My friends think I am a slightly mad because they cannot seem to comprehend that I have financial difficulties. As I was undiagnosed and never claimed any benefits and on top of that never really was ale to work full-time apart from a mad stint as a waitress in Paris in -96 when I used alcohol to keep me going throughout the evening – not much but enough. As a consequence, I have acquired student debts, bank loans and a credit card etc. Never for anything excessive just to buy food or pay the rent or to consolidate my loans. The only way to give myself the opportunity to start a fresh was to declare myself bankrupt. I could not keep up with the payments on a regular basis. I had also developed a phobia for banks over time. I grew up thinking that they were an apolitical service institution who were suppose to help you and give you best advice and practise. And treat you well. I have on many opportunity tried to sort out my accounts by approaching the bank (HSBC has been the worst) in branch and over the phone. If I can understand them at all, providing they don’t have a strong Glasgow or Indian accent, they always play games, make me frustrated and cry basically I would do anything they said – when I was ill I was very easily manipulated. Always felt really badly treated and anxious after a visit to the bank.
I knew I would not be able to file for bankruptcy on my own so I asked a friend if she could come and support me. She did – If I hadn’t asked her I would not have been able to go through with it at all. The Royal Courts of Justice is situated by the Strand, in a maze of a collective of buildings. To file is to go on a financial treasure hunt.
Before I decided to file I sought advice regarding my financial situation with Capitalise. It is a free service associated with the Citizens Advice Bureau. Contact the CAB for more information. There is also the National debtline on: 0808 808 4000.
Well, I got the advice to file for bankruptcy because of my student loan debts – which was the main way I funded my living on an on and off basis. When I was well I could work more and earn more money to pay my rent, bills and food but at other times I would be too permanently exhausted that I started falling asleep everywhere and couldn’t work as much. Still, I thought I was normal. At this period of my life 2000 – 2007, I have approximately 1 night per month of restful sleep i.e. 1 night when I wake up rested without having woken up constantly throughout the night.
After having filed the bankruptcy, you return in the afternoon to see if your petition has been approved. If it has you go home with a number and a copy and wait for a telephone call from the official receiver. If it hasn’t been approved or if there is information missing you have to come back another day and re file the petition. Mine was successful so I and my friend went home to rest. The process was not complicated but rather emotionally exhausting.
Today, I have spoken to the official receiver over the phone. I was nervous beforehand but she was not intimidating – she just wanted to ask me some questions. The telephone interview took about 30mins. I did it! One last thing to worry about at the moment. It has taken me years to pluck up the courage to file the petition.