As a kid, full of hopes and dreams, not yet tainted by the realities of the world, I would dream of an amazing life full of happiness, friends, family, and love. I was sure that I was destined to become a novelist and award winning actress. Even as a child, their were naysayers, but somehow, back then, I was able to tune the negative out and focus on becoming my best self.
However, being subjected to years of being told you “can’t” do something, along with the failures in life that are inevitable, I got stuck in a hole of despair that is threatening to bury me alive.
I’m just barely hanging on by a thread. Sometimes, I want that thread to break, and just bury me completely. Other times, I keep holding on, knowing deep down there are big things waiting for me once I manage to escape.
The only thing more exhausting than depression, is pretending that you’re not depressed.
I can’t pretend anymore. Pretending that I’m OK has cost me so much. I’ve been let go from jobs that I was excellent at. Ruined friendships that I absolutely loved because I didn’t know that my anxiety was becoming a burden on people. I lost writing gigs that I had been hired to do because I just couldn’t get over my fear of people reading what I wrote. Basically, because I can’t manage to “kick” depression and anxiety from my life, despite trying, I’ve created a mess of everything. The nagging voice in my head that tells me, “You’re not good enough.” or “You deserve to have this happen to you.” is currently controlling my life. I need to take that control back, and this is the first step.
I recently decided to apply for Disability, something people have been telling me to do for a few years now. I always thought, “No, there are people out there way worse than I am. They need those funds more than I do.”
After 4 years of telling myself “No.” I finally said “Yes.”
However, the process of filing for disability is not a quick one. I honestly don’t understand how most people survive it, but more about that later.
Since applying for disability in January, quite a few things have happened, and I’ve honestly never felt as lost as I feel right now. The past year has probably been the pinnacle of awfulness and I think I’ve reached the peak. Now I just have to find my way off that peak and decide what my next move will be.
Making decisions might come easy to most people, to me, however, it is a nightmare. I’ve become so anxious about making the wrong decision that I’ve lost the ability to make decisions at all, especially decisions that effect my life. When people think about anxiety, I don’t think they realize the full effect it has on people.
When I’m in full blown anxiety mode, I can’t think clearly, I come off as mean and aggressive, I can’t form sentences or follow my train of thought. I cry, I throw up, and am just an overall mess. Imagine having to deal with that multiple times a day, on top of crippling depression, that make it a struggle to get out of bed. It’s exhausting.
I haven’t always been like this. I’m honestly not even quite sure when it started getting as bad as it is. When I look at old pictures of myself, I don’t recognize the girl in the photos. I wish I did. I feel like it would be easier to get back to being that person if I was able to at least remember what it felt like to be her.
There are always bright spots, and until recently I thought things were on the upswing for once and that I was finally getting things back on track. Then, of course, life decided it wanted to throw me for one more loop and that’s more or less what this post is going to address.
Until recently, I was working part time at The Candle Lab in Lawrenceville. Working there permitted me to pay my rent (or at least make the majority of the money needed to cover rent) and allowed me to have a flexible schedule so I could go to therapy, doctors appointments, and just work on my overall mental health.
At first, it seemed like a great place to work. I was excited to work at a place where I wasn’t stuck behind a desk all day. Things were OK for a little while, but then the cracks of the establishment started to show, and I realized The Candle Lab, was not what it seemed.
It was little things at first, rude comments, cattiness from the management team towards the workers when they didn’t like someone. I tried to stay out of it, but it’s inevitable that you get pulled in when it’s something you’re subjected to every time you work.
During my time working there, I thought I got along well with my coworkers. I tried to be friendly and I thought I was.
Yes, I had my bad days, as we all do, but if I ever felt like I might have come off as rude, abrasive, or unfriendly to a fellow coworker, I would always apologize.
I received numerous accolades from customers on social media and in person for my helpfulness and friendliness. In fact, the owner of the store, Abbey, and the store manager, Bridget, actually gave me a gift card to a local restaurant to thank me for all of my hard work and the compliments I had received.
In November, when I came in to work a shift that I wasn’t even originally scheduled to work, Bridget, the store manager, decided it was a great idea to pick apart every little thing I did (or in her opinion,) did not do. She was not very eloquent when it came to constructive criticism.
(In fact, I once overheard her speaking with the store owner, while sitting at the candle bar so everyone could hear, about her management style. They were talking about “Good Cop” “Bad Cop” roles in management, and how Bridget was the “Bad Cop.” Bridget, thought this was hilarious and said, while laughing, “I have no problem being mean. It’s how people learn.”)
Instead of talking to me about things she wanted me to do differently, she would “bark” at me what I was doing wrong.
For example, one time I was glazing candles, which entailed using a blow torch and making sure the wick was centered and everything was even. Prior to Bridget seeing them, Abbey the store owner, saw the candles and complimented me on how great they looked. Shortly after that, when Abbey had left for the day, Bridget came over, looked at them, and picked them apart. Telling me they were not centered and I needed to learn how to do my job better. I didn’t reply, just apologized and said I would fix them.
Anyway, back to November.
We were supposed to have a large party that day, but it ended up being only 10 people, which gave Bridget more time to focus on the things she thought I was doing wrong. After about 2 hours of being subjected to her constant criticism, I ended up having to go hang out in the bathroom, where I had a full blown panic attack due to her constant bullying.
Once I calmed down, I spoke with her, and told her why this happened and that I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
She tried to relate by saying, “I’m super sensitive too.”
I thought, by being open with her, and letting her know what I’m dealing with, that things would change. I was wrong. Things started to get worse.
One day at the end of December, I came in, sick as a dog. I was running a couple minutes late.
(The reason I was late was because I was sick and while walking to work from the bus stop, a wave of nausea hit me. Instead of puking on Butler Street in front of people and traffic, I found a random alley and puked there.)
Once I was done puking, I hurried to work, and immediately apologized for my lateness, as I walked through the door.
The first thing Bridget decided to say to me was, “You really need to text us when you’re going to be late, this is unacceptable.”
It wasn’t so much the words she said, but the way she said it.
I immediately retorted, “My apologies I didn’t text for being 2 minutes late, I was puking in an alley and didn’t realize I was going to be late. Next time I will.”
She, of course, rolled her eyes and walked away.
The owner of the store, saw me, and could clearly see I was sick. She told me to go home so I could get better and didn’t infect anyone else. Before leaving, I decided I should apologize to Bridget, knowing I shouldn’t have said anything when she was “reprimanding” me for being late.
I approached her and said, “I’m really sorry I snapped at you when I came in. I didn’t mean to be late. I have a fever and just feel like trash so it clouded my judgement.”
She responded with her signature eye-roll and said, “Well you need to realize I’m YOUR manager and you can’t talk to me like that. We all have bad days and can show up to work on time.”
I just nodded, apologized again, and went on my way.
After that, things were strained and I just had a weird feeling that I needed to be careful.
One Saturday, the busiest day of business, and a stressful day on any occasion, things went sour. The store owner was out of town, which meant that only 2 people in management style positions would be working, instead of the normal 3.
I came in for my shift, looked at the map and got situated. There were tons of us working, so the day should have been a breeze. Boy, was I wrong.
The day started, and no one was in their designated spot. A party of 12 came in, sat down, and looked ready to go. I waited a bit to see if the people who were supposed to be working with them would start. Nope. So I jumped in and got them started, assuming that people would help me.
Guess what, wrong again. I waited on the entire party pretty much by myself.
(I did get some help towards the end when it came to getting wax and everything needed situated.)
That party came and went. They thanked me for being super helpful and friendly, tipped me, and before they could fully leave, I was seated again.
This time, a party of ten. (split into 2 parties of 5)
I started to stress, but was able to talk myself down, and regain control. I walked them through the entire process, once again, by myself. They finished up, thanked me, and tipped me as well.
After I spent 2 hours working in another persons section, I was finally moved to my assigned area. The section I had, only had 4 seats. I figured that since I only had 4 seats to focus on, that things would be fine, and I’d be able to calm myself down. That thought quickly disappeared.
It’s the nature of the business, especially on a Saturday, that things are going to get busy. I was well aware of this since I had worked on most Saturday’s during my 6 months of employment.
(The only time I ever had an issue with my mental health while working there, was when I was targeted unfairly and rudely by management, and when I needed help and didn’t get it, after asking multiple times. I wasn’t constantly having meltdowns at work.)
The day continued, and we stayed busy. As I started to look around at my fellow coworkers, I noticed that some of them were working with customers, but others were standing around on their phones, chatting with one another, or gathered in the back at the glazing center, chatting. I hadn’t stopped moving that day, so to see others being able to, while I was working non-stop with 0 help, definitely didn’t improve the situation.
I asked if someone could help me and everyone dispersed. This is when things really started to go downhill.
When I’m about to have a panic attack, I get super claustrophobic, my mind gets blurry, I cant form words, my patience disappears, I come off as aggressive, and my impulse control is non existent. I noticed subtle versions of all of the above happening and tried to stop the anxiety from creeping in, but was not successful. Probably, because of the toxic environment I was dealing with.
After a few hours of not getting any help and moving non stop, when others were not, I started having a meltdown. I know people, including management, saw that I was struggling. Instead of helping, they chose to let me suffer.
One of my co-workers that day, whom I had only met one other time a few months prior, noticed that I was struggling and apparently thought my meltdown was related to her and candles in general. Instead of seeing if I was OK, she said, “You need to calm down, It’s just candles.”
I ignored the comment, and went to the bathroom to try and calm myself down, but nothing was working. I decided to speak to Bridget about my concerns, and asked if she could get someone to help me because I was having an off day.
Her reply was, “Everyone is working just as hard as you are and you should be able to handle this.”
I replied, “OK.” and went back to my section, on the verge of tears.
I continued to work my section, quickly falling into a hole of anxiety and anger. I continued to ask for help multiple other times, but nothing.
At one point, I remember walking around in a haze, dissociating and saying, “I feel like I’m drowning.” to a coworker.
Even though people could clearly see that I was having a rough time and needed help, no one did anything.
Bridget, knowing that I have issues with anxiety, and was specifically dealing with a bad case of it that day, kept seating me back to back to back. Often, my section would be dirty from the prior customers because I hadn’t had the chance to clean the area or move their items to the back before getting seated again.
Around 3:00pm, two separate parties of 2 were seated in my section. I started working with them, but my brain had other plans.
I started noticing that when I would go to say something, the words I was trying to use wouldn’t come out, or when they would, they’d come out in fragments of what I was trying to say.
I was also struggling to remember the oils they were using, even after checking multiple times. I would look at their sheet, say the oil names to myself, walk to the shelf and draw a blank. This happened over and over again. My brain was done cooperating because it was in meltdown mode.
I started to get frustrated with myself, because having a brain that won’t process basic information when it’s stressed is the worst.
I finally got the oils out and situated and explained the process to each group. I decided I needed to chill out and get my brain under control and headed to the bathroom, once again, to try and pull myself together.
On the way to the bathroom, my apron snagged the wax machine and poured hot wax all over the floor. When I realized what happened, I impulsively said “Are you fucking kidding me?” Under my breath.
(The comment was not directed at anyone but myself. I constantly talk to MYSELF this way and am working on not doing it, but more about that later.)
I almost burst into tears at that point, but noticed that one of my coworkers started cleaning up the wax for me. I told her to stop and that I would get it, since it was my mess, but she insisted on cleaning it up. I thanked her over and over again for cleaning up the mess I had created.
I finally got to the bathroom and as soon as I closed the door, I had a full blown panic attack. Its like my brain was just waiting until I could get somewhere “safe” to have a full blown meltdown. I sat in the bathroom for about ten minutes, hyperventilating and sobbing. I knew I wasn’t better, but I pulled myself somewhat together and went to talk to the assistant manager, Aimee. She managed to calm me down, but that calmness didn’t last.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Bridget walking towards me. She then said, in a disapproving and judgmental tone, “What’s the issue here. Why are you not in your section?”
I started to explain how the day started with the 12 person party, (even though I told her about this and my anxiety issues earlier in the day.) and was immediately cut off without being allowed to finish, and was then told, “You’ve been here long enough that you should be able to handle a party of that size by yourself.”
As soon as she said those words, any calmness I had managed to channel disappeared and I started sobbing and hyperventilating all over again.
Bridget saw this and decided it was a great time to continue talking and said, “I’ve been told by coworkers and customers that they are scared of you and that you’re high strung. You’ve known we were going to be busy today for quite some time, so you really should have prepared better.”
I replied, “So you’re telling me that I need to control my hormones when I know were busy? You know I don’t WANT to be like this right?”
Her response was to roll her eyes and walk away.
Aimee, the Assistant Manager, seeing that I was clearly upset, and not handling things well said,“You’re mental health is first and more important than being here today. Why don’t you go home for the day and I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I decided that was probably a good idea and prepared to leave for the day.
(Honestly, Aimee was an astounding manager and kept me sane while I was working there. She deserves all the accolades and praise that place gets. She would try to stand up for people that would get bullied, but in return for doing this would get taken advantage of and reprimanded by upper management. Prior to Aimee becoming Assistant Manager, they hadn’t been able to keep an assistant manager. They’ve had multiple in their short time of being open and all were either let go because management didn’t like them, or they quit because of the way they were treated.)
Before leaving, I stopped by my section to let the customers I was working with know that I was leaving and that someone else would help them finish up. They were beyond understanding and appreciative of my help up to that point. They even sent well wishes telling me to rest up and feel better. Clearly, they weren’t the ones that were “scared” of me.
After I grabbed my jacket, I decided I should probably let Bridget know what was going on. I walked over to her and tried explaining what I was dealing with. She just glared at me and didn’t say a word. I left for the day and went home.
The next day, Sunday, I was scheduled to work 12:00pm-5:00pm. I showed up for my shift and right away knew something was up. Bridget, who never worked on Sundays was there. Before I could even take my jacket off she informed me that she needed to speak with me about my behavior the day prior.
I walked with her towards the back of the building and sat down. My brain started getting hazy and anxious, because I knew what was about to happen.
We sat in silence waiting for Aimee to join us. Once she did, Bridget began speaking and said, “Megan, due the way you acted yesterday, and due to numerous complaints from employees and customers who are scared of you, we just don’t think you are a good fit for this job.”
I tried to come up with something clever to reply, but of course failed, because, anxiety.
Instead, I muttered something about waiting on a group of 12 by myself to start off the day. Apparently something I felt the need to repeat, since she insisted I was lying about this, even though the day before she told me, “You’ve been here long enough that you should be able to handle a party that size by yourself.”
As I was trying to explain, I was cut off in the middle of speaking and told, “Other people were helping you with that party and if you can’t handle stress you can’t work here.”
I tried reiterating, that no, people really weren’t helping me, but she was determined that she was right, and had no interest in listening to what I had to say.
(I’m still not sure how she knew what was going on that day anyway. Most of the time she was too busy on her phone or computer to even help her employees. When she wasn’t doing that, she was MIA.)
After trying to explain to her what had really happened and getting cut off time after time, she said, “You were walking around swearing at people and complaining about everything. You are not a good co-worker and no one here likes you.”
I replied, “Oh, I didn’t realize I was swearing at people. The only person I was swearing at was myself and that was under my breath, or so I thought. I’m sorry if people thought I was swearing directly at them or that they heard it in general. I realize that wouldn’t be acceptable. I just needed help before I got to the point I was at. I can’t control when my anxiety hits, it wasn’t my intention to scare anyone, and I didn’t realize that no one here liked me. You told me the other day just how well I was doing here. So I guess I just don’t understand.”
Her response, “There is nothing to understand. Your behavior was ridiculous, we can’t have you working here scaring everyone.”
At this point I was just trying to hold back tears but managed to reply, “So you’re firing me because of my disability. You know that’s illegal right.”
She replied, “No, we’re firing you because of your behavior yesterday.”
I sat in silence for a second before replying, “You do realize that my “behavior” yesterday was because I was having a panic attack and needed help, which I asked for, multiple times.”
Her response, was to smirk and say, “Sure it is Megan.”
I left the building, saying some smart-ass thing like “You’ll be hearing from my lawyer.” or something along those lines, trying to hold it together as I was falling apart inside.
I remember thinking to myself, over and over again, as I walked to the bus stop, “Did that really just happen? Is this real life?” and “Yes, you really were just fired for having a panic attack.”
I tuned out the world as I walked with those 2 phrases haunting my thoughts. It seemed like it took forever for the bus to arrive, but it finally did. Once I stepped on, I couldn’t hold in my emotions anymore and tears started flowing, I couldn’t stop. I finally managed to get home and I immediately crawled into bed and went into depressive hibernation mode.
The next day I forced myself out of my apartment to check the mail. As I opened the mailbox, I realized that when it rains, it pours.
Let me explain.
During the month of January, all employees at The Candle Lab had their hours cut due to an anticipated slowdown after the holidays.While I expected this to happen, I didn’t expect it to the degree it was. I went from 20-25 hours a week in October, November, and the first two weeks of December. (I was off for the Holiday’s for a few days and then ended up getting sick and losing a bunch of hours towards the end of December.) to 3-10 hours a week in January.
(The schedule did happen to go out right after I was sick and out for a few days because of it, but I’m sure my hours being cut was a coincidence, right?)
Anyway, the point of this story is, that because of the lack of hours in January, and losing hours at the end of December due to illness, I fell behind on rent. The store ended up staying super busy in January, so they added more hours which I quickly picked up. I looked ahead at the schedule and formulated a plan that would have had me completely caught up on rent by the end of February. I should have communicated with my landlord. I didn’t. The mere thought of that put me into a panic attack.
Honestly, it’s probably because of what I had to deal with in October with my black mold infested, no heat, fire hazard, sinkhole of a former apartment and the slum-lord who owned it. That, however is a story for another time.
So, I never called him, thinking, “It’ll be fine. He’ll call me.” Nope. Wrong Again.
As I opened my mailbox, I saw a lovely magistrate letter, summoning me to court for money owed. My immediate action, go to bed. I went back into my apartment and fell into a black hole of sleep and anxiety for a solid week. It was awful.
Once I was able to pull myself out of bed, I started reaching out to agencies for help. That was one of the most exhausting, and frustrating experiences of my entire life. I’ve never been told I need to call someone else so many times in my life. I called different places, left messages for a week or so. It brought me to tears. I realized that I didn’t have the energy to call these places anymore and get told to call someone else over and over and over again.
My favorite reply from one of the agencies was, that since I wasn’t employed, I didn’t qualify for emergency shelter assistance, even though I’m waiting on disability. While I understand that they want to make sure the person has the ability to pay rent and bills after they help them, how are the people that CAN’T work supposed to get better and survive?
Apparently, the disabled don’t need help, except they do. How can anyone think it’s possible for a person to survive without any income for 6 months, (the average wait for a decision on SSDI) and that’s if they’re lucky and get approved the first time.
So, that’s what has been going on. Fun, right? I’m basically at a standstill.
The purpose of me going public with this and my personal life is because I need help. More than ever before.
While I don’t blame my former employer for my current housing situation, I do hold them accountable for unjustly firing me and treating me as inferior just because I have a mental illness.
No one should be subjected to what I, (and others who I’m sure will come out of the woodwork soon.) was put through by them.
In addition to the poor treatment I received while working there, there were other things that made The Candle Lab a personal hell.
Often, when it was busy, we wouldn’t get breaks. Even on days where we worked 9+ hours straight.
Here is what the “Official Pittsburgh Candle Lab Employee Handbook” has to say about breaks:
It’s very hard to plan breaks during the day because we never know when we’re going to be slammed and when it will be slow, but you do get a set amount of break time during your shifts. Our break schedule is:
9 hour shift – One 45 minute lunch and one 15 minute break (can be combined)
6 to 8 hours – One 45 minute lunch.
4 to 6 hours – One 15 minute break.
4 hours or less – No break
“Please note – your breaks are not guaranteed and you must be within 10 minutes of the store at all times. If the store gets busy, you will be called back and you need to make it there in time. You will be given the balance of your break time later in the day, but staffing the store has to come first. We have a refrigerator and microwave in all stores, and you are strongly encouraged to bring in whatever food/drinks you need to make it through your shift so you won’t be in bad position if we get busy.”
While I completely understand that it’s hard to plan out breaks, this doesn’t justify the lack of breaks. Hire or schedule more people to come in to cover breaks if you know it’s going to be busy.
It’s funny, because while we would often not get breaks, Bridget and Abbey would ALWAYS get a break. They would also be the first to take their breaks, even if people got there before them and even if we were busy.
Despite what the handbook says, not once during my time at The Candle Lab was I EVER given the balance of any break time I had left.
In fact, I think during my 6 months of employment there, I received a total of maybe 6 breaks Most of them shorter than the allotted time we were supposed to be given.
My shifts generally were not short either. On average, I worked 6-9 hours a day at a place where I was constantly on my feet and moving non-stop.
Now, I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure working 9 hours straight non-stop would affect anyone’s mental health. Imagine how someone who is struggling with mental health issues, feels like after a day like that. Not good, and that’s what I was subjected to time after time while working there.
On top of that, there were constantly issues with employee safety. For about 4 months, the back stairs, which we had to use to take the garbage out, were completely falling apart. One wrong step and someone could have been seriously injured. Employees started complaining about the stairs and being forced to use them when they were a clear safety hazard.
Management of course was annoyed by the complaints, but worried about a potential lawsuit if someone did get hurt, so instead of getting them fixed immediately, they decided that only management was allowed to take out the trash using the broken stairs.
I could go on and on about the poor conditions and treatment I received during my employment at the Candle Lab, but that isn’t fixing anything.
I did enjoy the job I had while working there, and I thought my co-workers were great, even if they, according to Bridget, didn’t like me and were scared of me. I liked being able to work with customers and get creative with scents. If I ever scared or was mean to a fellow co-worker or employee. I apologize, that was never my intention.
As I mentioned earlier, the point of writing all this for the public is because I need help. I also want my former employer to be held accountable for the way they treat people with mental illnesses. It’s not right, and it’s inexcusable.
I don’t think the general public is aware of how they treat people that are different, and it’s time that they know.
I hope the next time you’re searching for a place to buy candles, this article comes to mind and you end up choosing a place that treats people who are struggling with mental illness like actual human beings. The Candle Lab is NOT that place.
Had they not fired me for having a disability, I would have been able to make enough money to catch up on my rent, just like I had planned..
Instead, I now face homelessness or the possibility of having to move back in with my parents, 2.5 hours away from my doctors, therapists, and life that I have in Pittsburgh. While I love my parents, living with them would not be ideal for my mental health. So the thought of having to move or be homeless is debilitating. Another reason I probably waited until the last minute to work on this.
Out of sight, out of mind, right? Wrong. The problems always come back into view.
I also want people to know that those “scary” people out there, might just need some help. The stigma against mental illness is real and it shouldn’t be. The next time you see someone having a mental breakdown, instead of judging them, say to yourself “How would I act if this person had diabetes?”
Would you tell them to: “Calm down,” “Snap out of it”, “We all get low blood sugar sometimes,” or “Just go for a run, that’ll cure your diabetes!”
Of course you wouldn’t. You’d get them the help they needed.
Having a mental illness is the SAME as having a physical illness and needs to start being treated as though it is.
The Stigma needs to end and we all need to help each other. The world is in such disarray right now that we all need a little hope.
I never in a million years thought I would do another GoFundMe Page, but here I am, once again.
I want to make this GoFundMe different though.
Throughout this process, I’m discovering first hand how difficult it is to survive while waiting, with no absolution.I also know how hard it is to ask for help.
One day, when I was trying to figure out a way to get out of this deep hole I’m in, I came up with an idea.
An idea, that would help me, and eventually help others who are in situations similar to the one I am in.
So here is what I am planning to do.
I’ve built a GoFundMe Page.
What I want to do is get my life back together while I wait for the decision on disability. As mentioned above, I need to pay back rent that is owed in order to stay in my apartment. I have until March 25th at noon to either pay the approximate $2000.00 owed, (thanks magistrate fees and court costs!) or move out.
Per usual, my anxiety has caused me to wait until the last minute to figure out what to do. I’ve been working on this idea and article for about a month. Anytime I would sit down to write about what happened and what’s currently going on, it would trigger an anxiety attack.
I also will need to pay future rent, but ideally, that will soon be paid for by SSDI and wouldn’t need to come from the GoFundMe page.
(I did apply for Unemployment, which I’m not sure if I was approved for because the mail carrier lost my packet and I’m waiting on a replacement. Thank God for Informed delivery or I wouldn’t have even known it was sent. However, if I file biweekly claims this could cause my SSDI application to be delayed or be denied. So that could potentially be another source of income while I wait, I’m just not sure yet. Regardless, since I was only working part time, if approved the amount I would get every 2 weeks wouldn’t be much, it would help though.)
Once I get approved for SSDI and get back pay, or if by some miracle my depression and anxiety go away and I’m able to go back to work, I plan on replacing any funds I used from the GoFundMe Page to pay my bills. I plan on utilizing the funds I reimburse, towards helping others in the same or similar situation as I am.
There are so many people out there struggling that are afraid to ask for help or just need a glimmer of hope from someone. I want to be able to help them get back on their feet, the same way I (hopefully) am able to do.
Ideally, I would love for this to become a pay it forward type of idea. Where people that received help from the Fired to Inspired fund, donate back into it to help others or just help others in their own way. The details haven’t been sorted out yet, but will be soon.
Any money donated that I don’t use to pay my bills while waiting, will immediately be used to make the website more professional and be the first funds used to help others in need.
I’m working on creating guidelines and whatnot, but it’s so early in the process that I haven’t officially sat down to do that yet. There is a section on my website, http://www.firedtoinspired.com dedicated to the “Fired To Inspired Campaign.” Once I figure out all of the details, this section will be updated accordingly.
Maybe this is the reason that all of this has happened to me, so I could create Fired To Inspired, get help, and help others at the same time.
I know there are people out there thinking it, so I’ll just say it for you, “Why don’t you just go back to work.”
I’ve thought about it, I want to be able to, but I go into meltdown mode just looking at jobs. Now is not the time to go into why exactly I can’t work, but someday I will.
The goal is to collect disability while getting more extensive treatment for everything and being able to focus on getting better, so I can go back to work. I’ve been trying to battle this with a job for the past 4 years, and in those 4 years, I’ve lost 4 jobs.
I thought working a part-time job would help me get better and get back to my old self, but as you can see, even working a part-time job, wreaked havoc on my mental health.
I know there is a lot of information to take in, but if there is one thing I want people to take away from all of this, it would be to start treating people with mental health issues better.
They are struggling just as much as someone with an illness you can see. Just be kind. Give a helping hand when you can. If you see someone struggling, help them. Especially if they ask.
I can’t tell you how many times someone,who noticed that I was on edge, and teetering on the verge of an anxiety attack, was able to calm me down by just being nice.
Just saying hello, giving a compliment, or smiling. It’s the simple things. People with mental illnesses already beat themselves up for being the way they are. They don’t need additional criticism that might just put them over the edge for good.
The businesses and individuals that treat people with disabilities poorly, need to start being held accountable too. I know what happened to me, happens to people all over the world because of the stigma associated with mental illness.
Despite laws and regulations regarding how people with disabilities are treated, people and businesses always seem to find a way to discriminate. It’s just not always obvious, or is disguised as something else. That needs to stop, and I hope this is the first step forward to making that happen.
So remember, the next time you think someone is weird, strange, mean, or scary, that maybe, they’re fighting a battle that you can’t see and instead of more judgement and criticism from strangers, they just need someone to be nice.
It costs zero dollars to be kind, and it could honestly make the day of someone who is at the end of their rope.
If you’re able to donate, know that I would appreciate it more than words can say. I want to be able to get my life to a place where I can focus on getting better, and I’m realizing I need a lot of help to do that. So if you’re financially able and want to help myself, and others in similar situations, please donate.
If you’re not financially able to donate, I absolutely understand. Instead of donating, If you could share this article with others to get the word out about the campaign and to help end the stigma against mental illness that would mean the world to me too.
I’m going to end this with a quote that resonated with me last night as I put the finishing touches on all of this.