Thursday, May 3, 2012

Student Loan Debtor: "[T]he reality is that I think of killing myself all the time"

If you are suicidal, please call: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Recently, yet another student loan debtor shared their thoughts about being suicidal, demoralized, and trapped because of their student loans on this post. When I receive these notes, my blood boils as I think about the cold distance that some policymakers in higher ed circles have from this obvious suffering.

The situation has become desperate for many people with student loans. Remember: you are not alone. It is important to remember that fact. And there are ways in which you can organize to fight back. For instance, get involved with Occupy. They are doing great things on this specific issue, especially the Occupy Student Loan Debt Campaign. Since the crisis is based upon enormous systemic problems, we will need to work collectively to come up with long-term and short-term solutions. If policymakers refuse, we will just come up with other options to bring much needed relief to debtors. One way or another, the crisis will come to an end, and that's why agency, collective agency, is crucial.

Here is what's happening to people now, however - this garbage, how we're shackled by these loans, has turned parts of our minds into wasted spaces. Our imagination has been stolen from us. We live in fear now. We are more fearful of the future. We think about our debt all the time. They have stolen time from us - all of our time. Our time now, our time in the future. But when you do this - when you commit the sin of usury - there is a time when it comes to an end. People don't like it when their futures are stolen from them. Those of us who are no longer stuck in this hell of sorts have decided something, too. We're done being enslaved by student loan debt. We're done being pawns in this usurious scheme. We're here to reclaim what rightfully belongs to us: our futures.

But right now, many of us are still struggling with these negative thoughts. These are not our own thoughts - they do not belong to us. They are the thoughts that you have foisted upon the indentured educated class. You have turned many of us into demoralized beings. You have turned many of us into suicidal people. Even so, many of us still have strength. Why? Because we have learned that we are not alone. We have become a collective of debtors, so our singular indebted identity is being lost. Our ranks are growing each day. That is what you are now facing - a collective that has broken free from being atomized by debt.

But we - the indentured educated class - need to get everyone out of the psychological shackles.

Like this person. They are getting there, but they need to be closer than they are. Here's what they wrote:

The general public doesn't understand how crushing and demoralizing student loan debt is. Somehow it's your fault of wanting a better life and doing it in the heavily prescribed manner. I exist and am fortunate to have family that cares, but the debt and unreasonable financial burdens it creates means I don't have a life. I do not have many experiences that make me feel like I have my own life. There is no way out and it forces me into cyclical patterns of depression where the realization of how unmanageable my student loan debt is leads me to think of how corrupt our educational system/government/financial leaders are in order to perpetuate such a cannibalistic system and I feel even less hope for my future and get further depressed. I fight to maintain hope and do a lot of reading to try and stay inspired to succeed but the reality is that I think of killing myself all the time and I don't feel ashamed about it because I think it is a normal response when humans feel that there is absolutely no solution available to them. In fact, the concept of suicide to relieve physical pain is so accepted that it is pervasive in our media (i.e. films) and is even practiced as medicine by some doctors. You can sign an order to not resuscitate and that is socially acceptable. Somehow for the anguish and pain that comes with facing a destitute and hopeless lifestyle when all you wanted to do was improve your life, suicide is not accepted. I could go on .... I wish everyone who is experiencing this crippling pain a quick change of fortune, a miracle, some hope and extend my sympathy. I did my research on my insurance policy, I can leave this place when it gets to be too much for me (probably soon).

I hope this person doesn't leave out of choice or any time soon. I want them to know, I want all of you to know, that you're not alone. We must organize. People are already doing it - get involved, get support, and get organized. We don't need a change of fortune or a miracle. We need to be firmly here, based in reality, and working together to break these damned shackles and ensure that higher education becomes free again.

Indentured educated citizens, unite!


Nando said...

What a stark reality. And people wonder why I lick my chops when sharpening up blades to slice up the law school industry pigs.

Anonymous said...

Debtor's Revolt is coming soon, indeed.

This is no longer a system worth sustaining, nor even "changing" through ineffective political action. We must simply *crush* the predatory lending system by means of a mass walkout. A refusal to play the came any more.

Gather up your courage, indebted folks, and join us. REPUDIATE your student debt. Just walk away, and let the unsustainable, predatory system of extraction collapse upon itself.

Anonymous said...

The only part of Occupy Wall Street that I can relate to is the student loan debt issue.

Even Geraldo Rivera seemed receptive a couple of days ago to the SL debt portion of occupy a couple of days ago on his WABC NY radio show.

Unlike Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck, Rivera finished College.

I am uncomfortable and really don't approve of the Clenched fist logo of Occupy, and also with the Van Jones group as well.

Maybe I have been too hard on myself over the last decade and have tended to turn all of my debt failures upon myself in the form of suicidal thoughts.

But I don't recommend aggression in the form of a Debtor's Revolt.

I still believe that the current political system we have here in the USA has, and has always had, all the tools we need to correct any problem.

That is, if we have the will to do it, and if we listen to each other.

Anonymous said...

Do any of you hat are in debt up to your eyeballs realize that YOU took out the loan, You knew what you were doing when you did so, You were the adult at that time and now YOU are simply trying to shirk your responsibility of paying it back. If this ws a home mortgage you would be out of your a home and on the street! Grow up!

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Anonymous said...

Whatever you do, don't turn your suicidal energy towards those that oppress you, don't drop out of the system so that the system doesn't fail. Don't organize, don't riot, don't blame the institutions who raised tuition 300 percent in thirty years. Don't recognize it as class warfare. Don't overthrow, don't destroy the system that has made you an indentured servant. Don't stop paying into your loans, even if takes your whole life. Don't realize that you'll never be able to afford a home, a wife or children and most certainly don't recognize the American dream is an outright lie.

Anonymous said...

You would be out of your home and able to rebuild from there. There is no resolution for student loan. Most universities even hold your transcripts if you fall into default. I've never lived extravagantly and I've always worked multiple jobs. However, when I became laid off I was unable to continue my payments. Now, a year later, as I try to get my life back on track, I can't get transcripts to get a new job before I pay the entire 8,000. So before you blame these people for circumstance "mr. High and mighty". How many years would it take you to pay off 8k, making minimum wage?