Depression, Anxiety, Shame in a World of COVID, Foreclosures, Evictions — and Stress Like We Have Never Seen Before.

Just about everyone I speak with — and there are lots of them from all walks of life in and out of the legal world — have said out loud that they are suffering from mental and emotional distress derived from the year 2020 — call it whatever you want. I am no exception. Sometimes I find it difficult to maintain focus and make decisions. Sometimes I feel a weight on my mind and heart that I never felt before.

People just try to tough it out as though that is somehow better or bolder or more brave than seeking help. That is why I am writing this article. Because people facing foreclosure and eviction do the same thing — they tend to do nothing about it until the last minute when their options are narrowed. I’m no psychologist but I think the reason for both is that people are trying to bury feelings of shame. That is exactly what the banks are counting on in order to further their illegal scheme of foreclosures.

I think all of us are suffering from a low grade depression that existed before the pandemic. 2020 just made it worse. I reluctantly learned that self-reliance in such circumstances is like pounding a nail with a shoe. it might get the job done after considerable time and ruining the shoe — but a hammer would have been a far superior tool and will yield a far superior outcome.

So after receiving an increasing number of calls that started out with the issue of mental or emotional distress, I decided to reach out to the mental health community. To many people this has somehow become a partisan issue so there are competing camps of “belief.” It is frustrating to me and some homeowners that I am not equipped or trained to deal with such issues effectively. Faced with intense pressure and coercion from “servicers” and “trustees” most homeowners find it very challenging to even understand what is happening or why.

I did find that some highly trained therapists were moving away from traditional practice and offering telehealth across the country with a focus on COVID induced depression and anxiety. In fact, as a result of my inquiry, I was hired to create a new company devoted to doing exactly that (just the legal paperwork). I like the people there and I highly recommend them— 25+ years of experience across wide spectrums of demographics etc.

Their goal is to provide assistance in developing better coping mechanisms in just a few sessions. If you are interested go to If you can, pass the word around, I would like to see them succeed. Their hearts and minds are in the right place. 

Or find a local therapist. My opinion is that in the context of the pandemic, most mental health providers do not maintain offices where social distancing and sanitizing is even possible. So my suggestion is to find someone who provides telehealth services. It is not the same as in person sessions but it is far superior to toughing it out on your own. With the right therapist, a few sessions should be able to help most people achieve a better balance.

This all comes down to what I have been saying for 14 years — if you know there is an issue, address it as soon as possible — or, as some people say “nip it in the bud.” It makes things a lot easier for me to counsel you on legal matters if you are not using your time with me to vent about your personal problems. I am not qualified to help with that.

One thing I know is that people who are clear-headed about their mortgage problems come to me early or as soon as they have a problem — and there is a lot I can do to help them reach a satisfactory result. The people who are most burdened with distress try to put it out of their mind — until they finally contact me and tell me the sale is tomorrow and ask what I can do. I can help them, but the odds of achieving a satisfactory result when the dust settles is greatly diminished for the people who wait until the last minute.

*Neil F Garfield, MBA, JD, 73, is a Florida licensed trial attorney since 1977. He has received multiple academic and achievement awards in business and law. He is a former investment banker, securities broker, securities analyst, and financial analyst.*


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  • But it is also true that challenging the “servicers” and other claimants before they seek enforcement can delay action by them for as much as 12 years or more. 
  • Yes, you DO need a lawyer.

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2 Responses

  1. Thank you for this, Neil, and thank you John. Yes, these are not mortgages.

    It is important to get help early. I have a particular problem with neither party addressing the great financial crisis, and the continuing mortgage fraud crisis that will worsen due to COVID. It has been a silent issue in both Democrat and Republican conventions, and has been a silent issue for years. It is not about just giving people extra stimulus money. It is about fixing the fraud.

    I also feel that this virus is particularly hard on the elderly – who, basically, are told to stay home or isolated – maybe for the rest of their lives. It is particularly hard to face a world each day with a mask. All my elderly mother wants to do is go out. I think it has been unfair to place such a burden on the elderly, and for them to just be forced out from society. This is not 1918. COVID should just not be so difficult to cure. Also, unfortunately, many cannot retire at 65, and need to supplement social security with work. Yes, they have “Debt” too, and they want to work and be a part of society. They feel a particular burden by being labeled – “most vulnerable.” I have heard many commentators say — “just keep them home.” And, let’s remember many COVID deaths were in nursing homes — not well run to begin with. .

    It does not matter whether one goes to the Democrats or the Republicans for help – no one wants to help or discuss the mortgage fraud. One cannot get a response from anyone. WHY IS THIS??? I know there are issues that go way back with the Federal Reserve, but, at this juncture both parties should be willing and ready to address the fraud. WHY WON”T THEY??? Do they truly believe there is no fraud? That everything was done right? They cannot all be that stupid. Can they?

  2. Well said, Neil. Having worn ” the t-shirt ” for nearly ten yrs. I have come to a realization about all this.
    I think you have said something about what I am about to say in other of your blog writings.
    I believe that a big part of the difficulty of trying to defend against these banks, servicers, and other fictional parties is this. Attorneys and homeowners are approaching these foreclosures as being the result of default on a traditional loan built on trust and valid documents.
    As you have said before, these are NOT mortgages and never were and IMO the strategies often employed are aimed at the wrong if not completely fictional target. But again, credit to what you have taught me, Mr. Garfield – that is exactly what ” they ” want to happen. Trust and ethics was/is not part of the formula.
    Thanks again for your continuing work.

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