The journey of a thousand miles
The information contained in this blog has been written based only on my personal experiences.
Four years ago today, my life changed in an unimaginable way. I had hit a real rough patch with my finances and had to declare bankruptcy. I kept replaying over in my mind how I ended up here. Wishing I had done things differently, wondering where I had gone wrong and why I had not listened or picked up on the warning signs.
Up until this point I thought the only “issue” I had to really resolve was how to eat and exercise regularly which I had done the year before with the help of working with a personal trainer and shedding 5 stone but oh boy I was wrong!
This was a whole new level and was just the beginning of a series of life lessons!
Life up to now had been about getting the “perfect body” and moving on with my life. I found a great flat, not far from work and had bought new furniture. I wanted it to look perfect for when people came to visit.
The first lesson I should have heard was when my family asked me if everything was ok, as I was always shopping. I shrugged it off and said yes everything is ok. A few months down the line and things were starting to get tight. I was managing to pay my bills, but I was doing what we call “robbing Peter to pay Paul”
I spoke to a friend and explained the situation not giving to much away because I was worried, and she suggested contacting a debt advice charity. The thought of having to communicate this information to a professional filled me with dread. I thought I could contain it and I would be able to find another way. When the following month’s credit card statement came in I was beside myself with worry. I sat down and actually saw how much money I was spending and what it was going on but no amount of cutting back could get me out of this hole!
It was at this point I knew I had to speak to my family and see if we could get out heads together and put a plan in place. This was not going to be easy because I had fobbed off their concerns thinking I knew best and look where that had got me! Once everything was on paper it was clear that the problem was much bigger than I first thought. I could no longer keep thinking that a magic wand would resolve the situation. I plucked up the courage and contacted the debt advice charity, who were very helpful. They took me through my options based on my own personal circumstances (because everyone’s circumstances are different).
It was that call that changed everything, and I felt like my whole world had fallen apart. The guilt, the shame, humiliation all mixed into one. The “what ifs” and wishing I had paid more attention to the situation. The worst thing was that I had nothing to show for the position I was in. Another person was at the court that day like me. I felt that it would have been easier for him because his reason was that his business had to be folded. My reason was I was living beyond my means and it was not something I had done before or had not been bought up to be. The not knowing how it was all going to plan out was scary, but I had already been worrying myself sick about the situation, not sleeping, overeating, panic attacks. The shear fear of it was unmeasurable.
There was light at the end of the tunnel with the help of the charity I knew what I needed to do to deal with this problem.
Having looked at the options filing for bankruptcy was the only option for me. Firstly, I had to find the court fee and complete all the paperwork. With the paperwork done all I had to do was to get to my appointment at the court. I was terrified of facing a judge in court and had this vision of the judge looking down at me from his stand and reading me the riot act.
That afternoon I received my telephone call from The Insolvency Service to go through my assets. They had to assess the position and put into place a budget. A few days later I received the notification of my budget. Things were going to be tight but manageable.
Often the misconception is that when you declare bankruptcy that all your debt is written off and you have a clean slate, but this is not always the case.
The one saving grace is that it keeps the wolf from the door because your creditors cannot charge you interest. You also deal directly with The Insolvency Service who from personal experience did a great job of being fair and were helpful throughout the process.
I had the support of my family and they were the only people that knew. It has taken me years to be able to speak freely about the experience. For the first few years whenever I tried to talk about it I would cry and could not find the words without my throat restricting.
All I knew was that this was my chance to learn from my past mistakes and move forward.
If you are facing or are in financial difficulties I would recommend getting in touch with a professional like a debt advice charity to start with. They will be able to give you advice on your options and the process you need to follow.
To be continued….
Join me next week when I share now this experience impacted my relationships and my wellbeing.