Bring Karen, Allie, and Wagner Home

My name is Karen Ziehm. I have fought Clinical Depression for most of my life, with the last few years showing escalating symptoms. In 2015, I lost my job as a Consultant. After exhausting my options in Los Angeles with no employment, in 2016 I sold my home and moved to Colorado for a new start. Getting back to nature in a place where the economy was booming and the speed of life was slower was what I needed to take better care of myself. And, what kicked it over the top for me was that my 85 year old Dad lives in Colorado and would live a short distance from me. So, Colorado was my choice.

My everyday life in Colorado is much different than I had envisioned. Being Lesbian, I hadn't realized how isolated I'd feel in Colorado after living in such an inclusive place like Los Angeles. I applied for over 100 job openings that year, but with no job offer, virtually no social network, and with my funds dwindling, I fell into a crippling depression. I feel rejected professionally, didn't find a peer group, didn't find the family connection I'd hoped for, and had some really disheartening experiences with homophobes, both in my home and in the community.

Unable to afford medical insurance, my prescriptions lapsed and I began rationing medication. Being without a consistent control of my depression broke me. I eventually slipped into a major depressive disorder. For those unfamiliar with MDD, it is an emotional illness that affects how I feel, think and behave and can lead to other emotional and physical problems. MDD took my life away from me. It affects my ability to think clearly, take care of myself physically and emotionally, and do normal day-to-day things – even to get out of bed or interact with others - and often feels as if my life isn't worth living. The only thing that has kept me alive was the love of my two dogs, Allie and Wagner.

My mind is the most important tool I have for my life. Having my mind affected by an illness is humiliating and heartbreaking. As an individual who tends to rely on her mind, I am terrified. Also, the realization that what I thought was a good move was not has been embarrassing and emotionally crushing.

I am completely paralyzed by my situation, and couldn’t even speak to others for months. It took a whole lot just to get another prescription and to realize I needed help. I made the most humbling call of my life to relatives in Northern California. We agreed that I should head back to California – though the northern part this time – where a loving, supportive, family presence could help me continue to build strength, become employed and return to being the energetic, positive person I used to be.

But I desperately need your help to get there. My rent is paid through January. Beyond that, I have no funds, no place to live, no connections and no prospects in Colorado. In three weeks, my dogs and I will be homeless or living in my Jeep.

Your donation will be used for all living expenses for myself and my dogs until that time (e.g., food, medication, oil change before the drive, car insurance that has lapsed, gas, etc.), along with moving expenses (gas, food, and lodging for the trip from Colorado to California; if possible, a storage space and/or the rental of a moving truck) to get started in California.

I believe in second chances, and I’m ready for mine. Please. Help me through this.
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Karen Ziehm