PTSD + Bipolar = Spiral of Debt
Organized by: Alan Baehr
My wife Karen is the bravest person I know. She survived a childhood of terrible abuse, became a nurse and moved to Boston, conquered an eating disorder, fell in love, and 21 years ago started a family. Then in 2000 all hell broke loose - she was flooded with strange memories and anxiety, and began the grueling journey of recovery from the disintegration of self that both saved her as a child and kept her from being whole as an adult. All the while, she worked 12 hour shifts as a pediatric nurse and somehow found the will to be present and loving to our boys. It took very good therapists and a lot of medication to keep her together. She worked through so many layers of abandonment, betrayal, and low self-worth. To save her brain, taxed from chronic stress as a nurse, she quit hospital work about four years ago and started per diem home health, with resulting loss of income. But it was worth it - mental health has no price.
As of a year ago, Karen decided to ever so slowly come off just one of her medications. She began to feel more alive than she had in 20 years - too alive. She went from happy to manic before we knew it. Bipolar Disorder was lurking underneath the PTSD all along. Her work allowed her to be flexible with her hours, and we had to start asking my parents for a bailout here and a bailout there. In addition to my full time job, I started teaching university classes. We found a way until now.
As of now Karen is no longer working. The combination of PTSD and bipolar disorder makes her mood swings hard to control. She follows doctor's orders, she isn't out there spending money, but stability keeps slipping away. For the first time, we've stopped paying all of our bills. The debt we've accumulated from all the therapy, all the lost wages, and raising the kids has caught up with us. Now it's either Chapter 13 or settling our debt, and our family support system is tapped out.
That's where you come in. If you can help us pay off our debt, we can live on my income until my wife can get her feet under her again. And as soon as she does and we reach financial stability, my pledge is that we will search for a similar cause and pay it forward. Thank you so much for reading our story. If it touches you, please give just a little. You'll be supporting one of the bravest women in the world, and her whole family that is routing for her.
We were both raised to be responsible for ourselves, so it's hard to admit that we have hit the wall. It's embarrassing to ask. It's embarrassing for my wife to admit to the world that she is in this much trouble. I feel like it's a violation of what Facebook is for to go begging and put people I know in this position. But more important than any of that is the tremendous love and respect I feel for Karen. She's working SO hard to become a healthy human being, and I'll do anything short of committing a crime to help her reach that goal.