Time to be completely open with friends and strangers on the Internet, but I've exhausted all other options.
Also, this is America in 2017. I think I'm supposed to community fund my treatment if I can't afford it or something? If a church or business wants to sponsor my success, please call me. This is my PayPal link* for donations.
Where do I start?
Every single day, I battle with my mental health. I am diagnosed with Post Tramautic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, and Depression. My body is in an immense state of grief at the moment. I am 24, and unfortunately, I have lost my parents and grandparents within the past few years, that's all of my immediate family. I also suffer the effects from several childhood traumas.
I currently see a doctor, psychology, and therapist on the weekly/bi-weekly basis. I've been changing my medicines and have been trying to use them to manage my PTSD symptoms. Unfortunately, I have had a lot of negative side effects from the several ones I've had to try in the past several months alone. This has taken a huge toll on my body. At the moment, my doctors are afraid of changing my medicine and making my mental health worse.
As you can see, this treatment plan for me has been going on for a while, and it hasn't been enough for me. My health is at a point where it needs more than thirty minutes of talk therapy weekly or bi-weekly. We are not sure if my current medicine is helping my anxiety because I am at extreme levels of anxiety in every single moment of my life.
This is where I'm at a block.
My insurance only covers thirty minutes of talk therapy a week.
Any kind of treatment that is more intensive, more in-depth, more critical for extreme mental health cases, like Intensive Outpatient Therapy (my preference) or Inpatient Treatment, my deductible kicks in, which is $2,500.
After paying the deductible, and I start treatment, I also have to pay the portions of treatment that Insurance doesn't cover. I have called every local facility and the cheapest, at a reduced rate, is $200/day. I need at least two weeks of treatment to get used to the new setting and be able to start learning and using the tools and treatments I am learning. Paying the facility will be at least $2,500 (2 weeks) on top of the $2,500 deductible.
I unfortunately do not have a savings at this time. I am able to do a payment plan, but this is causing me distress anxiety. My budget is thin tight. I cannot take on new monthly payments.
I am $90,000 in student debt; having to put myself into debt after growing up in a trailer park and in poverty. I made the most of my education. I cannot defer or minimize my Federal loan payments because my income/salary is too high. I am not able to defer or minimize my private loan payments under any circumstances from what I have signed; if I miss one payment, the total will be defaulted and due at once. Besides from these two loan payments, I also have rent/housing, medicine co-pays, therapy and doctor co-pays, food, internet, electric, cellphone, and housing supplies. These expenses add up to exactly my paychecks from my full-time job.
I am always working on freelance projects on top of my full time job, but that money usually goes to food and unexpected expenses. I also sell products on Society6 and from wallpapers on my website for passive income, but I haven't really sold much.
So essentially, I am staying afloat financially right now. But not at the point where I can afford to take on another $5,000+ debt.
People tell me to not worry about finances. To go into treatment, because my mental health is most important. I agree. But it's so easy for someone to give away that advice and not live with the repercussions. To not live with the anxiety of trying to make these extra payments and living safely and healthily.
Scenario: let's say I can't afford the monthly payments for the treatment, because I have to prioritize my student loans, and housing that month. The hospital then brings my debt to a debt collector. My credit score tanks. What if I need to apply to new housing in a few months... as I actually need to do in a few months? The only way my housing application would be accepted is if I have a co-signer. Except, my family is dead and I'm independent. The property managements have to say "I'm sorry, these are the rules. Your credit score is too low for your income. There is nothing we can do. Try Googling and find other housing?" (That's hard when three property managements own a lot of the local housing market and it's highly competitive). People tend to assume that if I share my story, what I'm going through, that companies, business, loan lenders, can be understanding and help me. But they never are. I am always told. "Sorry. These are the rules".
My credit score is good at the moment because I am just staying afloat the moment. I'm responsible, fiercely resourceful, independent, and make sure I pay the debts I signed onto. I'm working so hard, even at the expense of my health, to make the money I need to. I don't have a safety net. I don't have a home to go to if I can't find housing, or even if I need a getaway for a weekend. I don't have parent's insurance to stay on until I'm 26. No surprise grocery checks.
I've tried looking into ways to get financial help for my treatment.
Nicole, have you called your insurance? Yup. Multiple times. Same answer. Thirty minutes of talk therapy, or pay the deductible. I'm not on Affordable Care Act insurance by the way, I pay a lot into this insurance from my work's paycheck every week.
Have you called local treatment facilities and see if they can help? Yup. Same answer. My income is too high to qualify for help and student debt isn't a factor. No scholarships are available to me.
Have you asked your doctors about what you can do? Yup. Same resources to check and call that I have.
Have you talked to your state's Representatives? My friend went to the local Susan Collins' office. She said she is only able to focus on Federal health care at the moment, not on it at a state level. They gave me a hotline to call, but they offer the same resources that I've already tried calling.
If you have any other ideas of resources to try for access or financial help to mental health treatment, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
So here I am! I am looking for donations in exchange for original paintings to help me with my monthly payments.
I am selling original paintings for a "pay what you can" donation. I cannot accommodate custom requests at this time, but you will receive an original Nicole Holmes art piece as soon as I am able to make it.
For donations under $25, you will receive a greeting card set.* $25 and above will get a custom painting, canvas size dependent on donation amount.**
I am using PayPal* instead of a funding site as they take a percentage of donations and hold the money for several weeks. I do not need the exposure benefit of the platform. This PayPal is linked to my bank account.
*** I need to stress that I am not able to ship these out right away. I need to put my health first. I also want to dedicate the right amount of time to sourcing high quality paper, printing and shipping methods so the card sets are at a low price point, but of higher quality. Canvases are easier for me to buy and painting is a form of art therapy for me. When I'm anxious, I take out paper, don't sketch— just let my mind chose random colors and mark-make. I love seeing the magic that happens, it's healing. But it will take a bit of time to get through everyone's generosity — so I appreciate your patience! ***
As a reminder, I am just seeking minimum donations in exchange for artwork to help me with the monthly payments for the treatment costs.
If anyone I personally know would like to see proof of treatment costs or the transaction list of donations, I am happy to provide.
Want to chat / ask me something / offer a resource? Private Message me on Facebook.com/NicoleHolmes or email me at
Examples of my artwork so you can get a sense of what kind of art I make! If you'd like a print of one of these instead of a painting, just email me and I can get it printed on nice paper.