"Having my Floating Support Officer work with me has been a weight off my mind"

Community Connections Client

It’s nice having someone challenge me a bit and make me do things. When you’re depressed, you ignore anything that might be a problem and then it becomes a bigger problem and even then you still ignore it.

The hoarding started with my depression. The depression started with the loss of a close friend and neighbour. I was depressed for seven years and that’s when the hoarding bloomed.

When I’m depressed I buy things to make myself feel better. With hoarding it’s about getting yourself attached to things. They’re like friends who come to stay and don’t leave.

Before I started hoarding, my studio flat was a nice big 20ft by 10ft room. And then after hoarding all that space got filled up and I was sleeping in a small space on the floor by the front door.

My hoarding was one of the things my landlord was trying to use against me, he wanted to evict me. I’m still living at the flat – he hasn’t succeeded in getting rid of me yet. Only after I had started speaking to the solicitor and when I got involved with housing I realised I really needed help. I think up ‘til that point I was in denial. It was quite a shock to me to find out it was classed as an illness.

The main things I see Community Connections for are my mental health challenges that impact on my housing. Having my Floating Support Officer work with me has been a weight off my mind. Subconsciously in the back of your mind, you realise you have someone there for you.

We meet up once a week. We tend to talk about how I’ve been that week and if I’ve made any improvements with my hoarding. The nice thing is she knows where to push me and what I could do. She’s always spot on.

It’s nice having someone challenge me a bit and make me do things. When you’re depressed, you ignore anything that might be a problem and then it becomes a bigger problem and even then you still ignore it.

I still have bouts of depression. I’m not over the hill yet. Which is why I’m still having counselling for my depression and my hoarding. Hopefully I’ll learn more about myself and make adjustments. I want to go back to my old self again – go back to the way I was before I got depressed and started hoarding.

For the first time I realised there is support out there and that makes me feel relaxed and happy. It’s only when someone grabs your brain and shakes it about a bit that you know there is support out there.

My message for people is that: there are people out there for you. For just about everything. And the only bit to remember is the saying – “Go seek and you will find.”

Southdown Support in Brighton and Hove (previously known as Community Connections and Community Links) 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.