Last night, I went to bed early, at 9:30. I was exhausted and it didn’t take long for me to go to sleep, which is unusual for me. And I slept. Until about 2 a.m. And then, I woke up and lay in bed thinking. And the more I listened to my thoughts, filled with fear and worry and dread, the more panicked I became. And terrified. Utterly paralyzed with overwhelming fear. Because of how much money I owe. And how, the way things are going, I will not only never be able to pay it off, but I will not be able to stop it from snowballing into an even more unmanageable amount. How did I get in this horrible mess? How can I ever get free? The interest credit card companies charge is criminal. Even if I pay more than I charge each month, I have to pay, at this point, $600 in interest. So I have no hope of ever paying them off. Because I simply can’t pay enough to whittle down the balance. Ever. I was always responsible with money. I worked hard, spent some, saved some, paid off bills, helped friends and balanced my budget. Then I was unemployed for two years. Then I had medical issues requiring several surgeries. And in early 2007, a latent eating disorder suddenly consumed me and my grocery spending shot through the roof. I had to replace furnace. I had car repairs. Vet bills for my dogs. Health insurance premiums. Before I knew it, I was in big trouble with no way out. I’m so afraid. I don’t know what to do. I am responsible for part of my dilemma. I had some money from the sale of my parent’s house after my mother died. Then my ex left me and took all the furniture his parents had helped us purchase, plus some additional items he liked a lot that I didn’t like. The result was that I had a very empty house. In hindsight, that could have been survived. But at the time, I was gainfully employed, had never had a big break in my employment history and the economy wasn’t in too bad of shape. I used the money to pay off my car and buy furniture. I also gave some fairly nice sums of money to friends in need. And I started a side business, making jewelry with lampworked beads, silver, gem stones and Swarovski crystal. Expensive components. But my thought was, if I got it started now, when I retired, I could make a little extra money to help make ends meet. The crash of the economy pretty much ended that dream. My little nest egg didn’t last long. If I had known what was coming, I would have hung on to it. I lost my job about 2 years after my ex-husband left me. The division president of the company I worked for required me to do something illegal. I should have been protected, but the legal department refused to stand up to him. So I was told to “move on down the road” (exact words used) after 7 years of pouring my heart and soul into my job. I should have sued, but I was still struggling to recover emotionally after my divorce. I just didn’t have it in me. I used my savings, my meager 401(k) balance and my credit cards to live for the next 2 years. And everything that could go wrong during that time did. It took 2 years because the spiteful division president who had tried to force me into a corner had all reference calls routed to him and he gave me a very bad reference. A friend called and confirmed this is what was happening. I had suspected it because I would get verbal offers that were to be followed up with a written confirmation pending my reference check…and the written confirmations never came. I had 20 years of experience in my field, most of that as a manager, and I couldn’t get a job because of a man who wanted to ruin me. In many ways, he succeeded. That was when I tried to kill myself. My dog died fall of 2006. My house was suddenly devoid of life. She was a rescue Miniature Schnauzer and I loved her with my entire being. I couldn’t bear the aloneness. Christmas was approaching and I was at the end of all of my resources. I had NOTHING. No hope of getting a job. No friends to bail me out. I even called my brother and asked for help, but was turned down. Told me to get a job at Walmart (I tried, they didn’t hire me). Alone, broke, depressed, despairing, I gave up. I took 300 – 20 mg. Adderall pills that I had saved up for just such an occasion…and I lived. I couldn’t believe I was such a failure I couldn’t even kill myself. Then, on top of all the other problems I was having at the time, I was placed in the mental hospital against my will because of the suicide attempt. And I had all of those bills, along with the hospital bills (ICU for 5 days) to pay off. Miraculously, that following April, I was finally offered a job. I was not aware that I was in the grips of an escalating eating disorder at the time. I was just beginning to lose weight and felt great. I was employed for 5 years and, though the job didn’t offer the best work environment, I was being paid fairly well and getting bonuses. I thought I had a chance of eventually getting out of debt if I worked hard at it. Which was when the company sold. And they consolidated the HR function with their Houston location. So they didn’t really need someone at my level. At my salary. I was unemployed for 6 months that round. And once I got a job, it required a $20,000 per year income reduction. With no option for a bonus. And inadequate benefits. The economy was in shambles. I was lucky to get a job, period. But… The hole just keeps getting deeper. The world just keeps getting darker. And scarier. So I lay awake at night, gripped by terror that chokes me and causes me to labor for each breath. I search my mind for plausible options, but can’t come up with any good solution. I beg people to pray for me. I beg God for a miracle. Mercy, I need mercy. And in the meantime, the vice continues to tighten. Turn after turn, the pressure builds. It’s unbearable. I have no hope of obtaining relief. It’s going to get much worse. It may never get better. Without mercy, without a miracle, I will soon be out on the street with nothing to show for all the years I’ve worked and travailed. No home. A 1999 car that I pray keeps running. Two little dogs who give me a reason to live, who are looking to me to care and provide for them. Out of options. Mercy. God. Please. I need a miracle. I beg You. Mercy. I need Your comfort. A place to rest. One little spot in which to exist. To survive. Mercy. Please. Help me. Please set me free.