We’ve bonded on many levels…grit, mid-west humor, inner strength, love of sports and love of Mexican food, to name a few. But ever since we have known Beth, she has suffered from severe depression with suicidal ideation, a genetic condition that has progressively worsened as she has gotten older. Over the years, Beth has literally spent countless hours in therapy, tried every type of medication available and been hospitalized almost 20 times for her condition.
Despite her challenges with depression, she’s as tough as they come, but this illness has buckled Beth repeatedly over the years…two steps forward and four steps back has been her path. She has never given up. We have witnessed someone who doesn’t quit and someone who puts her energy towards her career, friends and addressing her depression as much as possible.
Beth studied medical geography and landed a job with Group Health as a data researcher in 2004. She was extremely successful in her work for more than 12 years and was eventually promoted to Project Manager, overseeing cancer research and behavioral health studies. However, even with a successful job, her medical condition declined and her treatment options became more and more limited. Finally, in 2014, she began receiving electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), formerly known as electroshock therapy. ECT is a psychiatric treatment in which seizures are electrically induced while patients are under general anesthesia. The treatment was promising until Beth woke up during one of the procedures due to an error by the anesthesiologist. The incident resulted in severe PTSD, aggravated her depression and, again, landed Beth in the hospital in the fall of 2016. Three weeks later, her supervisor – intolerant of Beth’s medical needs and absences - sadly and unfairly fired Beth.
Since losing her job almost 18 months ago, Beth has been forced to spend down her retirement funds to pay for living and medical expenses. Her depression has continued to worsen, she is agoraphobic and her relationships with family and friends have suffered. She was hospitalized again at the beginning of February due to her suicidal ideation and then, quickly running out of money, Beth was forced to move out of her apartment on Febraury 26th and put her belongings in storage. She has been invited to stay with a friend in Northern California starting February 28th for a month but is not certain where she will be able to go from there.
Beth has applied for Social Security disability which is intended for individuals who – due to a medical condition – are not capable of working. However, it takes a minimum of 5 months (and up to 18) for a disability application to be granted. Our good friend is less than 30 days away from homelessness. Our goal for now is to raise $12,000 to help Beth with housing expenses while her disability application is pending. Beth’s expenses are as follows: Rent $700-1000/mo, Food $300-400/mo, Medication/Counseling $400/mo, Phone $120/mo.
Beth has struggled with her illness for a very long time and has rarely asked for help. The four of us have all spent time with her on and off throughout this past year and can honestly say that she has tried to fight her illness, has shown appreciation for what little help and support we have been able to provide, and has retained her great sense of humor. All of us, including Beth, struggled with whether this was the right thing to do. But she has run out of options.
Anything you can contribute to this effort to help Beth with housing and living expenses would be very much appreciated. If anyone has a room to offer or knows of a room to rent for a reasonable price, that would be appreciated as well. We are hopeful that compassion runs deep and wide in this amazing Emerald City that we call home and in other cities and towns that this call out may reach.
Rita, Sarah, Judy, and Chris
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