“Last year, even though I work, I found myself falling behind on the payment of my rent, council tax, water bill, TV licence and other bills. At the same time, I was suffering with depression and had no motivation to change the situation. Some of the money that should have been used to pay the bills was being spent on other things to try and make me feel better. But it just made the situation worse. Things were building up, like a vicious cycle. I never wanted to answer the door in case it was another bailiff coming to recover a debt. I didn’t open my post for months. At one point I had to use a foodbank, but I felt so much shame and embarrassment. I was just thinking, “How have I got into this situation?”. At work I felt I could get away from my debts, but when I came home I just felt stressed. I could never be at ease in the evenings and I suffered panic attacks at night.
It was my Mum that pushed me to seek help. I’d tried contacting another support service, but didn’t find them very helpful. My Mum had referred a friend of hers to Riverside Money Advice and that friend had received good support. So I got in touch.
The advisors from Riverside Money Advice were fantastic. They helped me see things in a more positive light.
Together, we opened the post and started to get a grip on the situation. They helped me plan a budget, so that the bills could be paid and I was signposted to other services like counselling and alcohol support. She liaised with all the creditors and advocated on my behalf. She also arranged a Debt Relief Order. At the end of the debt counselling sessions, the advisors would also pray for me and give me words of wisdom.
With this help, I was able to become debt-free in four months. It was amazing.
I’ve been debt-free for the last two months or so and it’s been great. My whole well-being has changed immensely. So many issues in my life were exaggerated by debt, particularly the depression. There are still other things I have to address, but I’m managing my life a lot better now. I don’t get panic attacks and I’m no longer afraid to answer the door or open my post. I can now look to the future and think about doing things that I couldn’t do before, Iike buying a house.
I still meet regularly with the team to make sure that I stay on track.
An important thing about Riverside Money Advice is the fact that it’s a Christian organisation. I’m a Seventh Day Adventist, but this experience has widened my perspective on other types of Christianity. The whole organisation of Riverside Money Advice is good, but the best thing was just knowing that somebody was there to support me and to pray for me continuously. I’ve already referred a friend to them for help.