They say that you should learn everything you can from anyone you can because there will always come a time when you need it. Today I couldn’t agree more as I reflect on just how far I have come since first finding out about my husband’s debts all but three years ago.
Having recently returned home from a much needed holiday from my debt fighting duties and chairmanly responsibilties of our recent school Summer Ball, I am now firmly back in harness again on all fronts.
It appears, while I was away, there has been some fallout from the Friends fund raising efforts following our Summer Ball.
· Our treasurer forgot to pay some of our service providers for the Ball before departing for her holiday abroad
· The Head’s wife is unhappy that the “thank yous” to all concerned have not been sent out sooner
· The caterers feel aggrieved that they had to tender for our business rather than having “cart blanche” to agree their remuneration without commercial comparisons as per previous years.
Whereas once I would have been instantly on the phone to make sure everyone was consoled by me personally and ensured every situation was resolved to the best of my ability regardless of my own energy levels and time constraints, on this occasion I have,
· Expressed my sympathy to the lady handling the unhappy creditors in the treasure's absence but left her to handle the situation
· Put an all encompassing “thank you” in the school magazine, without consultation with anyone, to keep the head's wife happy
· Emailed the caterers to ask them for an appointment in September to discuss next year’s booking in the hope that they redirect their focus to securing future business rather than lamenting their treatment in the past.
In my absence, the postman has also served up a generous helping of debt fighting hassle,
· Merrels Ede have written to explain themselves in a way that is nothing short
· Lloyds Bank have demanded I repay their outstanding balance in full and asked again if I wish all future correspondence to be in Braille
· The Financial Ombudsman has done a complete about turn with regard to my complaint against the Bank of Scotland and written to say she cannot proceed with it unless she has the banks agreement.
Whereas once I would have been quaking in my boots ,head in my hands, defeated by fear and frustration I have,
· Ignored the Merrils Ede letter in the belief they have only written to me because they feel vulnerable about the numerous complaints I have made to their regulatory authority resulting in very thorough and time consuming investigations of their staff and business practises
· Written back to Lloyds TSB in enormous print asking if they would like me to put all future requests for information in Braille in an effort to make it clear to them precisely what I would like from them
· Told my allocated Financial Ombudsman adjudicator that I disagree with her decision to ask the Bank of Scotland for permission to proceed with my complaint and asked her to explain the thinking that led her to make this unusual propsal
I may not have learned everything there is to learn in the last three tempestuous years but, I have certainly gleaned, in the words of Bertrand Russell, “One of the symptoms of approaching a nervous breakdown is the belief that work is terribly important, and that to take a holiday would bring all kinds all kinds of disaster.” I took eleven days off to recharge debt fighting batteries that had been running at full pelt for almost three years. I have returned from this welcome break having learnt that, not only will much of what has been going on in my life wait a few days to be resolved but, putting some distance between me and my sometimes overwhelming problems empowers me to take control of the situation more effectively and, in so doing, limit the stressful impact it has on my health.Learning this lesson has not only rewarded me with a clearer head which hopefully in turn will deliver better results but, after nearly three years of being completely bald due to stress related alopecia, it appears I am also to be rewarded with almost a full head of hair. At last it is finally showing signs of growing back. For this wonderful development I am truly grateful.