    I then met my last partner and spent 6 years together who helped me out and was a great support for me especially when it came to finances. They also encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse.

    The relationship ended amicably but to find myself a mature student, now having t love on my own with debts that began to increase I've been feeling hopeless.

    I finished last year and I have an amazing job, but still have around 18k worth of debt.
    I feel that I'm forever playing catch up, I compare myself to people 10years younger than me with their own houses and cars, nice holidays, and I feel I will never get there and get out of the mess I am in.
    Every month I rely on credit cards and my overdraft :(
  • Kayjay83Kayjay83 Forumite
    1 posts
    I am now 36 and have had problems with money since I had credit cards thrown at me at the age of 18. Over the years I have got into debt, paid it off and repeated. More recently I started taking out consolidation loans with good intentions of getting rid of the credit cards but they’ve always come back. I have no one to blame but myself - I just seem to be unable to control my spending. I have always worked and as long as my earnings would cover all the minimum payments I pretended it was not a problem. I have now found out that I will have to take a pay cut for work and realised I can no longer cover all the minimum payments and has caused me so much anxiety / shame I can’t think clearly about anything, I’m struggling sleeping and worst of all I am devastated at what i have potentially done to my family. I finally sat down today and confronted all my debts and have a plan in place for a DMP - which despite being a long term commitment has at least made me feel slightly better and hopefully is the kick I need to sort myself out for good.
    I suppose the point of the post is that for me debt worries have caused me mental health problems rather than the other way round. It is also reassuring to see other people who have gone through similar and made it out the other side - it’s a big motivator that there is light at the end of the tunnel so thank you to all who have posted before
  • Debt has been something I’ve struggled with from my early twenties, I have made multiple poor life choices and subsequently caused my own downfall, now as a single 30 something who is still living with parents I look around at all the people I grew up with, their family’s, careers and everything they have achieved... this results in a huge dose of depression when looking at my current situation and where I am in life.... debt has ruined my life and I advise anyone to avoid it where possible.
  • I have suffered from mental health problems for almost 50 out of my 68 years. My illness started
    initially from anxiety which led to depression and OCD. I’ve tried all sorts of medication and CBT type approaches but nothing has really made an improvement.

    I’ve never been able to control my finances very well since being ill, and it’s always been left to the partners I’ve had in my life to control the household spending.

    My partner passed away 18 months ago and since then I’ve lost total control of my finances. I was advised to go for an IVA, which I gave done.

    I don’t know if I’ve done the right thing or not but I did find the process quite stressful. My head was left spinning for a couple of days. That might sound dramatic but it was how I felt.

    My worst debts were high interest credit cards. I never defaulted on them but to meet the payments was a nightmare. It didn’t help when one of them increased my already high interest rate by 7%.

    I did think that taking out an IVA, would relieve sone of the stress out of my life but I seem to be just as stressed as before if not more so worrying about the IVA itself. I changed my bank account but ended up with the wrong kind of account. I need to ring my bank but I can’t seem to be able to face doing it. I can’t explain why. It’s amazing his debilitating this illness ca name you and it’s very hard to live with sometimes.

    I might be due some arrears from the ESA because of the change over from Incapacity Benefit to ESA Support group in 2013. Thus is by no means certain but I’ve returned the form they asked me to complete to apply for it.

    I have been told that all of this will all gave to go towards my IVA. I would have thought that with it being paid due to me being too ill to work at the time, that I would at least be allowed to keep some of it. I’ve read of instances where some were allowed to keep the first £500 of an ESA back payment.

    Mental health can cause debt and debt can cause mental health problems and it’s extremely hard to get off that roundabout.

    Knowing there are many others out there in the same position and worse, doesn’t really help. It does make me think that not enough is being done to help people with these issues.

    Nobody wants mental health problems but it feels like a double whammy, not only having to deal with the illness itself, but all the other issues it causes eg financial.

    Thanks for reading
  • I know being in debt certainly didn't help my outlook on life, happiness or anything else. It was really a drain having it always on your mind when you wake up, not wanting to hear the phone ring or get a bill in the mail. It can be very consuming. But it does get better if stay the course and stick to a plan to work yourself out of it. It's not always easy to see an end to the stress and anxiety, but chipping away at it helps.
  • Got told a credit card would be a good idea at 21. Took it on and used it to help set me up for a 12 month placement. Despite making payments I could afford at the time, it seemed to always grow back bigger for some reason. I thought I would pay it off by the time I left but didn't have enough, now I'm back at university and looking for a job part-time to help pay it off. It was originally a 1k debt but kept going up as they would increase the limit without my say so. It was 1.5k in June and despite no spending on the card and minumum payments made, it went up close to 3k and I have no idea why. i'll find out soon why it has gone up so much but the task seems daunting, it feels like my life is ending before i had chance to do anything. I'm terrified of telling my parents as I will let them down so much and put them under so much pressure. I feel so stuck.
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