It doesn’t take much for most Pennsylvanians to fall on hard economic times. The onset of an unexpected and serious medical condition, the sudden loss of a job, or a divorce can all set you on a track toward hard financial times.

Making ends meet during these trying times can be tough. You might be unable to work, struggle to find a new employment opportunity, or lack the funds necessary to pay off crushing medical expenses. If you’re like most people, then you’ve tried your best to protect your pride, fighting tooth and nail to stay afloat. Although these efforts are certainly admirable, you may only be making matters worse for yourself.

This is especially true if you’ve turned to credit cards for assistance. Although credit cards may provide you with some financial support until your next paycheck comes in, they can quickly turn into debt traps. This is because the interest rates on these cards can be quite high, and most people make either make the mistake of only making the minimum payment or they are forced to do so. Making matters worse is the fact that the average American has four credit cards with an average of more than $6,000 on each of them. When facing interest rates of 20% or more, it’s easy to see how these balances can quickly get out of hand.

A significant portion of Americans would struggle to come up with an extra $500 to cover unexpected expenses, which means credit cards are often turned to in a variety of circumstances. They may be used to pay for everyday expenses, such as groceries when funds are tied up with other debts like student loans, or they might be used to cover medical costs and mortgage payments. A lot of people know they should avoid credit cards, but the realities of today’s society just make it unavoidable in many circumstances.

As a result, a lot of people feel ashamed of their credit card debt, which is why they fight so hard to get out of the hole. But there’s no reason to be ashamed. Nearly all of us have faced financial difficulties at one time or another. And there’s also no reason for you to overwhelm yourself with stress and spend years trying to rid yourself of burdensome debt. After all, doing so may only prolong the future you want for yourself and your family.

So what can you do? A number of things. You can always seek personal loans or other funds that are subjected to lower interest rates, but that may be only prolonging the inevitable. So, in many instances the best, most effective option is to pursue personal bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a very real way to escape debt and secure the fresh financial start you need and deserve. Although you might find yourself scared by the prospect, just know that millions of Americans have taken the steps needed to successfully pursue bankruptcy, easing themselves of an enormous burden.

Don’t let yourself be chained to debt forever. Instead, consider contacting an attorney who can help you reach the best possible outcome given your set of circumstances.