"During this time, I was getting phone calls from some of my creditors every half an hour, 24 hours a day with an automated message insisting that I call them and find a way to repay. I had to change my phone number.
"I had debt collectors turning up at the door – I live alone and was terrified most of the time. I was doing everything I could, searching for jobs every day, and I didn’t know what they thought they could achieve from turning up like that.
"Even when I managed to get a job, I was still trying to dig myself out of a hole and with everything that was going on I just fell apart. I couldn’t take any more, and was signed off sick with stress. Finally, I told a friend the whole story and she said I had to get help, as there seemed to be no way out and I just wasn’t coping."
Talking to a friend helped her get the help she needed
After confiding in her friend, Carol contacted our debt advice team for free, confidential and impartial advice.
"When I found StepChange Debt Charity, they didn’t want anything from me except the truth. When I spoke to the first advisor on the phone I was in a bit of a state, but she made me feel a lot better and that I wasn’t being judged in any way, which made a huge difference. I’m now paying my debts back in an affordable way via a Debt Management Plan, and have about four years until I’ll be debt-free.
"It wasn’t a case of I could pay but didn’t want to – I wanted to, but couldn’t. I think a lot of people assume as soon as you’re in debt that it’s your fault, that you’ve overspent, that you’ve not managed your money and didn’t plan properly.
"But that wasn’t my case at all - I just didn’t expect it to last as long as it did. I would class myself as a hard-working professional, but this still happened to me unexpectedly. Until you’ve been in that situation yourself you can't appreciate how easy it is to lose control in a very short space of time.”
If you're struggling with your finances like Carol did, don't wait to ask for help. Use our free online debt advice tool today and take the first step towards changing your situation.