Help Tizi Demolish Depression

My brother, Tizi (short for Tiziano), is one of my best friends. He’s kind, intelligent and hilariously witty. We both immigrated to the U.S. as kids, making our reliance on one another and on those we love unexplainably strong. He’s fiercely devoted to his family, friends and rescue emotional-support dog, Penelope. Always smiling, he believes that bringing joy to people is his life’s purpose. Yet, inside, he is battered with traumatic emotional scars left by an illness he first came face-to-face with when he was 17. Today, after years of battling with chronic depression, he needs my help. Not one to ask for help himself, he hasn’t openly shared much of his battle with the world. He doesn’t know I’m writing these words, and because of that, I’m not sharing this on my own social channels. While I want to be respectful of his discretion, I also wholeheartedly believe that his story needs to be shared. I believe he is worthy of receiving help. You see, depression leaves you feeling helpless and hurt. Depression attempts to take away your joy and your smile. It attempts to convince you that there is no help out there. It tells you you’re not worthy. For over a decade, Tizi had looked his mental illness in the eyes and told it to get on its way, thanks to medication, therapy and a strong support system. This year, however, was different. This year, the demons of depression crept in in ways they hadn’t before.

The sudden and much-too-early death of both of our parents left him fragile; the grief was enflamed by a romantic relationship that turned abusive (one that he had to escape overnight and for which he received court-ordered protection) and left him feeling ashamed (another thing the world often overlooks are male victims of domestic abuse by a female partner). He looked depression in the eye and thought, “I can’t do this anymore.” Acknowledging his emotions, he sought outpatient therapy. There he found an amazingly supportive group of people and a new medication schedule with a positive prognosis. The sunshine was slowly making its way back in, until his insurance provider clouded it by denying the continuation of his therapy. The audacity to tell a mental health patient who just weeks before had been suicidal that he had “exceeded his sessions” despite his medical team’s countless documented requests still makes my skin boil. That’s another thing about depression; it’s so often misunderstood. A week after his outpatient therapy was terminated by Blue Cross Blue Shield, Tizi found himself driving at an increasing speed down a quiet Tallahassee road, contemplating not stopping at the dead end. What followed has become Tizi’s darkest chapter.

That following day, he was Baker Acted, forced to remain under inpatient medical attention for 72 hours. Shame crept in. The demons of depression were speaking louder than ever. He wanted them gone. He bravely decided he would do everything in his power to get better. On his own accord, he resumed outpatient therapy out-of-pocket. Eventually, his focus on investing time toward bettering his mental health cost him his job. Committed to not faltering, he took on two part-time jobs. Slowly, bills started stacking up on his kitchen counter: medical bills from his emergency hospitalization, therapy invoices, prescription fees and credit card payments (used for critical expenses, such as rent, during his critical time). In just a matter of months, Tizi went from having zero debt in his 30 years of life to collecting more than $25,000 in money owed for getting himself back to health. As you might expect, financial burdens of this sort do very little to help the wellbeing of someone so staunchly dealing with mental health issues. It’s an awful cycle that I’m afraid, if left unresolved, will end up putting my brother through more hardship, both financial and emotional.

Tizi has big plans for his life ahead. That’s because he has made the decision to actually live it. He wants to buy a new car (meaning one that has A/C and is younger than 20-years-old). He wants to finally finish his degree, which his first diagnosis cut short. He wants to teach children and help counsel those dealing with mental health issues, which he cam empathize with all too well. He wants to adopt what he believes is his life’s purpose: to bring people joy. He wants to climb over this mountain of debt and be given the freedom to start a new chapter.

Tizi is strong, capable, committed and enthused. He deserves to be able to write the next chapter of his story debt-free. He needs to make space for recovery, without financial issues cluttering that space and letting depression in.

Most importantly, he deserves to know his story matters. Whether you donate $1 or $100, I hope you will consider contributing to the next chapter of Tizi’s story. Every dollar helps fight a demon of depression. If nothing else, I hope his story will empower others to rally in the fight for mental health. He’s not giving up, and I will never give up fighting for him.

Thank you so much for your consideration.32455762_1535324453262761_r.jpeg

Donations

  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 23 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $35 
    • 37 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $175 
    • 37 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 37 mos
  • Erika Barros 
    • $75 
    • 37 mos
See all

Organizer

Valeria Palmertree 
Organizer
Virginia Beach, VA
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