If you’ve been living with insurmountable debt, you may have developed all sorts of coping mechanisms without realizing it. You may be looking at only the minimum amount due on your credit cards and ignoring the ever-growing balance. You may throw away or delete overdue notices until they come in a different colored envelope or show up in your inbox with several exclamation points.
Deep down, though, you know this situation can’t continue. Likely, your body knows it as well. Being in debt can cause serious stress, which isn’t just bad for your emotional well-being. It’s bad for your physical health. Chronic stress can lower your body’s immunity and its ability to fight off viruses and illness.
Depression, lowered immunity and high blood pressure
Living with overwhelming debt can also lead to depressive symptoms or exacerbate a depressive disorder. You may suffer from insomnia or, conversely, be unable to get out of bed. It can also lower your motivation to take necessary steps to get out of debt.
While the human body can endure a lot, it eventually breaks down. The last thing you need on top of the debt you already have is medical debt caused by a hospital visit when what thought was a heart attack was actually a panic attack. Of course, on-going stress can lead to high blood pressure, which can contribute to heart attacks.
Cutting back on the wrong things
People who are in debt often try to cut back wherever they can. They may buy cheaper (and less healthy) food. They may cancel their gym membership and not get their exercise in other (free) ways, like biking or running. They may skip medications or doctor’s appointments. All of this can make even a healthy person unhealthy.
If you haven’t wanted to consider bankruptcy as an option for getting out of debt, think about whether you’d rather continue with things as they are (especially if you don’t have a solid plan for significantly reducing your debt) or at least find out more about the types of personal bankruptcy and which would be more appropriate for you. Getting solid legal guidance is a good first step.