Fighting Back against Years of Pain

Five years ago, my life was thrown off course by recurring pain that has only gotten worse.  I've fought and survived this far, but I need your help to ensure I have a meaningful future.

To anyone viewing this, thank you in advance.  Some of you know me by my real name, but most of you probably know me better by another.  I've kept my real life and internet presences separate previously, but now I have no choice but to bring the two together.  Over the last few years, I've made a minor name for myself online, carved out a small niche on Youtube, and been heavily involved in the Super Smash Bros. community in particular.  You know Robin's signature Checkmate combo?  The name was my idea.

Unfortunately, there's been a lot going on behind the scenes, and it's left me chained down for years beyond my control.

Five and a half years ago, halfway through my junior year of university, I started feeling intense pain in my upper neck.  What I first waved off as a cramp or bruise that'd heal itself in a couple days quickly become strong enough to disrupt my ability to concentrate, work, and even sleep.  I learned that the vertebrae in my neck were out of alignment, a consequence of congenital defects from being born a month premature.  They'd slowly slipped out of place over years of time, and they'd just then gotten bad enough to press down on muscles and nerves, causing on-and-off pain that, at its worst, was excruciating.  I took action and started seeing a chiropractor near campus, but the pain and my then-lack of knowledge meant it was already too late.  It'd already caused me to fall behind in my classes, which led to anxiety and then rampant panic attacks spurred on by the pain, which lead to being prescribed antidepressants whose unexpected, adverse reactions to my body caused the panic symptoms to spike even higher, which lead to a full on nervous breakdown and a withdrawal from college out of fear for my sanity and life.  I've never been the same ever since.

Many people are fighting their own battles beneath the surface, even if they don't have the results to show for it.  I've learned a lot in the time since then, learned about how anxiety disorders work and how to keep mine (mostly) manageable, how to work around the chronic pain I've been cursed with in order to limit its impact.

And yet, the pain has become even worse than it was then, and it still affects me every day.  Three years ago, my back started hurting as well--my spine had also fallen far enough out of alignment to cause pain as intense as in my neck.  Then after spending two years and exactly 100 job applications looking for work, I was forced to leave the movie theater job I'd finally landed after just two weeks working there, due to pain in my feet so intense I could barely walk.  That was how I found out, the hard way, that I was born with next to no arch support in my feet.

What success I've had online is despite this pain hounding me at every turn, and because freelance work online is all I have.  Due to my feet, I can't work standing jobs.  Due to my back, I can't work desk jobs.  Due to my neck, I'm liable to be completely out of commission for hours at a time at the drop of a hat.  I've forgotten what it feels like to have a good night's sleep.  I cannot drive a car for more than an hour without something starting to hurt.  I have to be very careful about the positions I stand, sit, and lay in, as well as exactly where and how I sit or stand, to avoid putting pressure in the wrong places and setting off nerve pain.  If you've experienced nerve pain before, you know full well how crippling it can be when it's there.  If you haven't experienced it, pray you never do.

The worst part?  I could fix all of this...but I've never had enough money to.  As far as I know, the misaligned vertebrae in my neck and back require no surgery, just consistent chiropractic treatment...but I've only ever had enough money to get them treated every 2-4 weeks instead of weekly.  I could work around the defects in my feet with the right insoles...but my arches are so unnatural that they require a custom design that'd cost several hundred dollars.  The stress and pressure of never being able to--literally--afford a single setback has re-ignited my anxiety at times and the stress has amplified the pain even further, and while I've been proactive about handling it and looked into therapy...I've never had enough money to have consistent enough sessions.  I've been stuck in neutral for years, unable to find a career, unable to support myself, barely able to socialize and make meaningful connections with people (hence the lack of cheery pictures), all because I've been chained down by this pain.  I've had some help this year through my Youtube channel's Patreon, but now I need far greater support than even that if I'm ever to move forward and create a future for myself.

Well, I've never been one to give up.  With your help, I could cover my medical expenses for up to a year, ensure I make real, tangible progress toward fixing these injuries and settling my anxious mind for good, and finally get my life back on track again in a way I've tried and failed to do on my own.

I've done some calculations, and I predict my monthly medical expenses would be as follows:

Health Insurance: $250/Month
As a baseline, I need some kind of insurance to help cover medical costs and be a lifeline in case something even worse happens.  I don't make enough money to qualify for federal aid (I'm at a range where state plans are intended to kick in), and my state's Medicaid does not cover low-income adults like me.  I have a specific plan in mind that'll keep copays and prescription costs manageable, but it'll cost me just under this much per month.

Chiropractic Care: $90/Month
To truly make progress with my neck and back instead of just treading water, I need the means to get them adjusted once a week instead of once every two or more.  $20 per visit, with roughly 4 1/2 weeks per month, comes to $90 in total.

Counseling: $90/Month
I'm...not in the best state mentally.  On top of an anxiety disorder, I have other issues and hangups, and with the help of a proper therapist, I could take steps toward mending it all.  Approximately $40 per biweekly visit comes up to another $90 a month.

Backup Medical Funds: $35/Month
I've made it this far by thinking three steps ahead, and so I want to have backup funds for life's little unexpected ailments in ways I haven't had until now.  This would be for things like a sudden, necessary doctor visit, antibiotic prescriptions, or minor things like aspirin for when the pain gets too strong to manage.  This way I would be able to adapt to and take care of the sudden illnesses we all get sometimes without burning a hole in my wallet.

$465 per month x 12 months = $5,580, rounded up very slightly to the nice, clean goal you see up top.

As you probably noticed earlier on, I have been running a Patreon page since the start of this year.  I realize running two different types of crowdfunding at once raises eyebrows and leads people to assume the worst.  I weighed my options seriously, and decided this was a risk I needed to take nonetheless due to how dire my situation is.

I chose be upfront and honest about this to show I have no ill intent and nothing to hide, and I plan to keep my presence on the two sites distinct and keep the pledges from each separate so you know what your money is going toward.  The funds earned here will be used as immediate aid for much-needed medical expenses and nothing else, while Patreon is for consistent, monthly support of my creative content.  It takes a lot of trust to support a campaign like this, and I promise I will not betray that trust.

Thanks again if you've made it this far.  I've missed out on so much in the past few years, and I have a lot of ground to make up.  I need to find my place in the world, gain the means to support myself, and ease the burden on my family and friends.

With your help, I will finally be able to change my fate.


Nick Thro
Florissant, MO

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