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Moving forward

I wanted to start my own business. I was sick of working at an estate agents, the atmosphere was horrible. I was being bullied by a senior member of staff, after arranging a complaints meeting with our department I got him to admit to carrying out every single part of the definition of bullying in the oxford dictionary. I even put a copy of the definition on his desk- his face went slightly pale. I quit the next time it happened...

I wanted to start my own business. I was sick of working at an estate agents, the atmosphere was horrible. I was being bullied by a senior member of staff, after arranging a complaints meeting with our department I got him to admit to carrying out every single part of the definition of bullying in the oxford dictionary. I even put a copy of the definition on his desk- his face went slightly pale. I quit the next time it happened.

I had been accepted with universal credits and I was waiting for the money to come through, every time I spoke to them they promised it would arrive the next day. They said they would pay it directly to my landlord but they didn’t. My landlord was getting fed up, in 4 years I’ve never missed a rent payment and there I was 3 months down the line and still no money. I was working on my business plan and had been accepted by the NEA scheme, however they needed me to include my finance and cash forecast as well. Unfortunately I never managed to finish it as I was getting more and more stressed about the thought of being evicted and then I was. I was evicted with nowhere else to go. Left with nothing but a rucksack I had to cram my entire life into.

I was sleeping on the street for a while. Nothing prepares you for it, you feel like nothing, like you don’t belong and society can’t even bear to look at you. All I could do was try to block the pain out. Of course I had suicidal thoughts, those were harder to block out. I wasn’t living, I was existing. I barely slept, I used to walk around a lot- I didn’t feel safe staying in one place for too long. People prey on the homeless because they think you’re worthless.

I tried to talk to the council but I wasn’t a priority. I wasn’t seen as ‘vulnerable’ enough, it would have been years before I got a flat, I couldn’t rely on them.

The only meal I had a day was from St Clare’s Day Centre, I don’t know what I would have done without that lifeline. Those few hours every morning were precious, not just for the food but also for the social contact, it was the only safe environment I had. The only time of day I felt human and not judged. I’d been prescribed anti-depressants a while back and I’d run out. My mind became foggy, it was like a constant electricity bolt in my head. I needed help.  I went to the nearest hospital and they gave me more but I couldn’t bear going back on the street, they wouldn’t help me. I went outside and head-butted a brick wall over and over until my head bled. I was that desperate, if they couldn’t help me unless I was injured then I was prepared to injure myself. They let me stay the night and I was referred to a mental health services hospital. I stayed there for about 2 months, it, I was grateful for the roof over my head but it wasn’t a home. The hospital were in touch with St Clare’s and once they had a place free I moved into the Short Term Assessment Hostel. I never believed I actually had depression, no one believed me when I said it though. Not until I was staying at the STAH. I was registered to a psychiatrist and finally diagnosed with ADHD instead and they helped me go on the right medication. I finally felt as if I understood myself better. The staff were so understanding and supportive, they see the best in people and give us so many opportunities. I started to feel worth something again.

I recently moved into the Stepping Stones Project, it’s nice to be moving forward! I don’t know where I would be today without Turning Tides. It’s scary to think what could have happened to me. Homelessness isn’t bias, it can happen to anyone and for anyone else in a similar situation don’t hold back on accepting help when it’s offered. Not many people seem to care what happens to you if you’re down, sometimes all we need is a help up.