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When I Became Homeless

A Personal Experience of Homelessness and How It Happened to Me

By Carol TownendPublished 6 years ago Updated 6 months ago 5 min read
My Hometown Bournemouth Covered in Snow, Where I Rebuilt My Life

Scarborough 1998, is a place I never will forget. I originally lived in Leeds, but I lost my family and my home due to violence from the community. I moved to Scarborough with the hopes of trying to find some grounding in my life and having a fresh start. It didn't start that way, and my journey was very painful.

I moved in with a friend who I met back in Leeds. The place I moved into started off well, but I became increasingly uncomfortable there when I started to realize something was amiss. It was full of alcoholics, criminals, and people on drugs. After going through so much trauma, I kept myself in my room out of the way because I didn't want to get hurt again.

I had no money (my money had been stopped and I had many issues dealing with it) for months: no food, or anything for me to take care of basic hygiene and barely any clothes. My mental state was a mess, as my mind could not comprehend everything that I had gone through before moving. I practically lived off handouts which I hated, and there was no work available due to my mental state.

I eventually met someone there that I thought was a friend. We had been talking for months, and he was very supportive of me. He spent quite a lot of time out with friends having "just one drink," which I thought was normal. However, one night he came back very drunk, and I had just gone to bed to sleep when he suddenly started forcing his way into sex with me. I said no, but he didn't stop.

The next morning, I woke up disoriented. I scrubbed myself until I was sore in a very hot shower. I was numb, so I couldn't feel the temperature. After that, I made myself sick six times in the toilet, in an attempt to "empty myself of what he had done." Later that night, I locked my door, sat in my room and I cut my wrists uncontrollably while crying. This triggered a memory of when I suffered a break-in, which was an event where I got very badly hurt.

That evening; I left where I was staying, too scared to go back, and too terrified to call the police in case they told me it was my fault. I had already been blamed in the past for all the violence that was perpetrated on me by the community in which I lived, and that had gone on for so long that the trauma became so severe that my children had to live elsewhere.

I had no trust. I sat by a pond in a public garden shivering, tired, hungry, thirsty, in pain, in tears, and with very few clothes to wear

My stomach hurt hard, and my legs hurt hard. I was bruised from my female parts down to my legs and all over my arms. I felt ashamed, dirty, embarrassed, guilty, and unable to tell anyone. I stayed by this pond for months unable to sleep, in case I got jumped and hurt again. I had nowhere to stay and no access to money, food, or shelter.

It felt like everyone had given up on me, and I had never felt so alone.

One morning I woke up with extreme pain in my stomach. I couldn't move far and I felt really weak. When I looked down, I was bleeding heavily. I knew what was happening as I had been here before, but my mind just blanked it out. However, the pain got heavier, as did the bleeding and I couldn't stand it anymore. I remember leaning over the little stream by the pond so I could get a little water, in agony. I struggled to a phone box. I knew what I had to do, but all I could do was sit down and cry and I had hurt myself, though I didn't know how I had done it.

Eventually, I called and asked for help, but I could barely speak about my situation.

I managed to say where I was, but I couldn't say what had happened or who I was.

That night I was taken to a psychiatric ward in Scarborough.

My story didn't stop here though.

After I got married in 1999, I continued to suffer from depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, flashbacks, eating disorders, hallucinations, and many other things. I was admitted back to a hospital just before my baby was born with prenatal depression.

I did well for many years; but I kept slipping in and out of my mental state, which is why my children had to be looked after elsewhere for the second time.

I still do not believe it had to be this way, as there were many other ways in which I could have been helped if I had been offered the resources. It would have helped if I had been heard instead of ignored.

Today I am really well. I eat properly and look after myself without hurting myself and without shame. There are times when everything comes back, but I've learned to talk about it without taking it out on myself.

I had to endure a very long and painful journey, often by myself. However, I finally found someone who listened and supported me along the way, without judgment. Sometimes, that is all it takes to enable a trauma survivor to recover.

Ignorance is not bliss when trauma survivors go unheard. Ignorance creates more problems.

After a long traumatic journey, I have finally completed many courses on many subjects including mental health, childcare, and the arts, and I'm living my dream as a writer. I am also a grandparent, and I have been given the go-ahead to try parenting again, which I am excited about.

I would have said at the time I first wrote this article that my life wasn't worth living. Today, I can confidently say that my life is worth living. I can say that there are still many complications that I deal with such as now being a carer, but I am stronger and I know I am capable of this

If you know someone in the position I was in, please get them some support. It is really important that you try to help them because as you can see in my true story, a person in the position that I was in will really struggle by themselves.

A Thankyou note:

To my husband and all my children who also faced their own traumatic journey while I was recovering. Without you, my life would be dull. You are the fire in my heart and the strength in my soul. Thank you for always loving me and showing me that I am strong, valued, worthy, and loved.


About the Creator

Carol Townend

Fiction, Horror, Sex, Love, Mental Health, Children's fiction and more. You'll find many stories in my profile. I don't believe in sticking with one Niche! I write, but I also read a lot too.

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