When I Became Homeless
A Personal Experience of Homelessness and How It Happened to Me
Scarborough 1998, it's a place and time 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 within 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 hygeine 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 of 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 with 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 gotten 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 disoreinted. 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 had triggered a memory of when I was broken into in Leeds, and raped in my bed. My head could not accept what had happened.
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 my past town for all the violence that was perpetrated on me from the community, and as that had gone on for so long and cost me my children, I had no trust. I sat by a pond in a public garden shivering, tired, hungery, thirsty, in pain, in tears and in very little clothes. 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, embarrased, guilty, and unable to tell anyone. I stayed by this pond for weeks, unable to sleep, in case I got jumped and hurt again.
One of these mornings, 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 any more. I remember leaning over the little stream by the pond so I could get a little water, while I was in agony. After this, I struggled to a phone box. I knew what I had to do, but all I could do was sit down and cry and pull another blade to my wrists. Eventually I called and asked for help, but I could barely speak about my situation. I managed to state 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. Even 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 pre-natal depression. After that, 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.
Today I am much better. I try to eat properly and look after myself without hurting myself. There are times when everything comes back, but I've learned to talk about it without taking it out on myself. I help others through what I went through, and I am passing my courses with flying colours.
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.