“I fought so long against entering the shelter system. I had heard so many horror stories – that once you get in, you never get out. But I have not found this to be the case at all. Our Saviour’s Housing rescued me.”
I’ve struggled with mental illness my whole life. Officially, my diagnosis is borderline personality disorder – which, unofficially, comes with a host of side effect symptoms like depression, anxiety, eating disorder, etc.
While mental health has been a lifelong challenge, I had everything pretty much under control for a long time. Until three years ago. Something really bad happened to me that caused a major downward spiral. If I had the time and space then to focus on recovering, I probably would have been okay. But I didn’t. Instead, everything got worse and worse.
While still reeling from the shock of the incident, I was evicted from my apartment, and I lost custody of my daughter. In the same week, I also lost my income and health insurance. Losing the health insurance was especially terrifying because I have a clotting disorder. I could no longer afford the necessary weekly medical appointments, and I feared death at any moment.
Any of these things – let alone all of them – would be difficult for a person without mental health issues. You can imagine what it was like for someone with them. I was damaged beyond my capacity for self-repair.
I could no longer work, due to my deteriorating mental state. So I waited for disability to kick in and couch hopped for two years. The only good thing that happened during this time was that I met my current partner, Nick. We stayed with a friend for awhile. Until one morning, she kicked us out of her house. I remember it was the coldest day of the year. Shortly after this, I was hospitalized for six weeks for depression and suicidal thoughts.
Somehow, my partner found Our Saviour’s Housing, and we were able to move into shelter on the same day I was discharged from the hospital. I fought so long against entering the shelter system. I had heard so many horror stories – that once you get in, you never get out. But I have not found this to be the case at all. Our Saviour’s Housing rescued me. They were very forgiving and helpful.
It especially meant so much that Nick and I could both stay at the shelter. I met him coming out of a highly toxic, emotionally abusive relationship with my daughter’s father. I didn’t recognize the abuse before because I never knew what a healthy relationship looks like. Now I can see that my family has gone through three generations of abuse. We were raised in it and just thought that love is supposed to hurt.
I still experience PTSD from the abuse. So I really believe that being able to stay with Nick has been integral to my life and safety. After three months at the shelter, we moved into an apartment together through the Permanent Supportive Housing Program.
Now, one year later, I have the time I needed three years ago to focus on putting myself back together. It’s amazing. Things that used to give me tremendous joy – things that I thought were burned out of me for good by my illness – are coming back. My creativity is coming back. My favorite hobby of knitting is coming back, when before I couldn’t even look at yarn. I am looking forward, and I have a vision for my life. I’m not afraid anymore.
My primary goal is to continue recovering and learning how to live again. I have the supports I need to do this. I meet with a phenomenal therapist, and my case manager with OSH is probably one of the best people I have met in my life. She is so gentle, kind, and nonjudgmental, and I am so happy every week to check in with her.
I have nothing but gratitude for Our Saviour’s Housing. It is a wonderful program – life saving and life affirming.