Debt and Depression: Ways to Cope

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What word best describes your relationship with money?  Does it make you nervous?  Bring excitement?  What about financial stress and hopelessness?  For the majority of Americans, we’re sitting on more debt than in recent years.  Higher inflation than we’ve known in our lifetime.  And wages that aren’t keeping up or getting us caught up.  For a growing portion of the population, that ongoing struggle is indeed causing debt depression. 


What Debt Depression Looks Like

Depression from debt is real, and if taken to the extreme can lead to thoughts of suicide.  Much like others who consider or act on self-harm (or it’s twin, self-neglect), it often stems from believing there’s no options and no way out. It’s a generalized feeling of hopelessness that can be exceedingly difficult to shake, and can take a lot of different forms. Warning signs include:

  • Not having the energy to face the mail
  • Ignoring calls or balance reminders from the bank
  • Changes in eating habits (over or under-eating)
  • Overwhelming calls from debt collectors
  • Loss of sleep
  • Not being able to focus on other tasks – even things you generally have enjoyed in the past


How to Cope With Debt Depression

Is there a way to cope with debt depression? I am a strong believer the answer is “yes.”  There is always a path forward.  It may not be obvious.  It may not (and honestly rarely is) be easy.  And you may need a torch and machete to find it!  But gratefully, there are torch-holders and machete-wielders standing at the ready if you’re not ready to lead the expedition yourself.  Here are a few things that have been helpful for me, and for clients that I work with: 

  • What is most needed to care for yourself?  Housing, healthy food, medications are generally top of the list.  Don’t neglect things like sunshine, exercise/movement, social support, or time with a friend who makes you laugh.  Prioritize these things first as they are what will help energize the rest. 
  • For the finances, start small and be realistic.  How much is your next paycheck, and what are the necessities that it needs to cover?  Having a plan frees up your brain from part of its endless reprise of worry. 
  • For anything that can’t get paid on time, can you talk with your providers/creditors to request an extension? 
  • For moderate- or low-weight items like debts, you may have options for repayments such as consolidations, debt management, or other repayment plans.
  • There are still assistance programs available in some areas.  It takes a bit of energy sometimes, but even just a little assistance to get a utility bill caught up or a rent payment are funds that can get apportioned to somewhere else and check it off your to-pay list. 

You're Not Alone

Most importantly – You don’t have to go at this alone.  Apprisen walks clients through creating a plan every day.  Often times that’s a big picture for getting out of debt in a couple years.  Sometimes it’s figuring out how to best use next Friday’s paycheck when there’s 7 bills overdue.  Sometimes it’s just brainstorming together to figure out extra income options.  Give us a call, or get started online now.  Your unique solution and action plan are a call or click away. 

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