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dragonflies started this conversation
I and a 44 year old woman with a dog (ESA) named Coco and struggled for the last few years to understand just how bad my relationship was. It took me two years to read The Verbally Abusive Handbook because it was simply too painful to admit that I was in yet another abusive relationship and had missed or ignored the signs. I should have been smarter. I thought I was smarter. I was abused by my father and then two other relationships in my late teems. I've never asked for help, not even from my parents and have always made my own way.

But now I'm in trouble and need help. Over the past year I've lost three jobs because I've shared my mental illness status with Human Resources. I am good at my job (in advertising), had risen to a Vice President, so mental illness never impacted my work, but I suppose they felt they couldn't risk having someone like me there. Most recently, as they said, "we parted ways," and I am still negotiating a severance package. The latest is that they will only offer two months, but since all three of these incidents happened until the same parent company I find that unacceptable. I have a psychiatrist, therapist and take my meds as prescribed. I am a highly functioning adult with a mental illness; bipolar ii with depression and PTSD with anxiety. I don't hide it and want to be an advocate so people understand that even those of us who are successful members of society may have a mental illness and may at times have very dark struggles.

I have $50 in the bank, having used up my 401K and savings last time they illegally laid me off, which they did while I was still on FMLA from when I went away for partial inpatient treatment. I talked to many unemployment lawyers and they all said the same thing; since I'm an at-will employee they can fire me just because they don't like my shoes. Basically they won't take cases like mine because I can only prove correlation, not causation and won't win.

I can't afford food, therapy or medication, let alone my rent and mortgage. I had to move out of our jointly owned apartment in January because it was getting too dangerous to be there, but I'm afraid if I don't pay the mortgage I'll forfeit the apartment and it's my investment as much as his.

I'm asking for help because I need it. I know I'll get back on my feet, but I'm in a dark place now and just need to get by for the next few weeks before I get my severance and a new job. My partner not only has made it clear that he won't help me get through this, he also ended the relationship via text this morning. A direction we were already headed in, but to have him do that and try to take all control away and make me feel small is just another example of the abuse.
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