46 Year Old Bipolar Disorder Disabled Man Seeks Government Business Grant
by Samuel J. Zbinden
(White Bird, Idaho, USA)
Me with my daughter
My name is Samuel John Zbinden. I'm bipolar disorder disabled and I'm looking for government grant money or other financing to fund a business.
I am a 46-year-old father of a 19-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old son. Currently I have been divorced for 2-½ years from my third marriage.
My son does not live with me because my disability check cannot provide for my son and myself. It can barely provide for my own needs.
My daughter lives in her own place. She is engaged to be married and will be giving birth to my first grandson in May of 2011.
When I completed high school, I decided to join the U.S. Air Force. My plan was to enter the Special Forces and retire 20 years later with military benefits. Unfortunately, that did not pan out for me.
You see, I was born with bipolar disorder, but I was not diagnosed until I was 19 years old. I am considered a "Rapid Cycler," which means that without medication my moods can change from hour to hour or day to day.
I have bouts of depression followed by a manic phase. I could never figure out why I would get depressed or extremely anxious for no reason.
During the manic phase I had the tendency to spend money I did not have, and therefore, I had to file for bankruptcy 3 times in my life.
The last time I promised myself that I would do anything to not fall into that predicament again. So far, so good.
During basic training in the military, my disorder got the best of me. The military noticed that I was not functioning to their liking and after a few weeks I was discharged honorably from the Air Force with no hope of ever being able to serve my country.
My code 39-10 discharge papers said that I was unable to cope with military life. It was very devastating to me. I would never be like my father who retired from the military and served his country well.
Although I did not serve in the military, I am still a very patriotic man and I love the country I live in.
When I returned home from the military, my parents took me to see a psychologist, who after a few sessions diagnosed me with bipolar disorder.
What was not certain at the moment was that I was a rapid cycler. That was not known until a few years later.
During those years, and because of my disorder I went through several jobs. And because of being unemployed so often I ended up damaging my credit several times since 1983.
Between 2007 and 2008 I was hospitalized approximately 8 times which included 8 sessions of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Although the treatments are very effective, I cannot afford to pay the copay every time I have to be shocked or every time I have to see a specialist.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for bipolar disorder. There is no magic pill. For me, it is a constant battle dealing with the disorder. Some days I win and other days I lose.
The important part is to pick up the pieces and continue forward with my life. Keeping myself busy and helping others helps me to not concentrate on the problem, but on the solution.
At the present time, I live with my parents in White Bird, Idaho. I give them $600 a month for rent and food. It is like a symbiotic relationship, they provide a stable environment and I help them around their property.
I am currently on SSDI, and I receive $1260 a month to pay rent, car payment, food, gas, medical insurance, car insurance, clothing, phone, and medical bills to name a few.
After making all payments there is approximately $100 left for gas in my vehicle, which goes very quickly when I have to go see the doctor every so often.
I have done some side work for my neighbors free of charge, but that was mostly to keep my mind occupied.
The reason I am writing this letter, is because I am looking for a government grant to start up an indoor climbing business in the Lewiston, Idaho area. The reasons for having my own business include but are not limited to:
1) I want to offer a climbing gym that will not only cater to the community in Lewiston, Idaho, but will also cater to the Developmentally and Physically Disabled.
2) I want to give back to the community and to offer support to such organizations as the Boys Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, religious institutions, and institutions that work with mentally ill or disabled individuals.
3) I also wish to offer a place where families can come together to get away from the monotony of everyday life and their children can get away from the video-games scene and do something fun and healthy. Many children these days are obese because they do not get enough exercise. A climbing gym would be ideal for exercise, and building confidence and trust.
4) I wish to rise above my disorder and show others that with some effort and the right help that they too can rise above
Setting up an indoor climbing gym is capital intensive. The average start-up cost can run in excess of $600,000. This is dependent on whether you use an existing building or build an entirely new one.
I realize that this is a serious amount of money, but from my studies of other rock climbing gyms, revenue is plentiful. After my feasibility study of the Lewiston, Idaho area, I have come to the conclusion there are many who would like to see an indoor climbing gym in the area.
This indoor climbing gym will also offer services such as Parents Night Out, where the parents can drop off their children for a night of climbing while their parents go out.
It will also offer a Summer Camp for two weeks where their children can come and learn the basics of rock climbing, develop friendships and trust and after completing the course the children would be taken out for a day of outdoor rock climbing to celebrate their accomplishments.
There are many things that can be accomplished with an indoor climbing gym and I hope to make this dream a reality. I have always been a believer that the family that plays together stays together.
I hope that the government will see that the creation of this gym will create more jobs and revenue for the State of Idaho as well as providing a service for the community. Thank you for considering my idea, and I hope to hear back soon.
Samuel John Zbinden
White Bird, Idaho