At the conclusion of a bankruptcy an Order is entered called the discharge. It is the discharge that functionally eliminates the debtor’s personal liability (meaning his legal responsibility for paying) the debt incurred prior to the bankruptcy filing. In many ways the discharge is the wrap up of the whole bankruptcy process, and it makes everything that happens before it final and permanent.
The downside of the discharge is that it also means the debtor is once again outside the safety of the bankruptcy court and back in the real world — although without all the baggage that caused the bankruptcy filing in the first place.
Clients are thrilled when they get their discharge. It is OVER! I am free! I am frequently a bit wistful, because I know that when something else happens (and life is always happening), the debtor may be less comfortable inside the bankruptcy; but the debtor is far safer. Inside of a Bankruptcy the Debtor is protected by the Automatic Stay and the Confirmation Order (if in a reorganization chapter). Those things mean procedural protections and, most importantly, time, to deal with whatever life throws at you.
We have a false feeling of control over our lives. Really what makes debt and bankruptcy both so scary is the sense of being out of control — but we are used to that. We aren’t used to bankruptcy so it feels scarier, when in many cases it is far safer.
We are living in the most uncertain times that any of us have lived through, and we are all going to have to learn new survival skills. I hope that for you bankruptcy won’t be one of them, but if it is, try to be less anxious rather than more.