A client’s story…Tell It Like It Is?

posted by by Theresa Wilding on 3rd May 2016

“Wow! 3 months tomorrow since I moved into the project house! I wasn’t really sure what to expect and to say I was a bit apprehensive would be an understatement.  So, as daunting as it was, it was a very good surprise to realise just how friendly and supportive everyone was, both staff and other residents.

It’s taken some adjusting but I can already see the benefits of living here.  I’m making progress in terms of independent living in the future and re-building my life, getting back to “normality” in an environment where I feel safe and secure.  The re-decorating in the lounge has made a massive difference as well, it’s much brighter and a room where it’s great just to sit and relax.  It’s a nice combination of having my own freedom and space but also having the socialising aspects of being able to relax and have a laugh both within the house and at activities the project organises.  I have to be honest and admit that moving into a shared house with complete strangers and workers I didn’t know, has had its ups and downs and been challenging at times but moving in here was the best decision I’ve made in a long time, and dramas or not, I know I’m in the best place right now and I’m grateful that this project exists to help me get my life back!

Who was I…where was I from…why was I not wanted???
I grew up in a house unwanted, though at the same time I couldn’t escape, locked doors and windows and left on my own, constant wondering on why I was actually here.  No food or drink as the kitchen was locked, this was normal, or so at least I thought.  Smacks came more often and I wasn’t allowed to play, have hick ups as I was too loud or to cry in any way.

A few years went by and the above became normal.  I was then 15 and no longer wanted, there were other people waiting to take my place, a new family, something more important than me anyway.

I was then moved around, strange places and stranger people… where was I going to end up? Abused sexually is where I ended up, in hospital, in a wheelchair.  That is where I ended up.

I was 15 and one day in hospital I woke up wondering why I was here, what was my purpose?  I didn’t have one happy memory, or at that time I didn’t, not a single one.

There were meetings about where I was going to be discharged to… There wasn’t anywhere.  And nobody that wanted me.  I tried to take my own life, and then ended up at a different hospital for another year having different therapies etc.  I was discharged after a year when I was 16 and finally thought I was with people that loved me, and apparently they did, but were guilt ridden and couldn’t possibly offer me what I needed, so again I was shipped off…

This time to a different city so even stranger people and places, not knowing anything or anyone. Watching my social worker walk out the door and knowing that was it.  A new beginning.

The Young Women’s Housing Project was its name… and mending me was its game.
On first moving there obviously I hated it, because I didn’t know it, and though I was very used to change it didn’t mean I liked it.  When I arrived at the YWHP aged 17 by this point I was just existing.  I hated everybody and everything that I came into contact with and as far as I knew everyone was out to hurt me and I could trust nobody.

Eventually I started to engage with workers at the project, still not trusting them or not giving away very much. I couldn’t even bare them to look at me.  Why look at me, what could they read from looking at me?  Were they planning something?  It was a safer bet to just not make eye contact for the first few months.  Eventually I started to trust certain workers, because they earned it, believe me they earned it.  How were they supposed to help me when I didn’t want to help myself?

But they showed me how.  I made friends and started to join in with project activities and generally came out of myself and people started to see the other side of me…

The funny, gentle, loving side that id kept hidden away for so may years I didn’t even recognise it was me coming out.  I was with the YWHP for over 2 years, in the core house and in a flat (lovely flat BTW).

During those years I got more help that I got in my previous years anywhere else.  I got help with my self-harm, my self-esteem/confidence, trust issues and got linked up with a counselling service.

I ended up working with the project on a self harm training package and completing my training for trainers course and actually getting paid for delivering training on self harm, which without the help and support of the YWHP I would have never had the courage to do.

Role Reversal
After several long hard years, I moved on to a beautiful private rented house and was also starting a new job at a housing project myself.  I was becoming the worker, and not moving on to another project, I was now working with people that I could have become, and I either would have become an addict or I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for the young women’s housing project, I realise this now, and thank them very much for saving me…from myself.

I am now doing what the workers at YWHP do and it is fantastic, I just hope one day I can help someone as much as they helped me.  They found me, and brought me back to life.”

YWHP client’s story

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With your help we can provide safe places for women to live, emotional support and practical help; we can continue encouraging independence and building confidence to get on with their lives.