In February of 2012, I lost it. I looked at my boss, and told him I needed to take a vacation. Then I packed up the kids the next day and went to Florida. I took them to Disney World. We stayed at a resort. We visited my grandparents. And then five days later we drove back to Pennsylvania. All of this went on my credit card, but I wasn’t worried because I was going to get my tax refund soon. I tried to refinance the house, because it was still in both my name and my ex-husband’s name. I was denied, and I couldn’t understand why.
Three months later, in May 2012, I lost it again. This time, I took a last minute trip, by myself, to Paris. I don’t regret taking that trip; it taught me a lot about myself and about being alone. But I do regret putting it all on my credit card. I also regret not bringing my school work along. I regret not doing my school work when I get back. And I really regret failing out of classes.
When I failed out of classes, I stopped even trying to go to school, full-time or otherwise. My live-in boyfriend and I broke up. I started dating someone else, who encouraged me to seek help for my depression. I started a complicated ritual of medication cycles and therapy, which cost a lot of money. At the highest point, I was paying nearly $250 a month in mental health care bills. Now it’s down to approximately $125 a month. In August 2012, I decided to go shopping at Target. When I walked up to the register I had over one thousand dollars in the cart. I applied for the Target Red Card and got a credit line for $3000.
By December 2012, I realized that I was stuck. Very, very stuck. I barely had enough money to pay for oil to warm the house. I met with the ex-husband at McDonald’s while the kids played in the playground there, and we discussed foreclosure for the first time: don’t forget, his name was still on the house. It was the only option we had available to us at this point. He had an apartment and a job that was an hour and a half away from us, so he couldn’t take over the house payments or living arrangements. We briefly discussed moving in together to save money, but we couldn’t imagine getting along well enough, and we couldn’t manage to keep our jobs with the commute distance being so huge for both of us. I called the mortgage company, and I called a local debt counseling service about our decision. Neither would or could help us, given that we hadn’t missed a payment yet.