Journal Entry: Melinda Bixler – 07/11/2023

Journal Entry

July 11, 2023 – Bixler –
Ambition to Self-Destruction
On January 22, 2020 I was arrested. Prior to that day, I was a well-respected advocate for disabled adults
and the aging populations. I was an entrepreneur who built a business from an idea that formed as a
result of broken systems. I wanted to be the hero, rescue the people often forgotten or never noticed.
People in their 20’s and 30’s living with debilitating mental illness who tried to survive on less than
$800/month. Many lacked a safe place to live or an adequate support system to help them meet their
most basic needs.
Long before beginning my company, my professional journey led me to working with people over sixty
years old. Generally, society refers to people over sixty as “Aging” or “Older Adults” so you’ll find me
using that terminology for familiar reference purposes. I worked, in various capacities, for companies
who provided care to this population. More specifically, I worked for a nursing home/rehabilitation
center, retirement community and a home care agency. As part of my role, I was regularly in and out of
hospitals assessing patients for possible admission. I gained a mass amount of medical knowledge from
nurses, physicians and other experts. And overall, I garnered tremendous knowledge about the
healthcare industry.
During that chapter of my career, I recognized numerous gaps within the social, economic and
government systems that were responsible for assisting and supporting the aging population. It wasn’t
sporadic, it was commonplace, and that’s what added to my frustration for patients and families. It
created immense hardship for people who were already compromised and overwhelmed. Believing that
my chances of changing the monstrous, powerful bureaucratic systems by myself was impossible so I
decided that helping individuals navigate these complex and fragmented systems was more feasible
than attempting to change the systems themselves.
I believed that by being the liaison in the middle of it all, I could help people maximize what they were
entitled to as veterans, retired and widowed individuals. I could facilitate continuity of their healthcare
between the array of physicians and specialists treating them. At that time, very little communication
was happening between physicians regarding the patient leading to redundancy of diagnostic testing
and thus increased cost. I could help minimize that. Additionally, I knew that I coordinate services to
help people remain independent and improve their chances of aging with more dignity and grace.
Together with the client and possible family members involved, we could formulate a plan to prepare
them for the future. With some foresight, planning and preparation, people could be prepared for the
challenges that come with aging and illness using a proactive versus reactive approach. Certainly, it had
to be a better solution for all parties involved. These principles were the foundation of my business
I founded my company in 2010. I developed a comprehensive business plan that aligned with my
philosophy and vision. My services would support anyone over sixty by developing and implementing
individualized plans and serving as an ongoing resource and guide. I didn’t care if the potential client
was rich or poor, nice or mean, or what bad choices he/she made in the past. There were no
discriminating factors because I believe we are all worthy of kindness and compassion. In the absence of
public or private funding for my services combined with my inability to set limitations, I found myself

helping dozens of people for free. That, my friends, is not a sustainable business model. As such, I began
searching for sources of funding and successfully secured a few contracts to receive flat rate
compensation for some impoverished clients. I later founded a nonprofit organization that would help
cover the cost of impoverished clients. This not only included paying for some of our services, but
utilized to pay for people’s housing, care, utilities, medications, clothing, food and property taxes.
After several years of growth and hiring several employees, I expanded the business to include younger
disabled individuals in much the same way. I realized that unlike child and older adult populations, the
government services and community supports for disabled people ages 18-60 were almost non-existent
in comparison. For a myriad of reasons, that I’ll likely speak to later, I was passionate about helping
people. Although the programs, entitlements, processes, and details differed, there are many
similarities in what these groups of individuals needed.
In the process of trying to help too many people with a lack of sufficient resources to hire a larger staff, I
imploded. I don’t say that for sympathy. I share this because in this mess I created, there is a lesson for
everyone. A lesson I wished I’d learned decades ago. Lots of eloquent quotes and well-written books
express the importance of self-love, self-care, setting boundaries and maintaining life balance. Some
lessons are so significant and carry such lifelong implications that great quotes and books must merely
supplement the more intimate learning that occurs amongst families, friends or in conjunction with
direct firsthand experiences. As I journal and share the good and bad, the beauty and ugliness of who I
am as a very flawed yet compassionate and empathetic human being, I hope I can help at least one
person avoid creating the hurt that I’ve caused. By authentically sharing more about myself, to include
some of my poor decisions and failures, my mistakes will serve useful to others.

On July 12, 2023 continue to Part 2 of this lesson. “Tom and His Neighbors”