Mad Bike Woman
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.
CLICK HERE FOR MY YOUTUBE CHANEL
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
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!