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Old 09-21-2010, 08:02 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,278 posts, read 563,761 times
Reputation: 885
Default Depression/Suicidal thoughts due to the Economic recession

Let me first start out by stating that I do enjoy City Data's forum. I find a lot of the advice and encouragement on here very helpful.

Now, as you can probably tell, the topic of my post is a grim one. I'm curious whether or not people have been more depressed or have had more suicidal feelings as a result of the economic recession. Do you have friends or family members that have talked to you about this?

Personally, I haven't been happy since my junior year in college in 2005. First, it started out with a horrible relationship with my ex-gf. She treated me awful and totally disregarded my feelings. I coped with that for about two years and then I graduated from college in 2008. Of course, like so many others, I was freaking out over the job market. Fortunately, I found something within a couple months of graduation. The job wasn't ideal and the pay wasn't great. Over the next couple years, I've managed to get a couple of solid raises, earning about $10k over what I started out making.

Regardless of the significant financial gains in such a short amount of time, I still have never been happy. Part of the reason is that I have a significant amount of student loan debt. Another reason is that I'm currently 1200 miles away from any person whom I consider family and a "good" friend, so I feel alienated. Thirdly, I'm petrified that I will not amount to much, meaning my salary may have already peaked, my degree is worthless, and I will never be able to have a family. I can confidently say that the first and third reasons for my unhappiness are significantly tied into what I read on this very forum.

First, I see a lot of posts on here arguing how horrible and detrimental debt is. Here I am, 24 years old, and I feel like my life is on hold because of my student loan debt. The continuous taunting and chastising of debt on these forums makes me feel like my life is over before it has even begun. Secondly, I constantly see posts badgering the field of academic study that I got my degree in. They argue that it's worthless and that I'm never going to get anywhere in my career with it. If it were anything less, I'd say the hell with it and just upgrade to something more marketable. But I can't just upgrade or trade in my education. I'm stuck with it, as well as the huge debt load that came with it.

So here I am, with a big debt burden and supposedly a worthless degree. I feel trapped and hopeless. Frankly, I think my parents and friends back home are tired of hearing about it. I don't think that many on here care about it. I get the feeling that this forum is heavily populated with a social Darwinistic outlook (so the hell with me). People have suggested that I should seek professional attention, but I don't really understand how that will help. They will give me common sense remedies like exercise more, pursue hobbies, make friends, etc. But in the end, I will have spent even more money on the therapy and still have a huge debt load on my shoulders. I'm tired of hearing "it's going to be alright" or "everything will work out in the end". These are not solutions, just empty words that detract from the real issue. I feel hopeless and that, at 24 years old, I've already thrown my life away. No, I didn't do drugs, nor did I have several illegitimate children out of wedlock, nor did I murder anybody. I was only trying to better myself, and now I'm told that it was all done in vain. I feel hopeless and I feel like I'm near the brink of falling apart.

So how have you guys coped with this or helped your friends/family cope with this? What suggestions did you give them that could potentially have positive results or an actual solution to their troubles (not the typical "everything will be alright"). Just curious. Thanks.

Last edited by mcb1025; 09-21-2010 at 08:12 PM..
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Old 09-22-2010, 05:54 AM
 
Location: In the real world!
2,166 posts, read 5,222,196 times
Reputation: 2531
I think your generation did get the short end of the stick and have often wondered how many jobs would be out there for you, how bad things would get for you. I couldn't imagine starting out so deep in debt...

Graduating from high school and collage does not hold the promise it use to for the ones just starting to build a life.. I don't know WHO to blame this mess on but the older generation who got so greedy. It just seems like when the bottom fell out of one thing, it fell out of it all.

My generation could quit a job at lunch and have another by supper.. It sure isn't like that anymore. "They" say the jobs are out there, it's just that nobody is hiring, hanging onto their money to see what is going to happen. Everybody is afraid and cutting back.

Just know, you are not in that boat alone. The people you owe for your education, KNOW how bad things are and you are not the only one who can't pay back these loans right now. At least you DO have a job! There are many that don't so count your blessings there. You can only do what you can and pay what you can on those loans until times get better.
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Between Philadelphia and Allentown, PA
5,079 posts, read 8,422,654 times
Reputation: 3615
IN a lot of regards, you are correct about what you read here and what you already know. You already know what people are going to offer but the fact that you took the time to type all of this out has to be somewhat carthartic, right?

Anyhoo, since you already know what everyone is going to suggest I'll give you something different. Obviously the ones who respond to posts have SOME feeling of understanding or empathy or why bother, right?

About five years ago my b/f (the breadwinner) lost his very high paying job. He was on unemployement for a few months when disaster struck and I lost my job. Both of us unemployed with rent, car payments, credit cards, the whole thing.

So, we did the opposite of what everyone told us which if we took their advice would have moved in with family or friends, gave up everything we loved, etc..
Umm no.

Instead we enjoyed life! We started hiking, exploring new places, were careful with money, of course but still just lived. You have to live. You have to find something in life that gives you joy. Certainly in your life there has to be SOMETHING that gives you happiness when you do it.

If you have a good job and that is ALL that you are even slightly happy about, then do what you want, spend money, go shopping, buy yourself something nice.

OR.. give it up. Move back around family and friends and find a meaningless job that doesn't pay much but allows you to enjoy life.
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Old 09-23-2010, 02:47 PM
 
2,018 posts, read 5,345,756 times
Reputation: 2743
I think most of us have been affected negatively by the economy or know someone who has. It can be overwhelming. But the worst scenario is usually job loss.

You are working, so that is really good news and your income has increased. You are only 24 years old so I would expect most at your age would still have some of this debt. Some people carry this debt into their 30's. What is the monthly student loan payment?

No degree is worthless. Education is never a waste. Stop listening to what people say on a forum.

You said you haven't been happy for the past 5 years. You do come across a little depressed and are having suicidal thoughts. That's probably why you have been told to seek professional help. Those "common sense remedies" that have been suggested usually do help some people. You are a long way from friends and family. Being isolated can certainly make someone very lonely and cause depression. Even more difficult if you are an introvert type personality.

I wonder if you might consider moving closer to family and friends if you could find a job. It may help you get back on track. I moved 750 miles away from all my friends and family once. I felt very alone. After 2 years I moved back home and things fell into place for me. But having suicidal thoughts is a big concern and perhaps you should see a doctor and start with a physical.

I hope you find your answer. Good luck.
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Old 09-24-2010, 12:02 AM
 
8,289 posts, read 6,841,765 times
Reputation: 4782
Well I would ask you a very simple question. If you woke up tomorrow and your school debt was gone and you made another $10,000 a year would you be any happier or no longer depressed? If the answer is YES then you are just worried about career advancement & money issues.
If the answer is NO then you have other underlying issues which I suspect that you do have by what you have indicated especially regarding being away from family & your relationship problem.

I spent years chasing the almighty buck and finally came to the conclusion that 'money' doesn't make you happier or determine your self worth as a human being. All money does is allow you options in life. Get a plan to get out of student loan debt as soon as possible and don't be afraid to seek professional help if you need it. It doesn't make you "crazy' to talk to someone.
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Old 09-24-2010, 12:28 AM
 
3,424 posts, read 3,287,076 times
Reputation: 1769
I kinda figured this would happen...its only so long that you can tell people whove worked hard for their degree, and overcame obstacles that their accomplishments are altogether worthless just because they didnt a degree in some x,y,z math or science wet dream major. I definitely think the lifelong enslavement through debt is bad...but the worthlessness of degrees needs to become an open discussion to high school students instead of encouraging everyone to just "go to college" only for them to realize later that some people consider their degree worthless.

My guess is that youngsters will forgo college altogether as degrees are a crapshoot at best, and getting a job is like winning the lotto nowdays regardless of which degree you have.

Because even when the economy improves, that doesnt remove the fact that many degrees are considered worthless in the eyes of academic elitists. (those who think engineering, and medical degrees are the end all be all)
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Old 09-24-2010, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
9,153 posts, read 8,711,151 times
Reputation: 9135
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcb1025 View Post
Let me first start out by stating that I do enjoy City Data's forum. I find a lot of the advice and encouragement on here very helpful.

Now, as you can probably tell, the topic of my post is a grim one. I'm curious whether or not people have been more depressed or have had more suicidal feelings as a result of the economic recession. Do you have friends or family members that have talked to you about this?

Personally, I haven't been happy since my junior year in college in 2005. First, it started out with a horrible relationship with my ex-gf. She treated me awful and totally disregarded my feelings. I coped with that for about two years and then I graduated from college in 2008. Of course, like so many others, I was freaking out over the job market. Fortunately, I found something within a couple months of graduation. The job wasn't ideal and the pay wasn't great. Over the next couple years, I've managed to get a couple of solid raises, earning about $10k over what I started out making.

Regardless of the significant financial gains in such a short amount of time, I still have never been happy. Part of the reason is that I have a significant amount of student loan debt. Another reason is that I'm currently 1200 miles away from any person whom I consider family and a "good" friend, so I feel alienated. Thirdly, I'm petrified that I will not amount to much, meaning my salary may have already peaked, my degree is worthless, and I will never be able to have a family. I can confidently say that the first and third reasons for my unhappiness are significantly tied into what I read on this very forum.

First, I see a lot of posts on here arguing how horrible and detrimental debt is. Here I am, 24 years old, and I feel like my life is on hold because of my student loan debt. The continuous taunting and chastising of debt on these forums makes me feel like my life is over before it has even begun. Secondly, I constantly see posts badgering the field of academic study that I got my degree in. They argue that it's worthless and that I'm never going to get anywhere in my career with it. If it were anything less, I'd say the hell with it and just upgrade to something more marketable. But I can't just upgrade or trade in my education. I'm stuck with it, as well as the huge debt load that came with it.

So here I am, with a big debt burden and supposedly a worthless degree. I feel trapped and hopeless. Frankly, I think my parents and friends back home are tired of hearing about it. I don't think that many on here care about it. I get the feeling that this forum is heavily populated with a social Darwinistic outlook (so the hell with me). People have suggested that I should seek professional attention, but I don't really understand how that will help. They will give me common sense remedies like exercise more, pursue hobbies, make friends, etc. But in the end, I will have spent even more money on the therapy and still have a huge debt load on my shoulders. I'm tired of hearing "it's going to be alright" or "everything will work out in the end". These are not solutions, just empty words that detract from the real issue. I feel hopeless and that, at 24 years old, I've already thrown my life away. No, I didn't do drugs, nor did I have several illegitimate children out of wedlock, nor did I murder anybody. I was only trying to better myself, and now I'm told that it was all done in vain. I feel hopeless and I feel like I'm near the brink of falling apart.

So how have you guys coped with this or helped your friends/family cope with this? What suggestions did you give them that could potentially have positive results or an actual solution to their troubles (not the typical "everything will be alright"). Just curious. Thanks.
I see three issues here: your choice of degree and the debt that you incurred to earn it and the depression.

Why did you choose your degree program? Was it because the courses you took were interesting? Did you enjoy going to class? Did you make good grades? Did you anticipate finding work that made you want to get up in the morning and be there? If so, then the education you received was not worthless. The fact that you are not only working but have received significant pay raises over the last two years tells me that you are doing a good job and that has been recognized by your employer.

If you did not enjoy your college experience, then you may have chosen the wrong major. This is more common than you might believe. I know music majors that ended up in medical school. My brother went to college for two years, then decided he hated it and became an electrician. He had a very successful career and retired at the age of 55 --- despite the economy. You are only 24, you have no spouse and kids to support right now, and the economy will get better. If your current job is not in the field you prefer, you need to develop a game plan that will get you where you want to be. Your actual major (I presume some form of Liberal Arts) may be totally irrelevant --- or not. If your grades were good, you took some demanding courses, and you demonstrate an ability to read and write well, there are many options for you. If you want to do something that requires specific training that you have not had, you need to try to save a little toward that, so that you do not add to your debt. If you go to a nearby public school, the cost could be very affordable.

There are resources to help people determine what their aptitudes are. From my point of view, the best job is one that feels like a hobby. You want to say, "Wow, they are paying me to do this? I would do it for free!" Consider checking with your state employment office. They may have counselors who can help evaluate your skills and suggest what you could do. They will also know what fields need employees in the near future.

In your current job, concentrate on doing the very best you can. Be punctual. Go beyond the minimum needed to take home a paycheck. Learn time management skills that will carry over into anything else you might do. When you leave, you want it to be with a glowing review from your current boss.

You must address the depression, or everything else is likely to fall apart. Depression is serious and potentially fatal. Suicidal thoughts require urgent treatment. The feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness can improve with counseling and perhaps medication. If you have insurance, you probably are covered; if not, your state probably has a low cost alternative. Once the depression improves, you will find it easier to do things where you can meet people, make new friends, and find contacts that are useful in getting you to where you want to be.

For what it's worth, I do not think any degree is worthless. Education should prepare us to earn a living, but it should also help us to enjoy our free time. If the degree only serves the second function, then fine. So, if your major was in American literature, but you really want to be a dog whisperer to earn your living, train the dogs and build your home library. Then enjoy your evenings with a classic book and a pup at your feet!
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Sherwood
5,061 posts, read 6,969,619 times
Reputation: 4449
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiamiRob View Post
Well I would ask you a very simple question. If you woke up tomorrow and your school debt was gone and you made another $10,000 a year would you be any happier or no longer depressed? If the answer is YES then you are just worried about career advancement & money issues.
If the answer is NO then you have other underlying issues which I suspect that you do have by what you have indicated especially regarding being away from family & your relationship problem.

I spent years chasing the almighty buck and finally came to the conclusion that 'money' doesn't make you happier or determine your self worth as a human being. All money does is allow you options in life. Get a plan to get out of student loan debt as soon as possible and don't be afraid to seek professional help if you need it. It doesn't make you "crazy' to talk to someone.
It sounds like you've never been in serious financial difficulty. Money can and DOES affect your life and happiness, level of stress etc. That's why most people agree it's better to be wealthy.

To the OP, no I haven't felt depressed or suicidal because of money. Well, not yet anyway. I paid for college using academic scholarships, my own money and tuition reimbursement from my job. But I have enough other debts to more than make up for it. But I am totally against student loans, I decided AGAINST my parents advice to pay for school without going into debt no matter how long it took.

I'm not sure if you want some advice or commiseration. Poor widdle guy! 24 is too young to feel like that! here is a hug ** HUG *** Now, I personally think you need a woman who can cook for you and pamper you a little. Or at least some $ex (sorry religious ppl). A little affection is good, and if you both have jobs eating (but not living together, sorry I am NOT in favor of that) etc together can save a little money.


-------- Whoops, I see you DID want advice -----------
1. Be Worry Free - When I do credit checks, I don't really worry about student loan debts...Just consider it an expense. Pay every month and don't think too hard about your balance.

2. Buy a house - Take a new infection to thine eye and all that. Buy a house that you can get a couple of roommates to live in to help you pay the rent. As they steal your food or have loud coitus and disturb your sleep, you will forget your current problems as your depression is replaced by annoyance. I think it will put you in a better position to start a family in future.

3. Get a girlfriend - If I had a son, I would give him the advice to find a girlfriend. She just needs to be a sweet girl who is kind to you and will cook and pamper you a little for the time being. Yes, you might have a bad breakup like you had in the past, but I think that's what you need now.

Last edited by kinkytoes; 09-24-2010 at 10:17 AM..
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:34 AM
 
Location: 39 20' 59"N / 75 30' 53"W
11,996 posts, read 11,732,906 times
Reputation: 13365
mcb1025;15980558
So how have you guys coped with this or helped your friends/family cope with this? What suggestions did you give them that could potentially have positive results or an actual solution to their troubles (not the typical "everything will be alright"). Just curious. Thanks.[/quote]

I'm sorry to here of you're circumstances my biggest concern is that you have depression coupled with thoughts of suicide and I suggest you see a mental health professional ASAP.

Last edited by virgode; 09-24-2010 at 10:47 AM..
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Baltimore burbs
977 posts, read 1,115,852 times
Reputation: 1497
Situational problems will work out in time, things change, that's life. Your depressed mood is another matter. When you are depressed, you don't appreciate how your emotions impact your thinking about just about everything. Your thoughts are clouded by the chemical imbalance in your brain (anyone who is clinically depressed for any significant amount of time experiences altered brain chemistry as a direct result of the depression). Get treatment for your depression; make it a priority. Once your depression begins to recede you will be in a better position to make the big decisions about your career, family, etc. The future will get brighter but in the meantime, get some help. Good Luck.
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