You wouldn’t be the first person to find themselves saddled with a seemingly overwhelming amount of debt. From crippling debt to credit collectors to piling bills to late notices, coping with debt can be overwhelming. But you don’t need to let it bring you down. There are ways to cope with debt, even debt that appears to be outside your means to pay back.

The first step should always be self help. Can you bring yourself back into the black using realistic budgeting and disciplined spending? For those that are only in minor debt this is the healthiest path to take. It’ll help you develop skills for the future and allow you to make it out of debt without a fuss. But for those dealing with larger debt, debt-relief services can provide an invaluable service. You can also try debt consolidation or even bankruptcy in extreme circumstances.

But before going that far, try talking to a credit counselor or reputable debt relief agency. They’ll help you identify ways to cut your debt and maximize your earnings. They can also advise you on how to work out repayment plans with your debt collectors and give you valuable information on how to use the law to your own advantage. Creditors rarely have your best interest in mind and are willing to skirt the gray area of the law. By knowing your rights and the laws you can corral your creditors into line.

Most importantly, take action! Debt doesn’t go away on its own and the longer you allow it to build up, the worse your prospects will be.