Looking back, Brian was unsure why he had been so reluctant to admit there was a problem with debt. All debts were paid on time, and because his outstanding credit rating, there was never a problem in getting further credit. One card was used to pay off another card – and if his income had run out half way through the month, then he simply used his cards.

He explained that deep down he knew things were spiralling out of control but he seemed to have a remarkable capacity to bury such fears and enjoy the moment. Alarm bells began to ring when he got behind with his rent, but still he refused to accept there was a real problem. Part of the issue he explained, was the reluctance to involve someone else in finding a way out. He felt that the problem was of his making and he would find a way out. But he didn’t. He was loathe to talk to a complete stranger about the personal and rather embarrassing state of his finances, and just kept putting it off.

And then payments on the debts stopped - they simply became unaffordable and Brian started filling drawers at home with unopened letters. The final straw when a letter arrived from the County Court. This was the trigger to seek help. For the first time, he assembled all debts and was shocked to discover how large the problem had become. Brian described the call to the debt help company as one of the toughest calls he had made – but in retrospect the absolute best. He was surprised he was not judged or told off – and grateful to discover that all was not without hope.

Details were taken, options discussed and finally an IVA agreed upon. One affordable monthly payment, leaving him with enough of his income to live on. His only regret was that he hadn’t made that call several years earlier. He described his refusal to seek help as a way of life – part pride, part hopelessness. He spoke of credit dependency as a kind of addiction and his refusal to seek help as a sign of denial.

Being in debt can be a lonely place to be – which is a great shame as there are thousands, nay millions of us that are either in a similar place or have been there.