She had a spending addiction…

Story of Hope

She had a spending addiction that ruined her and her first husband financially and led to their divorce. Now she had squandered $2,000 that her second husband had given her to pay their rent and other bills. She felt embarrassed and disgraced, and feared how her second husband would react. When our counselor asked her if she was feeling suicidal, the woman said she was. She had a plan and the means to see it through; moreover, her young children were safe at a family member’s house and she was thinking of killing herself that very night.

Building rapport and connection, our counselor explored the caller’s feelings and learned that she had a history of suicide attempts as well as an untreated mental illness. The counselor began working with the woman to create a safety plan. First, the counselor helped the woman understand that she had a compulsive spending addiction, and provided resources to address it. Next, our counselor discussed mental health treatment with the caller and gave her the number to county health services. Third, the counselor coached the caller on how to talk with her husband and family to garner their support and allow time for support services to kick in. The woman agreed with the plan and gave us permission to make follow-up calls to her during the next week.

In our first follow-up call, the woman said that her husband had been supportive and relieved that she had resources for them to get help. She felt that some of her burden was lifted, and said that suicide no longer was her only option. In subsequent calls, she said that she had contacted a debtor’s support group and consulted with a doctor. She was grateful for the time, support, and determination the Crisis Center gave her in keeping her safe. She said that she felt there was hope for her for the first time in a long time.