When you receive your first student loan, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the sudden possibilities opening up before you. Having worked part-time over the two years before I started University, I already had some level of control over my finances – but a student loan, which has to last across several months, is entirely different from a monthly wage, and I wasn’t used to assessing how much it actually costs to be self-sufficient.
I have always struggled with the notion of identity. Living with bipolar, it is so draining to have to maintain a balanced and stable sense of self when my mood can vary so much from one day to the next, it requires hard work and a targeted effort. The person I present to the outside world depends heavily on the state of my mood; the Katie everyone else sees never quite seems to accurately depict the Katie I feel on the inside.
2016 my husband, Neil, was diagnosed with Young Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. At the time he was only 51 years old and was still serving as a Police Officer. We had two young daughters 6 & 5 years old and had a busy life with work, school, friends, family and the activities that come with a young family. I was 41 and was working part-time to accommodate childcare. We were careful with money and despite a large mortgage and a house that needed work we felt quite comfortable; able to afford camping holidays, a second-hand car and the odd meal out.