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Extract: I’m in massive negative equity and I may lose my home, but I won’t lose hope

Single Irish mother, Jillian Godsil, who tried to sell her Georgian mansion on YouTube, has documented her personal slide into insolvency in a new book, Does my Debt look big in this? Here she writes about debt and never giving up.

Jillian Godsil

DEBT NEVER SLEEPS. It paces the floor at night and peeps into dark corners looking for trouble, it searches down the back of sofas for misplaced coins and rummages through the rubbish bin, pulling out old chicken wrappers, empty crisp packets and spent tea bags.

It is the constant harrier and no more so than at night. Debt pushes into bed and takes the uneasy sleeper to the edge of madness. Debt is never absent. The jerking body on the bed, twists and turns, counting mythical sheep.

The grip of debt

It’s like a face at the window in the dark of the night. Before the dawn is even a whisper. While the silent, dank hours pass away slow as a hearse walks through a country town. Schemes and plans and begging letters have currency in the night, have a purpose and a pulse. Debt comes sneaking in at first. Like love, its arrival is slow and unexpected. It was not wished for or lusted after. By degrees it grows and it stalks the corridors of shame.

I sat with a wise woman once. She spoke about people who lose hope. It might only be transitory but it can prove fatal. It might be continuous, unrelenting, pernicious and prove fatal. It can be intermittent but still fatal. For the loss of hope to become permanent only requires that the person cannot see beyond that loss. But there is an expression often used in such hopeless situations. This too will pass.

Losing hope

Knowing that things are transitory is our biggest defense against the loss of hope, ironically. It makes the darkest hour bearable. The hour before the dawn is the most dark but it is followed by the light, if we but stay.

Do not underestimate the devastation wrought by the loss of hope. Hanging about is very brave and much misunderstood. Just ‘being’ can be tough.

People say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I agree. But I say back to them, you have to take into account the collateral damage. It is not as though anyone can walk through life without getting a few scars, but really serious injuries, the kind that will not kill you, can leave you maimed and changed.

Surviving the unexpected

What doesn’t kill you may make you stronger. However, it may also kill a part of you. We need to embrace the changes that befall us, that we create, that our friends and family wrought upon us. We need to know that our beauty lies in our accepting those changes and calling them our own, living through them, and naming them as who we are.

I think we need to know that this too will pass, when hope is in very short supply, that staying a little bit longer, just hanging around can make a difference. And then in the greatest triumph that humankind can offer, we can live despite all this, love in the midst of it, and comfort and support others in the same way. It is called the human condition and it is to be shared.

I believe I am more beautiful now for my scars than before, more beautiful for the changes in my body and mind than before. More courageous in my beliefs, more passionate in my views and more compassionate in my attempt to understand this world than before.

This is why I stay. This is why I know things will pass, good, bad and indifferent. This is why I know my love is only growing and my right to life on this planet is secured. And if I hit a loss of hope, then I know, this too will pass.

Jillian Godsil is a writer living in Wicklow, Ireland. She has her own blog, which can be viewed here. These extracts are taken from her book, Does my Debt look big in this? The profits of which are pledged to Pieta House. It is a collection of essays which documents Jillian’s own personal slide into insolvency, the closing of her business and looking into a future to what looks like no financial way out at all. The paperback version can be bought here or the Kindle version here.

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Jillian Godsil

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