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Tuesday, December 6, 2022   

Survey Results: Your Advice for Nancy
by Scott Bilker
Scott Bilker is the author of the best-selling books, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, Credit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. He's also the founder of DebtSmart.com. More about and DebtSmart can be found in the online media kit.
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Scott Bilker

What DebtSmart Readers said to Nancy or about her story.

"Nancy, Please look at your children and think about what would happen to them without Mommy. I grew up without my biological father and I never knew him. I missed that part of life. I wish I could have had that. Your debt should not consume you. Work a little bit a time to get through your debt. I understand. I have cried many times over my debt and felt helpless. It is not worth ending your life because you owe creditors money. Look at the future, you have kids who will survive all this and grow up happy and healthy and have their mommy. :)"--Anonymous

"Don't give up! They are just bills... what more can they do to you if your credit is already ruined? I've been there so I know how you feel. I've felt suicidal over bills, too, but you know what? I made a decision to go into Ch 13, and we just completed it this year. It was a hard decision, but we made it out and it wasn't as bad as I thought. I just know that I will never let us get into a situation like that again. And, I remember that they are only bills. I pay what I can when I can, and if it's not enough, then they can take it or leave it. You are so much more than the sum total of what you owe! Your family needs you, not your insurance benefits if you die. Money is nothing without you being there with them. God bless and hang tough!"--Sue

"Dear Nancy, Everyone today is in debt; there are very few who escape. I'm sure even the creditors who call you have someone calling them! Take each day, one at a time, as it comes. Keep your eyes focused on your children, and eventually the light will shine through. If you have faith in God, give your worries to Him and believe He will take care of them. Life at times is just too much for us down here on earth. If you have faith, someone, or something will happen to help you...I've seen it happen time and time again....pray."--Diana

"I can identify with you somewhat. Money problems can be the most horroring thing to have to deal with. I am a married mother of two children-one in college. My husband has a good job and makes pretty well. He pays all of our household expenses and helps with the college tuition,and rent for the college daughter. I pick up the remaining expenses of the college daughter. I am a school nurse and by no means make the money that I should. Some would say to change jobs but I feel that I need to be with my 8 yr old during school breaks. I tried a second job and the younger child began to have symptoms of an ulcer. With all this background it brings us to this-my money situations have gotten so bad that I presently have 10 payday loans(with each one having 15%interest). It has become a vicious cycle-it takes my paycheck and then some just to do the loans-what do I have left to pay the other expenses? I have felt at times in recent months exactly as you- that my children and husband would be far better off if I did pass on and they could have the life insurance money. In situations like this where do you turn?"--Linda

"Nancy, Please, you don't want to do this. Think of your family and the guilt they would experience if you did something drastic. I can relate to many of the things you say. I too live life on the edge, paycheck to paycheck, but the struggle is worth it when I am with my family. They need you more than anything money can buy. All we can do in this life is the best we can given our circumstances. Talk to people like Scott Bilker they know what you are going through financially and may be able to help. Think of your family. Talk to someone who is experienced, perhaps you may need some depression counseling. Use whatever resources you have (computer, phone book, etc.) to get in contact with a free debt help center and a free mental health counseling facility."--Patty

"One thing that stands out to me the most is that no matter what, you will always be more precious to your children than any amount of money. They will be crushed if you leave them alone in this world. My sister and I grew up without our mother since the ages of 4 and 6, it's something in my life that was never replaced. For us, it was a nightmare, we where raised by "the wicked witch of the west" and it has affected me and my sister to this day (I'm 40 now and she is 38) There is barely a day of my life that I don't think about the aftermath of it all. If you leave, you will be giving up all control of what happens to them when you are gone, every little bit. My mother didn't die, she left when my parents divorced. The questions that I lived with through out my life where never fully answered, if you do this, they will feel abandoned no matter what your intentions (and there are big issues with that, believe me) for their entire lives and hurt at their loss and what could have been. Please don't do this to your kids. Love them, have patience, be thankful for what you do have, you are not alone in this world, and money means nothing if you don't have love, and money can never buy love for them. It's one thing that you can give them for free, and you'll get it back one way or the other 100 times over. Please keep in touch, this society has taught us that money is everything, there is so much that is not taught to us about the simple joys available to everyone, what life is really about. I am making new discoveries every day. Love"--Jan

"Carrying your burden of debt, if you keep working on it, will become a task that becomes less as the months go by. If you can't see a light at the end of the tunnel in paying off that debt, find a different source of light until that goal comes into view. Celebrate milestones in your children's lives, no matter how small. Dwell on these small victories and that will be the legacy they will have to share with their families in later years. And you can reminisce with them. Count your blessings that are around you everyday. Listen to music that inspires, take a walk early in the morning, set some small goals that will help you see daily progress. I'll be thinking about you Nancy."--Jeff

"Suicide leaves the living mourning for the rest of their lives. Letting your children know that in spite of the situation you are in they are still loved. Do not allow them or yourself to compare what others have. The advice by Scott was very important. You can make it!!!!"--Anonymous

"Me Again :0) I was stirred to read over the eulogy I wrote for my grandmother's funeral. She took over the mother role for me in many ways through out her life. I found when writing it and at the time of her passing, everything that was important became very clear, lots of things that had always seemed important where nothing This is the last paragraph or two I look not only to the lessons she taught during her lifetime, there where far too many to list, but also the lessons she taught me in her struggle to live. In the end there is only one thing that matters, that is the love and caring that we have been blessed to give and honoured to receive. I hope with all my heart to be able to pass that very important lesson on to my own children. In my mind, that is the true measure of a successful life. And if I could say only one thing about my grandmother, it would be that she loved. Janice Ferrante (Stephenson) November 29,2002 In the end, that is ALL that matters."--Jan

"Nancy- Your problems are temporary but your solution is permanent. Money comes and goes, but in this life you only get one MOTHER! It's bizarre that I would read your message now, as Aug 9 is the anniversary of my own mother's suicide. Mom did exactly what you are contemplating and for the same reasons. Let me tell you: the pain and stigma of suicide is crueler and deeper than poverty could ever be. No lasting good will come of it. Your kids need you more than they need new clothes or expensive cars. If they want to go to college, they will find a way. (I did) Please find someone you can talk to about this and be unflinchingly HONEST with yourself and them and yes, I mean professional help. The only way to change your situation is to change the way you think about it. C."--Anonymous

"Hi Nancy, I read your letter joining you with a broken heart. Having children and debt myself I can feel your pain and understand your fears. I'm not writing to give you a solution to your debt because Scott is the man for that. I hope that I can offer words of encouragement. First of all take Scott's advice, it will be priceless and then DIG IN- take root and work it one day at a time. You will overcome. Your children will be blessed. Your children will gain nothing by having a new car in the drive, a house and college paid for by someone else. But they will lose everything if they lose their mother. You must understand who you are to comprehend your worth to your children. No decaying metal, brick or education can possibly be compared to a mother's love. This morning I watched out the window as a baby wren learned to fly with the help of the mother; who coached it continuously. Who will teach your girls to fly if you go? Who better than mother to point out the dangers and joys of life.. To quote a wonderful passage from GOD's word " silver and gold have I none, BUT such as I have I give to thee". A mother love is more valuable than gold, her touch is more precious than silver. You will overcome! Your are MOTHER... With warmest regards,"--Terrie

"Dear Nancy, It is important to take the first steps to solving your debt problems. No matter how small the step, no matter if you can see the day when you will no longer be in debt, you should take the steps to reach that goal. Remember the longest journey always starts with the first step. Also until you are on the path to solve the problem, you often can't see all the alternatives you have. Until you start moving towards your goal, you often don't know what is available to help you reach your goal. If you reach a point where you can't see where to go, review where you have been, and see if there is another direction that you did not see before. There is always a new path to take. Never consider giving up! When we give up, there is no hope for solving the problem that only pushes the problem off to our loved ones."--Robert

"DO NOT do this to your children. That would be the most selfish thing you could do. I hate debt, but no way would I let it take me away from my family. Don't answer the phone when the creditors call. Concentrate on your children. Take one debt at a time. It can be done. I was where you are 10 years ago. I am not out of debt yet but getting there. You can do this. It is hard but it can be done. Don't let the creditors win."--Shawn

"If it is possible... Nancy should get the book, "The Sedona Method." It helped me release a lot of my stress and anxiety about money. We were forced into bankruptcy recently. It was not a pleasant experience but it was not the end of the world. In fact, we are blessed to live in a time where we can walk away from our debt if we have no other choice. We don't have to make our children indentured servants or end up in debtor's prison as was the case not that long ago. As for the children, this country allows people to rise from the ashes of poverty if they have the will to make their lives better. Like Nancy, I too, have a disability, but I take things a day at a time. My salvation has been the Sedona Method and I highly recommend it to anyone who finds themselves stuck in a situation they feel they cannot handle. It is my hope that Nancy finds someone she can trust to talk to and that she get some psychological counseling. Problems that seem unsolvable and so big go away when we change the ways we think about them. May God bless Nancy and her family and keep them safe."--Anonymous

"Dear Nancy, Scott is, of course, right. Your children value you and not just money. Many Americans are going through this and you should certainly not lose your life over this. Walt Disney, amongst others, went bankrupt three times before becoming successful. Find yourself a good bankruptcy lawyer so that you can get the breathing room to start again. With 45, you are still young and have a lot to look forward to in life. Do not let money cost you your life, it just isn't worth it."--Anonymous

"Nancy - I am sorry to hear of your situation and I truly hope that Scott's email has helped a little. The truth is that while right now your children may comment on the how other children have more - in the long run no toy or piece of clothing can make up for the joy and comfort of having a loving mother. The children will grow up and build a life of their own but when they need advice they will need a mother to talk with, or mother to cry at their wedding, or to help them care for the children they might have. While I have my mother still my father passed when I was younger. I never got to go to ballgames with him or protect me when I was scared. Now at 25 I am getting married and have no one to walk me down the isle. Even though I had many material things growing up I would give all of them up just to have him at my wedding. So please realize how important you are as a person to the people around you. You mean so much to the people that love you and no amount of money would bring the comfort you do to these people. "--Tammy

"I can understand how Nancy feels. Although I do not have medications myself, my husband is disabled and he has many medications. He does not qualify for ANY disability funds. I am the sole supporter of our family. We have debt from when he began to get sick and continually, collection agencies call or send letters. It IS depressing and I do get severely anxious about it, knowing that they could garnish my measly wages. My thoughts for Nancy...your children do need their mommy. Don't let these harrassing agencies and debtors back you into a corner. Fight back. Fight for your children. Develop your relationship with your children. Our daughter may not have had all the things other children had, but she turned out great, married a nice man and we have an awesome relationship. I would not have wanted to miss her wedding day or sharing her life with her. Another option you may wish to look into is finding a church you can call home. Many churches now offer financial and budgeting assistance. I meet with someone in our church and we are slowly addressing my/our financial troubles. It certainly helps to know that someone understands and is supporting me. Ohh, Nancy. Your letter touched me so much. Lately, I have been under a great deal of stress with debt...get this, I am 48 years old and owe $118,700 on school loans and $13,500 on old debts + I have a judgement against me for $4800 of which I pay $50/mo with a balloon payment of remaining $2400 due in April of 2005! I don't see that I'll ever pay off the school loans. The rest of the debt is too much to bear and I fret daily about April 2005...I don't even have $50 in savings yet! Although the school loans are in forebearance till January, they will then want $968/mo. I make $40,000/yr gross. We live in subsidized housing. Anyway, my point is, I identified with your despair. I pray and hope that you will be able to refocus your life on your children, doing things that are important to you and developing skills to deal with creditors. As Scott said, there are so many options. I too, am investigating them. I would like to order Scott's books for you and I, but alas, my income is overspent at this point. Perhaps you and I will at some point, be able to see our way clear to purchase his books and learn to deal with these debtors once and for all. Blessings to you Nancy...I know there are some coming your way. You watch! Sincerely," --Sue

"Never never never forget that your children NEED you and if you die their lives will be so much more difficult and complicated because they won't have you to turn too. Moreover they won't have a home anymore and so many memories will be gone. I know what I am talking about because my parents committed suicide together over 32 years ago. I am over 50 now and there are sooooooooo many normal things in life that I missed because of their decision. Feel free to contact me to talk - by the way I am disabled too. Allllllll the best, "--Yannic

"Nancy... I was in your boat about 10 years ago. my children were small and my husband became disabled. i could not work because I had to care for him and our small children. i took advantage of the situation by going back to college via computer. It was all free due to our financial situation. 10 years later...I have a good job,still have debt but no one calling for their payments. No college funds and a child in college. We pay for college through scholarships, financial aid, and student (not parent) loans! I spent TOOOOOOOO much time worrying about things that have turned out fine. Don't make my mistake, You'll drive yourself nuts. Regardless of my financial situation my children know that I am here for them, they know that they are loved! You and your children will do well in the long run if you stand by one another. Good LUCK"--debbie

"You are your children's most prized possession. Why would you want to take that away from them."--Anonymous

"Nancy, It's just not worth it. I (a long time ago) let life overwhelm me to the edge that you wrote about. Don't let the creditors and the problems take your soul. You are an amazingly strong, courageous woman to share your story with us. Thank you. You have helped me today. About my own situation, today I felt despair again. Today I felt hopelessness again. Today I felt sadness. I read about you and your struggle; I feel less alone. I feel that my problems are not unique. Thank you. I am continuing on with my financial recovery. Will you help me by continuing on with yours? I need to hear about your successes, no matter how insignificant you may think they are."--David

"I bought a new car 14 years ago because I thought it was important somehow to own at least one new vehicle. Six months after buying it I got laid off from my job and I had trouble making payments on the car loan. That's when I found out how much the car dropped in value *the day I drove it away from the dealership*. After only six months I could sell the car and not get enough money to pay off the loan. Even though I'd taken very good care of it, it had lost several thousand dollars of value. That was money I basically just gave to the dealership and salesman for free (for no other reason than to have a new car). I felt like such an idiot. I could have bought a 1 or 2 year old car and saved enough money to pay for insurance, tires, and regular maintenance. I swallowed my pride and talked to the bank. They let me skip a month and make a couple of partial payments until I got another job. The loan officer said the bank would rather have me resume regular payments than for them to take the car. They couldn't make enough money from selling the car to pay off the loan either!!! I ran into trouble again right at the end of the loan. It really hit me then that if I'd bought a used car, I wouldn't have had such a large loan and it would have been paid off by then. I will never ever buy a new car again. I wish I was smart enough not to buy one the first time - it was a tough lesson to learn. I'm still driving that car. I decided that the best revenge was to drive that car into the ground. It's a lot cheaper to repair it than to buy another. And since I'd made the decision to keep it, I started to take good care of it. Regular oil changes, get it fixed before the problem gets worse and more expensive, that sort of thing. It now has over 175,000 miles on it. Even if I eventually have to replace the engine, I'll still have spent less on maintenance and repairs over its lifetime than the cost of buying another car. That is, not counting the extra money I paid into the salesman's pocket because it was a *new* car straight off the showroom. And it doesn't count all the extra interest I had to pay on that inflated cost. I'm of the opinion that only financial fools buy new vehicles. And there's a lot of us fools around. Some don't seem to learn and keep repeating the mistake. Not me. What about you? Will you learn from my mistake? Best of luck, and please remember that tomorrow morning is always a fresh new day. You can always start over. As many times as you need to. A fresh new start. You can't do that if you don't wake up. "--Anonymous

"I, too, live with debt, which is why I've subscribed to this newsletter. I, too, have lived with things that seemed overwhelming - five years ago I lost my much beloved husband who was also my sole source of support, and had to wrench myself out of the despair I didn't think would ever ease. I went from a yearly income of over $100,000 per year to what I personally could make - about $25,000. It's taken time and a huge amount of effort, but my children and I have made it and will continue to. Suicide, however tempting, is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Why does Nancy think her family will be any better without her? Why does she think that a "quick fix" of insurance money will heal their pain? It took time to get into the money problem - it will take time to get out of it. I know. Even with all that money, we still carried way too much debt. Now, even though I'm struggling to live within my means, it's one of the most satisfying aspects of my life to know I can do it. I'll pray for Nancy - it's one of the places I found strength to not kill myself - and hope she decides that tomorrow will be better."--Sarah

"Nancy, I can relate to how you feel. I am a single mother of an 11 year old daughter. I have credit card debt that I am paying off and probably will be for a while. I usually do not make enough money to provide for our basic needs. My parents can't help me because they are poorer than me. It can be very overwhelming at times and sometimes I do not see a light at the end of the tunnel. However I have enough faith to know there are enough resources in this world if you seek them out to help you along the way. For one I have started going to a food pantry every week. I started going to church because it gets me out of my "stinking thinking" and isolation. I also started attending a 12 Step group called Debtors Anonymous: http://www.debtorsanonymous.org. They not only talk about spending more than you earn. They talk about "Undearning", making a budget, communicating with creditors, "Visions", and many other topics. They have Pressure Relief Groups and Meetings where you get to have other people help brainstorm with you to help you make your "Visions" and dreams come true. When I read your post I was saddened for your kids and your husband at the thought of them losing you. Please do not give up hope that "This Too Shall Pass"! You're in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless!" --Kristina

"Nancy, no matter what your financial situation is, there will always be people who are better off than you, and people who are worse off. No matter how much stuff children have, they will always want something more. But you are the only mother your children have, or ever can have. Nothing - no amount of money or material possessions - could EVER fill the hole in their lives that would be left by your death. When suicide seems like the logical way to solve your problems, it should be a warning sign to you that you're not thinking clearly. And when you feel so overwhelmed that you want to just give up the struggle and lie down and never get up again - DON'T! Force yourself to hang on for another day. Your problems are difficult but not insoluble, and the day will come when you will be glad that you didn't take the easy out."--Pat

"Nancy, I feel very sad for you. Not because of your illness or your debt . I feel sad for you because I understand your despair. I understand the feeling of hopelessness. I have been there. I do not know your religion or your faith so I will not preach to you. I will tell you something that has given me solace. My faith. My faith in myself and my faith in my family. I was close to a breaking point myself due to debt. I was struggling everyday. Then something changed. I tried to think of one positive thing (the glass half full if you will). I forced myself to see some good in life. I started with my children. Yes we were in debt. Yes I could not provide them with everything, but I had my children. They were beautiful and healthy. I was able to put food in their stomachs, a roof over their head and clothes on their back. Everything else was extra. I made myself realize that is was giving my children more than some other people had. My children were not happy with hand me downs and a no frill life style, but I showed them someone else living in a shelter with no home. I showed them children who were their age who went to the mission for food. We decided together we would give away one of their old toys at Christmas to a child who did not even have that. It gave them appreciation for what they did have. It helped us become stronger as a family. We worked together to make ends meet. My children were 7 and 8 at this time. By finding one small positive I was able to find some relief. I have been climbing out of debt. It is a slow process but positive thinking has improved our lives greatly. I think you should talk to your children. Kids have much more insight than adults because of the innocence they possess. They are not misguided yet by society. Work on your debt as a family. You will be surprised to find out they would rather you be happy in life than to have "riches" in the presence of death. Your children love you unconditionally. Optimism is the best defense to secure a better future. Always find the good, even in bad situations. I truly believe everything else you need will follow if you can be positive about the small things. Plus if you are happier there is a good chance your health will improve. I wish for good things for you and your family. Everyone has a purpose in life. That is why we were put here. Don't cut your purpose short, especially if you have not discovered it yet. I wish you well and hope that my advice has helped some."--Jessica

"I would tell Nancy that she is not the numbers. there is a way out. although it is very slow going, I have found spiritual help. it has become sort of a game to see how long I can use something to use it up. there are all kinds of cheap skates books at the library. I use books, tapes and cd's from the library. please don't think about ending your life, your children would suffer greatly. we are all put here on earth for a reason and we only get the crosses we can bear."--Anonymous

"Be of service to others who you can help because of your experience. Service to others is a remedy because it lessens your pain and theirs. Lastly, how will the minds and lives of your two beautiful children be affected with your compared to you being there for them and for their children? You can do this. Pain may be the price you pay but you can do this and will be grateful that you did."--Bill

"Always know that God loves you and so do I. Accept the things you cannot change and change the things you can, which is the way you cope with your circumstances. Cast all your cares upon God and he will deliver you. Never give up faith and hope as you have to set the example for your precious children. Seek help from a professional or from a member of your church family. We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us. May God bless you and your dear family. You are loved."--Zee

"Dear Nancy, I'm in the same boat as you. Jesus calms the storm. He also teaches us NOT TO WORRY. Don't worry about things--food, drink, and clothes. For you already have life and a body--and they are far more important than what to eat and wear.-------So don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time. He is our HOPE."--christine

"Nancy, Hey I am single and have NO Children but HAVE BEEN where you're at. I work two jobs to just make ends meet and I DO HAVE PEOPLE WHO LOVE ME AND WANT ME TO SUCCEED. So BE TUFF and Show your children that there IS ALWAYS someone LISTENING. PLEASE DON'T GIVE UP. I read Mr. Bilker's DebtSmart every time he sends to me. He's great on $ matters. It TAKES TIME."--Robin

"I know things seem tough, but just think how tough it would be for your children to grow up without their mother. Children look for their mom to be there for their milestones, graduations, weddings, birth of children... They need you! I am sure there are ways to make arrangement with your creditors. Worse comes to worse than bankruptcy. These options are still better than death. I think you need to talk to someone that can give you options on your finances and once you have that in line, you will feel like a whole new person!"--kitty

"Nancy, I am so angry that this country we live in has placed its values on material things and possessions to bring you to this place of feeling like there is no way out. What is even more upsetting is that these values have been pushed on to our children to make them feel that if they do not have what the other kids have they are somehow less than others. I had the blessing of spending 1 Month in Ethiopia 2 years ago and it only confirmed to me that our culture has its values upside down. I was among the most impoverished people daily and what I mostly felt was love and happiness because they cherished the relationships they had with family and friends. They had nothing in comparison to what our culture values materially but have what money can't buy. I am what you could consider a Social Worker but not licensed (by choice) believe it or not it actually limits my abilities due to liability factors. I am a Family Self Sufficiency Specialist for low income families. I have been doing this type of work for over 15 years in some capacity or another. You are not alone in feeling that there is no other way to resolve your mental torment. I have been blessed to work with these individuals because it is just amazing to watch the baby steps become strides to the mountain tops. I am witness to people that were homeless with their children to now becoming homeowners. They, like you, felt there was no hope. I don't know what state you live in but there are agencies that can help you. All it takes is connecting with an advocate that is familiar with the support services that you need. One open door will lead to another and another. If our system is oppressing you then use the system to fight back. If your disability is long term, there are Mortgage products to assist you. There are Federal financial aid programs for college tuition, you could also go back to school for free, And hell this is an election year!!! Make them put their money where their mouth is. It is after government policies that have left so many families feeling this overwhelmed. Talk to the campaign managers of each Presidential candidate. They will often use personal stories as a testimate of how they are going to help change the direction of this country. If they make promises to you, get them in writing and hold them accountable. This next suggestion may sound a little of the wall but you would be surprised at how effective it can be.... You know that cliche.... " I AM MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GONG TO TAKE IT ANYMORE", take your depression and turn it into personal mission to fight back. Don't let the creditors take your life, your children's life, your husband's life. you will be surprised at how much energy you can muster up if you go somewhere that you feel you can comfortably yell as loud as you want as many times as you want... I AM MAD AS HELL AND I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE. Please NANCY, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am willing to speak to you, if you'd like, about how to locate services in your state, but I will need you to take the first step and email me and we can take it from there. Scott, You should be thanked for sharing this letter from Nancy, situations like these can put most of us in an uncomfortable position in deciding to get involved or maintaining confidentiality. I can tell you I strongly believe that nothing in life is a coincidence and nothing happens without reason. Nancy is the spokesperson for thousands of families across our country and your newsletter is a vehicle for something positive to happen as a result of this story. thank you for being a caring human."--Sherry

"Your kids and family are more important than your debt. Hang in there - you've hit your bottom, take some action to make your situation better, even if it means filing for bankruptcy swallow your pride and do what you need to do to be there for your family. They'd rather be living on the streets with you than no mother and a life insurance payment."--Anonymous

"Nancy, I am retired senior citizen, needing you to know that you can only pay as much as your income allows, remembering to pay shelter, food, and as many bills that you can pay. This advice will work if you do as much as your income allows."--Betty

"She should listen to you. Your reply was right from the heart and very very mind-centering."--Stephanie

"I think that there are resources to help you. Depression and anxiety that you have should be treated professionally in addition to taking steps those things about debt that you can control. Sometimes that can be very difficult if you are depressed and anxious. I don't believe in capital punishment for any reason let alone debt. Be a fighter Nancy."--Bill

"Hello Nancy. I've been there. I understand. Things are not wonderful for me either. I too have a disability which my younger daughter has inherited. We have Asperger Syndrome, a form of Autism which severely limits our ability to earn a dignified living. I have fed my children oatmeal for dinner more times than I can count. We have been "okay" for a few small periods of time, but mostly we too have been "on the edge". I have been a single parent for the vast majority of the 20 years I have been a parent. You are not alone! My 20 year old daughter put away all her babysitting money from the age of 13 to 18 toward college. She worked hard in school and earned a small partial scholarship. She worked every summer, and by the time she was ready, she had almost $5,000 in her college fund. I had contributed only about $500.00 of that over the years, as I was able, literally one $5.00 bill at a time. She now works 2 jobs and attends college part time, lives on her own in a decent but modest apartment, and she had to move to a smaller town to be able to afford a place of her own, but she did it! And she did it because she never saw me give up, or give in. It was hard, but I knew they needed me, and depriving them of a mother would be a harder hurdle for them to survive, than a childhood of poverty. There is always hope. Please talk to someone near, who will not judge. Please call a crisis line, and then a credit counselor. Please don't take away from your children the one and only anchor they will ever really need. A loving mother. I don't have one. I miss her every day of my life. I care about you. Please stay!"--Betina

"Tell Nancy to hang in there! Everything she is going through right now is just a "blip" in the scheme of the universality of Life. Yes, she may not get a new car--but she can get a good reliable one the she feels safe squiring her family around in. There are programs just for her like Habitat for Humanity that can make possible her dream for home ownership. Don't give up! In the meantime, if her children are old enough she should share her experiences in life with them (she earned them the hard way--she went through it!) and equip them with the skills and abilities they need to make their way through the world. Talk to, love, and share her expertise with them. This is the best in parenting. If and when something should ever happen to their mom, they will remember her presence and words, not the flashy thing parked in the driveway. Love is stronger than debt. "--SewAmazing

"Nancy, I also have chronic health problems and I am on SSD. Until last year, my husband and I fought constantly, told each other we married each other for awful reasons, had BIG money problems and feelings of hopelessness… I attempted suicide but was found by a medical search team. I am telling you this because YOU are not alone; there are thousands of people who understand exactly how you feel and will be there to support you through this heart wrenching time. Don't allow yourself to think your children will be better off without you-they won't. For the rest of your children's lives there will be an emptiness where your presence should be because no one can give them the validation, courage, and love they deserve you have. Please tell your doctor how you feel and that you need real help now! Depression is awful but getting the right Rx takes time AND I had to change five times before I found the one that works for me. Maybe you need to be hospitalized to correct your current medications? No matter what the process is, you deserve help. I was hospitalized for over 10 days and have been in Dialectic Behavior Therapy and separate group session for over a year to learn skills to deal with low self esteem and inability to know proactive processes to regain balance during crisis. It has been amazing therapy in that the past can't be changed, only the present and the future can. I've learned so much and I thank God I found out about DBT. I learned "taking care of myself first is a loving gift to others" -- you need to take care of you too. I have reclaimed quality renewal time for me as a regular scheduled "item." I know my limits and when to say "no" without guilt. I am going to be on disability for the rest of my life but I am worthwhile and so are you. My relationship with my husband is mending and we are slowly nibbling away at the debt and living on a budget for the first time and we are starting to REALLY LIKE each other. My relationship with my children is healthy and revitalized which is more than I thought possible. Nancy, I am cheering and praying for you because I could have written a letter like yours a year ago (maybe not as well) but with the same despair. Take control of your negative thoughts and go forward to grasp the hands of those who want to help you. Please give yourself the gift time to know how tremendous you are. I send this to you with love. Always ~" --Maria

"I would just like to let her know that we are all dealing with things that seem out of our control sometimes, and I would never make light of her difficulties, but it is my strong belief that out of strife comes opportunity!!! Nancy, you are loved and needed by the children God has blessed you with. I can tell you as a young boy that I was in and out of apartments with the alcoholic my mother had married after my father's death. My mother and I were broke, abused, and afraid, but we stuck together, and we are now free of those times and bad circumstances!!! Stay strong, have faith, and know that you will come through this!! We are all praying and thinking of you!!! "--Sean

"WOW!!! Well Nancy, the first thing is to STOP saying what you won't have and believing what you will have. I made up my mind I was NOT going to lose my house I handled business and I WILL NOT. I gave up my car, I walk, I am healthier for it. I DO so want a NEW CAR but Scott is right, so I will go to the Auction and get a 2002-2004 "NEW TO ME" car that is paid for in full and I can get full coverage on the insurance - so I can get another car if shit happens. Nancy, I know depression! It is scary! When my husband left 8 years ago, I cried and boo hooed for about 2 hours. Then I said "Stupid, you gonna sit here an cry or git on with your life". It was an easy choice. You will be amazed what windows open when you begin to think positive. I may NEVER be rich or own all the wonders of the world, but no matter where I am in the world I will be HAPPY. Sad in Oakland."--Leslie (BlaqRubi on the Internet)

"Nancy No matter how hopeless things may seem right now and maybe in the near future money isn't worth your children not having a mother. Please, please reach out to your friends, family, church, even me! I am willing to talk to you and find help close to you. I have been where u are! Hugs and blessings"--Trish

"There are times I have wished that I would come home and find my home destroyed by a tornado or fire just so I could get out of debt. (I will never do this, it is just a fantasy) But I would rather have nothing and no debt.... it is a huge psychological burden. My only advice to Nancy is that she is much more necessary to her children than money...It is hard to keep that focus in such a consumer oriented society... but try to remember!"--Anonymous

"I have to say it would seem the same to me except I really feel there is more to life than what we see right now. Life brings ups and downs. Don't destroy the whole wonderful thing by destroying life while you're down. You can better appreciate the good times when you can suffer through the bad times. See Flylady.net. She's been there and has a way to pull yourself out."--Dana

"Nancy, Please don't confuse giving your kids stuff with giving your kids what they need. All the "stuff" they want will not really create the character they need- or you want them to have. Long ago I read an article written by a young woman whose parents could give her nothing for college-- but they loved her and encouraged her. She put herself through school and said it was the BEST experience she could have had for life. She is not worried at all about school for her kids because she wants them to have that same experience. I know it sounds crazy but not having so much can be better for them-- but you must realize the false value of all that stuff and of things just being given to our kids-- It is no good for them and does not train them for the future. Of course they need food, clothes and a roof over their heads that is save-- but millions of people live in a rented apartment for their whole lives and are fine-- It is in attitude-- . I can tell you are extremeley depressed and I have been there myself. I hope you have a faith community to plug into, if not-- please find one, I will pray for you and please know that God loves you and your family. There are some enormous spiritual lessons you can learn from this-- not easy but possible."--Janet

"You have a car? Wow! Lucky you! We take the bus when we have to, or walk in the FL heat when we don't have bus fare. I have credit cards that I haven't paid anything on in over 7 years. I get a letter in the mail every now and then, but no calls. They don't bother me because I told them not to. Yes, you can really do that. College fund? We can barely afford basic necessities. We eat a lot of pasta, rice, potatoes, and whatever else we can get cheap, but we manage to have balanced meals most of the time. OJ is a treat. Potato chips? Candy? Only when someone else buys them. We have homemade soup a lot, made from whatever we have leftover in the fridge. I make most of our food from scratch, and hubby had no idea it wasn't from a box the first time I made "rice-a-roni". We wash our clothes in our bathtub, then hang them to dry. We are lucky enough to have A/C, but we keep it set to 83 or higher to save on electric. We use email to save on the phone bill (composed/read offline; downloaded/uploaded online to save our internet minutes - 10hrs free/month). There's so much you can do to NOT incur more debt, which will enable you to dig your way out eventually. Do a search for "frugal living" and see how many ideas you'll get. Join some of the frugal Yahoo Groups if you need the support of other members going through the same situation. So the creditors take you to court. So what? A judgement doesn't always mean that they'll get their money. You can't pay what you don't have. Simple as that. Don't spend your life worrying. Worry more about living and teaching your children to live. They are counting on you so that they know what to do when they get older. They will have a difficult time being responsible for themselves if they don't know how. Show them that "stuff" doesn't matter so much, and they will learn to make better financial decisions when they're older instead of just finding the money to buy "things". In our American society, it's shoved in our faces on TV. We're supposed to have a big house full of the latest "stuff". Not true. We have what we need, and nothing more unless we really want it and can afford it. If it's not in the budget, we don't get it. We are on the verge of being evicted because hubby has been out of work for over a year now. We've been barely surviving. But in that time, we've always had a roof over our heads, food on our table, and clothes on our back. For us, that's enough because it has to be. We'll tackle the other hurdles when they show their faces. Until then, we'll be happy that we have those things that a lot of people in this world don't. Do the best you can with what you have, and don't worry about what the "Jones'" have. They (more than likely) have more debt than you do to afford all the "stuff" they have. "Stuff" is not important when you think about watching your babies grow and learn, then become adults and have families of their own. Live for YOU and your FAMILY! Isn't that what life is all about? Millions of people in this world live without much money at all, and still have a quality life, and can smile in the end."--Anonymous

"Nancy, everything that Scott has told you is absolutely true. The bill collectors WANT you to feel that paying money to them is more important than your own life; they WANT you to feel that if you don't accede to their unreasonable demands, you are somehow worthless to your family. Nancy, DON'T LET THE DEBT COLLECTORS WIN! As a DEBTSMART reader, you know that there many, many options for dealing with debt problems, e.g., debt management, debt settlement, or even bankruptcy, which may be an entirely appropriate and indicated remedy for someone in your desperate situation. Hang in there, Nancy, your heartfelt plea has touched a responsive chord amongst the entire DEBTSMART family. Give us a chance to help you and your wonderful children!!"--Rod

"Nancy, We live in a land where things and image are king. Somehow we believe that if we have nice things, lots of money, fancy vacations, etc. we have arrived. It's not true. There are several parts to who we are. We have a physical side, a mental side, an emotional side, and a spiritual side. True success in life is in getting all of these sides to become balanced. If we spend too much time worrying about material or physical things, then our mental state slides and as our mental state slides, our spiritual state slides and then our emotions get out of control. Everything hasn't worked out in my life like I thought it would either. Sometimes I still feel like a failure. But every day, I work just a little bit on each of these areas. Sometimes, I just take time for a special bath to take care of me. Other times, I call a creditor and ask for a reduction of an interest rate. Or, I'll stop in the middle of my day and find time to be grateful to a God that created such an amazing place for us to occupy. All of these help my emotional health. I also see a counselor. He has helped me put many things in perspective. There are many who are free or have nominal fees. This is the deal - things are not great for you right now. But you were not meant to bear these burdens alone. You must find someone (hopefully, your husband) to help you share this pain. And every day, take a tiny little step toward fixing it. And the the really big one is this: encourage yourself. At my darkest hour when I felt I could no longer handle the pain, I reminded myself that I was created with a purpose and that I was worthwhile. I didn't feel worthwhile, but I told myself I was. You are with yourself all of the time, and you must learn to speak positive and good things into your own life. Write down today 3 things you can do right now to make your life better. Do one and then celebrate, do the next one and celebrate again, do the third and right after you celebrate, make a new list of 3 things. Nancy, I wish you all of the best in your life. The days and months to come won't necessarily be easy, but hang in there! You're going to make it through this time in your life and when you're fifty and look back, you're going to be glad you took the steps you're going to take to change things! I'm thinking of and praying for you!"--Hannah

"Nancy, Please know that you are not alone with these feelings, BUT there are options that you may not know about that others do and can share. About your medicines, some of them may be FREE. A program run through the pharmaceutical companies may help. Some have income requirements, some don't. You can go online at www.phrma.org and view the list of pharmaceutical companies that run these programs. All you have to do is contact the manufacturer of each of your drugs, tell them your circumstances, ask them about the requirements, and what usually happens is that you have to take a form to your doctor to sign. Your doctor has to sign because it is the doctor that prescribes the drugs. The doctor signs the form and usually in two or three weeks you get the drugs sent to your doctor, and it is free. By trying this--you have nothing to lose and EVERY THING TO GAIN. Suicide is hardest on those who are left behind. I care and so do more people than you realize. God bless you and your family. "--Diana

"Nancy, I feel your pain!! I too am "up to my eyeballs" in debt. I have had the thoughts that your are now having but, I have reminded myself that "suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem". I feel that I may be in major debt until the day I die but, I am staying alive so that I can see my daughters finish college and get married if they choose to. The youngest is enrolling in college this fall and I am borrowing money so that she can go to school and have a better life than I have had. I have MS and arthritis so my health care, insurance, etc. depletes my resources and I have supplemented my low income with credit card debt. I am grateful that we no longer have debtors prisons in America or I would certainly be there. Take care and pay what you can, when you can."--Mildred

"Hi Nancy, I am sorry to hear about your situation and how you are feeling. However, no matter how down you may get please do not do anything to harm yourself as you will be sorely missed by your family and especially your children. You must be strong and know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can and will get out of debt one step at a time and you can achieve your dream of owning your own home. You deserve that and your children deserve that and they need to you to be there for them, to love them and guide them. I know how you feel as I too am in a lot of debt and have a disability and haven't worked in 2 yrs. I have thought the same thing as you but know that this would hurt more than help. So please find someone to talk to about how you are feeling, counselor, priest, friend, and let them help you. There is a lot you have to live for and while you may have some debt now there is a way out and it isn't by harming yourself. You can get yourself out of debt one step at a time. You need a support system or person to help you and you need to be strong & have faith. Things will get better, they always do. I wish you luck and e-mail me if you want."--Nancee

"Nancy, Believe me I've been in your shoes! Please stop and consider your children and husband before doing anything so rash! They love you dearly."--Jodi

"Nancy, i grew up in a wealthy home but my mom hated and my dad left me. i envied some children my age back then cause even though they were poor they had something i could never ask for christmas...a loving mom. so believe me you are the most perfect wealth a child can have."--Miriam

"I have some debt too and am a bit discouraged about that part, but I know God will help me through. These are the consequences (and this is only meant toward myself) of my frivolous spending and, therefore, I will have to live out the consequences probably. I know God cares and loves you, and me too. Please don't give up Nancy. You're important in this world, whether you realize it or not! Stay! :-) Love,"--Pat

"Nancy, Please don't. Your children need you. Doing something like this could forever destroy them. Don't worry about owning anything-do we really own it anyway? Possessions don't matter, family does. Please seek help. God loves you! And so do I out here in cyberland {{{{hugs and prayers}}}}"--Penny

"Nancy, I have felt similar feelings to what you've expressed. The only thing that helped me and my family get rid of the creditors was our absolute last resort and that was bankruptcy. We tried every other possible alternative before we did that, but when we finally did what we had needed to do for years, we felt the weight of the world lift off of our shoulders. We felt and still feel guilty to some extent for not paying all of our creditors, but the feeling of not owing much anymore except a student loan that didn't go away with bankruptcy is so freeing. Even when we still have a little trouble going from paycheck to paycheck, we still feel that sense of "at least we don't owe anyone except the student loan company." It has helped so much not to have to avoid answering the phone or hide from the creditors that actually came to our door! Finally, I want to share that Jesus has been our constant source of help through it all. I prayed for you and will continue to. God loves you and neither He nor I want you to take your life. There is hope. Love,"--Terri

"I have been where you are at now. It wasn't over debt but the cause of hopelessness to the point of suicide is irrelevant. The only thing that kept me from carrying out my plan was the thought of my three wonderful kids and what it would do to them. Yes, my pain would be gone but theirs would begin and carry on through the rest of their lives. Do not believe the LIE that all hope is gone and that death is the only way to find relief. There is ALWAYS a way out but sometimes it is hard to find. That's why you keep on looking and you get up every day and say out loud, "This could be the day". Get help. Your place of worship, state agencies, county or city agencies, heck, the people next door could offer, some assistance. It may be a job, money, help or just a shoulder to cry on. Don't be an island. ASK FOR HELP! and keep on asking till you get it. DON'T GIVE UP! You were created as a unique and special person. No one can take the place you were put on this earth to fill. I made it and you can too. You will be in my prayers. sincerely, Nancy, mother of Sarah, James and John, "--Nancy

"Nancy, please do not give up. Go to your church and if you do not have a church find one!! My church gives food and clothes and that is a start!!! Even the YWCA has programs, both for finances and other help. Do not deprive your kids of the most valuable of lessons. If you commit suicide, your children will not ever be able to succeed under pressure. Show them that these are only steps in life and it takes putting one foot IN FRONT of the other and get going. Teach them that lessons can be learned and strength gained by not giving in to stress and pressures. Do not let "them" take you away from your family. Live for your kids, to teach them that working together and sticking together thru thick and thin is the importance of living. Trust me......my story is a long hard road of sobs....and I did not have anyone, I did it myself. My parents were not there for me, my sister and brother were not there. They all said that I made my bed and I had to sleep in it. Ever hear that??? And my family have MONEY!!!!! so please do not give up.....I am a long way from being out of debt, but I am doing it.......and by myself....I do not have a husband or kids ........the help is out there.....ask!!!! I asked everyone I talked to and everywhere I went!!!! In the business world it is called networking.......PLEASE, IF YOU LOVE YOUR CHILDREN, DO NOT DO THIS TO THEM!!!!!!! They will grow up feeling responsible......I even volunteered in a hospital....and for every 5 hours of volunteering it was a free meal.....and if you get to know the cooks, they will give you extras. ( So I had a doggy bag to take home...for another meal.)........Please Nancy, listen to me......in one year or two years (maybe less) you will look back and be glad....things do not look so bad when you look back at what "could have "been. My girlfriend filed bankruptcy, because of the same situation, now 4 years later, she is finally feeling freer....yes, she had to pay some of the amount, but the lawyers made a deal and at least she will be able to start again.....she had a 2 year old daughter at the time.....now her daughter is 6.....I tell her....look what you would have missed.....and she says "Yeah, she is worth all I had to go thru, because now I have my future to plan with her"--Bobbie


"Nancy, I'm not shocked to hear your story, but I am saddened by it. A lot of people feel the way you do, but few have the courage to admit it. The most important person in your children's life is YOU. Please don't ever forget that. I grew up in a poor family. My mother did not have the money to send me to college, but I went anyway. There were times while I was in college that I didn't think I would finish, because I didn't have the money, but I did finish. I understand your problem, with debt. I'm in debt also, but my life is still worth living, and so is yours. Very much so. We as people need to stop comparing ourselves with others. My mother used to tell us that we don't know how other people got the things that they have, so we should not want to be in their shoes. One thing I can say to you is that I grew up in a loving home. Not much money, but a whole lot of love. Please look at your situation and re-evaluate it. You have so much to live for. "--Anonymous

"My dear Nancy - I am so sad for you - please do not believe that life is so intolerable that you have to take your own life, and leave two precious children as orphans. Do u belong to a church - if so - do not be ashamed - talk to your pastor about a special fund being set up for you and your children and that you are in terrible need of this. Will your doctor contact pharmacies in Canada so that u can get your medications at reduced rates - there are also Canadian pharmacies right here in the United States - you will need to find where they are. Our Lord gives us what we need on this earth - everything anyone of us have is borrowed for the short term - the only thing that is long term is going to heaven and living in eternity. I too always drive used cars. I just got my first home 2 years ago at age 53,and am paying a mortgage - so never say never. I brought my son up in an apartment and we did fine. I also am a single parent, and we managed. I too have many physical issues and have to take many medications daily and weekly, and will for the rest of my time on this earth. There are many summer camps and after school centers where you would be eligible for scholarships based on your income and medical expenses, etc - that is how my son went to camp. Our Lord leads us to it, and will take us through it - meaning that whatever our Lord gives us, he knows we can handle. No amount of money owed is worth suicide. As Scott said, go bankrupt if you have to, however keep up with the bills u must pay, like rent, electric, telephone, food, etc. My parents were very poor, however they still took us to museums on weekends and just left donations, etc. Every city has many free places that one can take children to. In spite of coming from a poor home, my brother became a Harvard trained surgeon and teaching doctor, and I became a Teacher of Emotionally Handicapped children. DO NOT GIVE UP. Blessings,"--June

"Please hang in there, Nancy. Your beautiful children need you. They don't care how much money you have. They only need and want YOU!! I will think of you and your children and pray you find some inner peace. May God bless you today and always."--Claire

"Nancy, Please don't kill yourself over your debt. Scott is right. A brand new car is a total rip off. A good used one is just fine- all you want is a way of transporting from place to place! But aside from this, your kids need you. You are the most important person for them right now. They may not show it all the time but they do need you and love you. You didn't seem to mention how old they were. You don't need to buy them things all the time or keep up with the Jones. I went through debt consolidation for 3 1/2 years- it was not easy because my husband went through surgery and we ran up a lot of bills on the credit cards. It was difficult explaining to my daughter who was 11 yrs. old at the time why I can't buy her certain things but I compensated by looking for lots of free things to do with her (taking out videos & books from the library instead of going to movie theater; going for walks in the park instead of going to Great Adventures). It felt like the pressure will never end but it did and the weight is off my back. Nancy, if you can't consolidate, please declare bankruptcy. It's not like you don't have a valid reason what with your medical expenses. I'm rooting for you and want to hear more of your story. It helps sometimes just to tell other people about things. Take care!"--Anonymous

"Dear Nancy, I am 34 years old and my mother is absolutely my best friend. She grows wiser to me with age (mine, not hers), and she has been there to support and love me through every one of life's trials. When I went through my divorce, I truly don't know how I would have made it without her. Right now your children may hate being poor and not be inhibited about letting you know that. They are young, still forming values and need help in shaping them - your help. Like so many others in America, the land of capitalism, they are comparing their possessions to those around them, finding they come up short, and they are frustrated. They perhaps have yet to be able to appreciate the fact that their mom is a constant in life - always there with love and open arms, even when they really mess things up. Perhaps they haven't really messed things up yet - they will, because we all do, and when that happens, they will need you. Please be there for them. It took me about a year and a half after I separated from my husband to be rightfully horrified about something I was doing to myself. I became aware one day that deep in the privacy of my own mind I was thinking very dark thoughts about myself - thoughts like "you haven't done anything right, you don't deserve to be loved, if you weren't here no one would miss you - in fact it might make things better." It would appall me to hear someone else saying, or to myself say, these things to another person because people deserve more dignity and respect than that. Why was it acceptable, then, that I should direct these thoughts at myself? For quite some time I had to think of myself from a distance, as just some random person - some nameless part of humanity - just so that I would be able to respect myself. I have a feeling that you find yourself thinking similar thoughts, and while it may feel as if there is no one to understand your pain, there are others out there who have felt and/or are feeling it. Your email to Scott, and permission for him to print it, has provided others with the lifeline that they need to know that they are not alone in their struggles - who knows, you may have saved someone else's life! It is ironic how asking for help and understanding with money issues is such a taboo in a country that is driven by cash. I am a patriot and I love America, but we are not without flaws as a country, and one of them is that once a person falls behind financially here it is a huge uphill battle just to get to some sense of normalcy again. You are fighting not only that battle, but one with a disability as well. That is exhausting - no wonder you're tired! But please keep going - you are valuable, you are needed, you are loved, and you have gifts that you offer this world without even realizing it! You are in my thoughts and prayers."--Tina

"Don't do it Nancy! What kind of legacy will you leave your children? They will always live with the fact the their mother took her own life? Accidental you say? There will always be doubt. They will carry the guilt the rest of their lives. Material possessions are not everything. Love is more important. Turn to God. There is peace there. "--Karyn


"Wow, Nancy's story is certainly tough. What has kept me moving is my daughter and knowing she needs me more than any material thing. Sure it pains me to see her friends with tons of toys that she'll never had, but joy in seeing her make everyday items into toys. Scott is right, your children want you, even if they don't tell you. I hated growing up poorer than all my friends, but I also loved knowing my mother in a ways many didn't, because she was around, not working around the clock. So hang in there for them."--Michelle

"Nancy, you are not alone, even in your darkest hours. What seems like the solution, simply isn't. Beautiful children that love you and look up to you. They know how much you love them and have done for them in life. Your hardships are teaching them so many valuable lessons that will make them wonderful adults that you will be very proud of, lessons that will be passed on generation to generation because you taught them. Yes, you...wonderful, loving mother that you are taught your children the most valuable lessons in life that others don't even know or understand. Oh you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Let us help lift it off, we are more than happy to help walk you thru this with suggestions that will get you on track or out of debt (bankruptcy). No it's not the end of the world, it is a beautiful beginning for you and your family. Feel our strength and love for you holding you up, directing you and guiding you along life's path. Realize first, that it's not the material things in this world that matter but the spiritual and family that mean the most. All other things can be replaced, you or your family can never be replaced. Who cares about the best, you already have that in your family, aren't they just the best? I think so and I know deep in your heart and theirs you all agree. Love conquers all, no matter what, they love you and want you to be there always with them. Don't deprive them of this. I don't know if you pray, but look to the heavens and ask for help, Our Lord is so generous in His mercy and Love, he will surround you, give you strength and show the way to go. Doors will open and all you need to do is take the steps that will help you by the guidance of others. You see you aren't alone, we love you and want to help you. I am praying so hard right now that you will see and understand this message, Faith, Hope and Love are being given to you freely that you may live the life you were intended. I offer my support in any way I can to lift your spirits and get you headed in the right direction and show you, how much your family needs you and how much we love you. "--Diane

"Nancy, your story is very moving . I also live on the edge, but money and love are not equal. Love is everlasting. I do not know the ages of your children but I do know some kids who have lost a parent to suicide. These kids always felt it was their fault and that the parent must have not loved them much to have left. Don't do it."--Jan

"If you are at the point when you think everything is the worst it could get, then from here it has to get better. And, if it is not the worst it could get, then why would you want to take such a drastic action? I know you feel alone and out of control. There are many people and ways that would help you. I do not know why everyone thinks they have to have a college fund, I paid my way through college. Everything else can also be fixed in a number of ways. I think you are asking the right people now."--becki

"Nancy, I just had a dear friend commit suicide by overdosing. He may have ended his own pain, but he left a wife, two children, and numerous other friends and relatives to try to pick up the pieces. I believe that if he could see the DEVASTATION his actions caused, he would not have gone through with this. Please reconsider and see if there are other options to get through this. Your actions will seriously effect your children's future!"--Aim

"Don't let pride get the best of you! As Scott said those kids need You more than new things. Would their lives be enriched without your presence? Very doubtful! If you can take advantage of programs in your community it may help, even temporarily, take some of the burden from your shoulders. Many charities have what might be considered high maximum salaries for their clients. You may not realize you qualify for many of them. Is your life worth a million dollars or whatever it is you owe? Every soul is worth much more than money. Do you attend a church where you might have fellowship and encouragement and the help of the congregation? In our town there is a program where you can get all the kids' school supplies for free if you sign up beforehand and show up at the appointed place to get them. Kids' coats that have been cleaned and made "new" are also available for free. At Christmastime there is a program provides families with presents for each child and groceries for the holiday meal. (And food pantries and clothing rooms all year long...) People often call our local non-profits and ask for help with rent & utilities. When cash isn't available it's suggested clients use the food pantries to help save enough to pay the rent or utilities. Federal Social Security Disability appears to deny everyone at the first application. You have to keep at it and if you do qualify they will help. As I understand, you may have to apply through your local government first to get the ball rolling. Debtors Anonymous may provide support and encouragement. I personally made a new year's resolution that 2004 would be my year to get out of debt and it is working! I made up a budget at the beginning of the year and even wrote out the payment checks! I have been passing up purchasing anything that isn't absolutely necessary-- much to the amazement of my friends (who by their own admission(s) should also be passing things by...). Newsletters like Debtsmart have provided me with hints, tips and downright good advice, not to mention encouragement in this endeavor. I'm convinced God doesn't want us to be in debt. But there are things we are expected to do to make that happen. Good luck and may God bless you richly. "--Anonymous

"Nancy, Please look at this website: http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/ Excellent website talking to people who are contemplating suicide. It only takes 5 minutes to read. First I want to applaud your bravery in sharing with this list about your situation. That takes courage. I'm also impressed at how carefully you've analyzed your situation. You must be a bright woman. Second, I acknowledge your feelings of wanting to end the pain. I've had feelings like that. When I drove to work I wanted to just drive off the bridge into the river. What kept me safe wasn't some moral conviction or love for family. I figured that if I did drive into the river, someone would rescue me and I'd survive the accident only with a lot more injuries. I never really wanted to kill myself. I just wanted to die so that all the pain and anguish would stop. I wanted to escape. One thing to remember. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I know your financial problem isn't small but it could be that there is a small step you can take. For me it helped tremendously to get counseling. Ask your insurance carrier about coverage. Many employers offer short-term counseling for free for employees and their families. Where I used to work it was called EPA and I could get a max of 10 sessions per year for free. Remember, you are a courageous and bright woman who is worthy of respect. You may not be able to receive such a compliment because it doesn't match with how you feel right now. It doesn't make it any less true. You deserve to feel better. Take the steps you need to do to feel better. You are worth it. Be gentle with yourself, Linda and the zoo."--Linda

"I would say Nancy I have been there and I understand your sense of loneliness and desperation. But I read a wonderful book many years ago called "How to Get out of Debt and Stay out of Debt". This book, more importantly than telling me how to handle creditors began with (something to the effect) "...you owe people some money... so what...Blood is not flowing in the streets." It made me realize that the amount of money I have or debt I owe does not determine my self worth. I am valuable because I was created and formed by the hands of a loving God. I don't know if you are a person of faith, but I am because I have truly experienced God's miracles in my life. I would encourage you to seek God and in doing so find yourself. There are also wonderful Christian Financial Counselors out there that would be happy to assist you in meeting the needs of your children and in handling your debt. Give them the chance. "--Debbie

"nancy don't do anything like that. There is noting worth taking your life over. I know debt is hard i am there also. Right now my husband and I have decided to file bankruptcy. It is better to do that then take your life. Or go with a debt mangement company or something. Also Nancy ask God to help you to have strength to not even think thoughts of suicide. I feel like that is a trick of satan. God is a greater power that is in control of the situation"--quada

"I would like Nancy to know that truthfully her children need her more than money. Faced with a choice I have no doubt what their answer would be. Her email to you is a cry for help, and she should definately seek treatment for depression. I understand how hopeless being deep in debt can be, my family is in a similar situation. It can be hard to see others living well and know that at least in the present you can't enjoy that. But God, Jesus and the Bible have much to say about debt and oweing money-not to mention about love and faith. Hopefully Nancy could find some comfort in religion as well as the strength to carry on. By looking to the future, she can change her situation as well as that of her children by teaching them good money skills. I hope for the best for her. "--katie gregg

"Don't do anything like that Nancy. Been in your shoes-you're obviously online so get creative.Used is no sin, it just means the kinks have been worked out for you. We never got ahead enough to save for college either but the last one will graduate within 6 months and none went to cheapie places-they all worked-didn't hurt them either-graduating with honors because it mattered! Talk to your doctor-some of your medicines can cause depression but you can make it."--Anonymous

"Wow, very eye-opening. I too am deeply in debt and also take many medications due to a debilitating disease and just like Nancy I have also thought about the easy way out. That is...until I remember a friend of mine to succeeded in doing just that. The problem is that the loss of a friend or family member to suicide leaves an emptiness that echoes through your soul. Scott, Please let Nancy know that as far as her medications go, she most likely will qualify for medication assistance programs provided by the drug companies. She will need to contact a social worker to accomplish this and can get in touch with one through a county or city program, home health companies or hospitals. She should get this done immediately. I do not know what their family financial situation looks like, but they probably qualify for Medicaid for the children and for her. I am sure that a social worker will be able to come up with many other ideas as well. Along with the support that you are giving her, I bet she will start to feel better. Sincerely,"--Alan, RN

"I think many of us have had similar occurances in our lives. I know I have. Hope seems impossible to find, but just look at your children. I never want to miss a minute of their lives (just like marriage - in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer). I know my kids don't have all the stuff the 'haves' do, but they have all of me (and trust me there are plenty of 'haves' that buy all that stuff but never give their kids the greatest gift we have as a parent - ourselves). Birthdays and holidays can be tough because kids want everything they see on TV, but as long as the basics are covered (food, clothing, shelter, school) they will be fine. It's difficult in this day and age to teach ourselves and our children that 'things' aren't important (look at some of the haves - they buy whatever they want, go everywhere, do whatever they want and most are so desperate for attention that their behavior becomes the next days headline). If you don't go to church, think about finding a church that appeals to you and attend with your children. You need to develope a sense of community and support for yourself and your children. You are not asking for pity - your are looking for comfort and support. If church doesn't appeal to your, look for a disability support group. You need an outlet for your feelings, and like most parents, you don't want to dump them on your kids. On the flip side though, you need to let your children know what is going on with your life and the family finances - they can't understand if they don't know. I have had to tell my oldest one on more than one occasion that we don't have the money to buy the latest 'thing' and at six that can be tough, but he is starting to understand and learning to cope with reality (this is not a bad thing). Church or support groups are also great resources for information that you can tap into to make your life better. You've already took a big step when you emailed Scott. When I was at the end of my rope, I took a look at all the bills, the possible eviction, and no job opportunities and said to myself, "What are they going to do? Take my birthday away from me?" Really, what is the worst thing that could happen? If you can accept work with the worst outcome, you will soon come to realize that the worst very seldom, if every, occurs. Yes, we had to move into a smaller place. Yes, I eventually got another job at lower pay. No, I can't pay my students loans off or the credit card bills. I'll never own my own home or drive a new car off the lot. We all come to the realization that, really, those are not the important things in life and most of the people in the world are right there with me and you. Society as a whole needs to change, but since I am but one small square peg in a round hole, I just work on myself and my family. If I can change the way we think about 'things' then the world will be that much better for it. You can change the way you think also. It takes time, effort and creativity, but it will happen. Creativity is the spark that lets you view the simple pleasures in life with the joy and respect they deserve instead of placing overinflated value on 'things' and 'stuff'. We can pass on no greater lesson than this to our kids. Ignore the creditors for now, get some more advice from Scott on how to deal with them, learn all you can about the medications you are on and what they are for, ask your doctor questions (they don't know unless you ask), and most importantly hug your kids everyday and tell them how much you love them - there is no great balm for the soul. Finally, remember this - we are each given enough strength to get through the day. Don't worry about tomorrow as you have not been give the strength yet to deal with tomorrow. Think about today, make your choices, have a positive attitude, then set your priorities. Take care and know you are loved. "--Toni

"Dear Nancy, Please know that our Lord and Father feels all the pain that you feel, and more, and hurts just as much as you do . . . . please do not increase his pain by taking away the life that he gave as a gift to you, you have no right to do so. If you let him, all the strength and love that you need to move forward from this moment forward is available to you . . . . just open your heart and mouth and tell him what you need, he WILL answer you, he needs you and your love to glorify him as much as he needs you alive to take care of and raise the gifts of your children that he has given to you. Please stay alive for all of us. May God continue to bless you and keep you, with much love, and regards, "--Robbin

"Nancy, Nothing materialistic, including money, in this world is worth giving up your life. I have three children, a wonderful husband and we are always walking the edge: in fact, I don't know too many people who are not walking the financial edge. I do know, that my family is the greatest blessing God has ever given me and no matter how tight money may get, no matter how many creditors may knock on my door or ring my phone, I have the love of my children and my husband and I love them and that alone is worth living for. When I got up this morning I dreaded having to balance the checkbook, review bills, etc, because I new we were closer to the tight line than we prefer. Before hand, I needed some uplift from Debtsmart and I saw your email -- Nancy, thank you! You put my frustrations back into perspective. Please -- don't do it, as frustrated as your children may get with you, they need you just the way you are. :-)"--Anonymous

"Nancy, no matter how you feel now, no matter how the circumstances look, money is really NOT the most important thing in life! Know this yourself and teach your children this very important fact! Remember they learn from you...if you are depressed about money and always wanting more, they will and probably even more so! Money may buy a lot of things and yes, it can make life more comfortable, but it doesn't bring anyone true happiness. It is important that our children realize this or else they will have a hard time finding peace and happiness in their own lives. Trust in God, do the best you can financially and enjoy what you do have and teach your children to do the same. Life is short, there isn't time to dwell on what we are missing, spend the time you have enjoying and making the best of what you do have. Is a new car really that important...not to me. Is a home of your own really that important...it's nice to have but not necessary. People can be plenty happy renting or ...it's love that makes a home, not a ownership of a house. Is college really that important...my husband and I were never able to pay our 4 children's way through college, but they've done ok...two paid their own way, one went into the military and got a GI Bill plus worked his way through (with a family), and the other chose not to go to college...their choice, their ways and they are all doing ok. When I die, I don't think I will be at all concerned about any of these things, I will ask myself, did I show them enough love, did I teach them to trust in God and to love others? "--Mary

"Everybody is struggling with their debt, that is why we have people like Scott to help us beat the rap of creditors. Don't let them get to you! with the help of God, pray that you will get stronger so you can be there for your children, they need you more than anything in this world."--sam

"Nancy - PLeae listen to Scott's advice. YOur kids do need you and Together, you can live a good life. Hang in there, file bankruptcy, whatever, but don't leave your kids alone - no one can ever replace their mother."--Sally

"Nancy, I can identify. I don't even have disabilities, nor am I on prescription drugs. I, too, bought life insurance so that in the end if I killed myself, all my debts would be paid and not transferred to my partner or my daughter. Luckily, it had a 2 year time frame for suicide, which has kept me going! Life just seems to pressuring, and too difficult to me. I have been able to hold out hope by insisting to myself I focus on the smallest of my prosperities, no matter how small. A new bird at my bird feeder. Kind words from people. The magic I see in every day life. It's not easy. When I read "Destiny of Souls" recently by Michael Newton, I realized that if you do "cross yourself over" that they are NOT happy with you on the other side, and they will insist that you return quickly and do it all again. So, there isn't much escaping, apparently. I came to realize that our difficulties have some life lesson in them, as much as that thought angers me and makes me feel beligerant towards the Universe. But, changing my thoughts towards learning rather than escaping has helped some as well. I also know my daughter's life would be forever affected in such a horrible way if I ended it, and they're right ... .she prefers me over the life insurance money ... even if they did actually pay. I wish you well, and I do understand."--tammy

"Have faith that God will bring you through this, he will, I know, because I have been there. I am a single mother with two beautiful kids who was on the brink of suicide, but God wouldn't allow that. Your children need you more than you know. If things are the way that you describe, your children will be able to attend college on grants and scholarships. Who says that we have to pay their way entirely? They can also get jobs on campus, I did and I am not ashamed of it. I worked hard for my scholarships and received grants. I also worked on and off campus, your children can do the same thing. It is never too young to learn responsibility. The thing that will hurt the most is not looking out into that crowd and seeing you there smiling with tears in your eyes as you cheer them on to a bright future. I care and I am sure that others do too! God Bless You,"--Renee

"Nancy, I completely understand the feelings of hopelessness that come with debt and not being able to get out of it (debt, that is.) I am in deep, too. It sounds like you are very worried about how your family feels, especially your children. Please know how much worse things would be for them without you there in their lives! While they may not understand how debt affects people (in terms of what you can provide compared to what other families have) I'm sure in time they will see. My children are young, and don't always understand that "we don't have money to spend on that", but they'll be ok without a lot of the things their friends have. Focus on the time you can spend with them and look for free entertainment (rent movies from the library, go on a picnic to the park, etc.) I hope you find the strength to tough it out!! They need you here much more than they need material things. I'm sure there has to be another option for you. Good luck finding it."--Shannon

"I, like Nancy, am on many many medications daily. I am only 36 and am also a mother to two. I am in debt and live on disability raising two teens on 585.99 a month. I use 100 of this monthly to pay my debts if one bill has to only get 5.00 that is what it gets. To use my medication to go to sleep would be such a disservice one to my children and two to my doctor who trusts me. I live in severe pain and in the last 4 months have had two spinal strokes to where I was paralyzed from the chest down. I am now walking with a cane waiting for the big one. But I can still see the bright side of things. Maybe you should stop and think of how much pain your children and loved ones would be in with you gone. Kids blame themselves when things are our fault how would they feel? Life insurance would not help that and most will not pay on suicide."-- Michelle

"I agree with Scott, don't pay, declare bankruptcy. Everyone gets that second chance. Your children will go to college. When my sisters and I were in our teens we lived with my mom only. She worked to just put food on the table and pay basic necessities. She could never afford a new car but she showed us how to check the oil on the old one. She taught us things like how to make a dollar stretch, balancing a checkbook, how to cook, etc. When we wanted something we first asked do we really need it Vs. do we just want it. If we wanted it bad enough we learned to save for it by doing odd jobs for others. The peer pressure can be difficult for your children but the values later in life will give them more than you could imagine. When college time came we applied for every scholarship imaginable, received financial aid and we made it work. It was a struggle but it taught us that nothing is impossible. Most importantly now that we are all grown and working with families it has taught us how to give to others and appreciate every day we have."--Cheryl

"I think you said it all Scott. I hope Nancy listens to you."--Anonymous

"I know how you feel Nancy. I have felt that way before. But the only thing that makes me think otherwise is my children. I lost my father at the age of 23 and I still feel like I missed out on so much. I would do anything to have him back. Nothing can replace him for me. Yes the pain is not as bad anymore but it still hurts. There is a void in my life that nothing can fill because he is not here to share in my happiness, pain or sorrow. I know that my kids would feel the same way that I feel now if I were to leave them. I know that it is overwhelming and sometimes it looks hopeless. But Please your life is worth so much more than any debt that you may have. Think about all that you will miss if you are not here with your children for their future. I will pray for you with all of my heart. Take care"--Jessica

"Dear Nancy, you are not alone. I have felt exactly the same way for the last 4 months. Need i tell you the details? You know the story. But why am I still here? It seems God wants me here. It's not my time yet or he would have me die a natural death. There is still stuff he wants me to do. Same with you. If your still breathing, who or what do you think is moving that breadth through your body? It ain't your time to go yet hon. There is still more for you to experience here on earth. Love for you to share, healing, friendship, togetherness, recovery, strength, courage, and all those things that of the most beautiful part of you. The world still needs you, your children need you, your neighbours still need you, you still need you and most importantly God still needs you here. Hey, I live right across the world from you here in England, and your email has impacted my thinking already for the better. If you can make such an impact when you are feeling down, just imagine the impact you can make when you are in recovery and feeling good? I pray you find the strength, faith and courage to get through this to the otherside. Just go one day at a time, and guess who will be there waiting for you at the end of the tunnel? Love Bola (recovering underearner)"--Bola

"Except for the part about being ill and being married...I often feel the same as Nancy. While my debt is not great, I have unsteady and low income and frequently feel suicidal. And on the days that my children are fighting so much that I want to get far away from them...I think that they would be better off with someone else raising them because obviously (I believe) I am a failure as a mother, as a parent, and as a provider. Scott, I liked your response to Nancy's challenges/beliefs about her situation. It was helpful to me to see the reality of being a "have not". And yes my kids would never stop crying if I left and that is the one thing that keeps me stepping one foot in front of the other some days. Thanks for allowing this discussion that encourages us to get deeper into the feelings behind our life situations."--Christy

"This site was suggested reading from a Debtors Anonymous support group; it brought tears to my eyes also; I am in a similar position. I'm glad to hear you are still with us. Your feelings are real; and, you are not alone. "--Nancy

"Debtors Anonymous. Pray. that's all."--Cara

"My mother just passed last week from pancreatic cancer. My dad left her when I was less than 1 year old with 6 children at home under the age of 16 years. We always lived "on the edge." Yet we were taught that we could have or be anything we wanted if we believed in ourselves and worked toward that goal. My mother never owned but one new car in her entire life (she was 81 when she died). We never went hungry, but we seldom had extra food. My mother always believed that she was richer than a millionaire, because she had her family, her friends and her church and community who all supported her. All I could say to Nancy is that things may always be tight, but she is only poor if she thinks she is. Stick with it. She will be glad she did."--Vickie

"Nothing in this world is worth taking your life for. Whether you believe it or not every new day is a day closer to solving a problem or just being w/ the ones who love us. So don't give up you & your children will make it thru this. "--Anonymous

"Ya, debt does SUCK and the credit card companies could give a @#$%^ about any of us. So we have to get smarter than them, stick together and fight for every penny. We can get ahead!!!"--Dennis

"I will first say and most importantly that you are not alone. I too am in debt and everytime I make a small payment that is more then the minimum payment I get encouraged to keep moving to the next thing. I too have 4 children, 3 are small and I couldn't see myself without them before it was my time to leave this earth. Please reconsider doing any harm to yourself, it would only hurt your children more, they truly need you no matter how much or how little you are in debt. What matters to us normally doesn't matter to children especially when they're young. I grew up poor and tell my children to appreciate what they have today because they may not have it tomorrow. Just consider chipping away at your debt, you and your family will remain in our family." --JAN

"Dear Nancy, I have been where you are, as I'm sure many people have. My husband and I, married for 30-odd years with 3 children, have struggled all of our married lives. When the kids were small, they had to do without a lot of things, except I always made sure they were fed, even if it was with Food Stamps. My advice to you is take it one day at a time, and try not to let things overwhelm you. Thank the Lord you wrote to Scott. I believe he can help you through this. One more thing, Nancy, you have your children to consider. They would NOT be better off without you no matter what you think. So hang in there, things are bound to get better."--Terri

"Suicide has been called "a permanent solution to a temporary problem". My brother-in-law committed suicide, and his teenage children did receive some insurance benefits. Guess what? They would rather have been hungry and living on the streets, and still have their Dad in their lives, than to be alone and semi-orphaned, with a little bit of money. He has been gone more than 14 years now, and they both still struggle with his absence every single day. KILLING YOURSELF WILL NOT HELP ANYONE."--Becki

"I too have considered ending my life to end the pain of what I consider to be absolute failure--breaking my word to my creditors. Then I tell myself that would be the easy way out and I wind up hating myself even more. I don't know what to do but God put us here for a reason-- I guess we just have to see it through. Good luck to you."--Lois

"I'm praying for you Nancy. People you don't even know have been moved to tears by your cry for help. People you don't even know care about what happens to you, and are praying for you. Please turn you heart over to a higher power, who can save you from your fears, who loves you, and can dry your tears."--Jeanette



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