I think I bought this in 2014, its the macbook pro 13 inch display - the one with the disk drive! what would be your recommendation?
Does it indicate "Model No. A1278" on the bottom of the case? If it is then you've got a 13" Unibody and it's not that difficult to get it working again with simple tools and a new drive. I usually recommend that if someone has data that hasn't been backed up, since the cost of a new is usually less than the importance of the data. It's easy enough to just reformat the drive, but that comes at the expense of losing that data.
It sounds like you have a corrupted volume. This usually happens from an improper shutdown - especially if you forced a power down after it was freezing/glitching/slow. I've done it many times and it usually would repair itself, but one time it would always get to the same spot on the progress bar and then just shut down. Others report theirs will reset. For some people it just hangs and doesn't end.
One simple thing you could do if it has a hard drive is just replace the hard drive (maybe with an SSD) and do a clean install of the operating system. If it's a Unibody model with a hard drive, it's easy. Use the new drive to make it usable, and then figure out what to do with your old hard drive later. If the volume isn't too badly "damaged" it might be possible to install it in a "USB enclosure" (like the following) and extract all the data from it once you have a working operating system.
Amazon.com: AmazonBasics 2.5-inches SATA Hard Drive Enclosure - USB 3.0: Computers & Accessories
Sometimes Disk Utility can't actually repair a corrupted volume. For example, I had a backup clone that kept on stopping before completing. What I did was stupid, which was to disconnect the external drive because I couldn't stop it. I ran First Aid on it several times and it either said there was no problem or that the problem was fixed. But it would just prematurely end every single time. The only thing that actually fixed it was to completely reformat the drive.
I'd even suggest getting an SSD. I use to see all sorts of performance issues, but now it feels almost as fast as one of the new MacBook Pros. I've also never had it freeze once, while I averaged about one a day, even when I had a new 7200 RPM disk drive for a month.