Chase and Sallie Mae Private Student Loans Have Left Me Anxious, Depressed and Suicidal. – Anastasia

“Dear Steve,

I went to school and graduated with a bachelors degree in 4 sequential years time. During the time I was in school, my father lost his job, my parents had to declare bankruptcy and foreclose on our family home, and my father- as a result of all of these events- lost his mind, could not be brought back to his sane state of mind, and is now on a disability check of around $2,000 a month (maybe even less).

After graduating last may and planning on moving to LA to pursue my dream of 10 years I was hit with the repayment of my $80,000 debt. $50,000 with Chase Private Student Loans which has a 14% interest rate- and $30,000 with Sallie Mae.

For Sallie Mae, they offer a repayment plan and I owe 150 a month, which is manageable. However, with the additional repayment of Chase that they will absolutely not work with me on being 450- adding up to $600 a month which is more than my monthly rent and bills combined, I am feeling so desperate that I myself had a nervous breakdown at work- ps I have to waitress 2 jobs all the time and can’t pursue an internship in my field because of these repayments. So, I now have no job and had to get on an anxiety/depression medicine to deal with my daily panic attacks and crippling depression/suicidal thoughts. I contacted a lawyer to see if I could take them to court and declare hardship (since I know I can’t file for bankruptcy on student loans) and after everything was looking very promising and in my favor, I was told that I can’t go this route until at least 5 years of repayment.

So now I am in the position where I can’t pay these back (I’m a 24 year old female and literally dropped down to 94lbs because I can’t afford to buy food for myself and additionally my stress levels wouldn’t keep anything down anyway) What is going to happen to me if I am just not able to make payments? My Father can’t work because he is disabled but is a co-signer, will they go after my parents and what little they have? Will they try and sue me and/or them? Is there any kind of hope for me or am I doomed to choose between living in the purgatory without a future or ending it to get out? Please, any information you have for me would be so helpfull right now. Thanks so much for your time.

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Dear Anastasia,

If these were government backed student loans you’d have a number of good options, as shown below. But unfortunately these appear to be private student loans.

In that case you’d have to work directly with the loan servicer or loan holder on any allowances or adjustments they would be willing to make.

Private student loans are a trap. Unfortunately many people were never advised of the dangers before they signed on the line. As a co-signer you father would be responsible as well if you were unable, unwilling, or not around to pay.

I wish I had better news on this but it wasn’t all that many years ago that Congress removed the eligibility of private student loans from inclusion in bankruptcy. It appears the easiest path to remedy the situation would be to lobby Congress to make then eligible to be discharged in bankruptcy again.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.


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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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2 thoughts on “Chase and Sallie Mae Private Student Loans Have Left Me Anxious, Depressed and Suicidal. – Anastasia”

  1. As someone who struggles from depression and anxiety related to my large student loans ($117k of federal and private from NYU), and as someone who daily researches some type of hope/solution/help for managing my variable rate private loans, it is all the more depressing that the only solutions professionals provide are doomful and pretty hopeless.

    Anastasia, the only advice that I’ve found that has helped in any way is focusing on what I do have (am I safe? do I have shelter? do I have friends? it sounds like you at least have a dad…) and taking it one moment at a time. Being grateful that I can walk, being grateful that I am not in a war-torn country, etc – it sometimes helps.

    However, it takes a lot of mental and emotional discipline. I found that anti-anxiety medicine made my situation worse (my anxiety for some reason increased and I had trouble eating). When my hopelessness over my loans reached a low last November, I was desperate to just stop feeling so awful. I considered permanently moving out of the country by starting to WOOF (look it up) and ultimately planned on killing myself. I was hospitalized (which I would recommend avoiding at all costs – it makes everything worse) and realized that the pain I’d cause my family if I ended my life outweighed the pain I’m experiencing daily.

    I too wish I could retire some day, have a family, or own a home – that’s what I thought I was laying a foundation for when I pursued higher education at the best school I could get into. I worked really hard in school as directed by my parents an teachers, as I was told good grades were the key to success; I actually thought I was making a wise investment at 22 when I applied for these loans. I was missing a critical part of financial savvy that I can only assume comes from being around parents who understand financial planning – my dad also co-signed my loans (we never discussed what type of loan, how much, or what the payment plan would be…). I was clearly book-smart, just very life-dumb.

    I would also recommend depression forums – at this point, because the banks, the government, society, and universities can (will?) do nothing about your or my situation, it seems the real issue is how we emotionally deal with this so that our lives still have purpose and joy sometimes.

    I’ve also started focusing less on finding strategies to lower my payments over the next thirty years, and instead focus on how to increase my income so I can overpay as much as possible. However, I understand that would be difficult to do if I were unable to make my minimum payments right now.

    I hope you find hope, Anastasia. My thoughts will be with you. Keep reaching out.


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