Hi everyone, my name is Sheila. I grew up in a chaotic home, witnessing severe domestic violence. As is not uncommon, I subsequently found myself in an unhealthy marriage of my own. In the beginning of 2016, I was very hopeful for my future. I was working full time as a direct service mental health worker at a job I loved and had been at for almost 5 years. I was preparing to return to school to complete my bachelor's degree in Social Work to become a case manager. I returned to school in August of 2016 and was also working full time and doing an internship at my agency to complete my degree requirements. If I may say so, I was handling everything very well. Then, I realized how unhealthy my marriage truly was. In November of 2016, after many conversations with friends and some consultation with a local domestic violence agency, and after countless hours of painful reflection, I realized I could not stay in my marriage and I separated from my husband of 5 years. This left me and my young daughter in a very difficult situation. At first, I continued with my schooling and internship, but dropped down to part time at work as 70+ hours away from home each week was no longer possible due to child care needs. About a week after my husband left, I began experiencing severe Post Traumatic symptoms, as my entire life up to that point had been spent in some level of abuse. These symptoms culminated in January of this year when I was voluntarily hospitalized (after some encouragement from my therapist and trusted friends) for seven days at an in-patient psych unit due to the flashbacks, depression, panic attacks, and insomnia I was experiencing. Thankfully, I reached out for help. Things were getting to be far too much for me to handle on my own. After discharge from in patient, I was admitted to a partial hospitalization program for a month, and then an intensive outpatient treatment program for two additional weeks. Through that process, I was also diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder. Adjusting to medications and my "new normal" has, frustratingly, taken a lot longer than I would have hoped. My recovery was (and is) my top priority. Unfortunately, though, the treatment needed necessarily meant leaving both my job and school. Because I had dropped down to part time prior to leaving my job, and the fact that I essentially resigned my position, I was deemed not eligible for unemployment insurance. I spent a few months not working and living off my cashed out 401k savings, still receiving intensive support from my primary care doctor, my psychiatrist, and two seperate therapists at a local mental health agency. I am now, thankfully, down to one therapist who I see once a week. I am more or less adjusted to my medications and I have recently taken a part time job in retail to "ease back" into the work force. My therapist and doctor still think a full time job would be jumping the gun a bit, though. However, I am also not eligible for disability payments and life as a single mother with stacking medical bills and stacking "normal life" bills is simply not possible on a part time, minimum wage paycheck. Plus, I'm gearing up for the legal process of divorce, and that is not cheap either.
All I am looking for with this campaign is a little bit of a buffer to allow me to pay for my phone and electric and car for a few more months, at which point, I will hopefully be able to return to full time work. I can cover all other living expenses with my paycheck. Not working full time has been incredibly difficult and frustrating for me. I've had a job consistently since high school. I worked after school in a law office as a file clerk then. In college, I had part time retail jobs. When I left college prior to completing my degree due to several factors beyond my control, I worked two seperate part time jobs, even through my pregnancy. My final shift before maternity leave was two days before I gave birth and I was back at it five weeks later. The mental health job was a God send. It paid well (compared to minimum wage), it allowed me to use my education, gain experience in my field, and work along-side some amazing clients as they learned the skills necessary for emotion regulation and independent living. And I was absolutely in love with it. Having to leave that position was very possibly the most heart breaking of the losses that have happened in the past seven months. I say all this to try to paint an accurate picture of how "not working" is so far outside of my comfort zone, I can't even express it. I am not someone who relishes the idea of reaching out to the internet in hopes that people I do not know will contribute to ease my financial burden. I would MUCH rather be working and able to fully support myself and my daughter on my own. I simply can't at this moment in my life. And I'm really not sure what else to do at this point. If you can help at all, it would be more than appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read this.