Mad Bike Woman

$2,547 of $3,800 goal

Raised by 58 people in 4 months
Gwen Dever  RICHMOND, VA
CLICK HERE TO READ MY BLOG FOR A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT I GO THROUGH 

I have bipolar disorder. I blog about it and have a youtube channel where I talk about my symptoms , medication, and every other aspect of the disorder. I'm very open about it and know there are consequences for doing so but I refuse to let ignorance win. Mental heath is a serious issue and it shouldn't be covered up. There's nothing to be ashamed about.

I went on a 2 week medical leave because of a bad medication switch. Click here to read about it.

Today was my first day back to work after 2 weeks of medical leave. I returned to find that I was no longer employed. On the owner's desk were sheets of paper that had a bunch of quotes from my YouTube videos written on them. There were pages of my blog posts printed out with highlighted sections all over them. The computer screen was open and my blog was on display .

During my leave I was put on new medication, taken off the bad medication, and got a note from my psychiatrist clearing me as psychologically fit to return to work. It's why I took time off- not because I wanted to, but because I needed to become functional and stable. That's what you do when you have a mental illness- you work hard at taking the steps you need in order to get better. That's what my leave was about- recovery.

If I hadn't been doing my job I would understand being let go, but it was specifically stated that my duties had not gone neglected. To walk in and have my own words about my mental health struggles used against me as means of termination is pretty much one of my top fears when I write and record what I go through.

I was told that when my boss shared my videos and blog with his peers for feedback about my mental capabilities, they replied that I'm completely crazy and someone like me shouldn't be allowed to work at the shop because I'm a danger to the business and it's reputation.

I was never a threat. I never have been a threat. These statements were made out of fear. I wasn't let go because of something I had done, I was fired based off of ignorant and unfounded assumptions about my disorder.

My blog has been up for almost 4 years now. My bipolarity was already well known to the business owner and it's employees long before I was even considered for the job. When meeting new people I pretty much tell them that I'm bipolar before I remember to mention my name. I was told during my initial job interview that I would have been hired sooner (waited 6 months) if it wasn't for me being bipolar.



There are no federal or state laws that protect me from discrimination. Each one has requirements for how many employees a business has to have in order for the employees to be protected. There are only 4 employees at Pedal Power (3 now), Virginia state’s law doesn’t apply because they’re minimum number is 6 employees. Federal laws require a business to have 15 or more full time employees.

Less than 6 employees and an employer is legally allowed to discriminate against you because of a disability.

I am asking for help because I am unexpectedly unemployed 2.5 weeks before Christmas and am already a bit financially behind because of my necessary medical leave. I have 2 kids, 3 dogs, and a husband that will go without gifts from me this year. It's not the end of the world but after struggling for 5 months on the wrong meds, getting fired just for having said disorder, and being financially behind I would like to give them something for their unwavering support. (Except the dogs. Something that eats garbage and drinks toilet water probably doesn't have an emotional attachment to Christmas gifts.)

So far my moods seem more stable so I will be actively seek employment. Your help is incredibly appreciated and goes to a good cause- defeating the discrimination against those of us who suffer from mental illness and making sure I can eat daily.

Thank you


CLICK HERE FOR MY YOUTUBE CHANEL
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Update 9
Posted by Gwen Dever
3 days ago
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I have been able to chip away at the goal thanks to Paypal donations! Thank you! I have about $1253 left but once that's reached I will be able to shut my Gofundme campaign down for good! I will be on my feet and able to maintain my finances. Every little bit helps!
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Update 8
Posted by Gwen Dever
5 days ago
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I've decided that I'm healthy enough to work. Because of how bad off I was, the plan was to get on disability pay in order to take the time I needed to get my meds straight and find some stability before I entered the workforce again. Between the russian roulette game that is figuring out psych meds and recovering from my termination and bullying at the bike shop, I was finding it impossible to get basic life tasks accomplished, so disability seemed like the only viable option until I got back on my feet, mentally. But now that the doctors and I know what I'm facing- not just bipolar disorder but also borderline personality disorder- we can treat it accordingly.

The meds weren't working because my bipolar wasn't the culprit, BPD was, and just like when I was diagnosed with bipolar 4 years ago, I hit the ground running to educate myself about the disorder. It's surprising it took this long to catch but BPD is exacerbated by stress and with my former boss doing things like mocking me to my face about my symptoms, it set off a BPD hell storm. By the way, yes, my former boss came up to me one day mockingly shaking his arms around and said "so, is this what we're going to do all day?" clearly making fun of my lithium tremors. Yes, my former boss mocked me like a child on several occasions and when politely asked to stop he threatened to fire me.

I was in a bad situation but I figured as long as I didn't give in to his bullshit then I could continue to do what I love- work in a bike shop.

The good news is that I no longer have to worry about disability or trying to secure odd jobs because I have finally entered the workforce once again- I officially work for the Richmond SPCA as a kennel assistant. It doesn't pay much and it's only part time but it will bring home pretty much the amount I would have been getting with disability. Since knowing, understanding, and treating BPD my mental state has improved greatly between DBT, CBT, and no longer throwing meds that don't work in the mix, my mental state has improved dramatically, and more importantly, I have complete faith in my ability to work part time in this particular job. I plan to find a way to move to a full time position eventually if I feel like I can handle more.

I will say that if there was a perfect job for me that doesn't involve bicycles then it will be one that involves dogs.

I hate to do it but I'm asking for help one last time. My car payments have piled up since I had no income for 3 months and my phone is close to getting shut off. Both of these things I will be able to maintain with my new job but I won't be making enough to get caught up. Anything and everything helps, I seriously mean that. I've been unable to sleep and have panic attacks whenever I think about my car being repossessed or my phone being cut off. These aren't the only bills that are behind but it's the only two I truly need help with enough to ask. Once these two are set I will officially shut down my GoFundMe campaign and be able to close that chapter of my life. Thank you for everyone who already contributed, you are responsible for me getting to where I'm at today and I will never forget that.

Car payment: $1,160.02 due as of 3/17/17
Phone bill: $369.15 due as of 3/17/17
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Update 6
Posted by Gwen Dever
1 month ago
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Disability is going to take a while, the good news is that my situation is no longer in crisis. I'm not where I need to be with my medication but the culprit has been eliminated. My ADHD meds were causing scary symptoms like paranoia and invasive thoughts. Once taken out of the equation my symptoms that were causing me to be in crisis cleared up. I'm so incredibly relieved! You have no idea! Now to get on the correct ADHD meds and right bipolar meds. I feel like there is one more tweak left in my mood stabilization medication routine and then we'll have it figured out. How long it could take until that small puzzle piece is figured out? Unfortunately, it could be weeks or months. Bipolar medication is trial and error and can get scary, which you've seen if you follow my blog.

I still need assistance with living. I still have bills piling up, not to mention the bill from my recent inpatient stay. I'm more worried about paying my car insurance so I can get my license back. My dogs will also need food soon.

ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING HELPS!
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Read a Previous Update
Bryan Bacon
4 months ago

$2,547 of $3,800 goal

Raised by 58 people in 4 months
Created November 18, 2016
MM
$25
Mary Morley
5 days ago
$15
Sabrina Bri Hamilton Adams
1 month ago
$25
Anonymous
1 month ago
$30
Emily Bellis
2 months ago

I know this isn't a lot but tarot business has not been booming lately :( hopefully I can rack up more business by next week ❤

JW
$25
John Witherspoon
3 months ago

I wish it were more! If I can help in any other way please let me know.

LT
$10
Laurel T
3 months ago
RB
$20
Rhoda Brown
3 months ago
$50
Emily Bellis
3 months ago

I know it's not a lot but I hope it helps!! ❤️️

TS
$5
Tuğrul Sahin
3 months ago
GB
$10
Glenn Barb
3 months ago
Bryan Bacon
4 months ago
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