I'm putting aside my pride and asking for help. You'd think by now this would not be so difficult for me, but accepting that sometimes I cannot do things on my own is still new for me and is still a hard pill to swallow.
You wouldn't know it by my smile or my generally cheerful attitude, but I am living with debilitating depression and anxiety. I've struggled with mood disorders since I was in my teens, but my conditions have been greatly exacerbated in recent years.
The decline started after my freshman year of college, when I stayed at my university to take summer courses in order to fulfill my three-year graduation plan. I did rather well -- an A and an A- while taking almost the maximum number of credits allowed for summer session -- but I failed to take care of myself in the process. I spent fall of my sophmore year a bit mentally fatigued and physically unwell, and it began to affect my academic performance. Being a slight overacheiver, I stressed myself even more worrying about the slip in my grades, compounding the issue. (If you're a student, or anyone really, please don't forget that sometimes you need to go easy on yourself and you always need to take care of yourself <3)
Then, I found myself in an abusive relationship. He was charming -- aren't they always? -- and charismatic and profoundly manipulative. I lost six months of my life, my ability to trust, my willingness to be touched, and my sanity. The psychological and physical damage was deep, and, over two years later, I am just now feeling safe enough to try relearning how to have a healthy intimate relationships.
That summer, I went home and tried to get well. I found a job that I loved, but I had to avoid my usual public spaces to get away from the man who abused me. The loss of my community made recovery difficult, and I found myself having to seek out a new one in a different city. I returned to school feeling healed enough to do well, but it did not last. And so began a cycle where I would start my semesters with a bout of optimism, convinced I was finally well enough to continue my academic career, only to find myself overwhelmed by worsening depression and anxiety.
As time wore on, the aftermath of the burnout and abuse was a major depressive episode so intense, I could not function. I could not muster enough energy to dress myself or leave the house most days, much less go to class and learn. My inappetance was so severe, I essentially stopped eating for days at a time. My roommate at the time resorted to cooking for us both to make sure I was eating something. I would lay on the couch watching the world pass by through the window, mentally screaming at myself to move, to do something. Sometimes, I could make it to an evening lab, but those three hours of activity required every once of energy I had.
I failed three semesters of college. Three semesters in a row, I arrived bright and optimistic, convinced that this time I was well, this time I would be successful. Two semesters in a row, I found myself slowly being overcome by mental illness, so slowly, I did not realize it until it was too late. The third semester, this past fall, I saw it coming. And I gave up. I stopped trying to push through my illness to make it to class and lab. I accepted it was futile. I realized it was making me sicker. So I decided to try something different -- I decided to focus on myself, on my health, on my happiness.
I cancelled my enrollment for the semester, packed up my belongings, and moved back west. Determined to take care of myself and knowing that I would need my community, I decided to move to Seattle rather than going back to Olympia to be with my parents. I moved as quickly as I did because I had job interviews lined up, and within a week of being in Seattle, I had a job. A friend gave me a place to stay while I found housing, which took longer than I expected, but eventually happened. I did well for a while. Medicated and excited, I threw myself into my new job and new life. I reconnected with my dance community, I found a romantic relationship that made me feel safe, and became smitten with a horse, who I hope to own one day. However, I quickly found that my new work environment was an unhealthy and unsupportive one. The negative culture wore on me, and I began to look for a new position. But my mental illness was not done with me yet -- I was insurance limbo, waiting for my coverage to start, when I ran out of medication. My symptoms were slow to return, but when they did, they began to affect my performance. My job being the sort of judgmental environment that it was, I did not feel safe disclosing my disability and asking them to be sympathetic, so I just tried to work through it. I was unsuccessful, and my employer unceremoniously fired me. I'd wanted out anyway, so I wasn't exactly upset, but the loss of income was a hard blow to take.
I've been unemployed for two months now, which is stressful in and of itself, but that's not what's weighing on me the most right now, and that's not exactly why I'm here. I'm here because I've spent the last year or so debating whether a service dog would be a good option for me, and when I left school, I also took the plunge and got on the waitlist for a breeder I've been following for several years. The timing could not have been much better as they are retiring from breeding after next year's litter. However, when I lost my job, I also lost the ability to save up for my puppy. The purchase price is covered, but as of right now, I do not have the money to fly down to pick up my puppy, or provide for him in his first year.
So, I'm coming to you asking for your help in making sure my dog will be cared for while I get back on my feet. Not only that, I'm asking you to help me directly by alleviating the anxiety I'm experiencing because I'm afraid I won't be able to get my dog at all. The money raised will go toward paying for my airfare to pick up my puppy; his vaccines, license, and annual exam (including blood work); supplies like a crate, car restraint, and toys; and enough food, flea/tick preventative, and dewormer for a year. Any leftover money will be put toward his formal training.
I have about a month to raise enough money for a plane ticket, supplies, and the veterinary exam. That alone will easily be $1,500. If you all could help me get that far, it would be incredibly helpful. It would be a giant leap toward being able to support my puppy, and toward maintaining my longterm health. I would be eternally grateful for any assistance you could provide.