past due billsMy illness has destroyed my family financially, for years. It’s not big secret that being bipolar has major financial consequences when left untreated. Our case is no different. Recovering has been hard but not an impossible task.

About 3 years ago we opened a business  (which was because of me) and I ran it well, but the economy squashed it. We were only open for about 6 months before we had to close our doors and liquidate. At this time we decided to file for bankruptcy, give up our home (which to this day I still miss) and move into a rental. We had to uproot our children – something we’ve done more than I ever would have liked – and move out of town. My oldest son suffered the most in that move when he had to leave his very close friends in the neighborhood. Honestly, I feel that may have a lot to do with the anger and attitude we deal with from him today.

Anyway, we were financially ruined and tens of thousands of dollars in debt. We gave up our cars, and had no savings at all. We managed to get enough money to buy me an older van to get around in, and my hubby ended up in an even older car because the bankruptcy trustee took his to liquidate to get $1000 towards the estate. It was all such a messy process – there were times I was unsure if my marriage would survive.

Well, we survived the worst and to this day I still take a lot of blame for “throwing hissy fits” to get my way, making poor financial decisions which sent us spiraling financially out of control. There are a lot of other factors that come into play, but I’ll save the in-law griping for another day!

Our chapter 7 bankruptcy was discharged in July 2010, and the largest burden of my illness was lifted. We got to start over fresh. It felt really good, but it took my husband and I a while to come to terms with everything. It was really hard.

We are finally doing well now, stable financially and in our marriage. We both have newer cars again that we don’t have to worry about breaking down, and we are now coming close to the possibility of being able to buy our own home again this summer. Even though it is exciting to know that we may be homeowners again soon, I have become terrified to make any major decisions because of what I have done in previous years.

How can this type of decision be so hard to make? It has never been so hard before!

I want to move over to the next town where they have nicer homes and better schools. However, I have a 7 year old who has lots of friends here. The neighborhood we are in now has almost no small children for my younger ones to play with and I don’t like that. Everyone sort of secludes themselves from everyone else, and there is no closeness. The elementary school they are going to is great, but the middle and high schools aren’t very good at all.

With our credit climbing back up, we have managed to get cars and a couple low-limit credit cards, home buying seems logically like the next step. Honestly, it scares me to even think about moving again. We’ve talked about buying the house we are renting and stay put, but it needs a lot of work.

Making so many poor financial decisions in the past leaves me feeling paralyzed and incapable of making any more major decisions, ever.

Past due photo available from Shutterstock.