Adelaide Hills Bushfire - lost everything

I'm new to this so please go easy on me. My name is Jordan. It's been a very difficult financial year. For 3.5 years I lived with a very peaceful, quiet and somewhat isolated life with my best friend Steph and 2 boy cats MaoMao and BoBo in a 1920s tin cottage rental on the edge of a country town named Lobethal. We're basically a family unit and Steph is my closest friend and companion for 11 years, I help him manage his undiagnosed mental health condition and he makes me laugh since we have the exact same stupid sense of humour that no one else we've met has. I have a history of anxiety, depression and agoraphobia too but I'm good at solving things and making things happen and I always put Steph's needs before my own. Maybe because it gives me a greater purpose beyond thinking about myself. Steph works as a care giver to people who need assistance performing daily tasks for various reasons. He's a sensitive and community minded man. I'm more gregarious and down to earth.

Living in Lobethal gave us both our own quiet place away from all the crowds and stress in the city. It really helped both of us handle life better and we got used to our own and each others company while behaving like 2 Dads to MaoMao and BoBo.

In January 2019 I was a production line worker making soft drinks 5am to 3pm 4 days a week when my memory started failing me at work. I developed constant forgetfulness and for the life of me couldn't memorise the machinery processes. My supervisor was a supportive and patient man, but I was constantly confused why my memory was getting so bad that I was beginning to forget the names of everyday items as well as stuff at work. I fell deeper into anxiety and depression over letting my supervisor down pretty much every day even though he kept being supportive and patient with me hoping it'd stick eventually.

Meanwhile my car loan repayments, personal loan repayments, bloody ridiculous electricity bills, dental and other bills and repayments started mounting up on me despite working long hours. All the while my memory of running machinery at work was getting worse.

Then in April I began to feel physically weak and tired. The depression was getting real bad and I started considering suicide as a way out.

In May my Doc told me I had Glandular Fever and Fatigue. She told me to change my line of work because one day I was going to die on the factory floor from a heart attack. On May 22nd I put in notice and left the job because I was on the verge of passing out during work and I was sleeping for 11 hours nearly every night and yet my body and mind were both still giving out. For 6 months I mostly slept and when I had to be awake I tried to function normally and helped Steph manage his mental health and my own stuff, but at least I had stopped thinking about how to kill myself.

My already financially challenged parents in Adelaide helped to keep us afloat with lending me money, and Maomao and BoBo were both our daily support and strength.

On Thursday November 7th Steph started getting migraines daily and he couldn't take any more work shifts. Now we were both out of work on government payments while managing our own and each other's conditions. Life was getting really stressful again.

Then on Friday November 22nd BoBo was killed by a car. I understand people might think 'oh it's just a cat', like an inanimate object, but it devastated us as we both treated him like he was our own child. Life hasn't felt the same since he left, I hear Steph crying himself to sleep still nearly every night. So yeah we've been mourning the absence of his personality and his body to hug since. We nearly moved out but I was saying there's still hope that life will bring us a good future.

I was taking Steph to the Doc to try get help for the unending migraines, 4 weeks now every day, and after a Doc appointment on December 13th, Steph's car died right out front the Doc's surgery in Lobethal. It's still sitting there now. Now he had no car to work when he got better... anyway... it was around this time Steph said he had a feeling we weren't going to be living in our house very much longer. Just throw that on top of the pile to deal with. Great. 

Well he wasn't wrong. On Friday December 20th at 3pm our house burnt to the ground when the Adelaide Hills Bushfire hit Lobethal taking all of our belongings and our life in Lobethal with it. The photo is of the trees lining the driveway up to my house, it was taken by my neighbour across the road around 4pm after the wall of fire hit the property. I was hopefully lucky to have been paying for contents insurance so I'm hoping if the assessor does her job properly and I might be able to recover the cost of whatever they allow, in which case I may delete this and refund everyone's donations, so our crippling financial situation will be only due to the debts which have accrued through our circumstance.

We're in temporary accommodation in Adelaide with family now for a couple of months while we try to clear debts and try to accrue enough household stuff to move back up to Lobethal. We normally live a quiet peaceful life away from people just looking after MaoMao.

I don't expect much as I'm embarrassed having to ask at all but please if anyone could help us to get ourselves back on our feet we would be immensely grateful.

December 28th: We have changed the goal to $7,000 as this is the amount we actually need. We didn't and still don't expect anything, but people's support has been overwhelming for us and Steph and I really want to say a personal thank you to every person who has helped us here, your support has given us both faith and hope and it's really the type of thing that makes you feel like crying with thanks - I wish I could give you all a hug, thanks so much.


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Jordan Whiteley 
Lobethal, SA
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