Journey into the Unknown
After half a century of hard work and failed relationships, life was to come crashing down around me. Unforeseen circumstances and dubious decisions, on my part, led to my complete mental breakdown and suicide attempt some 3 years ago. Insane working hours and impossible deadlines mixed with an extremely volatile marriage had overcome my inner strength. My entire life had been torn apart and thrown to the wind. Everything that I had worked for over many years was gone, everything.
I was admitted to a high dependency psychological hospital and spent the next 6 months being sedated, treated and prepared for my return to society.
Being given sanctuary with my sister and brother in law seemed at the time a saving grace. I moved in with them and started working locally, life was starting to reassemble itself, or so I thought.
18 months after I moved in I was given instructions by my volatile brother in law. I was advised to devise a plan, during the next 4 weeks, and vacate their home and lives. Evidently I had exceeded my welcome.
Luckily I still had my job and my old car. I moved out of their property that very day, not wishing to stay any longer in an aggressive family environment. I started sleeping in my vehicle near my workplace until my boss, a certain Parish councillor and pillar of society, decided to give me the same 4 weeks to come up with a plan and find employment elsewhere. He was my brother in law.
So, in the space of 3 weeks, I had been evicted from my family’s home and lost my job at the family engineering business too, nice.
Initially, being homeless and jobless didn’t phase me, after all that I had been through whilst living with my ex, it had prepared me to cope with major life events.
Being mindful of the future and realising that winter was coming I took advice from Wiltshire Mind, who have weekly self-help group sessions that I attend, since moving to the area. Sadly, the amazing group leader suddenly left their employment not long after I became homeless. She was totally dedicated to her work and was one of those people you never forget.
The day I presented myself to the council offices in Chippenham was also the same day that I passed through Doorway’s entrance.
Not knowing what to expect from the housing officer, at the council offices, I duly filled in all the forms and was informed that I was on my own, no help was forthcoming.
Next stop, Doorway. Unsure of how they could assist I entered the Salvation Army Hall in Chippenham, anxious and hopeful at the same time, to be greeted by complete strangers. After quickly outlining my case I was instructed to collect a hot meal and the paperwork would be dealt with thereafter.
From day one and to this very day Doorway have never questioned or criticised anything concerning myself, they have accepted me, as I am.
In a world largely based on consumerism and finance and the haves and have nots, being treated equally, without question, is very rare indeed.
Slowly I started to become a regular visitor, Monday morning cooked breakfasts are to die for. Hot showers and washing machines made being homeless much easier to digest. I rely on their food parcels to carry me through to the next week, I had no income at that point or savings, I still had not even thought to apply for any financial assistance. After all, I had never claimed for anything before, always believing that I was responsible for myself. I am an aeronautical engineer and have travelled all over Europe and beyond, for my work.
One Thursday lunch time, they had arranged for the council officers to attend, in an informal way, brilliant idea. This was to be pivotal for myself. After several previous visits to the council being fruitless, I was fortunate to discuss my issues with such a humane council adviser, the advice I was given was to change my lot.
Along with the Council, the Citizens Advice Bureau and Doorway, they have all assisted in my transition from being homeless immensely.
All of the staff at The Doorway have helped, a few, more than they can imagine, from the unseen volunteers to the galley slaves, the Char Wallahs and especially the female angels, that float around, waiting to engulf the unwary. The one thing that was and still is today, is that whilst all hell might be going on in one’s private life, Doorway, remains a constant, always there, same people, same welcome and always happy to engage and offer humane advice.
Understanding that life is ever changing and people are to be respected as human beings, accepting change leads to a more deeper calm and inner peace. Once you have reached that blackest point of your life and been lucky to survive, life changes, becomes simpler and easier to accept. Most of what we think is important to us is just cluttering our lives. Whilst each day is not the same as the last and some are not good at all, the struggle is easier to digest with the assistance of loving and humane supporters of life, Doorway.
Thank you for your support and advice, without this, I could not have progressed to where I am today.