PTSD and Student Loans


It’s taken me a dose of anti-anxiety medication and some deep-breathing to write this. I have been diagnosed with PTSD, depression, and anxiety. My poor mental health is related to my deep debt to private and public student loans. I have finally gotten a PTSD diagnosis and some of my triggers are debt-related, such as using the phone or writing posts like this, and my primal terror of speaking with my debt holders.

I do not trust the current administration to help me, seeing that DeVos is a former collections and AmWay czar and Trump has his own private university. I want to apply for discharge via my mental health, but I’m afraid I might need to be institutionalized if they turn me down. I survived a suicide attempt in 2016 because of these loans. I, now, have a 2 year-old that I live for, but I have lost all hope.

I’m afraid that if I write a letter in my defense, they will say that if it’s comprehensible, then I’m not mentally ill. I’m afraid they will take my information and use it against someone else, like just put it on the list of “no”s. I’m fearful for my life because of the magnitude of my debts, always paranoid that someone will take it upon themselves to collect on me. They were calling me at all hours. They know where my parents’ live. They know where I live.

I graduated 10 years ago and haven’t had a steady job. I’m currently receiving assistance with my rental unit from the city because of when I tried to kill myself. It’s a mental health program. I’m not able to work because I keep crying hysterically and having uncontrollable anxiety attacks. I have a history of abuse in my background, so the institutional abuse at the hands of student loan honchos is something I don’t appreciate. When employers can fire me “at-will,” and temp agencies toss me crumbs of work, I haven’t had a real job in a long time and keep getting fired for my crying.

What should I do?

Edit: I am an idiot, btw. I got a degree in English and Teach for America wouldn’t even hire me. I wrote a book, but no one wanted to publish me. My plan was a dream, which I believed in when I was 18. It became a delusion. Even if I want to, I can’t pay back my loans or even figure out who is holding them.


Hello @jsussex and welcome to the debt collective. We are glad you are here. Very sorry to hear about everything you have gone through. As we like to say here, you are not “a loan.” Thousands of people are in your situation, and you are completely justified in your anger and despair. HOWEVER. We are developing organizing here to fight back. There is a national campaign on the way to advance a bill that has been introduced in Congress that would CANCEL all student debt. In the meantime, please invite as many people as you can to this platform. For your personal situation, please say more about where you went to school and what kind of loans you have. We will try to direct you to some resources that can help in the short term.


I graduated in 2010 from a now defunct for profit college. I too have not been able to have steady work, got laid off more than once, i can understand the PTSD, for me it was pure blinding rage at the system and establishment due to feeling duped. If I could Wring someone’s neck at the department of edumacation, believe me sister i would!
Listen at the end of the day its just numbers on a piece of paper don’t allow it to intimidate you, The game is rigged this economy is pure deception. just focus on your child ,and prepare accordingly, a great recession is on the way, nobody will be able to pay for anything, food will be the only priority.
Remove that suicide out of your head ok? Jesus cares for you very much , prayer is good medicine, believe me i should know.
Just please, please don’t lose hope and don’t think about harming yourself, its just lousy numbers on a piece of paper, just like fiat money(dollars) it only has value if you believe it does, i stopped caring long ago what are they going to do? Throw me in jail? Screw them!
That should be your attitude!
Read Jeremiah 29:11
I’ll be praying for you dear.


Thank you for your words of wisdom. Yes, I have felt just paralyzing anxiety and not many friendly faces or people who understand. I will probably have my brain melt if the system isn’t fixed by when my daughter gets old enough. Thank you for your message. At least, I’m not alone.


Hi JSussex,
I am so sorry to hear about your story. I hope you are feeling better. Don’t feel bad, i was an English major, too & also inspired by Teach for America. (Have you listened to a prairie home companion?..garrison keillor is also an English major.) What helped me was to refinance my student loans into one consolidation loan under direct loans. There is an income based repayment program. It is truly based on your income and there is threshold under which no payment is required on your part, for example if you are unemployed or disabled . Based on what you have told me, it seems that you might quailfy. Take care. Kind regards.

I have a loan with Nelnet. Went to FIDM (2 year program) in 1989. Didn’t graduate because they accidentally returned my loan money because my class was not available till the following semester. I have never gone beyond administrative assistant… Forced into chronic forbearance’s and still (more then ever) sinking in student debt for 31 years and counting. I cry every time i am forced to speak to anyone regarding my situation… I feel such despair its unbearable.

Hi @hopeless1, I’m so sorry that you are having to deal with this. You are not alone!

Since you attended FIDM, have you already filed a Borrower Defense to Repayment? If not, that is the first thing I would recommend doing. You can fill it out here:

But we know the real solutions are going to come from organizing and fighting back. You can join the student debt strike here:

And we are getting organized to pressure members of congress to cancel all student debt and make public colleges completely free here: Organizing to win College For All