I am going to talk about something that I have been very open about, yet normally remain tight lipped about too. It is not that I am embarrassed by my struggles I have had in the past, but I would say it is more so I worked for social bite for a long time and often felt known for being homeless. Not beyond that, just I worked for a homeless charity and was a homeless member of staff. I want to break away from that label and make people see me for who I am as a person. Aside from my past or upbringing aside from having mental health I am just a normal girl.

I was with a partner for 2 years and it all went a bit fast paced. We moved in together in the first year. After the second year together I shut off mentally. A lot of people always say and still to this day, how come you were so strong when you have had break ups. The answer is I tolerate more than I should. I then shut off from them mentally and physically months before I say anything verbally. I have had 2 serious relationships funnily enough lasting the same amount of time. Along with ending the same, both by me. Both by me mentally leaving the relationships months before I could verbally admit too. The last one I always thought where will I live if we don’t work out. I remember when we signed the lease one of my questions were if we broke up could I take the flat on alone. Shocked at my question, I said I am sorry but I am not naive this was the first flat I had with a boy. I needed answers before I signed for the future. I know to some they will think why ask that? If you get a place together you shouldn’t be thinking of breaking up. I of course didn’t at the moment plan on breaking up but something also told me I didn’t see myself with that person for the rest of my life. We were so different in many ways.

Having being brought up through the care system due to my both parents being drug addicts and not able to look after themselves never mind children, or living between family or foster parents I always had to make sure I had stability. I was an adult I had to make sure I worked for everything I had and rely on no one. Then came the day I plucked up the courage to break up. I thought fuck what now? Where do I stay? The estate agent offered me a lower price to keep the flat on myself but I had to say no. I never liked the area. None of my friends stayed even close. No this is the time I need to put my big girl pants on and deal with it. A family member flat was laying empty for years and needed decorated and more. I was offered to stay here and 2 years later was when my life properly changed for the worse.

My dad the man who I hadn’t seen or spoken to in years turns up. I won’t get into to much detail apart from he put me in danger. He took drugs in front of me whilst I asked him not to. I had an important day at college the next day and had work to type out. I called my friend and explained my situation and that is when it all went down. He came marching though shutting my bedroom door behind him and started shouting at me. Where are you going? Who’s on that phone? Pointing in my face. My friend on the other line got straight in a taxi and headed straight to get me. I was in utter shock he was drugged to the eyeballs. I said take one more step closer and I will call the police. He didn’t know me, he knew nothing about me. He took one step closer and the call was made, hands shaking the police were on there way. I turned my back to him and thought he is going to kill me. I managed to somehow get out the room and make a run for it down the stairs. Breathless I threw up with panic and fear at the bottom of the stairs. It was pouring of rain and I didn’t even have a jacket on.

Without going into much more detail that was the day I left that property and became homeless. I felt so lost and alone. My grandparents couldn’t believe I called the police, but they were not in my position so they had to just deal with there son. I went to the council and declared myself homeless. I didn’t know what to say or do I never thought I would find myself in that situation. I was moved into a woman’s hostel. This was on the royal mile. I continued to work at social bite, but my life was in a balance.

I hit rock bottom. I didn’t know bottom like it. I was the first up and last in, in the hostel. I was one of 2 who worked. The rest didn’t work. I would hand over my wages to stay in a room that smelled damp. No internet or breakfast just a room. Shared bathrooms and people with all different issues. I was not one to judge. I was just trying to get by. At night you could hardly sleep with the doors banging and people shouting. Every time I heard a door open my heart sank. I kept thinking this is like prison. Even though I had never been in prison. It was horrible. I had a fucking curfew, what am I 10 years old. We had room checks daily and multiple times a day. No privacy in here.

I had to cut my hours down as living with the homeless community and serving them all day in work was getting tougher on me. My mental health got to the worst place it had ever been. I had multiple time off work and visits to the royal ed. I thought at times I had no way out. Eventually I got my flat offer and I cried and cried. It felt like I had won the lottery. For some people they would think Dana it is just a flat in a high rise in Leith. To me it was more than that.  It was a home. It was mine. No one can move me or take it from me. This flat was the light I was waiting for.

A lot of work had to be put into the flat mostly by my grandparents due to me working, and I was ready to move in. I was high on life. The independence, being safe, having something that I have control over it was mine. I am not saying half a year later life is a bed of roses as from previous blogs you will find it has been far from it, however all I do now is to make sure the bills are paid and work as hard as I am able to, to keep that roof over my head.



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