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Amanda's Legal Fees (#endthestigma)

Organized by: Amanda Goodell

Amanda's Photo

THE STORY:

Like many people, I’m living with mental illness. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety years ago and a few months ago, panic disorder. And though I am being treated for my mental health, and I’m sure many people can relate to this, it can be a huge struggle. And sometimes I mess up. And I did mess up, a couple of weeks ago. I had a panic attack and I made a mistake and I hurt myself. The mistake I made led to a brief visit to the hospital, a whole lot of lectures, a ton of embarrassment, some more treatments added to my care plan, and a wake up call about how I’ve been treating myself and how some things in my life need to change. I’m learning to care for myself better and I’m learning to not be ashamed of my problems. I’m getting the help I need. That’s what matters. There’s an overwhelming stigma surrounding mental illness that needs to stop, because this stigma leads to people who need help ignoring their issues and not seeking treatment. And that can lead to very bad outcomes. Because of this stigma, personally, it took me years to start seeking help and months after that to really start trying to implement the changes I needed to make. Just like any other organ, the brain can get sick. The mind can have problems. And there’s no need to fear that or be embarrassed of it, or even deny it. Raising awareness for mental illness and increasing the accessibility and acceptance of the mental healthcare system in this country is so important, and if nothing else, I hope sharing this page can help do that and make people realize they’re not alone, they deserve help, and if they can seek help in any way, they should. I’ll try to keep the rest of this story as short as possible, because it’s quite the roller coaster. At the beginning of August, someone I thought was a friend signed a year lease with me and moved into my apartment I had been at for over a year already. She knew of my mental health problems prior to moving in and even acted as though she supported me in my treatment. But it turned out my having depression and anxiety really bothered her, be it she was afraid or what, I don’t know, and this only came to light after my hospital visit. As I never did anything that could even be considered bad to her or involving her, and I’m quite private when it comes to my mental health (so I wasn’t overloading her with uncomfortable, personal details either), I don’t know what her exact reasons were for what she did next. She decided she didn’t want to live with me anymore, or be my friend, after I was in the hospital. Though this hurt, I accepted it, because I know not everyone is comfortable with mental health problems. But then, instead of making things easy for me during an already tumultuous time, she decided to make my life hell. Just a couple of days after my hospital visit, I was informed that she was filing for a peace order against me to avoid having to pay anything to break her half of the lease. Though I don’t know the details, I learned she did this before in an apartment she lived at a few years ago. When she decided she didn’t want to live there, she took extra measures to ensure she didn’t have to pay a cent. She also refused to sign over her half of our lease to anyone, all but forcing me out of my apartment as well, since I couldn’t get a new roommate and I couldn’t afford the entire rent on my own. When I finally saw the peace order, I was horrified to see her slandering my name, committing defamation of character, and just blatantly lying about our time together. What happened during the month we lived together was me paying her rent, cable, and electricity bill shares because she was waiting on her loans to come in, us hanging out and watching movies and going places together, and being, I thought, friends. What she stated in the peace order was that I was threatening to kill her, I had physically harmed her, and that I was so unstable, she felt unsafe even being in the same town as me. I may have a mental illness, but I go to school and have a 3.4 GPA. I work. I have friends and pets. I have a perfect record. I’ve never hurt anyone but myself. I’ve never even thought of hurting anyone. And I try to be a good person and a good friend. I’m not perfect, but I try. I am hardly a dangerous, unstable psychopath, as she claimed. Upon research, I learned that a peace order on my perfectly clean record could affect me getting jobs (I graduate in 4 months), apartments, or ever owning a weapon in the future (not that I want one, but still). So now on top of having to come up with the money to leave my apartment, my other bills, money for a new apartment, losing a roommate/friend, dealing with what I was dealing with health-wise, and school starting up again, I also now had legal problems on my back. My family generously offered to help me break my lease, but I was still being put out a lot of money to get a lawyer in the hopes I could end the unnecessary stress and harassment she was putting me through. We went to court and won and the peace order was dismissed easily. The judge clearly saw that she was lying to avoid paying anything and that I hadn’t done anything to deserve what was happening. I even had a witness to prove my side. So thankfully, my record is still clean. But I still have to leave my apartment since she won’t let me get a new roommate, besides the fact leaving now might be best anyway for money reasons. I have my own bills and my own debt to worry about, and a cheaper place is for the best right now. The peace order is dropped so my apartment is free to go after her half of the lease breaking fee is paid, as I am cooperating and paying mine. So that’s now up to my apartment to pursue that money. But I still lost her share of the August bills she promised to pay me back, as I had loaned her money as a friend, and her share of the September bills, as she moved out days before rent was due and refused to help pay that. So my family and I would like to go after them in small claims court because I am 22, I’m in college, I work part time, and I cannot afford what she is putting me through. Having that money back would really help me. But I need to pay to go to court to get that money. I cannot believe someone can be so cruel and mean, lying to everyone and lying in court, committing purgery, all for the sake of saving money and scamming their way out of a contracted lease, and all because of the fact they were uncomfortable with my depression and afraid of mental illness in general. The vindictiveness and manipulativeness of some people astounds me. I hope one day she looks back and realizes what a terrible thing it was that she did to me and my loved ones, all for fear and greed. I am so relieved the hardest part of this ordeal is over and that my record is clean. And I am so grateful to my parents for the help they’ve given me in the money department for breaking my lease, and I hope one day I can pay them back at least monetarily, if not more. I’m also so lucky to have people supporting me, who have my back through all of this. I never expected something like this to come from self harm induced by a panic attack. Who would? I regret what I did so much and I feel so much guilt for all the trouble I’ve caused all the people who care about me for it. I knew there would be consequences for what I did, but never this. I want this whole thing to be done, but I need help to do it. So I’m here asking for help for my legal feels, both the ones I’ve already accumulated to clear my name and the ones that will come when I go back to court to get back my money, and any assistance would be so appreciated. Even a share of this page would be great. I just want justice. As I said, if all else fails, I hope my story can at least inspire people to be more understanding of mental illness, and to not let fear or ignorance stand in the way of them being compassionate towards others. You never know what a person is going through, and there is no excuse for being anything but kind to others. And I hope people take this story as well and see that greed is dangerous, and by being manipulative to gain a leg up financially, you could really hurt others and yourself. Thank you. #endthestigma (This money would be used entirely to pay back legal fees and rehire my lawyer for the rest of my legal journey. )

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  • Brandon Kayda

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Amanda Goodell

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Brandon Kayda

Brandon Kayda

DONATION: $50

<3 11 months ago

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