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save my life

Organized by: AE Cipriano

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THE STORY:

I am trying to find meaning in the darkest places. I am trying to believe I have some purpose and that the impossible is possible by reaching out to the world when all I want to do is hide in shame because I have lost so much of myself and feel I have so little left to offer. The depression is now 37 years old. I survived a childhood stalked by death, four respiratory arrests in adulthood, medical related trauma, joblessness, brief homelessness, a diagnosis of early-onset macular degeneration, and periods of total disability and financial devastation. I became an art therapist because I wanted so much to walk with others who are journeying through the dark and lonely places of life. I wanted to share the gifts that saved me from death- art, imagination, creativity, poetry, music, reading, dreams.
I have worked very hard to overcome, accept, battle, and integrate the despair and grief that lives pervasively in my soul. Art and education have always saved me,
kept me functioning, allowed me to help others.I attempted a doctorate, but, for
the first time in my life, learning could not keep desolation at bay. The non-traditional program I chose was to incorporate myth, religion, art, dreamwork, symbols, culture, and imagination with psychology-in the end, I felt more a victim of a Ponzi scheme-enticed by promises that were untrue, and left unsupported once I had exhausted literally hundreds of thousands of dollers over 7 years. Staying in this school eventually cost me my employment, my financial future, my dreams, and my health. When I did not "get better", had lost my employment, stalled in my dissertation, I saw long-time friends disappear without a word.

My family tries so hard to help, but with few resources there has been little they can do. They recently gave me a puppy who I named Mabel. She is meant to tether me, to keep me in the moment, to be a lifeline. I have watched every dream die, crushed by the weight of failure, dis-ability, and massive student loan debt-I risked everything to keep myself in this world, to earn the letters (PhD) I believed would give me a voice and allow me to assist others in telling their stories. Putting my words here, my life, this is a dream of sorts. I would like to be free of the spectre of debt, default, and catastophic financial failure. I would like to be able to pay for the 12 or more medications I require to live each day, to breathe, to wake up. I would like to have the funds to care for Mabel, to get her trained as a therapy dog, and to eventually be able to volunteer, and/or work with veterans and their families. My brother is on his third combat deployment- he and his families are unseen heroes. I would like to get help creating a blog, or some place where I can share pieces of the dissertation that died, and what has lived on in its wake. I would like to return to working with others, to create a space for voices, stories, and the truths people live with beyond the 'positive thinking' mantras and 'evidenced-based' notions of what healing looks like and how it gets measured. I guess I would just like the chance to dream again, to start over, to find a place I fit. That is what I am asking for. That and, of course, financial assistance. My student loan debt is over 300,000 dollers. I am not eligible for loan forgiveness. I live in an apartment, have no material assets, and am at the point where I do not have enough money to care for myself or Mabel. I know I should have something catchy or fun or enticing to raise funds- I have little to offer. So I am just putting this out there, for me and for Mabel...my goal in life is to help others, to be witness to, and honor, their journeys and stories....so I am asking for help with the smallest of hopes. Thank you....

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Organized by

AE Cipriano

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