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Energy assistance brightens darkness for depression victim

27 Dec. 2016

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Energy assistance brightens darkness for depression victim

Turning lemons into lemonade is one thing, but it’s another to be pelted with lemons from all sides. Within weeks, 47-year-old Anne was unfairly fired from her job, her long-term relationship imploded, and her beloved cat died. The more painful life became, the more she withdrew into a clinical depression.

“I was almost catatonic,” she said. “I slept 20 hours a day. I stopped paying the bills. If I didn’t have to leave home I didn’t.”

Her downward spiral began with the harassment she experienced at her job at a small, Denver-based manufacturing lab. With a degree in biology, she wanted to get back into the scientific field after working in real estate for the past 20 years. However, once she was hired she found her training and responsibilities limited to secretarial work. She was criticized when she questioned her role and tried to learn more about the industry. After weeks of struggling, she walked out.

She filed for unemployment, her previous employer appealed, she won the appeal; they appealed again, she had to relive the experience again, and again she won. “I felt like a dog that had been kicked too many times,” she said. “I had panic attacks thinking about looking for another job.”

Fortunately, she found her way to Jefferson Center for Mental Health, one of EOC’s partner agencies. “They saved me,” Anne said, explaining how her therapist helped her complete the unemployment process, develop coping skills and get a part-time job. The agency also provided her with energy bill payment assistance funded through Energy Outreach Colorado.

“I’m so grateful for the help,” she said. “You don’t ever see yourself as one of the people that things like this happen to.”

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