Category Archives: Housing

supported accommodation.

So I’ve decided that, at least for a bit, I’m going to alternate between posts of where I am right now and posts from before. The last one was obviously from October and times have changed a lot since then. I’m in a way better place and right now isn’t the worst.

Right now, I’m lying in my own little garden at the back of my own little flat. It’s sunny and I look like the 80s happened all over me. I have some wine, a good book and a blanket. And I’m preparing my bee grenade. It’s summery and nice and I’m in a good mood. Today is a good day, although I am a little bored. So this is me trying to be productive. After this I have something really important and even more productive to do so I’ve gotta get on it. But I’m going to try keep to my blog for a bit as I think it’s important for me to focus my energies on creating things as well as just absorbing them. There was a long time when I stopped creating. I used to write in my journal everyday, blog a few times a week, sketch, draw and create digital art and it mostly just stopped. I think the only thing I created in like a year was like a picture of a dying rose and a girl in tears. I guess all consuming, unhealthy relationships which turn your life upside down do that to you.

Things have really changed though. Firstly, I love my little flat. I’m so house proud it is unreal. Maybe I’ll do a post of pictures in a bit, but right now, my camera and laptop are inside and the sun is happening. It took ages to get this flat sorted, but now I’m in a self contained, supported little home. And it has rooms. Multiple rooms. And a hall. I lined all my shoes up in the hall so that everyone who visits will see how awesome my shoes are. And I have nice, colourful things all around. And I like to put flowers on my little dining table that I don’t think I have ever used.

Supported housing is weird. I had housing issues for a while, so I organised seeing my psychiatrist at the CRT (previously the CMHT, now the Community Recover Team) who referred me to the social work part of the team. It took weeks, but I got this awesome social worker called Helen. She took one look at me and said that council housing was probably not a good first step, but that I should probably wind up in low support accommodation. Then there was a suicide attempt, but that’ll but in a different, from before post, and she changed her recommendation to high support. I was put at the top of the list and then it was a waiting game.

Anyway, she left and I wound up with a new social worker called Bonnie. A flat came up in medium support and she recommended I go for it, so I did and here I am a couple of months later. Bonnie’s left too now, so I’ve got a new care co-ordinator called Shagufta who’s an occupational therapist. I don’t really know what they do, but hopefully she won’t leave and hopefully she’s nice. I’m meeting her on May 23rd so I guess we’ll wait and see.

Back to the flat though. It’s nice. Its on the ground floor, at the back of the building, so I can see the garden through my windows. It’s in a block of five flats, all supported for people with mental health problems. I’ve not met anyone from my block yet, though I’ve seen two of them. One is really hot and I saw him this morning all pretty and in the hall and topless. He knows he’s pretty though and that annoyed me. The other guy is really old and wears a bowler hat. He lives in the flat next door so I can sometimes see him through the windows at the front of the block. He does not look like he’s having any fun. Trust. Oh and there’s these two brothers, one of whom lives here, who always leave the back gate open and I see in the garden all the time. They walk past my windows and look in like the alien from signs when they’re filming the kids birthday party and it comes out the grass. Creepy. I’m sure they’re not. Maybe I just need net curtains. But then I won’t see the daisies.

At first, I was really apprehensive about the supported aspect. I think this was mainly due to fear of the unknown. I mean, I know how to cook and clean and all that, so I didn’t know what help they could be. It’s not like they can stop me self harming or prevent me from doing any damage to myself. Actually though, I really think it’s for the best. I have to floating support workers, a main one called Angela and another one called Miuri. Angela is a bit odd. She’s got a kinda fleeting thought process that she likes to speak out load, but she’s nice and is actually really helpful. She comes to my CPAs, doctors appointments and things, helps me sort out bills etc., and makes sure that I’m comfortable, safe and doing ok. I don’t think she can tell if I’m safe or doing ok, but she can help make sure I’m comfy. Like if something breaks, she helps me out. I like her a lot, even though she’s a bit ditzy. And she swears a lot, which I like, but she always reprimands herself for. Miuri and me mostly just chat. We talk about cooking and hair and boys and I teach her recipes and things. She’s such a sweetie. I think they’ve only seen me freak out once, even though I’ve freaked out way more than that, I just don’t tell them. Maybe I should, but I don’t see how that’d help. I duno.

The one big downside to all of this is that I’m flat out broke all the time. Bills on your own are hard. At uni, everything was split six ways, but all alone, it’s not. And I’m still waiting for my PIP assessment so god knows if my income will improve at all. Benefits is not an easy life, but I’m still pretty unstable, I’m still a student and I’ve still got a long way to go, so no one seems to be thinking a job so soon is the way I should be going. I’m on housing benefit, ESA, council tax benefit (though I still have to pay them £15 pound a month – you’re not exempt unless you’re on PIP) and it’s still hardly enough to get by. Money bums me out.

But do you know what doesn’t bum me out? Where I live. Not just the flat either. I love the area. It’s got a proper community vibe. There’s a lot of social housing around here. Lots of estates, lots of streets of council houses. All around this one, proper high street. You can achieve really good chicken. Like painfully good. And it’s got really nice shops and things. I love it here. I don’t want to move, though I’ll have to in a year or two. Supported housing isn’t forever, you either move to higher, lower or no support after a one or two year tenancy.

All in all, life isn’t exactly easy, but things have really improved. I love putting little decorations up and making myself a little home. Living alone can be hard, but for me, I think it’s worth the effort. I don’t have to hide away, deal with unwanted advances from housemates, feel like I’m excluded r from my own home. This is now my home and I love it. I couldn’t ask for more. I can have who I want over, when I want. Or not. It’s great.

I’m lucky in some ways. A lot of people need social housing and right now, there’s a social housing crisis in London. I’m not lucky to have been put in the position where I got accommodation so quickly, but a lot of people aren’t deemed vulnerable enough to even get emergency accommodation in the borough. The right to buy scheme means that there are less council houses ever year, affordable housing and local authority housing isn’t being built quick enough and people wind up waiting in the system for years before they can get any help all. It’s pretty fucked. From here, once my tenancy is up, I’ll be one of the top priorities for council or LHA flats, and although I’m seriously grateful for that, I can’t help but feel horrible for all the people that don’t get the same opportunities because they’re not “sick” enough or don’t have children or haven’t yet been made street homeless, but are waiting on pending evictions. The system is broken and, although it has worked for me, the housing crisis is out of control. I’ve been unlucky enough to be prioritised, but it just gives me guilt for all the people that are so much more unlucky that they aren’t.

Fucking welfare cuts. Fucking welfare cap. Fucking Conservative bastards making those with hard lives have to fight all that much harder. Fucking Atos and their stupid assessments. Britain should be proud of its welfare state, not undermining it at every chance. And don’t even get me started on NHS cuts. The affects of that in my foundation trust for mental health have been uncontrollably damaging. But that’ll be for another post.

I’ll get off my soap box now. I’m going to go back to reading a beautiful book (The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman) and listening to some beautiful music (The Blank Project by Neneh Cherry and produced by Four Tet).

Hope this wasn’t super boring.

Lovelove x.

 

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Filed under Benefits, bpd, CRT, general, Housing, life, music, Progress, recovery, Welfare

the worst month of my life.

I wrote this in October 2013, so it’s a bit backdated, but I guess it gives a quick overview of where I’ve been and, my mental health history for anyone that might read this and not want to track back and starts to show how I got where I am I guess. Hopefully it’s not too self indulgent.

Ok so maybe this isn’t quite the worst month of my life, but it’s definitely top five. I think it’s actually quite hard to tell sometimes just what was the worst thing ever, especially in the moment. Loads of things are awful. Bereavement sucks. Being dumped sucks. Not having enough money to buy the shower gel you really wanted sucks. Maybe when you’re really old and looking back at your life you work it out. All I know is that this month has been monumentally tragic, even in comparison to a lot of my other awful times. It’s almost laughable, if it wasn’t me, In this post, I’m going to explain why.

Within the month of October 2013, I’ve been dumped by a boy I loved (who had the emotional maturity of a grapefruit), who I then got back together with for a total of four days, only to be dumped again and have him steal my pitiful amount of money. I then made that fantastic choice of fucking him, just to let him tell me how much I suck and how crazy and sad I am. Followed by him leaving the country. My housing situation is tenuous I think. Some major disagreements with the family led to me living with said boy, which has now left me living half with my family, which is difficult for them as much as for me, and living half with a drug dealer who can set me up with some tasks when I’m more than my average broke. Being broke should go on this list, but that’s pretty much a permanent. My treatment has increased – I’m now, I’m in treatment for mental health problems almost every day and I’m being offered NHS funded private rehab for at least three months. All of which means I have to face the highly likely prospect of taking yet another year out of finishing the one year masters degree I’m already in my fourth year of. Even so, I’m still barely coming to terms with the fact that I have something labelled “complex needs” by essentially all health and social care workers. This is not exactly how I imagined my life would be at 24.

Getting where I am right now has been a painfully long process. In reality, everyone’s life is just a painfully long process from birth to wherever they are now I guess. I could start my story in childhood, which my therapist says probably was invalidating and hindered my emotional development or some next drama, but it’s not important. I had a nothing but lovely childhood. My conscious awareness of some sort of emotional issue probably started in my teens. At around 13, I started drinking, smoking, getting high, liking boys and self-harming. Self-harm at that point wasn’t weird. My friends all did it too, I just took it further, and never really stopped. I think looking back, I probably was a little more nervous and a little unhappier than my peers, but at the time I wasn’t emotionally capable of looking outside my own world and hindsight is often a fallacy. I got good at self-harming, and even better at hiding it.

By 15, no one talked about it, but I still did. I also started having panic attacks all the time. I went to my GP and got my first mental health diagnosis – depression and panic disorder. Off I went to some fairly dull and pointless counselling, which may have been great if I’d engaged with it, but at 15, how many people can be fucked?

I got through college with a lot of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, self-harm and boys. I got through it well and did really quite good considering, but that life had its toll. Too many nights of too much excess in clubs I was definitely too young to be in led to me completely crashing emotionally. Just before my exams. I spent weeks in bed, ran away to Yorkshire, spent more weeks in bed and was dragged to my GP again. Again, the diagnosis was depression. This time I was prescribed Prozac (and later citalopram), told to go to the surgery counsellor and sent on my way.

I didn’t go to the counsellor. Instead, I ran off to Bristol for university. My first year of uni was properly batshit cray. Antidepressants, a change in contraceptive pill, dropping all my hobbies and friends and family to enter the horror of finding new hobbies and friends was all a little much. My self-harm and generally crazy behaviours went into overdrive and behind closed doors (but in front of my unfortunate, but ultimately a prick new boyfriend), I became the most dramatic crazy person ever. Inefficiently executed suicide attempts, blood and sharpie markers all over me and my dorm, running away, cold showers with all my clothes still on, half a litre of vodka each night, drugs wherever I could find them. It was messy, but with no follow up from my GP, it all went unnoticed. 

When I finally cold turkey gave up the antidepressants at the end of summer, I was fucking miserable and doing seriously terrible at uni. I hated myself, I felt like a failure and I didn’t know what to do. Lucky for me, I quickly found losing weight. I focused myself on to eating healthy and going to the gym and found something I was good at. I was bloody fantastic at losing weight. It made me feel good. It made me feel proud. It made me feel in control (finally). So I did that, and I dropped self-harm, got substantially less trashed, was able to focus on university and slowly became more and more focused on losing weight. That went on for the next three years and I ended up seriously underweight and trapped in anorexia, obsessing over food and exercise. Still, I did good at uni and I graduated well, so started and MA.

Halfway through my MA, I became so critically ill that, after being shipped around various primary care therapy services, I was referred to a specialist eating disorders unit (EDU) and started actually getting treatment. I was so unwell, my uni boyfriend from Bristol wound up dumping me and we spent the next year and a half breaking up. Turns out he was an abusive bastard and I couldn’t see it. Years of domestic from someone I loved is pretty hard to deal with if you don’t have an eating disorder to escape from it.

For a while, I was still too unwell with anorexia to really noticed what it was providing me, so I was still focused and obsessed enough to complete all my taught units in my MA, but by my last assignment (two years after starting my MA), I was almost out of treatment with my EDU, emotionally disastrous, self-harming everyday, on and off of antipsychotics and mood stabilisers, back on antidepressants and in and out of hospital for stitches, glue and lethal overdoses (I’d got smarter since I was last like this, so way more efficient. Intelligence isn’t always a good thing). It was around this time my EDU diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder and referred me to my local Community Mental Health Team (CMHT). By this point, I was too ill to even contemplate a dissertation so decided to defer my assessment.

This last year, I’ve been in dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT – specialist therapy for people with borderline), but I’ve also been honing my alcohol and Valium misuse to block out all my difficult thoughts and emotions, and topping them off with whatever other substances head my way. I went into another relationship with yet another person who doesn’t know how to treat their partner and wound up homeless, scarred, broke and an addict. I hadn’t realised I was an addict until a few weeks ago when I was told. I thought I was going to be able to finish my degree this year, have some time off and hopefully start a PGCE and I was finally letting myself get some hope that I might be able to catch up to my peers and actually set up some sort of life I can be proud of. That’s suddenly looking less likely right now. I’m now in a drug and alcohol treatment program 3-4 days a week, individual DBT once a week, group. DBT once a week, my day programme key worker once a fortnight, my Community Drug and Alcohol Team (CDAT) case worker once a fortnight, my Community Recovery Team (CRT – previously my CMHT) psychiatrist once a month and my CRT social worker at some point and some amount. And you know I might be in rehab in a few months.

So here I am. Worst. Month. Ever. I’m actually pretty fucking unhappy right now, but I’m sure that’s not exactly hard to guess. Apparently (according to mental health workers), I suffer ‘severe and enduring’ mental health problems, I’m ‘high risk’ of serious injury, physical illness or death, I’m ‘low functioning’ and have a limited ability to independently thrive within mainstream society and I have ‘complex needs.’ I guess I have got a kinda complex case – you can tell by the amount of people involved in my care (it’s got to the point where it’s overwhelming and confusing).

Still, I’m smart, articulate and jokes, plus try so hard to be nice to people. For some unknown reason, I fully believe this pessimist shit sells me short. I don’t want to be in treatment or care or whatever all my life. I think I’ve got potential. I’ve got through a lot and still have a load more to do, but maybe I can be more then all these unhelpful labels.

Anyway, I’ve blogged before, mostly about my recovery from anorexia. I didn’t realise it’d get more complicated after that and I let a lot of my real life friends read it. I’m not all that sure about sharing addiction and self harm problems with my real life friends yet is a good idea, but I don’t like hiding away. I found it really helpful blogging though, and I think maybe blogging more would be useful still. It might not be though. Or maybe I’ll be too high to look at it. We’ll see I guess.

If you got this far, thank you for reading. Wish me luck.

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Filed under Addiction, bad day, bpd, CDAT, CMHT, eating disorder, fuck, general, Housing, HTT, life, Mental health, NHS, rant, rubbish, self harm, therapy, university

differences and change.

So it’s been a while since I last posted and a lot has gone on. I’ve written a lot of posts and I’ve written, lots of diary entrances when I haven’t had access to computers, but like, after being kicked out, evicted, sponging off my best friend, being dumped, gaining a social worker, a suicide attempt, hospitalisation, running away from hospital, a lot of time under the HTT, losing a social worker and gaining a new one, graduating DBT group and finishing individual therapy, completing level one addiction treatment at Turning Point, more time under the HTT, completing an Intuitive Recovery course with Turning Point (getting me a level one qualification in health and social care as well!), finally getting my own flat at the end of March (all be it through the council and it’s medium mental health supported) and yesterday I finally got internet! It’s been really bloody hectic but I have some posts. I don’t know whether I should even post them as it’d be backdating so much. Or if anyone would read this. Or if I should start a new blog. This began as an eating disorder recovery blog and has definitely changed direction quite a lot, but I’m trying really hard to build up a life outside of my mental health problems, and maybe this would tie me to them, or maybe this could help me see how far I’ve really come. I duno. Maybe it could help others who have gone through similar stuff. Maybe that’s just arrogance.

If there are any readers out there, lemme know what you think.

Lovelove x.

(ps. Sorry I haven’t been keeping up with everyone. I’ve not had internet access and I’ve gone through a lot the past few months. I feel rubbish. I hope you’re all ok x.)

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Filed under Addiction, bpd, eating disorder, Hospital, Housing, HTT, life, NHS, recovery, self harm