Mental Health Related

Here is My Proven Way to Eliminate Your Debt If You Are Bipolar

Written by Steve Rhode


Dear Steve,

I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder more than two decades ago. I am now on government assistance for my condition. I don’t receive a large income and because of my mistakes, nearly 1/3 of my income go to paying my debts. I was suicidal and now I plan to see not only a counselor, but a psychiatrist for my condition.

I am blessed to have insurance. The other 2/3 go to supporting my family and probably other debts. I feel so foolish about wasting what I have and now I feel as if I want to go into more debt because I used someone else’s money to pay my debts.

I feel horrible about this and I want to pay off their debt as well as my own. Right now, I cannot afford it and I realize that I am need of help. I am currently taking medication for not just bipolar disorder, but for other conditions as well.

I fault myself for not always taking care of myself, and also for my debts, that I have taken out foolishly. Now I have messed up another person’s debts and I hope to pay them back, but I am not how. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

How can I write off my debts now that you know of my situation, if that is possible? Would I need to send anything extra to my creditors like a copy of my medical records? What proof would I need to show? They are not in collection as I am paying on them, but where do I begin? How do I show the collectors proof of my situation, as written above?



Dear Gail,

Thank you for your openness and honesty. Dealing with bipolar disorder is a marathon and not a sprint. As you’ve discovered, being bipolar can result in a number of unexpected issues, including a lot of debt.

I have written a lot about debt and bipolar issues. I’m always sympathetic to those who suffer from bipolar disorder because what your brain is telling you and what reality is during an event can be two very different things.

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I’ve seen so many people in a manic phase who go out and run up so much debt they can’t afford due to the hyperconfident thoughts rushing through their heads at the time. Then when they fall into the depressive phase it becomes crushing.

As with most debt situations, this is just a math problem wrapped in emotion. From my point of view, I certainly don’t judge you at all for arriving at this point in your life.

This is a mental health and brain chemistry problem. The debt is just the symptom. The most important step in dealing with this is for you to religiously maintain your medication and mental health appointments. Too many times I’ve seen people stop treatment because they “feel better” and guess what happens, they slide back into the pit.

Frankly, I think you should strongly consider filing bankruptcy and eliminate your debt. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which most are eligible for, will take about 90 days and cost less than $2,000. It will be legally binding on your creditors and that will close the door on these old debts you still owe but can’t afford.

It sounds like you might owe someone you know some money as well. Once you discharge your other debts in bankruptcy you can then repay them what you can afford on your limited income.

My concern right now is your situation is not going to magically go away. It sounds doubtful you have money to save and all available money is flying out the door. I need for you to deal with the debt by eliminating it and start to save money for an emergency fund and/or retirement.

It is time for you to stop trying to repair the past and instead focus on repairing the future. Please!

You can find a good local bankruptcy attorney and have a free discussion about what bankruptcy would mean for you. Bankruptcy is the fastest way to get a fresh start for the least amount of money.

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Please update me in the comments below and let me know what you decide to do.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


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