Tag Archives: recovery

Special and Different

It has been a while since I last wrote here and I have really missed it.

However, this has been a really helpful time for me in many ways.  I realised something very important, I don’t expect anyone to understand me.  This is on a very deep level and not even conscious, it is something that is so old it just feels normal and true.

Then, I remembered something someone once said to me, ‘sorry to tell you, you are not special and different’!

I was taken aback really, firstly because I did not know what they were talking about, and secondly because I truely believed I was.  Not in an arrogant way, although later it can be seen I guess as arrogant, but because for me, nobody got me, apart from my Grandma I now realise, when I was growing up. She never told me, but she did things, little things, that somehow made me feel safe on a very subtle level.  Other than that I was always told I was crazy, that I was attention seeking and every-time I tried to connect I was shut down and told to get on with it.  I longed for a warm embrace, someone to listen to me and just get me, someone who would say, when I asked them why they were late again and I had waited hours, sometimes days, that they are so sorry and how hard it must have been for me.  Instead I got, what is your problem, get on with it, I am here now arn’t I!!

All this has contributed to me feeling very special and very different, and it is an awakening every day when someone gets me.  I have to say though, I shut down, I shut myself down and now I am realising that when people don’t get me, it is not because I am wrong or bad or stupid or any of the other things, it is just because they don’t.  However, others do!! This is a revelation for me.

I have truely believed that nobody would understand me, so I stopped telling anyone what was wrong, I stopped sharing my feelings and I stuffed them with whatever I could.  I made choices based on my own experiences, of people not getting me or wanting to be there for me and help me.  I am slowly changing, with the right people around me.  I need a lot of loving and slow awakening to begin to come out of what has felt like a living hell.  I think now it is one of the reasons I write, I have to get it out and it is so incredible when people tell me they get it.

So yes, I am special and different, but I am also begining to realise I am not alone.  It can be said in a rather derogatory way,’ you are not special and different’, but actually, I believe that until we find like minded people and have the courage to share our stuff, we do not know. Growing up, feeling alone, not being understood and being around people who do not know how to help you, does, in my humble opinion contribute towards people, me, feeling very special and different.  I left home feeling like if I told anyone my thoughts and ideas, they would laugh at me, so why would I tell anyone anything?  Thank God this is changing.

Help the Homeless

They say that most people are only two pay checks away from being homeless, maybe it would have been good to mentioned that when the Estate Agent looked down her nose at me after I said I was on Housing Benefit!

I did not have a deposit,so therefore my choices were limited to what the housing benefit either had or would pay for and believe me there was nothing around that was habitable. I could only rent a place for one now my son was old enough to leave home, the devastation of this was too much for me. I could not help but wonder what the hell had happened to the young girl, the me who brought her own flat in Fulham and if it had gone the other way would have been mortage free by now! I slowly began to collapse emotionally, not able to pack, unable to function and looking at places that were so disgusting, cold, damp, dark and stark reminders of how far down the social strata I had gone.

This all began  two years ago today when I was given notice to quit a home I had lived in for 9 years.  I was living on welfare, my mental health was at an all time low and I was struggling to pay the bills.  My son and I were selling what we could on e-bay to cover the basic costs of things and I remember one day, he was offered an opportunity in London and we just managed to get him there by me selling a watch and a friend giving us some money.

After two weeks of him being on work experience, sleeping on a friends floor and barely able to afford the train fare to make the most of this internship he was offered, which was unpaid, I had no money to buy milk and sugar for him when he arrived home.  As I sat there counting the coppers I had found around the house to go and buy some milk, a friend rang, saying she felt she needed to ring me, I told her what the problem was and she said get over here and I will help you.  Fortunately I still had enough petrol in my car to get to her house.  She handed me an envelope with £200.00 pounds in it and that helped us through the next few weeks and helped my son get back to London to work for another week to help get him into the career he was desperate to follow.

A few months before this time, a friend had suggested I saw her husband for accupuncture, it was not long before he said my body was so damp and asked if I living in a damp house? I was.  The windows were rotten, the heating was costing me a fortune which I did not have, it was impossible to get warm and it was quite possibly, according to him, a contributing factor to my depression. I had been suffering from mental health issues for a long time and they were getting worse and worse, mainly due to the facts I was now having to face, but the housing environment was not helping, clearly. I had also been signed off sick, long term after a rather ardeous interview at the benefits office to prove I was unfit to work on mental health ground. It never ceases to amaze me that people still think that benefits are handed out on a silver plate!

After the accupuncture assessment my friend and her husband both suggested I got the environmental health people in, which I did. She could not find damp, which is interesting, but she said the landlord would have to fix the windows and the electricity if the council were to continue to pay the rent…………….wow!  So, we were given 2 months notice. Not long before this I had been noticing running noises up in the atic, so we got the pest control man in…………we had rats, and lots of them, it was disgusting.

You sometimes have to crack eggs to make an omlette and that is exactly what was going on in our lives.  For the next two months we had nowhere to live. It was terrifying and it looked pretty bleak. Housing Benefit will only give a deposit up to their amount that they pay, and as there were no properties around for that amount that were habitable, it left me in a very difficult place, until a very dear friend offered to help, two weeks before our deadline.

It was like all my prayers were answered at once, and believe me, I had been praying day and night for God to intervene. She helped with my son’s move to London, she helped me with my deposit and helps with the difference between what housing benefit pay per month as there is always a short fall. It is incredible what the love of a good friend can do to change your life and I am grateful everyday to have her.

When it comes to living on welfare and housing benefit, what people maybe don’t realise is that housing benefit is paid every two weeks and that is it spread over 13 months for some reason, so there is always a deficiet each month.  Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful to have it but it is not the walk in the park and the easy option for the majority of people who receive it as people make out. In my humble opinion, there needs to be an easier way to pay it because it leaves people in debt all the time and most landlords do not want to be renting to people on benefits, possibly for this very reason

I had one of those Pretty Woman moments when I walked into the estate, suddenly my life had changed and I had choice, and guess what, a wonderful home appeared, somewhere that I have driven past for years thinking it is the most beautiful house I have ever seen and I would love to live there, I am.  The landlords don’t see people on welfare as less than them, they see me as people who need some help and support, what a total relief.

I really believe that it is the class system, the snobbish attitude that is really causing so many of the problems around homelessness. I was spoken to like a piece of shit by the people at the benefits office, the housing office even forgot to put my claim across,as I switched from boroughs, which almost lost me the house, thank God I checked it and I managed to get a friend to guarantee my rent for a year should I default. All that before I could get somewhere to live.

I do hope that anyone reading this will pass it on to anyone they know who maybe could do with a re-think and if you know an estate agent, let them know!! There was only one that helped me in Guildford, and I will always be grateful to them and to my landlords who are so human and believe that everyone deserves a chance. I feel so blessed to have met them and that I was given a break. I felt so shit about myself because of what our life had become, and it is all now helping me to grow and to feel human again, we all need love and support.

I have made a video about that time, including my struggles with domestic abuse, which you can find at http://www.youtube.com/addicts4addicts

David Hasselhoff on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories

Thank you so much to David Hasselhoff for being so real and honest during his interview last night, what an absolute star.

I wanted to share this with anyone who did not see it, it will only be online until the begining of June, it is so worth a watch.  His mix of humility and ego is, as Piers describes complex, but in my mind facinating and so engaging, I have never really been a fan, but after watching this interview I have to say, I am now.

What really stuck me was his rise from his rock bottom and how he so gracefully described this experience, his journey in recovery is so visible, he has come back from the abyss and all credit to him, after public humiliation, he has taken up the challenge and look at the results, what an inspiration.  Anyone who is having a hard time or feels like maybe it won’t get any better, take a look at this public fall from grace and then how his recovery has given him his life back, and some.  Congratulations David and thank you so much for showing us your true self.

I know for me, some days I think will it really happen, will I make it?  Watching this inspires me to keep going, sometimes we all need that and it is brilliant to see this new man on the show, how honesty and being you is the way to freedom, true humility and vulnerability is the key. Amazing, hope you enjoy this as much as I did and do.