“Support from Southdown has definitely improved my life. It saved me in a way"

Community Connections Client

My finances have improved because my rent is a lot lot lower than it was; I sleep better because I don’t have to worry about sleeping on the streets; and my health has improved a bit.

Support from Southdown has definitely improved my life. It saved me in a way.

I was so low at the time. I felt hopeless. I was worried I’d be made homeless - I wouldn’t last five minutes on the streets.

I was living in private accommodation but the rent was too high – I had a shortfall and I was heading towards debt. It was stressing me out. I wasn’t sleeping, and I wasn’t keeping the place up to scratch. It got very untidy and I was hoarding. I was living on my nerves.

Southdown Homeless Prevention and Mental Health Support Service helped me. I got introduced to a Floating Support Officer and they helped me apply for sheltered housing. I wasn’t able to take the initiative to do things and I had no motivation. They helped me fill in forms for discretionary housing payment and they encouraged me to keep things under control.

They saw me once a week to talk things over – about how things were going and what I was going to do. It felt good knowing I had a number to call if things went bad or if anything dodgy happened.

I moved into my current sheltered accommodation flat about six months ago. It’s great being there, it’s more relaxing. It’s still going to take a little while to feel settled, but I’m managing on my own okay.

My finances have improved because my rent is a lot lot lower than it was; I sleep better because I don’t have to worry about sleeping on the streets; and my health has improved a bit.

I’ve had anxiety most of my life. A lot of my problems stem from childhood. It was a definite struggle growing up. I’m still trying to come to terms with things now, if I’m honest. I’m still carrying that.

I think I have a learning disability. I was denied oxygen when I was born. I find it difficult to understand some things. People don’t understand it and get impatient.

Because some of my struggles and difficulties are not physically visible, people don’t always notice or believe I have them. But they’re there.

School was frightening. It was never a safe environment for me. Some of my teachers were abusive, others were sarcastic, and I was physically beaten up by students in one school because I was different. My schoolwork suffered.

I’ve never worked. I couldn’t work because of the anxiety. I worry that I wouldn’t be able to do it or cope – a bit like when I was at school.

Most of my life, I’ve had people think I’m on the make. But my point is, if I was this good an actor, why aren’t I making money in Hollywood?!

I’m wary of people now. I tend to keep how I feel inside and bottled up. I find it difficult to express it.

For me, depression and anxiety are similar – one can trigger the other. Southdown Homeless Prevention and Mental Health Support Service advised me to stay in the present and not look at problems too far in the future.

Mindfulness and Autogenics have helped me. Autogenics is a form of meditation – it’s about noticing how your body is feeling. It does work.

I say that, “Depression is not good at hitting a moving target.” When I’m out on the move and distracted – in town, down the seafront, that black cloud is not as prominent.

A lot of the time I find it hard to stay in one place for too long. I feel boxed in, like the walls are closing in. I need to see the outside world. When I go for a walk, it can be for three hours.

I wanted to do a lot of courses at the Recovery College and have done them for a couple of years. It took me a long time to go because of my school memories. But the people who do the courses have similar experiences and it’s a safe environment.

I do arts and crafts at Preston Park Recovery Centre. I feel good doing it, it relaxes me. It removes other things from my mind – I’m more focused on how to do my collage right.

I’m pretty good at distracting myself during the day and these courses have helped me shut things out. The only problem is when I go to bed at night, that protective wall goes down. I have a lot of nightmares.

Personalised support is very important, it’s vital. It’s about looking at you individually. And there’s people who can come and help and advise you.

If the support hadn’t been there, I don’t like to think where I’d be. I’m not even sure I’d be here, whether I’d have survived.

You only need to have one really bad day and that can send you over the edge. I always try to keep myself lifted, because I’ve always felt it I was on the floor, I’d have difficulty getting back up. That means I try to look after myself, keep myself okay.

 

Southdown Homeless Prevention and Mental Health Support Service (Brighton and Hove) provides short-term, flexible and tailored support to prevent homelessness and improve people’s mental health and wellbeing. This support focuses on our clients’ immediate housing needs, and other areas that are impacting their lives such as mental health and wellbeing, employment, finances, and social networks.