Getting Connected…


f102a4e992e66265429b5be10d9dbf37As I told you in my last post I’m no longer homeless(still pinching myself) anyway to continue.

It was a bit touch and go whether or not I’d get this place, I didn’t have a bank account and very little to prove who I was!

Finding a bank that would allow me an account was difficult, luckily I’d had some important post a friend allowed me to use their address, and being that I’d lost everything I didn’t even have a birth certificate or passport etc, I then had to go to my GP and get them to write stating that I was a patient at their surgery at the cost of £25.

With that in place I was able to secure my studio flat, next on the list was I didn’t have anything and I mean apart from the clothes on my back and several bags, no bed, furniture, kitchen stuff, sheets towels, chairs, plates etc.

A duvet was donated, and some towels, so basically I rolled up in that as a makeshift bed for a week, until I could buy a blow up mattress, which helped, though difficult to get up in a hurry.

My case worker came to visit and listed what I needed just to get me started, well everything lol, when you housed after being homeless your given funds to buy what you need plus an order is put in for basic furniture, I had to wait just over a week for it to be approved, and what they were going to give me.

I got a card with £170.00 which was to be used for house hold items, kitchen utensils, towels, bedding, curtains, crockery, things for the bathroom, we have to keep the receipts as they do check from time to time.

I found it difficult to make the choices and had several anxiety attacks, it appeared I’d forgotten how to make a home, the shops being so crowed and the array of merchandise, was confusing I didn’t even know what kind of colour scheme I wanted, I’d set my mind to never having to set up home again and now it just seemed scary as opposed to it being a happy time.

In between all of this therapy continued S(therapist) having asked f I was happy that I was now housed, my answer was NO I just found it overwhelming, I explained I’d finally made all the purchases and they were just sitting there in their packaging, I felt that this good fortune was all some terrible mistake and I would have to give it all up.

I’d taken to staying out as late as possible, avoiding in what I so desperately wanted for so long, S said to take my time and try to be positive, shaking my head no I didn’t think I would feel settled anytime soon.

Talking to N(key worker on the mental health side) I’d explained that I wasn’t happy and the very real fear that this was temporary and would be taken away from me if I made plans to settle in, she got it straight away, and said that I wasn’t connected to anything, because 4 years ago I’d lost everything, I had no memories attached to anything, it was alien.

She was right I had nothing from my past, I’m talking about my record collection which took years to gather, books, DVD’s, photos, letters items that belonged to my mother and gifts she’d given me over the years, all the things that had meaning to me, I would have to start this new journey from scratch.

I thought about this for a long time, and decided to embrace a fresh start, firstly with the belongings that I’d accumulated over the last four years which was stored away, one night I went through it and literally threw everything away from my homeless bags, including the bags, I just kept a few books, even the clothes I was wearing I stripped of and threw them away.

I have to admit I felt much lighter, and started to unpack, finding places for my new memories, the furniture arrived about a week later bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers, sofa, coffee table, gradually over the last few months I’ve added throws,pillows, found colour schemes for the rooms, and it’s starting to feel like home I spend much more time here, my anxieties have diminished somewhat and therapy continues.

I’m still taking baby steps and learning not to beat myself up, mostly facing events in my life and doing something about it, and here’s the biggie asking for and accepting help, because I am rebuilding I’m starting to find peace, to be truthful I’m not as afraid as I used to be.

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Posted in Anxiety, Blogs, Depression, Homelessness, Mental Health | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Coming Home…


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Many of you who have read my blog know that I’ve been homeless for the last 4yrs, and the struggles I’ve had getting help, because I didn’t fit a particular criteria, coupled with the profound shame, I felt was like  self triggering bullets which caused my mental state to be always on the verge of collapse.

Homelessness in the UK is still on the rise, as affordable housing is almost non-existent, our government seem hell-bent on making the poor of society pay for what they cannot afford such as the basic necessity of having a roof over your head.

Every day I see homeless people on the streets and new faces being added everyday, many of those seem to be very young and are the group that are most vulnerable, to the various predators who prey on them.

Off my soap box, this year my own struggle with being invisible continued, even though I had help from a friend when discharged from hospital back in January and the local councils inability to help me, I was back sleeping in the shop where I used to volunteer.

This in itself was not conducive to mental stability, as usual I didn’t want anyone to know, therefore I had to leave at 6am every morning go to Macdonald’s to have coffee which usually last about 4hrs, before going off to the days endless appointments.

My case worker is fabulous, she called each day,and made the rounds with me, often speaking up for me, we also filled in countless forms, as well as searching for agencies that could help me or at least refer me to someone who could.

Well finally I got lucky, we found a group in the next county that gives assistance to people like me, we filled in the application online, within 2 days they called and we made an appointment.

For me it really was the last resort, I had all kinds of nightmare scenarios running through my head, including suicide if no help was forth coming.

Heart in mouth I sat down and again explained my story in all its glory, leaving out nothing(what did I have to lose!!!) finally mouth dry I finished.

The first thing said was “I’m sorry this happened to you” my heart sinking waiting for the inevitable polite phrases which basically say they can’t help, this time it was different, they could help and would do so, I was immediately placed on their books.

The scary thing was that they explained is that I should have received help long before this and because of most people’s ignorance and budget cuts to housing etc I was brushed off because I accepted what they said, also not adding me to the homeless figures as they did with many it was a way of fudging the real numbers(disgusting I think).

The offer was this, I was to find a place within my budget, check that the landlord accepted benefit payments and they would pay the first months rent deposit and any fees required.

I was a bit non plussed and explained that I didn’t have the means to pay back what would be at least £1000, my bubble started to burst, when they laughed and explained that I didn’t have to pay it back as they would get the deposit back when my tenancy ended I literally stopped breathing for about 30 seconds as it all sank in.

I started to ask around and as luck would have there was a studio flat becoming available, right in town, the guy manages the apartments put a word in for me, took a couple of weeks and it was okayed.

The agency duly paid first months and the deposit and as of the 27TH JULY 2016 I WAS NO LONGER HOMELESS.

I’m going to stop here and tell you the rest in a few days time.

 

Huge hugs and thanks for those here who supported me on this journey xxx

 

Posted in Anxiety, Blogs, Depression, Homelessness | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Me Myself and I


images01I’ve been in CBT therapy for the last 4 months, to say I’ve found it difficult is an understatement, in my quest to find better mental health I’ve had to look deep inside to find answers to the questions I have been avoiding for ever.

My sessions aren’t structured in the normal way as I had a lot to get of my chest, especially when dealing with the past which shaped my behaviours from childhood into adulthood, my discoveries haven’t made pretty soul-searching, though it is essential that I stop avoiding and distracting myself instead of dealing with my problems.

My childhood was pretty ordinary, we were a single parent family, my mother always worked full time, therefore I was left with quite a lot of responsibility, I was given a key when I was 6 years old, and that was a huge thing even at that age the burden was placed on me to be responsible, the problem was I immersed my self in that role which effectively became part of my identity.

Add to the mix my mother was a very high achiever which was always instilled in me, at the same time she was my daily critic on every little thing I did wrong, well to her mind anyway, even though she’d bestowed this huge responsibility on me, she treated me like a child, which of course I was, however she did rely on me, I could never get that switch she made from being responsible and serving home cooked meals on a nightly basis to being treated like a truculent child.

I think this sowed the seeds of resentment, and in my own mind I had to do better, which became my mantra and served me well for many years, to be frank I feel that I lost myself many years ago, not that being a people pleaser is my thing, however I could not always satisfy myself as to my own values and expectations,which were/are ridiculously high.

In fact I became another person and this has manifested itself in therapy, I often talk about myself in the third person as I struggle to bring balance to all sides of my personality, to become whole.

The high functioning person that I was, that worked 90 hour weeks, made decisions all day long, who also partied hard and was everybody’s go to person, my identity again took another shift in that work became my identity, therefore more avoidance in taking care of myself, I was “living the dream” although deep down I always knew this wasn’t really the way to go, so I just worked harder, partied harder I’m exhausted just thinking about it I burned out and had no tools in which to recover.

What people didn’t know, I came home most nights and cried, I’m an expert at super gluing that mask to my face, and those who did see past the cracks I banished from my life not wanting to appear weak, but something more intrinsic than that was I didn’t want anybody to see the real me, I mean in terms of seeing the emptiness that lurked beneath the surface, I became so good at avoidance which meant that I isolated myself and feared that people would see just how lonely and helpless I was.

When I started back blogging here 3 years I thought I was in recovery, it wasn’t true again I avoided dealing with that I had a breakdown and also became homeless, something I never thought would happen to someone like me, it has had such a profound effect on my life, in turn these events dispelled the myths that I’d created around myself, just to function, however yet again I was just hiding from the truth of my mental status from myself.

So there you have it, who I was, what I became, now I’ve been slowly trying to strip away the layers to find out what’s underneath, I’ve come to the really hard part, in trying rid myself of old behaviours and develop new ones, it’s so bloody hard, mindfulness and meditations help, setting small goals, living life one day at a time, trying to be kind to me, the biggie is to stop beating myself up, as the saying goes old habits die-hard.

I am discovering new things, not always sure how I feel about them, I guess in time it will become the norm, S my therapist said today I need to stop obsessing about stuff, it only has an impact because I let it(easier said than done) but he’s right, however a lifetime of destructive behaviours that have harmed me only, hopefully I can set myself free and become whole.

Posted in Anxiety, Blogs, Depression | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Still Fighting…


world-mental-health-day-10th-octoberAs the time rolls by, I often wonder what it would be like to feel mentally strong, the short answer is I’ve no idea.

My therapist says it took strength for me to seek help, I didn’t see it as being strong, for me it was desperation, emotionally and mentally I’d hit rock bottom, I had backed myself into such a tight corner, “getting help” was the last hope.

When I started blogging again 2 years ago I thought I was in remission, as I began to really open up about what I felt my homelessness situation, reading so many blogs seeing despair and hope, but mainly seeing this community pulls together, we come from every corner of the globe even though many have a great network of support from family and friends many don’t and blogging for me anyway became a surrogate family.

For the last 4 years I completely lost control of my life, one minute it was  there,  next I was reduced to the clothes I stood in and bag, not to mention I became invisible, to lose myself into the depths of depression and not even having the basic human need of a home, it has completely changed me in ways I could never have imagined, so does that mean I’m strong because I survived, or because I can accept that it has happened.

I continue with CBT, I have to admit some weeks I really struggle with the whole concept, other times I see glimmers of hope, it’s hard work, though I feel in the long run it will be beneficial, it has to be, I’ve long since admitted to myself that I cannot continue on this path without change as I’ve said many times teeny tiny baby steps.

Courage s the word I prefer to use to go forward and accept there are bumps in the road, most importantly it’s Ok to ask for help, you are not alone.

Thank you to those who read my ramblings, also huge thank to the Doctors/therapists out there who make a difference.

Posted in Anxiety, Blogs, Depression, Homelessness, Mental Health, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments