Before I fell into debt, I had been a teacher for around 30 years and was working as an acting headteacher and special educational needs advisor. The job was secure and well paid, and I didn’t have any issues with meeting my financial commitments.
However, a few years ago, the school I worked at decided to undergo a restructuring process and I was suddenly made redundant alongside a large number of my colleagues.
I joined a supply agency, but straight away this meant that I was only being paid during term time, and it also meant that my salary halved. I tried so hard but it felt like I was spinning plates, and after I missed a mortgage payment one month, the plates dropped.
Salma found it hard to talk about her money worries
What followed was a really scary time for me. I didn’t feel able to tell anyone close to me because of a recent family bereavement and because my mum had her own health issues to be concerned about. I went into a spiral of worry and depression – it was the darkest time I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t feel able to face the threatening letters and phone calls I was getting from my creditors, and therefore I was missing out on vital information about my situation. I feel sick thinking about it even now.