When Someone in Debt Says: “I’ll Kill Myself”

By Karen O’Connor:

“If My Debt Overwhelms Me I’ll Just Kill Myself!”


Image from Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image from Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


I sat across from a pretty dark-haired young woman who appeared to be in her mid-twenties. She and I and others were in a financial planning seminar seated horseshoe fashion in front of the instructor. We were asked to go around the table introducing ourselves and sharing one thing about our financial circumstances that brought us into the room.

When it came to Melody (not her real name) she made the startling declaration that she was up to her waist in debt. Then she laughed and added, “But if my debt overwhelms me I’ll just kill myself.” I was stunned by how casual she was about the possibility of committing suicide. Her declaration shook me to the core. I couldn’t imagine money, of all things, having such a profound effect on a person that she’d give up her life rather than clean up her debt no matter how long it took.

If you’re in debt and ever had such a thought I hope you will consider the serious consequences you’d be leaving to those you love. Not only would they miss you but also they’d be stuck with your bills.

But more important, as the Bible says, “the love of money causes all kinds of evil. Some people have turned away from what we believe because they want to get more and more money. But they have caused themselves a lot of pain and sorrow.”

At this time of year when gift giving has become an overrated commercial enterprise, people throw themselves into debt in order to purchase toys and presents for those they love. One grandmother I spoke with recently told me the amount of money she’d spend on gifts for her grandkids the year before.

“I didn’t have it at the time so I put it all on my credit card, planning to pay it off by this year. But here I am still in debt and it’s time to give all over again.”

We talked for a while and I suggested she consider giving homemade presents from her kitchen—jam or jelly or cookies or home-baked bread—talents she was known for. Somehow she had sold herself short when it came to creating gifts with her own hands. But the more we talked the more excited she got about doing something simple, easy, and within her budget.

I wish I had been able to speak with the young woman at the financial planning meeting but she rushed off afterwards and I never saw her again. Suicide is never the answer to anything. God is the answer to everything!

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” [Proverbs 3: 5-6 in the Bible].

It is never too late to start over, to turn to God in humility and repentance, asking for courage and guidance and wisdom. He will not fail you. He will call you his own.

Enjoy this inspiring YouTube video on how God helps us in times of trouble.

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About ThinkingAboutSuicide.com

If depressed and suicidal, get help by dialing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline. IF IN IMMEDIATE DANGER of harming yourself or someone else, please call 911.1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or (in Spanish)
1-877-SUICIDA (1-877-784-2432).
Our blog, Thinking About Suicide, offers personal stories and prayers from those who have overcome the urge to commit suicide or lost someone to suicide. We also list resources related to depression, bullying, cutting and other mental health related topics or news.
Use our SEARCH box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics. Our authors hope to encourage you and remind you that others in situations like yours have found hope and help. We hope and pray you do too. However, we also encourage you to get local help if you are suicidal: call a counselor or the suicide prevention hotline to connect personally with someone who can help you.


  1. Karen, Thank you for your article of encouragement. I’ve been blessed by God’s grace to get me through financial & legal struggles more than my friends or family will ever know. One therapist helping me stay centered through the initial rough spots in 1998 was convinced I should’ve written a book about how I managed (he knew I spent a lot of time in prayer and meditation). Many people are facing financial uncertainty for their first time.
    The last Christmas I was even able to give my sons anything, I gave them cheap snow shovels with a sincere apology and hopes they’d be able to earn enough to buy themselves something. And it snowed! A lot! They were incredibly happy, and so was I.
    What I have found though, has been a disturbing sense of denial by those closest to me. Losing my struggle to stay afloat financially and physically, with foreclosure looming on the horizon; I approached friends for someplace to stash the the most important belongings (not even thinking of sentiment – just survival). One told me I was too stressed and needed to check myself into a hospital. another patronized me by asking if I’d missed a mortgage payment, then proceeded to debate with me about the priorities of what needed to be saved. Another woman, who doesn’t have a “mean” bone in her, said she’d pray that I didn’t loose the house. There was nothing I could say after that, and just said thank you and walked away shaking my head. That was in 2010. Only recently, I talked with a Priest about needing non-judgmental human contact. As I tried to answer his questions, he responded naively with “well, they can’t do anything to you if you don’t have anything to take”. I’m finding many people don’t understand what happens to those of us falling between the cracks, who’ve survived by frugality and God’s grace for too long. For as many have been careless with their finances, there are those of us who have done everything humanly possible and more. And in truth, I got more understanding from the credit collection callers, asking why someone with impeccable credit history was in trouble, than I did from a majority of my friends. (?) I’ll continue to pray for them, but stopped expecting to find that nonjudgmental human contact.

    • Dear R: Thank you for sharing your deepest thoughts and feelings after reading my blog article. I feel connected to you because I have a sense of what you are going through. My husband and I were down to the bottom at one point in our life and I was terrified–until caring friends from church pooled some money and the total was enough to pay our rent for one more month and to buy a couple of small gifts for Christmas that year. The following month my husband found a job and I landed some part-time teaching. I believe God was showing us that when we lean on HIS understanding and not our own, He will come through–even though sometimes it is in the nick of time. I pray and hope that will so for you. God bless you and your dear children.

  2. Thank you Karen, for your understanding. And I’m glad your friends were abie to help and your husband was blessed with the job. There’ve been times I’ve stepped out on faith to degrees most of my friends would never believe. However things turn out this time, I’m learning not to base my faith on the outcome. God’s graced me more than I could’ve ever imagined in my life; more than I deserved. He’s my savior irregardless of the outcome.

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