5 Lessons Football Has Taught Me About Life And Mental Health by Rose Atkinson-Carter

(image: Unsplash: Konstantin Ekdokimov)

It’s true what they say: the best lessons are taught outside the classroom. We’re all constantly learning and growing in the most unexpected ways and dedicating yourself to any sport or hobby is bound to teach you more than you imagined, if you’re open to it.

I’ve played football for almost 20 years and learned a thing or two about dedication and persistence, which have affected my approach towards my mental health. Sure, there have been times when I’ve felt like the cons have outweighed the pros — training in a blizzard is never fun — but when all is said and done, football has helped me weather my own personal storms.

Along the way, I’ve picked up a few practical life skills and lessons that extend beyond the football pitch, to that big game called Life.

1.   A healthy routine can get you through tough times

The first lesson football taught me is to consistently show up for myself, especially on the days when I don’t feel like it. Growing up, building habits was never something I gave much thought to. Football practice was just second nature.

My football “habit” has been essential in getting me through times of low motivation and stress. Motivation is not a flat line — it’s something that fluctuates. There will be days when motivation alone will not be enough to get us to lace up and buckle down, and taking a mental health day is never something to be ashamed of. However, playing a team sport, or at least having a schedule to follow, is a great way to help yourself along on days when you need an external motivation to keep going.

2.   Prioritising ‘hobbies’ can create balance

When work piles up, it’s easy to stop prioritising your own wellbeing and to lose sight of what’s important in the grand scheme of things. Playing football has forced me to consider my priorities and this has, in turn, helped me create balance.

Sometimes, playing a sport when you’re busy with other things adds pressure. It’s tempting to cut out the ‘non-essentials’ — the hobbies and things that don’t seem to contribute to your career or relationships. However, I’ve found that prioritizing football has had a net positive effect on my life. It feels counterintuitive, but letting your mind take a break allows you to clear your mind, reduce stress, and work and feel better.

3.   You don’t always have to get along to produce great results

You don’t need to get along with everybody to get results. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you don’t all need to be BFFs to win a game.

Teamwork isn’t about creating a group of like-minded individuals who see eye-to-eye on everything. It’s about identifying everyone’s individual strengths and using that aggregated power to pull in the same direction. So while you don’t have to love everyone’s company, the team — the people you surround yourself with — is incredibly important in shaping your experiences.

4.   When you feel like quitting, ask yourself why

Wanting to quit something is quite natural, especially the longer you’ve spent doing something. When the urge to quit strikes, it’s good to explore where that feeling is coming from. For me, playing with strangers at university was incredibly stressful, but I eventually had to acknowledge that the problem wasn’t football, but social anxiety.

One thing that has helped me find answers has been to first recognise the feeling, and then try to drill down and understand where exactly it’s coming from. Asking myself ‘what is it that I think will happen if I don’t quit?’ helps me identify the elements of activities I dread or have negative feelings about (e.g. “I will have to keep seeing stressful person X every day”), which then means I can make conscious decisions without rushing into quitting.

5.   Quitting doesn’t make you a quitter

Then there are the times when you try a few more times, and the feeling of wanting to quit still remains. While football taught me a lot about perseverance, I’ve also had a hard time knowing when quitting might actually be the best thing for me.

A common misconception is that quitting is the easiest option, or that quitting “makes” you a quitter. But think about it this way: leaving something behind involves making an active decision to change. The trouble is, if you don’t know what you’re trading it in for, it’s much easier to just keep going with the status quo.

Quitting something after careful consideration can actually be the best way to continue to show up for yourself. Ultimately, there’s a huge difference between giving up on yourself and giving up something that no longer brings you joy and comfort.

Football, to me, has always been more than just fancy footwork. From showing me how to get up after a few tackles to accepting defeats and working hard towards my goals, it has been one of my most influential teachers. As the final whistle blows, I hope some of the lessons it has taught me can be useful to you as well.

Rose Atkinson-Carter is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors hoping to get published with the world’s best book editors, designers, and marketers. She loves to advise authors on topics like book formatting and literary copyright — and to play football, of course!

6 Ways Living By The Waterfront Can Improve Your Mental And Physical Health By Rachelle Wilber

If you want a change in life, moving to a waterfront community may offer you a great new perspective. Buying a home that’s next to the ocean can have many advantages and improve your physical and mental health in different ways. 

Stress Reduction 

Waterfront living can reduce your stress and help you feel better physically and mentally more of the time. When you’re feeling stressed, the calming maritime scenery and the sounds of ocean waves crashing onto the shore can put you into a better mood almost instantly. The reduction in stress can also be good for your blood pressure and heart health and soothe your body and soul. 

Possibly Less Air Pollution 

You might be exposed to less air pollution if you live next to the ocean. Studies show that air pollution is often higher in valleys because of topography and temperature factors. With less air pollution, you’ll be able to breathe easier and inhale more of the clean oxygen that your mind needs to function at its best. 

Less Crowding Than in Big Cities 

Waterfront communities are often less crowded than big cities. Living in an overcrowded community can expose you more to communicable illnesses that are passed from other people. You may also feel more stressed and combative if you have to contend with large numbers of people in your daily life, and you may avoid these problems by buying a waterfront home instead. 

Chance to Connect More with Nature 

Being around nature offers you one of the best ways to minimise your problems and view life from a broader perspective. When you look out onto the ocean each day from your home, you’ll have the chance to connect with nature more and think about what’s most important in life. As you search for your new home, you can choose from many waterfront homes for sale that can put you in better touch with nature. 

Encourages More Physical Activity 

You may be inspired to get out and exercise more if you live by the ocean, which can help improve your physical fitness and keep your stress levels in check. People often like to jog and ride their bikes next to the sea, and seeing these passersby near your home can encourage you to join in on the activities. You may also be inspired to take up boating if you see boats on the water frequently. 

Cooler in the Summer 

Even though you’ll still likely get plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures if you live by the ocean, you probably won’t have to deal with the heat spikes that you would if you lived farther inland. Excessive heat can cause breathing problems and lead to other serious health conditions. The hotter temperatures can also make you feel more irritable, and living next to the ocean can help you keep your cool with the sea breeze. . With all the different waterfront homes that are on the market, you should have no trouble finding the house that’s the most suitable for you. 

Remember to think of what is best for your mental and physical health, as well as needing to be near your support networks.

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer based in San Diego, California.

Bipolar Minds Matter: CEO of Bipolar UK and Co-Chair of the Bipolar Commission, both reflect on UK Government Mental Health Funding Announcement.

(image: Sway Communications)

Simon Kitchen, CEO of UK mental health charity Bipolar UK, says: 

“Today’s announcement by the Prime Minister that mental health will receive £40.2 million in funding is a positive step in the right direction for the one in four adults experiencing mental illness in the UK.

Although the Government funding announcement does not include bipolar specifically, we are hopeful that the high prevalence and the enormous burden of the condition will mean the bipolar research community receives much needed boost from this announcement.

The Bipolar Commission Report we took to policy makers on 8th November, found that bipolar accounts for 17% of the total burden of mental health but traditionally only received 1.5% of mental health research funding. This needs to change.

There are over a million people living with bipolar in the UK and every day one person with the condition takes their own life. Ensuring bipolar gets its fair share of mental health research funding is critical for reducing the 9.5 years it takes on average to get a diagnosis and for improving patient outcomes.   

Bipolar UK is the collective voice for people living with bipolar. Our clear position is that it is vital those living with the condition have as many treatment options available to them as possible and receive greater continuity of care so they can have a better quality of life.

It is possible for everyone with bipolar to live well and fulfil their potential.

Strong long-term relationships between individual clinicians and patients is a critical factor in this and there are currently not enough specialists in bipolar in the UK which leads to symptoms often being missed.

People living with bipolar have a suicide risk that’s 20 times higher than people without bipolar, a figure that could be significantly reduced with adequate funding.

There are more than a million people with bipolar in the UK — 30% more than those with dementia and twice as many as those with schizophrenia. Millions more are impacted through close friends and family.

Re-allocation of the funding that is already available will provide a significant improvement to people’s lives which is why we are asking for bipolar to be seen as a standalone mental health condition that requires its own share of the overall funding allocated to mental health.

People can live well with bipolar, but only if they have access to a clinician who knows them, their symptoms, their triggers, medical history, their family situation and their living arrangements to ensure on-going, effective care.”

(image: Bipolar UK: Simon Kitchen, CEO with this pledge )

Dr Guy Goodwin, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Oxford and co-chair of The Bipolar Commission adds: “I have been treating people with bipolar for more than 40 years. Over that time, I have frequently been astonished by the stories of patients who have been poorly served by services ostensibly designed to help them live better lives.

“Bipolar accounts for 17% of the total burden of disease attributable to mental illness and yet there is no priority given to its specialist treatment in policy documents produced by the Department of Health.

“Instead, since the 1999 National Service Framework, bipolar has been lumped into policy documents as the invisible twin of schizophrenia. Worse still, bipolar gets a mere 1.5% of research resources.

Ignorance of the price paid for this policy neglect is no longer a defence.”

Please go to bipolaruk.org/bipolarcommission to read more about the work of the commission, fighting to get fair funding for bipolar disorder- Bipolar Minds Matter.

4 Ways To Treat An Eating Disorder by Lizzie Weakley

(image: M, Unsplash)

There are several types of eating disorders, each with a unique set of symptoms and struggles. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an eating disorder, you don’t have to face it alone. There are many options for treatment, and plenty of compassionate professionals who are willing and able to help.

Here are four ways to treat an eating disorder that can help.

Treatment for Physical Symptoms

If the eating disorder has been present for a long time, you may have developed some physical symptoms that need to be addressed. Dental problems, nutrient deficiencies, trouble with digestion, high blood pressure, and amenorrhea are common in people with eating disorders. You should seek professional medical care to diagnose and treat physical symptoms as soon as possible.

Therapy and Programs for Mental Health

Certain types of therapies have been proven effective for the treatment of eating disorders and mental health issues that contribute to them. Cognitive behavioural therapy is one of the most common treatment options for eating disorders. Therapy can be done in a group setting or one-on-one with a therapist to help the patient develop healthier eating patterns. Your doctor may also recommend residential or day treatment programs to help you recover more effectively and different types of therapy too.

Education about Nutrition- Managing Triggers

Getting properly educated about food can help tremendously when you are recovering from an eating disorder. Many of us have preconceived notions about good and bad foods, and there can be a lot of guilt and shame associated with the consumption of certain foods. A nutritionist can work with you to reduce your fear of food.. If certain foods trigger you, your nutritionist and therapist can help you to manage these triggers.

Medications

When combined with therapy, medications can be effective in the treatment of eating disorders. While medication can’t cure the disorder, it can help ease depression and anxiety that can contribute to disordered eating. Antidepressants are commonly used, and you may also be prescribed medications to treat physical symptoms. Your doctor will be able to tell you which medications are right for you, though it is trial and error.

Our relationship with food can directly impact our mental and physical health. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you should consider these effective treatment options.

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer.

Practice Some Self Care This Week, It’s Important.

(image: Bodhan Maylove)

You’ve probably heard people talk a lot about self-care, but is it something you do for yourself? Self-care has many benefits for your health and wellbeing, but it’s easy to let life get in the way of taking care of yourself.

Self-care covers many basic things to help you stay fit and healthy, but it can also mean putting yourself first and taking a little ‘you’ time to get back on track. If you’ve been a little overwhelmed or run down, then taking some time for self-care could be what you need to bounce back.

Below you’ll find some of the things you can do to practice some self-care and do something great for yourself this week.

Check in on your health

How healthy do you feel right now? If you’re constantly tired, feeling run down or battling cold after cold, it could be a sign that you need to take care of yourself a little better. Forming some new healthy habits, including eating better and getting eight hours of sleep a night, can make a big difference to your health and make you feel more energised during the day.

Could your health do with a little boost? Shake yourself out of some bad habits and take some steps to put your health first.

Do something for yourself

Self-care can be about doing things for yourself, and that could include treating yourself too. Focus on doing things that will have a real benefit – a new hairstyle, for example, can work wonders for your self-esteem and give you a huge boost.

You could also decide to do something that’s been on your mind for a while. Do you have crooked teeth? Why not get some clear aligners and start transforming your smile? This could boost your confidence in a big way and is an investment in yourself worth making.

You may want to look after your emotions and speak to a therapist, journal, do some gentle exercise or speak to a friend.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s something for yourself that will make you happy and give you the lift you need.

Take an evening to relax and rebalance

We all need some time to pamper ourselves, and an evening of self-care could be just what you need. Consider it a mental health day, to help you take care of your mental health and help you find your balance again.

It could be as simple as lighting some candles, having a bath and treating yourself with a face mask – find things that keep you calm and relaxed and will help you shut off from the world for a little while. Make it a regular part of your routine to give you something to aim for as a reward for all of your hard work.

It’s easy to take self-care for granted, but it’s incredibly important to take care of yourself. Take a good look at your current lifestyle and whether there are changes you could make to improve your self-care. Putting yourself first isn’t a bad thing, and doing more of it could be just what you need to feel better inside and out.

This article was written by a freelance writer

Losing A Loved One: Coping with Anxiety by Hannah Walters

(image: free image)

Life and death are intrinsically connected. When faced with the imminent death of our own loved ones, we can find ourselves feeling a mixture of emotions – denial, sadness, and even, relief, to name just a few.  

Anxiety is a natural reaction to losing a loved one. Fear of the unknown tends to make us worry, but it’s important not to let that worry spiral. Accepting your emotions and managing any anxiety you’re feeling will help you to appreciate your loved one and the time you have left together.  

Getting Support for Your Emotions 

The reality of losing someone that we love is that we’re going to go through a rollercoaster of emotions. Some, we would expect, like sorrow or sadness. Others may completely take us by surprise, like anger, relief, or guilt. Whatever you’re feeling, the experience of losing a loved one can make you feel isolated and alone.  

Getting support for your emotions can help you to realise that you’re not alone. You may not realise that you may be experiencing anticipatory grief and that you may need support to cope with feelings of bereavement. The good news is that there are many people who can help you navigate any overwhelming emotions.  

A support group enables you to talk to people living through a similar experience and get guidance from a professional, in a neutral and objective environment. If you normally draw comfort from spirituality or religion, then seek out ways to connect with that part of yourself. Don’t forget that your friends and family are there to help, too. As hard as it is, engage with them – whether you want to talk about your feelings or just want some company, your friends and family will understand.   

Talking about how you feel to someone can help to bring you relief from that waterfall of emotions and help you to find some perspective.  

Sorting Out the Practical Matters 

When faced with upsetting news, we often start by focusing on the things we can control. By taking control, we feel more grounded and more able to cope with what lies ahead.  

Many of us find it reassuring to talk to medical professionals to understand what’s coming and what we can do to help. The “Liverpool care pathway for the dying patient” was implemented in the late 1990s to help terminally ill patients be more engaged in their end-of-life care. Supporting your loved one to prepare an End-of-Life Care Pathway can help them to live as well as possible in their remaining time, and helps you to feel involved, offering some comfort to you both. 

Aside from the medical practicalities, you may also find yourself wanting to support your loved one to deal with financial or legal matters – wills, support for any children affected, and even funeral details, may need to be considered.   

Ticking off the practical matters may help you to stop worrying about them, so you can concentrate more of your energy towards spending quality time with your loved one.  

Spending Time Together 

You may find it difficult to spend time with your loved one. Perhaps you want to avoid seeing them in pain? Or you’re trying to hang onto memories of when they were well? Perhaps they don’t want to feel like a burden. 

As hard as it is, spending time with your loved one now can help you both to process the grief. Being there for your loved one to listen to them, try new activities together and make new memories will remind them that they’re loved. Sharing their childhood memories or memorable moments in their life can give them a sense of peace.  

Perhaps you haven’t always had a good relationship and things have happened that you regret. If it gives you both comfort, then spend some time making amends, but follow their lead.  

Paying attention to the present moment not only helps your mental well-being and feelings of anxiety but also helps you to cherish your time together. In the longer term, making these new memories now may help to anchor you in the days and weeks following their passing.   

Look After Yourself 

Cut yourself some slack. This is a challenging time in your life, and while your loved one’s needs are important, so are yours. Don’t neglect your own mental or physical health needs. Take a walk, read a book, or have a bath. Accept help when it’s offered.  

Caring for a loved one nearing the end of their life is physically and emotionally stressful, and anxiety is a common emotion at times like this. Managing your worries can help you feel more in control and allow you to cherish your remaining time together. Above all else, remember that you’re not alone.  

This article was written by freelance writer Hannah Walters.

How You Can Help A Loved One Stay Sober: Addiction Recovery.

(image: Markus Spiske, Unsplash)

If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, you may be wondering how you can help them stay sober. It can be a challenging process, but there are many things that you can do to support your loved one. Here are some tips that you can use to help a loved one stay sober.

1. Be Understanding And Supportive

One of the most important things you can do is be understanding and supportive. Addiction can be a very isolating experience, and your loved one may feel disconnected from family and friends. Show them that you care and are there for them, even if they don’t always show it in return. Offer words of encouragement when needed and provide a listening ear and understanding.

2. Help Establish Healthy Routines

Creating healthy routines and habits can help keep an individual on track with their sobriety. Make sure that your loved one is getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, and engaging in activities that will help them stay sober. This could include going for walks or hikes, joining a gym or sports team, or finding other activities to occupy their time, such as volunteering or taking classes.

3. Set Boundaries And Respect Your Loved One’s Choices

It’s important to remember that the choice to stay sober ultimately lies with your loved one. Though you can provide support and guidance, it shouldn’t be done in a way that makes them feel pressured into making decisions they don’t agree with. Respect their autonomy and wishes while still providing advice if asked.

4. Create An Action Plan Together

Sobriety is often a process; it can take time for someone to achieve their goals. Have an honest conversation with your loved one about their progress, any issues, and how you can help. Then, you can create an action plan together where both of you set realistic goals and provide support when needed.

5. Consider A Sober Living Program

If your loved one is struggling with relapse, consider enrolling them in a sober living program from rdsoberliving.com (if in USA, for UK see other programs). These programs provide structure and accountability to help someone stay on track with their recovery goals. They also provide support from peers and mentors who have been through similar experiences.

6. Reach Out To A Professional

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. Consider talking to a professional who is experienced in addiction recovery, or get your loved one connected with a therapist. They can provide additional guidance and support that may be helpful in maintaining sobriety.

7. Take Care Of Yourself

It’s also important to remember to take care of yourself as well. It can be challenging to help someone who is struggling with addiction, and it can take a toll both physically and emotionally. So make sure that you are getting enough rest, engaging in activities that bring you joy, and reaching out for support when needed.

Helping a loved one stay sober can be difficult. However, there are many ways that you can provide support and guidance to help them succeed. Be understanding and supportive, set boundaries, create an action plan together and consider professional help or a sober living program if needed. Also, remember to take care of yourself throughout the process.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

8 Common Signs Of A Toxic Person or Narcissist.

(image: Unsplash: Kelly Sikkema)

Self-awareness is one of the most important things we can have as individuals. How we view ourselves, our relationships with others, and our environment are all critical aspects of how we interact with the world. However, it’s not always easy to recognise which people in our lives might not be so friendly. People who display certain qualities may seem nice on the surface, but underneath can be unkind, self-centered, or even toxic.

They can also be so because they possess certain traits that might make them difficult to get along with. Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, a team player, or a loner, you’ll probably encounter someone who doesn’t mesh well with others from time to time. You may wonder, “How does a narcissist react when they can’t control you?” While it’s challenging to pick up on a narcissist or a toxic person immediately, here are some ways to help you identify the warning signs of a toxic person so that you can steer clear of them in the future.

Too Assertive

While assertiveness isn’t wrong, too much can cause issues. Assertive people are not afraid to take control of their lives and their surroundings. Instead, they want the power to make decisions and express themselves. They don’t like being treated as though they’re weak or insignificant or any other sort of negative adjective.

They want to feel like the most important person in the room and that people listen to them when they speak. While assertiveness is a positive trait, it can shift into a negative one if expressed too aggressively or excessively. While this is a toxic trait, it doesn’t mean someone is inherently toxic just by having this trait alone.

Too Much Negativity

It can be hard to just unwind if you’re around someone that’s too negative. Everyone has had experience with negative people online, but having to have a relationship with someone negative can raise some alarm bells. When you do share your opinion, many people disagree with you and make your life difficult by leaving nasty comments.

It’s not good to deal with when someone constantly belittles or puts down others around them. This can be done by saying negative things about people behind their backs, making fun of them, or even physically hurting them. If you don’t want to deal with this negativity all day, it may be time for you to stop sharing your opinions.

Lack of Boundaries

One of the most obvious signs of a toxic person is when they start talking about political topics knowing that it’s not appropriate. This may be a sign that they’re looking for validation. If you’re not interested in what they have to say, it’s best to change the subject or walk away from the conversation. They might also feel threatened by you being open-minded and not having opinions on everything they believe in. Toxic people are often judgmental and don’t care about your feelings. They will attack your beliefs without realising how their words can hurt you.

Too Entitled

People often associate arrogance with toxic people, but many arrogant people feel entitled. They feel they are owed more than they’ve given, and they can be demanding regarding things like dates, friendships, or relationships. This trait is related to low self-esteem as the person who is arrogant and entitled might also struggle with their sense of self-worth.

Toxic people who are entitled might also be difficult for someone who wants a lot out of life or has yet to find their place in society. In these cases, the narcissist could become frustrated and lash out at those around them because they can’t understand why the other person isn’t either completely submissive or completely indulgent towards them in all circumstances.

Too Defensive

Everyone has their reasons for wanting to be defensive; this is completely normal and even acceptable. However, this can be a toxic trait if it occurs too much. Sometimes, light banter can be fun, and someone shouldn’t be defensive then. But even if someone is giving their opinion and someone else becomes defensive, then this could lean towards toxic behaviour. However, this can vary based on the situation.

Lack of Respect

Toxic people tend to consider your needs and expectations an offense or challenge to their self-esteem. They will lash out in anger or manipulate you into believing you’re responsible for them feeling bad. In reality, they cannot provide the respect and attention you need. This can cause frustration and resentment on your part. On the other hand, people willing to listen and respond appropriately will be more willing to meet your needs without criticising or judging them in return.

Constant Behavioral Changes

One of the most common traits is when someone’s behaviour is erratic, unpredictable, and often always changing. They might be jealous, demeaning, or unreliable. Someone who’s toxic will act a certain way towards you one day and completely change their behaviour the next day.

High Ego

A high ego is usually matched up with a narcissist, but keep in mind that not all toxic people or toxic traits are going to equate to this immediately. However, having too high of ego can indeed be a negative thing. They have an inflated sense of who they are as well as what they can do for you. They might also try to constantly tell you how to live your life and interfere with your decisions. They may always look out for themselves before anyone else in regard to everything from work to relationships.

Toxic people can be hard to spot. They can be easy to find in a friend, colleague, or even a romantic partner. However, if you’re unsure hopefully this article will help you spot a narcissist or toxic individual.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

Drowning In Debt: 4 Ways to Help You And Your Mental Health.

(image: Pixabay/Pexels)

Debt can quickly become overwhelming. What may have started as a single personal loan a few months ago, can quickly turn into multiple loans, credit card bills and rent/bills arrears. Eventually, you may reach a point when you’ve exhausted all borrowing options. At this point, it may seem like there’s no escape, however there is always a way out of debt – it may just be a case of seeking out professional debt help.

Additionally this can take a toll on your mental health- stress due to debt can cause insomnia, anxiety, depression and a host of ailments too. You may despair or wake up scared to carry on. You may fear the debt letters or emails and phone calls. The uncertainty is difficult for anyone.

There are four common ways to get out of heavy debt. You can learn more about these below.  

DMP

A DMP (debt management plan) is an agreement to continue paying off your debts, but at a reduced rate. If you cannot keep up with the current monthly debt repayments, a DMP could help lower these to make them more affordable. While you can negotiate debt payments with creditors yourself, choosing a DMP allows professionals to do the negotiating for you. 

DMPs do not cover priority debts (e.g. mortgage, council tax debt etc.) and are informal agreements that lenders can go back on at any time. They can also have a serious negative impact on your credit score. The benefit of these forms of debt relief is that almost anyone who is struggling with debt can apply for them and you will not be added to an insolvency register.

DRO

DRO stands for debt relief order. This is a legally binding order in which all of your debts are temporarily halted for a length of time (usually about a year). This period of time is known as a ‘moratorium period’ and is a chance to improve your financial circumstances. If after the moratorium period, you have tried to improve financial circumstances but not been successful, your debts will be written off. 

To apply for a DRO you must have debts no more than £30,000 and a disposable income of less than £75 per month. It is recommended for those that have assets less than £2000. Lenders must abide by a DRO, unlike a DMP. A DRO also applies to priority debts. Just be wary that you will be added to an insolvency register.

IVA

An individual voluntary agreement (IVA) is another option. It is similar to a DMP in that you continue to pay back your debts but at a reduced rate. Unlike a DMP, it is legally binding. IVAs typically last 5 to 6 years, after which any outstanding debt may be wiped.

IVAs are available to anyone with unsecured debts over £7000. Unlike a DRO, they are recommended for those with assets over £2000. Like a DRO, you will be added to an insolvency register. You can check out this site for more IVA advice

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is sometimes seen as the most extreme option and has a certain stigma around it, but there are times when it can be the best option. The bankruptcy period lasts 12 months – during this period, any non-essential assets you own and excess income you earn are used to pay off your debts. At the end of this period, you are discharged and any remaining debts are written off.

Bankruptcy is only an option for those with debts over £5000. You will be added to an insolvency register and you may find that you are not able to borrow any money for a certain period after. The advantage of bankruptcy is that all your debts are wiped after a year, making it quicker than IVA.

Whichever option you choose make sure you look after your mental health and wellbeing and get support from loved ones and those around you. This may include visiting your GP if you need too.

This article was written by a freelance writer and edited by Eleanor Segall.

Petition with Bipolar UK: Speed up Bipolar Diagnosis to Save Lives. Lets Talk Bipolar by Eleanor

(image: Bipolar UK charity)

Please sign this petition to the NHS to speed up bipolar diagnosis to save lives. As I write in my book, my Dad Mike was diagnosed 9 years after he got ill and just 4 years before me. I believe I was only diagnosed at 16 years old because my Dad received his diagnosis. Additionally, my Dad was pushed to the brink of suicidal ideation (thoughts and plans of suicide) but was able to control this once he saw a psychiatrist finally after nearly 10 years- so many can’t. My Dad was saved just in time. He often says the love for his family stopped him, but for some, they are even more ill and cannot focus on this.

A new campaign by the amazing Bipolar UK charity and the new government Bipolar Commission to tell the NHS:

Speed up bipolar diagnosis to save lives
· There’s an average delay of 9.5 years between people first contacting a health professional about symptoms and getting an accurate diagnosis of bipolar
· 60% of people said this delay had a significant impact on their life
· 84% of people said a diagnosis was ‘helpful’ or ‘very helpful’

A diagnosis makes it possible for someone to get effective treatment and support, and to live well with bipolar.

It’s estimated that at least 5% of people who take their own life have a diagnosis of bipolar. The shorter the delay in diagnosis, the sooner someone can empower themselves with effective self-management and foster a positive circle with fewer relapses in both the short and long-term.

In my own family, myself and other relatives here and abroad have been diagnosed with this condition. It is so important to get correct treatment.

#letstalkbipolar

Please sign here, thank you: