Escaping an Unliveable Situation

I'm Shelby, I'm 24 years old, I'm a lesbian with a number of mental health issues living with my abusive mother and 2 older brothers in a small town in Ohio. I am raising money to move out of my currently unlivable situation.

My house has recurring issues with black mold, the bathtub, an oven that leaks gas, the house sinking, a squirrel infestation, and electrical hazards. I also don't have a heater vent in my room so it gets super cold in the Northern Ohio winters. My mom is an emotionally and physically abusive alcoholic and it negatively affects my mental health. I've been hospitalized 4 times since December due to problems at home and lost my job because of being hospitalized. 

Due to my living situation, I am unable to save money to move out, but I need to get out of this situation in order to begin to recover and live a normal life. Here are further details about the unfit living situation, the abuse, financial stress that I am under, and how it's been affecting my mental health.

HOME LIFE

• My home is old, moldy, and poorly maintained. The basement is completely flooded for half the year and it causes black mold to grow in my room and the bathroom.
• My room doesn't have a heater vent and so it gets really cold during the winter to the point I need a space heater, which I fear might also cause a fire so I limit using it even if I'm really cold.
• There is mold in the corner of my room and on the wall near my window, because this is the most isolated spot away from the heat, mold grows very easily in the fall through the spring. There is water damage on the walls from my room because the cold causes the walls to 'sweat'. 
• Our bathtub is cheap hard plastic. The mold in our bathtub is embedded inside so we have to clean it constantly or it grows uncontrollably.
• A few years ago, a bathtub leak caused a massive hole above the microwave that my landlord refused to fix, and it has only worsened since. A squirrel had fallen through it last time and it's getting ready to cave in again.
My house is slowly sinking into the ground which causes cracks and holes in the walls. 
• The landlord admitted that the carpet hasn't been replaced since the 80's and it hasn't been clean at all.
• My mom refuses to pay for garbage pick up and so we’ve been tossing garbage in other people’s dumpsters and public cans for almost a year.
• We have holes in the roof that allow squirrels to nest in the attic, walls, and floorboards of our house. There is always a risk that a squirrel may chew the wiring in the walls and cause fires or die inside the walls/floors.
• The oven doesn't work and our stove leaks gas.
• The toilet has a hard time flushing and often backs up.
• We had two house fires, the second one earlier this year was caused by electrical damage due to the squirrels inside the walls. The first one, which happened last year, was caused by our neighbors neglecting a bonfire during a drought. The fire extinguisher has still not been replaced.
• These neighbors own a meth lab and one of them recently bought a gun, potentially illegally, and he's been shooting it at the trees in the backyard. I feel very unsafe knowing he might be under the influence while owning a gun.
• They abused their 5 dogs and taught them to "sic" people. One actually attacked me and my mother when we were trying to get inside the car. They leave their doors open so their dogs typically roam the neighborhood.
• One day a support beam in our basement fell, and it was very loud. My mom angrily came downstairs to yell at me, blaming me for slamming things even though I was watching TV and confused as to what the sound in the basement was.

MY MOM

• When I was younger I used to be rather athletic and my mom would constantly make comments about me losing weight and being fat. Forcing me on diets and shaming me into what became of my eating disorder. She refuses to acknowledge that she would call me fat.
• My mom hides my mail and has even hid insurance information and packages from friends. She has hit me for opening my mail in front of her. She thinks it belongs to her.
• Constant yelling at me and blaming me for her bad habits and mental health. She constantly threatens to kick me out or says she wants nothing to do with me.
She refuses to do anything for herself and refuses to clean things or help with the house.
• From the middle of March to the end of April our shower didn't work and she refused to contact our landlord to fix it and also refused to call a handyman to fix it either. When I offered to make the calls she just yelled at me.
• My mom has been homophobic towards me and my one older brother.
• She gets mad at me for things that haven't even happened yet, accusing me of things I haven’t done.
• She hasn't worked since 2008. I was the one who made her dentist appointments to remove her teeth and get dentures and I was the one who showed her cars to buy when we were without one for over a year and half so she could get a job. I did that all so she could comfortably travel and get a job yet she hasn't put any applications in ever.
• At one point between 2010 and 2014 she stole about $26,000 total from one of my older brothers. She denies that this happened.
• She expects me to get a job but refuses to help get me there and even refused to drive me to an interview.
• She's an alcoholic and drinks every night. In September of this year, I had to walk home from the hospital because she was too drunk to pick me up. It was a 45 minute walk that started at 2 am. I didn't have shoes or a coat and I had to walk with a blanket.
• She refuses to let me cook because she is scared I'll ruin her cookware. She refuses to cook either, but complains if I want to eat out and so it can be very difficult when trying to get a meal. She keeps expired food because she doesn't think things can "truly expire".
• She refuses to let me do my own laundry.
• She actively hinders my attempts at finding employment but refuses to buy me necessities when I can't afford it. 

FINANCES

• I had a section 8 housing voucher but I lost that opportunity because my old caseworker refused to help me find apartments, canceled multiple appointments, and didn't help me get it renewed in time.
• I don't have much left in my savings since losing my job in January, and I pay for my own food and my mom refuses to let me get food stamps.
• Because I'm running low on money finding a place to live is becoming almost impossible.
• I was sexually harassed at my old job by 3 male coworkers and my workplace refused to fire them. I still have issues dealing with that to this day and fears of men in positions of power.
• My old workplace refused to give me shifts after my mental hospital stay in December, and after I complained they lowered my average hours even further.
In the current environment I live in, I cannot keep a healthy mind enough to work successfully long term.
• I have bills to pay, including vet bills for my kitten who passed away in August.

MENTAL HEALTH

• I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar I, EDNOS (Eating Disorder), Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Major Depression.
• I have been hospitalized 4 times since December of last year.
• At times I feel like the only way to cope is to drink alcohol. I feel like this is a dangerous slope to addiction which my mom and dad both suffer with. (Parents divorced, dad lives in Florida and wants nothing to do with our situation)
• The hopelessness I feel in my situation causes me to have suicidal thoughts and I have resorted to starving myself to feel control of my uncontrollable living situation.
• I rescued a kitten in May of this year from a hoarding house. She was my life and whenever she had a problem I would be proactive and take her to the vet. Sadly due to some form of bacterial infection from her previous home, she succumbed to her illnesses and passed away on August 2, 2020. This really caused my mental health to spiral, and I am still paying her vet bills.
• Eating disorders and horrible food habits have been a generational thing. I remember my grandma telling me being fat is disgusting. One night when my mom was drunk she cried calling me fat and said it was the cause of her depression.
• I was losing weight from restricting and my old counselor told me "I looked healthy" and disregarded me losing weight by starving and restriction, thereby reinforcing those behaviors.
• When the shower stops working (roughly twice a year), I can't maintain hygiene. This causes my mental health to deteriorate severely and also hinders employment seeking.
• There is no possible way to recover from any mental illness, especially my eating disorder, in my current environment.

I plan to use the money raised to help find an apartment and for a few month's rent plus utilities as I look for stable employment, for vet bills, phone bills, and moving costs. I am planning on moving to a nearby city to get away from my family and where I have more viable options for employment and more mental health resources.

Donations

  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 5 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $15 
    • 6 d

Organizer

Shelby Burson 
Organizer
Ravenna, OH
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