How to Care for Yourself Emotionally After Filing for Bankruptcy
By Tracy L. Hirsch
While filing for bankruptcy can be a necessity and can get you on a path to financial freedom, it can still be emotionally draining. Here’s how to fight against the stigma and the shame that is often associated with bankruptcy.
Filing for bankruptcy is not a decision that most people come to easily. There are mostly negative connotations with this process, as well as the stigma that says filing for bankruptcy is something to be ashamed of.
While I believe that stigma isn’t true, I understand that some people feel fear, anxiety, and/or embarrassment after filing for bankruptcy.
Those emotions can become overwhelming if they’re not dealt with, and can hold you back in terms of moving forward with hope. Even though it’s normal to feel stressed before, during, or after a filing, I want my clients to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Here are four suggestions for staying emotionally healthy after filing for bankruptcy:
1.) Look at bankruptcy as a brand new start. Filing for bankruptcy can be an opportunity for financial relief, as well emotional relief since you won’t be losing sleep wondering how you’ll be able to pay all of your bills.
This is a time for you to discharge and/or reorganize your debts, as well as get a clean slate in terms of not having to hide from creditors or pay exorbitant amounts in interest on credit cards.
If you see it as a means of protection for you and your family, it’ll help you stay hopeful. A Kentucky bankruptcy can help you keep your home and your car, and can also protect your paycheck.
Looking at the glass half-full can help you focus on the benefits of filing for bankruptcy, which will help you feel more emotionally balanced.
It’s important to take care of your mental health when making a big life decision.
2.) Get a support system in place. As you start on this new path, it’s important to surround yourself with friends and family members who can be a source of encouragement to you.
It’s imperative that you have people you can talk to, and even when you don’t feel like talking, it’s good to have people in your life to spend time with where you can take a walk together or spend an evening relaxing and watching a movie.
If you would rather not share the details with your friends about your bankruptcy process, it might be helpful to talk to a therapist.
Many therapists have a sliding fee scale where you pay a low fee if you have limited income, and there are certain non-profit groups and ministries that provide counseling for free.[Please note that if you’ve been feeling extremely depressed or anxious, you should consult with your doctor.]
3.) Give yourself grace. You might be beating yourself up for not managing your finances better or for things that were beyond your control, such as an illness that led to high hospital bills.
Whether you made mistakes or something happened to you that you didn’t ask for, it’s important to grieve those events, and then accept that they are part of the past.
If you’re obtaining a fresh start through bankruptcy, you can have peace in knowing that you have a second chance to get the financial freedom that you’ve always wanted.
If you made poor financial decisions in the past, see this as an opportunity to learn from those mistakes so that you’ll know what to do (and what not to do) in the future. This leads us to the final point!
4.) Create new financial habits. Now that you have an opportunity for a new beginning, it’s important to set yourself up for success when it comes to financial decisions moving forward. You can do this in multiple ways:
> Grab a copy of your monthly budget from your bankruptcy petition, and keep yourself accountable by not going over the allotted amounts for each need (mortgage, groceries, gas, etc.).
> Put reminders in your phone for each of your bills so that you pay all of them on or before their due dates every single month.
> Don’t get coffee on the way to work or buy a meal during your lunch break. Make your coffee at home, and pack a lunch. The savings add up more than you think!
> Don’t tempt yourself to spend money that you don’t have or to buy things that you don’t need. If this means cutting out trips to the mall or not shopping online (except for necessities), then ask a friend to be your accountability partner.
Even though it’s tempting to think that bankruptcy will ruin you, it’ll do the complete opposite if you focus on how it’s protecting you, make your payments on time, implement a solid support system, and give yourself grace.
If you’re reading this and have been considering bankruptcy for awhile, but have felt ashamed to look into it, please call me or text me. I can explain your options and walk you through the process if you decide to file.
There’s no shame in seeking help, and this may be the opportunity that turns 2020 into a better year for you.
I’m available 7 days a week at (502) 435-2593. Remember, your financial and emotional health are important, and there’s nothing wrong with prioritizing those so that you can have hope about your future.
All the best,
Tracy L. Hirsch
Louisville Bankruptcy Attorney
Need a free consultation? Text or call me at (502) 435-2593!