If you’re facing financial worries the world can feel like quite a lonely place.
Wherever you live, debt is often still seen as a taboo subject – a dirty secret that’s hidden from polite conversation – bizarre really when you consider that almost all the adult population owes money to at least one lender, and around a 1 in 6 of us are facing ongoing financial hardship.
The reasons why we keep debt hidden from most of our friends and family can be found deep human psychology, we’ll take a look at what they are – and where you can turn when debt worries become too much to handle.
Why do you feel alone when you’re in debt?
The introduction of social media into our world has done something strange to the way we present ourselves to other people.
You might scroll through your favourite app and see smiling holiday pictures, luxurious new purchases and general feel good news – but the way most people present themselves is quite different from reality.
Behind many expensive purchases, holidays and new cars there are large monthly payments – but that’s the part we don’t see.
Of course, it’s not just social media that’s created this gap between real issues and the way we present ourselves, but it’s certainly amplified the issue. People are generally social creatures – we thrive when we’re around others. Bringing up the subject of debt can be risky as it can often feel like a reason we’ll be rejected or looked down on by others.
Specialist debt counsellors will confirm – it’s normally the fear or rejection that stops us being frank with our money issues.
With that in mind it’s worth repeating some debt statistics:
- Almost all the adults in the country have some level of debt.
- Around 1 in 6 adults have persistent debt that they’re struggling to get out of.
- 75% of people will experience a large unexpected outlay every year.
There is no shame in debt – and there are plenty of people and services who can support you to get yourself back on your feet.
The last 10 years have the largest amount of studies ever done into the relationships between debt, mental health and physical health.
The conclusions are clear – debt is one of the biggest contributing factors to stress, depression and anxiety. There’s also a huge amount of evidence to suggest links between these conditions and a person’s physical well-being.
Debt can make you sick – physically. Talk to your doctor about what you’re experiencing and they’ll be able to support you and point you in the direction of many resources that can help.
Debt charities can be an excellent source of support and are often people’s first stop when they’re looking at finding some help. Many charities are focused on breaking the silence around debt – so they’ll talk to you about how you can find support and counter any feelings of isolation.
Some charities can even point you in the direction of their own – or independent – counselling services – non-judgemental professionals who have supported thousands of people to explore the issues that have led to uncontrollable debt in the first instance.
For many people, the internet is little more than the home of social media and online shopping – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great resources to support you with financial issues if you’re feeling the strain.
Many charities and companies have people staffing their websites around the clock – ready to reply to your questions or offer support. Not all online resources are created equal though – so it’s worth checking out a few reviews from independent websites, like this one from Face The Red – or discussing with friends which sites they’re found useful.
Support with gambling
For some people, debt reoccurs because of an unhealthy relationship with gambling.
While it is not the typical type of addiction that many people associate with substances – it’s is still a medically defined condition and there are a number of places you can turn if you feel like gambling is stopping you from getting back on top of your financial situation.
Again, talking to your doctor is a good first step. If that’s not possible – seeking support from specialist gambling support groups and charities can also be beneficial. Gambling and debt are closely linked – so you’ll find a lot of experience supporting people with debt issues from the same people that support with gambling problems.
Support with substance abuse
Substance abuse takes many forms – and in a lot of instances there’s no definition of what constitutes a ‘problem’. That said, if you find yourself facing financial issues because of money that’s being spent on drink, drugs or any other addictive substance, it might be time to look at finding some support that can offer you an objective view of your situation.
Again, addiction can be another taboo subject that people don’t want to bring up, so finding medical help, support groups, charities and other people who are facing the same issues can be a good first step to opening up about the associated financial problems you might be facing.
Friends and family
Although it’s not an option for everyone, people are often surprised by the reaction they get when talking to friends and family about the money worries they have. Remember, an enormous number of people have issues just like yours – so it’s highly likely that the people close to you are keeping their problems under wraps too.
With debt, there’s a lot of truth to the idea that ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ since there’s an enormous amount of relief to be found when it turns out you’re truly not alone with your problems.
Friends and family can give you some accountability for money issues – and they can be there to support you if you have to have difficult conversations with creditors and other people you owe money to.
Remember, you make up the majority of people in the country by having debt – and most of those people will face get into money worries at some stage in their adult life. People want to help – but they won’t be able to unless you look for that support.