Debt is one of the most debilitating facts of life. Very few people (including the super-rich) are able to avoid falling into debt's clutches. Student debt is particularly debilitating for people trying to build a life for themselves. Elizabeth Greenwood was being crushed by her own student debt and thought that the best way to get through the trouble would be to fake her own death.
Though she says she never truly considered "killing herself off" she did get fairly deep into the process. Greenwood went to the Philippines in order to start the process.
There are three things that you need to successfully fake your own death: a death certificate, a police report about how you died, and eye-witness statements about seeing you die. This trifecta is known as a "death kit", and the Philippines is one of the best places to get these because of the large underground market dealing in fraudulent documents.
You might be asking yourself, "isn't faking your death against the law?" Not in the United States. There is currently no law on the books in the U.S. against faking your death, but there are many laws concerning fraud, so there is a fine line you must walk if this is the direction you're going in. For example, faking your death to escape a terrible relationship might not be illegal, but faking your death to cash out a life insurance policy is highly illegal.
Check out this video of Elizabeth Greenwood explaining the science of pseudocide. Or buy her book Playing Dead.