Our journey through the Kubler-Ross model takes us to stage four: depression. If I wrote that people who are overwhelmed by debt may be depressed, and implied that this might be some new-found discovery, some might congratulate me on my mastery of the obvious. Unfortunately, depression and debt is not something that I think can be easily explained. I think the only thing I can do is point it out.
Let me start by stating that I believe that it’s a tad too arrogant for anyone to suggest that people who are prone to depression are also prone to debt problems. It’s a broad sweeping generalization that ignores the specific issues of every day life that everyone faces. And it’s even more arrogant to suggest that people overwhelmed with debt are getting what they deserve. By seeking a discharge of their debts, honest debtors who have fallen into unfortunate circumstances are not among them.
The fact is, people get into debt problems because of things they should have controlled better. Perhaps it was a refinance that seemed like a good idea at the time. Perhaps they did everything conceivable to avoid financial collapse, yet by doing so, only made it inevitable.
Folks also get into financial trouble because of things they could not control at all. Perhaps it is a tenant on the second floor who is not longer paying rent – or condo fees. Perhaps a spouse has left the home, or has died. Perhaps they went to the doctor to get a mole on their back removed, only to discover that it metastasized to the spine. At the risk of sounding indelicate, crude and unprofessional sometimes (and this is something I remind my clients of often), shit happens.
There. I said it.
Whenever I hear someone pompously announce that they never would find themselves in bankruptcy, I will find myself saying, if only to myself, “there but for the grace of God…”. For many people, it doesn’t take much to push them over the financial edge. Others may not be as close to the financial edge (or, some of those may remain in denial).
For honest folks, the reasons why and how the debt problems “blossomed” do not change this very simple reality: being overwhelmed by debt and facing bankruptcy brings with it feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness and great vulnerability. And those feelings can manifest in a variety of ways.
With the present state of our economy in (to put it mildly) disarray, more and more people are becoming aware of these feelings, and this week, the media has been paying attention. Results from a recent poll conducted by the Associated Press finds people in debt suffer not only from depression, but also physical ailments. To learn more, start with the links below.
Whatever the symptoms, whatever the feelings, there are some things even the best bankruptcy attorneys cannot provide. If you are experiencing any physical symptoms that are affected by the stress of your debt, see a doctor. If you have chest pains, consider going to the emergency room. If you are depressed, please consider talking to a professional or a trusted confidant, friend or relative. There is no shame in reaching out for a helping hand. And reaching out may be the most important first step on the road to a fresh start.
Read more at:
From abc4.com in Salt Lake City: Economic downturn could mean rise in health problems.
From ABC 7 in San Francisco: Medical effects of living in debt
From News4Jax.com in Jacksonville: Debt Stress Can Wear on Body, Poll Finds
From the AP: Debt stress tears at your body, too.
From Newsday.com: Americans’ rising debt leads to sleepless nights
Storm Preparation is a weekly series appearing on Wednesdays and offers tips and information to people who think they may need bankruptcy protection in the future. Questions, comments or suggestions can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Storm Preparation: Some Thoughts on What We Can Do
- Storm Preparation: Only So Much
- Storm Preparation: Plan B
- Storm Preparation: The Stages
- Storm Preparation: Over Withholding