The vicious cycle of depression and debt

Why is no one talking about the vicious cycle of depression and debt?

9/27/2021 9:09:00 AM

Why is no one talking about the vicious cycle of depression and debt?

There’s a clear link between how we feel and how we spend. So why is no one talking about it?

, explains that Sophie’s situation isn’t rare. “It’s a bit chicken and egg when it comes to debt and depression. It’s so easy to accrue debt and so hard to pay it off. While taking accountability for our debt is important, in my experience people with debt take far more accountability than necessary. They feel worthless and the shame around debt kicks in so early that it’s tough for them to see a way out.”

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This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.A post shared by Clare Seal (@myfrugalyear)In a reverse cycle - as I experienced - debt can also start with mental health. “I’m okay with money when I feel good, but I live in central London on an intern's wage. I coped alright until the last lockdown, when I really struggled,” says Sian, a 25-year-old living in London. “At university, I was always in my overdraft. I thought that by now I’d be in a better position financially, but when I’m down, I really struggle with spending. I see stuff online and imagine feeling different with

thatproduct.”Clare isn’t surprised by Sian’s story either. “The pandemic has been devastating for almost everyone and compulsive spending has been one of the only coping mechanisms available for a lot of us. We see in the media and our social channels that everybody is buying houses and having kitchen renovations. And we’re struggling to pay our bills. Our whole economy is built on advertising that makes people feel like they’re lacking - then we wonder why people spend outside their means.”

Emily*, 26-year-old from Birmingham has struggled with overspending during the last few years. She currently owes around £4000 and experiencesanxietyand depression sporadically. “I work in social media, so I'm always seeing stuff I want to buy. I might not even need it, but the act of shopping itself makes me feel better. When I get low, I end up ordering piles of books I won’t read, clothes I won’t wear and make up I don’t even really use. I hate myself for it. But, it’s the only thing that cheers me up sometimes. I know I’m really bad with money - I’ve sort of given up trying to fix it.”

Jessica Lockett | Getty ImagesClare explains that ‘not being good with money’, can sometimes be a self-fulfilling prophecy. “Have you ever met someone that was good at something after they said ‘I’m terrible at this’, every day?” she poses. “I think we need to move away from good and bad terminology altogether. It’s a sort of knee-jerk response where you undermine yourself.”

After my talk with my boyfriend, I tore into every letter I’d ignored from the confines of my leaky London bedroom. I calculated every outstanding payment, working out what I could pay off first. And it led to some big decisions. I moved back to my hometown of Manchester and a year and a half later, I was debt free.

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The vicious cycle of depression and debtThere’s a clear link between how we feel and how we spend. So why is no one talking about it?

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