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Results: Has being in debt caused you stress and anxiety?


96.08% • 588 votes


3.92% • 24 votes

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612 votes in total.

    • Former MSE Andrea
    • By Former MSE Andrea 8th May 15, 10:26 AM
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    Former MSE Andrea
    Debt and Mental Health - How have your debts affected you?
    • #1
    • 8th May 15, 10:26 AM
    Debt and Mental Health - How have your debts affected you? 8th May 15 at 10:26 AM
    Hi everyone,

    As part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2015 next week (11-17 May), we’re supporting Stepchange Debt Charity and the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) in highlighting how debt can play a large part in mental health issues.

    We have a free Mental Health and Debt guide available for anyone to download so if you're struggling please do take a look!

    Has being in debt caused you stress and anxiety?

    We're launching a poll to see how many of you have had mental health issues. We've kept responses private so other forum users won't see who's voted in the poll. If you'd like to reply below and discuss that would be great but don't feel you have to.

    Join the forum to vote in the poll and join the conversation: join.

    Mental Health Awareness Week Twitter Chat Wed 13 May, 11am

    We're hosting a twitter chat with StepChange Debt Charity and the Mental Health Foundation this Wednesday: Twitter Chat
    Last edited by Former MSE Andrea; 08-05-2015 at 11:08 AM.
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    • immoral_angeluk
    • By immoral_angeluk 8th May 15, 9:54 PM
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    • #2
    • 8th May 15, 9:54 PM
    • #2
    • 8th May 15, 9:54 PM
    I have chronic depression and anxiety, and was in debt from the age of 18 as soon as I could get a credit card. Over the years as relapses have come and gone, the debt has fluctuated with it. The lower I get, the more I'm likely to spend recklessly on things to try and cheer myself up without thinking of the consequences (Such as a buying holiday on the credit card). The more anxious and 'hyper' I get, the more I'm likely to 'panic buy' things (like non urgent car repairs, new carpets, etc).

    Mental health and debt go hand in hand. Money has such a stronghold on our lives, it's only natural to expect that it would affect our financial lives as well. It's a trap. On the one hand you have the viscious cycle of mental health, and on the other you have the viscious cycle of debt. They work together to create a perfect storm of emotional, physical and financial chaos that can make things 10x worse if you are not careful.

    Mental health is a very complex area, and the psychology of mental health and debt has been looked at before, but it's only really when you've lived it and been in that hell that you can truly appreciate what a desperate situation it can be.
    Total 'Failed Business' Debt 29,043
    Que sera, sera. <3
    • Gaia2014
    • By Gaia2014 10th May 15, 6:15 PM
    • 259 Posts
    • 171 Thanks
    • #3
    • 10th May 15, 6:15 PM
    • #3
    • 10th May 15, 6:15 PM
    Low self esteem, shame, depression and stress. Which is why I have decided to get rid of the debts once and for all. I've already lost opportunities. I would probably be married with two children now if it wasn't for the debts and how they have impacted on my self esteem. I'm starting to move in the right direction, but a lot later than I would have chosen. So yes, debt has definitely affected me. However, I think I was already vulnerable because I used to spend to cheer myself us - catch 22.
    • Former MSE Andrea
    • By Former MSE Andrea 12th May 15, 12:38 PM
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    Former MSE Andrea
    • #4
    • 12th May 15, 12:38 PM
    • #4
    • 12th May 15, 12:38 PM
    Thank you for sharing, I know it can be hard to do.

    We want to encourage anyone with MH issues caused or aggravated by their debt to join us on Debt-free Wannabe and get the benefit of the fantastic support on here, especially as they can do it anonymously.
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    • emmatthews
    • By emmatthews 12th May 15, 12:47 PM
    • 650 Posts
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    • #5
    • 12th May 15, 12:47 PM
    • #5
    • 12th May 15, 12:47 PM
    Totally agree with the words of immoral angel. The other thing that a lot of people don't understand is that purchases made when you're in the grip of mental illness are often items that are not needed, purchasing is just a way to calm anxiety.
    • KirstyO
    • By KirstyO 12th May 15, 8:01 PM
    • 289 Posts
    • 398 Thanks
    • #6
    • 12th May 15, 8:01 PM
    • #6
    • 12th May 15, 8:01 PM
    Anxiety was my downfall. I spent the best part of a year only leaving the house to go to work. I wouldn't answer the phone or the door and still don't answer calls where I don't recognise the number for fear it is someone asking for money (even though I have cleared all my debts).

    My worst one is a recurring nightmare where someone walks into my office or bedroom with demands for an unsettled debt that I have forgotten about - so much so that it's value has soared to 5 figures and my credit rating is damaged forever.

    My rational head tells me it's only a nightmare, and my credit file reassures me that everything is clear now, but the day after I've had one of these nightmares I find it hard to concentrate, I'm more skittish and tend to remove myself from social interactions because it has shaken me and tired me so much.
    Debt free on 2nd January 2015
    Next savings goals:
    5k emergency fund
    4k holiday of a lifetime fund
  • MHF Joanna
    • #7
    • 13th May 15, 1:03 PM
    • #7
    • 13th May 15, 1:03 PM
    Hi everyone!

    Joanna here from the Mental Health Foundation, I'll be joining you in your discussions around debt and mental health for Mental Health Awareness Week.

    Thank you to all of those who have already posted, we have a lot to talk about. I encourage everyone to share their experiences, you never know how your story might give people the courage and motivation they need to address their worries.
    • youth leader
    • By youth leader 17th May 15, 8:53 AM
    • 356 Posts
    • 422 Thanks
    youth leader
    • #8
    • 17th May 15, 8:53 AM
    • #8
    • 17th May 15, 8:53 AM
    I've had mental health issues since I was 18 and have spent my life in debt and fear about money. I didn't open my bank statements for three years because I knew I'd over spent and when a Paypal payment was refused, realised I'd spent our mortgage savings and had to face it. I had spent 23,000 with nothing to show for it.

    I swing from checking my balance on line every day, even twice a day, to not looking for weeks and then feeling fearful when i do.

    Money has controlled me for 40 years and now I'm able to get my Teacher's pension I must set some systems in place or my lump sum will be frittered away. I have met and befriended someone who has had little money during her life and she is helping me think differently about it - she started her life working for a bank. I did used to spend to cheer myself up and have stopped that, at least.
    216 saved 24 October 2014
    • Pablosammy
    • By Pablosammy 19th May 15, 7:44 AM
    • 541 Posts
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    • #9
    • 19th May 15, 7:44 AM
    • #9
    • 19th May 15, 7:44 AM
    Hi all - I think there are more complex factors around debt and mental health than the poll question suggests. Anybody can be affected by stress and depression with causal factors, such as mounting debts. What's possibly being overlooked is how clinical disorders can be the initiating cause, rather than the result, of debt.

    It's somewhat of a chicken or egg scenario... clearly, depression can often lead to poor decision making when it comes to spending. Depression/anxiety disorders have a certain stigma attached to them, which can lead to people doing self-therapy, and in our commercially-orientated world this can manifest itself as spending. Debt also has its own stigma, which means that people who are already used to bottling up their problems hide away further and let it get out of control. It's a really easy pit to fall into, and that's why so many of us find ourselves in it.

    I personally think my depression has caused my debt, rather than the other way around. However, with regards to the poll question, being in debt has definitely negatively affected my mental health.
    • Georgina180590
    • By Georgina180590 21st May 15, 10:59 AM
    • 19 Posts
    • 76 Thanks
    My Mental Health has actually affected my debt.
    After a messy break up in 2011 I went from being 100% debt free to owing 20,000 over 3 years.
    I am on ani-depressant and anxiety meds, but shopping and spending is my only release. I had 12 months CBT but NHS classes a 'spending addiction' as unimportant so here I am on here trying to do it alone
    Aim to be Debt Free and Moved Out by 01 October 2015
    • cat4772
    • By cat4772 21st May 15, 11:48 AM
    • 2,455 Posts
    • 4,348 Thanks
    I suffer from recurrent depression / anxiety / stress and can spend money I don't have on things I don't need (or want). I see the bank or credit card statement, get depressed and want to feel better so go shopping... and so the vicious cycle starts again with an accumulation of junk I don't have room for, some of which I've had to PAY to have removed or disposed of!

    Sometimes the spending is small (and absorbable) and other times it isn't; such as the family holiday or decorating a refurbishing a bedroom (or three)! I look at those rooms and I feel as much guilt as I feel pleasure in them. Sometimes I feel guilty that I'm depriving my family so spend money on things for them (that they don't need).

    Debt and depression (or any other mental health) do go hand in hand. When I'm depressed, I become socially isolated, or rather I isolate myself from people and spending and shopping becomes a focus. I feel lonely so surround myself with shoppers and spend money. I feel depressed at my increasing debt, so I spend money. I don't think my depression caused my debt, but it certainly helped to increase it. Membership of this forum, friends and determination have helped me to reduce my debt. So much so that I'm as excited each month to see my debt decrease as I was to spend the money in the first place.

    I read a frightening statistic that if you've experienced depression once, you are 50% more likely to suffer another episode and 80% of people who have suffered two episodes of depression will have another.
    DFW Nerd Club #545 Dealing With Our Debt
    never attribute anything to malice which can be adequately explained by stupidity, [paranoia or ignorance] - ZTD&[cat]
    the thing about unwritten laws is that everyone has to agree to them before they can work - *louise*

    March GC 113.53 / 325
    • Bananas777
    • By Bananas777 31st May 15, 4:30 PM
    • 75 Posts
    • 29 Thanks
    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.
    Last edited by Bananas777; 31-05-2015 at 4:33 PM.
  • MookieSnuffles
    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,
    • pointsguy
    • By pointsguy 8th Jun 15, 2:36 AM
    • 70 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    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...
    • Samoens12
    • By Samoens12 16th Jun 15, 5:35 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 108 Thanks
    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
  • NikkiBrown
    Totally agree with the words of immoral angel.
  • fightingirishman
    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.
    • Gaia2014
    • By Gaia2014 19th Jul 15, 11:37 AM
    • 259 Posts
    • 171 Thanks
    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.
    Originally posted by fightingirishman
    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).
  • ridvimes
    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?
    • Vermillion
    • By Vermillion 14th Aug 15, 8:15 PM
    • 40 Posts
    • 42 Thanks
    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.
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