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I Worked For You, Remember Me? I’m Now Bipolar and in Debt. – Victoria

Victoria

“Hey Steve,

I worked for you in 97-98. Blue haired IT Girl? =}

Anyway, things are pretty not cool. I need to sign up for a program or something, but I’m not even sure that is possible.

I’ve learned some things, since 97 and 98. I’ve learned that I am bipolar, and have a pretty bad anxiety disorder. Later I learned about recovery. =)

So yeah, I’m on full disability. My SSDI barely covers my essential needs. In the past, when I felt well enough, I supplemented it with employment, could even hold jobs down for awhile, get stuff paid off somewhat, then get sick, lose the job, rack up the debt, and begin again. I’m tired of this.

With my supports, I have managed to find a way to meet my basic expenses, that’s it, but none of us have the experience to figure this out. It’s really, really, tight, but for the last 3 months, I have finished the month, in the black!

I’ll upload a basic budget, you’ll see that I’m not exaggerating. I can manage, possibly, $30 – $50 total a month, depending on the month, to try to repay some of this stuff.

While I am using that $30 – $50 to pay off some debts, the ones that don’t get paid, and up charging me $40 late fees. And I have enough late fee’s, that now I have $40 over-the-limit fees. I have no limit over $2.6k. So, my debt doubles every month I don’t pay it.

The good news, is my day-to-day life is ok, but the wreckage of the past seems really impossible. Do I just turn a blind eye to it, or what?

Vic”

Dear Victoria,

Of course I remember you. You were an amazing person, so brilliant and talented. OK, not so brilliant with the story of staining your tub blue when you died your hair, but otherwise, a real joy to know and work with.

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I think the situation we are faced with is one of recovery and repair.

It is not uncommon at all for money issues and bipolar disorders to be interrelated. The financial carnage left behind does not surprise or shock me. But for many who have lived through that situation it is a lingering and painful reminder of the hurdles they have overcome.

Realistically, the possibility of fully repairing the past is unlikely. But you have to ask yourself if you have a greater responsibility to fix the past or fix the future. The correct answer is that it is much more logical to focus on the days ahead than what has already passed.

If you had $50 a month I would much rather see you put that in a savings account, than live to the edge and embark on a never ending journey of attempted repayment. That course would leave you living on the edge each month, unable to save to protect yourself and be insufficient to get you out of debt.

In addition I can’t see how living with the continued stress, pressure and worry helps you to live a better recovery. Your physical and mental health and well being are the most important factors we need to focus on.

So, I personally think that a repayment program would be the wrong path for you to follow. If you did you’d only make months or years of payments and have it fail when the next unexpected situation occurred and you had no emergency fund to help you across that valley.

Victoria, I think the time has come for you to close the door on your financial past and turn to face a better future. The way you do that is by legally severing your obligation for the old debt through bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will stop all collections and nullify your obligation for that old debt. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t repay after bankruptcy, without interest or obligations, what you can afford if you want to repay as part of a recovery process to make amends.

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I know that money is tight and you don’t have the funds to pay for a bankruptcy attorney, but there is a listing of bankruptcy attorneys that may be able to provide you with free service. You’d still have to pay the court filing fee. Check out this link for free bankruptcy help. I think you’ll qualify for free help with your local provider.

I wish I was there to give you a really big hug. I always felt that my employees were my extended family.

Thank you so much for coming back to ask me for help. I am so proud to have worked with you and to know you.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

1 Comment

  • Hi Steve,

    Thanks for replying. I’ve held quite a few jobs, and done some pretty impressive projects, but I can pinpoint my time working with you, as one of my best employment experiences.

    I had my first real onset of symptoms around the time I left, and it took several more years, before finding a diagnosis. I think, had it been caught earlier, I would have been far less symptomatic.

    ANYWAY, I sort of figured out that you would suggest bankruptcy & I will contact a lawyer to try to find more information.

    However, (non expert) people in my life are encouraging me to not go this route. There are times when I can maintain a job for a decent period of time, and they believe, that if I “just hang in there”, I can find some form of employment, and send whatever I earn to the creditors.

    What I am hearing from you, and what I believe as well, is that I should be focused on the present, do my best to eliminate the past debt via bankruptcy, and apply any possible future earned income directly into savings, so I can prepare for future situations.

    Thanks for your excellent response. I was embarrassed to open up around these issues.

    Victoria

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