In The Red
One of the symptoms of Bipolar Affective Disorder is the grandiosity of spending money that is not yours.
In my thirties, I was in much financial debt due to maxing out credit cards and applying for loans to cover it, and this cycle continued for many years.
My late Father always told me, ‘If you ever need money, get a loan from the bank and avoid credit cards at all costs.’
I never listened.
I remember a Jewish guy saying, ‘Don’t spend money that isn’t yours.’
I refused to process this.
My Aunt always said, ‘Never a lender or borrower be’.
I did adhere to this in that I would never take money off my family or friends. My justification is that is what credit cards are for.
All three statements are sound advice to the reader, but I did not apply them to my life and had to suffer the consequences.
I could not foresee the future that I was ever going to be made redundant from a long-term post.
Even as a minor, I have never relied on my parents for money, and when I left home, I independently took care of my affairs.
I have always suffered from depression, and when I was going through the madness of mania, I would spend money on things I did not need, which became an obsession. It made me feel powerful and untouchable.
The problem arrived when I found I needed help to keep this up with my wages and received an attractive offer of taking out a credit card with six months of interest-free credit.
Credit card companies are only too happy to oblige because they are making so much money from you, hence why you can never keep up with the payments.
After six months, I took out a loan to pay the card off so I would not incur any interest; that is how the pattern began—endless IVAs and shopping in catalogues with more credit cards.
It reached the point where I could no longer afford to live on my wages because I had higher monthly payments on my loans, and the rest of my money was to pay all the other monthly bills.
Some people feel the need to spend more money to keep up with the latest fashion at a great expense my buying was not about that.
My buying was an illness associated with trying to feel accepted as a family member. My Father always said, ‘Money cannot buy love’.
Just before Christmas 2010, I was told that I was chosen to be made redundant, and I was petrified because only then did I realise the mess I was in.
I did not know how to prepare myself for this, and when I lost my job, I also felt that I had lost everything.
I refused my Father’s help; he had worked hard all his life and had already made sacrifices by going without for me when I was a child. He was smart. He invested his money; I squandered mine and was prepared to face the consequences of my actions.
After spending time in a mental institute after trying to suicide, I decided to apply for bankruptcy. I was not proud of doing it, but I needed to learn my lesson.
You pay a fee to become bankrupt. Some banks will close your accounts once informed and never do business with you again.
In your first year, an Adjudication Officer will monitor your expenses to see if you can repay some debts. You can no longer have any credit between 3–5 years.
Fortunately, I was released after nine months but would be rejected credit for three years.
Since then, I have never had a loan or credit card, and if I could not afford something, I would have to save up for it.
It is possible for anyone to fall into debt even without a mental health challenge, but the solution is to recognise the pattern of your spending and cut back on your costs.
Today I am happy to say that I am debt free for the last twelve years and intend to stay that way. I live in a way that I never have to beg, borrow, or steal.
My life has become more manageable, and I am using my experiences to keep everyone on the right track so they may not come to harm or add stress to others.
In everything, there must be a balance.
The Scripture Of Balance