Does debt have you feeling down? The negative financial consequences of having too much debt has been well documented. Before the recession, debt had become such an ingrained part of our society that many people accepted it as part of life. Unfortunately this sense of normalcy left many people unprepared for the devastating reality of living with debt once their credit limit hit the ceiling.
Without savings to fall back on or access to easy credit many families now face the daunting task of repaying those debts at a time when money is a concern for everyone. Sadly there are some people who find themselves unable to handle the stress caused by financial concerns. The combination of depression and debt can have a devastating effect on individuals, families and society as a whole.
Before we can help ourselves or those dealing with depression, it is important to first understand the condition with which we are dealing. The first issue that has to be addressed is recognizing the difference between feeling depressed and depression. At some point in life, we will all face times when we feel depressed. This is a normal and completely natural emotion felt when we deal with death, divorce, loss of employment or illness. Feeling sadness or sorrow during emotionally painful situations is not only expected but also a necessary part of the healing process required to move forward.
People who suffer from depression on the other hand, are dealing with an entirely different animal. Now recognized as an actual illness, depression is not something a person can simply shake off. Unable to escape their constant feelings of sadness, people suffering from this illness often give up trying to lead a normal life and withdrawal within themselves.
Debt and Depression
It comes as no surprise the debt can trigger feelings of depression. A person who is able to work through these emotions may feel stress, irritation, anger and frustration when faced with a severe financial hardship. Most people are able to work through these emotions and focus on taking action to resolve the problem. Apply the same circumstances to a person suffering from depression and the results may be very different. Already feeling as if life cannot get any worse, this person may sink deeper in depression making it impossible to face, let alone correct the situation.
Who Is Affected?
As a society we have come a long way in how we deal with depression and people who suffer from this illness. The more we learn about depression the better equipped we are to help those who are unable to help themselves. Unfortunately there are still those who think people with depression are just feeling sorry for themselves or lack the motivation to pull themselves out of a bad place. Unable to envision happiness or success in their future many people suffering from depression find ways to escape their feelings through alcohol, drugs or suicide.
The Impact On Society
As a society we often lack the strong communal ties that bind people together when facing adversity. That is not to say we don’t help others in need, however the tendency to not get involved is more prevalent in today’s society. The single mom down the street that is struggling to keep her kids from going hungry could use your help. The grocery store clerk that lost their only source of income, might be worried about being a burden on society. The day care worker who’s house is in foreclosure might find it difficult focus on her charges. Would you help these people if you could? Can you see the impact depression could have on everyone in the community?
The number of people facing financial hardship has not yet reached a peak. People already struggling with depression might just find dealing with debt or other money problems the proverbial straw the broke the camel’s back. So the next time you notice something is “off” with a friend, family member or neighbor don’t just pretend nothing is different. Taking a moment from your day to simply ask how they are doing or extend a helping hand might be the positive experience they need to push through another day.
What do you think? Has debt ever contributed to depression for you or a friend? I know for me personally, it was definitely a factor when I was experiencing some mild depression last year.