Mental health problems can often lead to financial problems and vice versa. This can be due to a variety of reasons:
Using spending as a coping mechanism
Spending when hypomanic
Not addressing finances when depressed
Losing a job due to mental illness
Once the vicious cycle starts, it’s hard to get out of it. I know from personal experience all to well the dread that debt fills you with. It cripples you and keeps you stuck in a sinking quicksand of interest and unopened letters. It’s hell. But things can get better and I’m here to share with you some of my tips to relieving the stress of debt.
Get your head out of the sand
Yes it might feel like your sinking in quicksand, but if you really were. Would you put your head in first? No. But that’s what we do. We give up. We Bury our heads in the sand and that’s when it gets worse. The first thing you need to do is admit your situation and face up to it. It may be hard but dealing with a debt all your life will be harder.
Open those letters
Do you flinch every time the door knocks? Do you sigh when you see another brown envelope hit the floor? So did I. I had a whole cupboard full of unopened letters. No joke. I filled up a black bag once I had started to go through them. Don’t be like me. Open the letters, find out what debt you have. Write it down and keep a note of it. If you can, ring the debtors and see if you can work out a payment plan. If you can’t. Then the next bit of advice is vital for you.
Don’t suffer alone
I know what it’s like to have a mountain of debt. Looking up at the summit in horror feeling that there is no way you can climb this beast. It’s the worse feeling and you tend to isolate yourself further. It doesn’t have to be that way. You will climb that mountain, you may just need someone to help you along the journey. There are people and organisations willing to help. You may need a support worker.
Ask your local council for help, especially if you’re in rent arrears. If you’re under a CPN they can also support you with debt and help you apply for benefits such as Personal Independence Payment or Employment Support Allowance. But one thing I learnt the hard way is, people can’t help you unless you help yourself. So you have to take those first steps.
Prioritise the right things
Remember only to prioritise the debts that are most important. Things like catalogues and credit cards need to be addressed however your rent, water, utilities etc they need to be put first. Especially council tax debt. These are the debts that can really impact your life and your living situation so tell the others they will have to wait and sort these out first.
For more information on how to reduce debt contact your local citizens advice bureau who can sign post you to organisations to help your situation.