Rae's Mental Health Recovery Fund

Hello my loves,

Rae here with an ask. It’s hard to ask right now because I feel privileged to have a roof over my head when needs here in the states and around the world seem to be so big and so much. But I’m stepping into trust that it’s ok to ask because I have to, and I know there are people who want to help if they can.

As many of you probably already know, I've struggled with mental health most of my life. Suicidal ideation is something I’ve fought, managed, and nearly lost to for almost 30 years. And right now, I’m struggling to hang on. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve had suicidal episodes three times a week; I’ve had difficulty being able to work or function. That’s when I know I need help; I'm dangerously close when I start thinking about who can care for my cats if I’m gone or having intrusive thoughts while holding sharp objects that require me to stop what I'm doing and focus on not acting on impulses.

(Rae can no longer take the heat)

Today I talked with HR; I’m unable to even process how fortunate I feel to have the amount of support my work is giving me in this situation, in my life it is unprecedented. I’m struggling with shame about taking time off from work (hello American exceptionalism), but my work is adamant I take this time ASAP; it means so much to have other voices confirming that this is the right and smart choice for my survival.

Starting this week, I’ve been approved for a minimum of 1 month (max 12 weeks) to get intensive outpatient mental health treatment. During this time, I will also be able to take care of legal, physical, social, and house tasks that I have been unable to take care of the past year 100% on my own while experiencing increased chronic fatigue and depressive episodes.

For the past two years, I have been nearly completely isolated, and for the past several months 100% isolated. Part of my recovery will be reaching out to connect with the community, something I haven’t been able to do while trying to take care of basic needs during my time off and dealing with crises. I’ll also be able to get outside before the snow comes without feeling like I should be at my desk trying to figure things out (yall know what standing among the trees, feeling the wind, dipping your feet in creeks does for one’s mental health).

The goal amount set is what I calculated I need for my unpaid time off as I cannot afford any unpaid time off. I hope I get approved for Short Term Disability (which HR was confident I could get); this would cover 60% of my income. However, I have to pay back my benefits, cover additional treatments that aren’t in my normal care budget, and the remaining 40% of my pay that is not covered. This amount will allow me to have recovery time without increasing my already existing financial burdens and anxiety (which is a significant factor in my current mental state).

After my two weeks of PTO, the amount of time I can dedicate to rebuilding stability depends on how much funds I can raise. How amazing would it be if I could just focus on the healing and the ability to take the time needed to maintain stability?!

My costs after PTO breaks down to:

If approved for Short Term Disability
$99 Per day
$495 Per week
$990 For two-week min

If not approved for Short Term Disability
$193 Per day
$965 Per week
$1930 For two-week min

$1930 will guarantee that I can take the minimum amount of time I need. If this goal is met AND I get approved for STD (worst acronym ever), Then I will have funds to extend my leave if it is needed, or if I’m ready to go back to work, it can go into savings for sick days/time off as I will be using 100% of my accrued PTO.

THANK YOU for showing up and seeing me. Those who have offered their words of love, know how much they mean to me. If you're able to give financially, thank you for providing me with resources to heal. I love you.

Donations (15)

See top
  • Stephen Boshear
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
  • Jesse Niou
    • $20 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • $30 
    • 1 yr
  • Mitchell Thompson
    • $50 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
See all


Rae Esterlina
Columbus, OH

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