If you struggled each month to pay your bills and often postponed one or more payments until your next paycheck, you didn't need anyone to tell you that you were in financial trouble. In fact, you may have lived in fear that today would be the day it all fell apart. Then one day, the car broke down, someone in the family got sick or the refrigerator stopped working, and the delicate house of cards you had built to keep your creditors at bay may have come crashing down around you.
Have you stopped answering your phone or hurrying to the mailbox? Do you go to bed at night with a knot in your stomach and wake up with a headache from worrying about the bills, the foreclosure notice, the warnings from collection agencies? Do you resist the idea of filing for bankruptcy protection because you worry about the stigma and the damage it will do to your credit rating?