I realize I haven’t written in a long time. There are reasons for that. So much has happened within the course of the last couple months that I am not even sure I can adequately cover everything.
There have been some major changes in my life. My housing, my health, my career…everything is different now. Some for the better, some for the worse. And it hasn’t been an easy journey on any front.
I’m going to start with one thing at a time: housing.
When I first started PHP back in January, it was clear from the start that my living situation was going to have to change. They were concerned about my mother knowing where I live and reaching out to me. They were also concerned with things going on within the home. I told them it wasn’t a big issue, that I could cope just as I had been for some time now. After all, I was no longer living in hell, so I saw any place that wasn’t there as a huge improvement.
As the weeks went by, it became apparent that my living situation was a big issue. I couldn’t sleep, despite being on an extraordinarily high dose of Trazodone. There were a lot of things going on which I won’t go into detail about, but it made the environment a safety issue for me. My therapist at PHP made it clear I could not progress in treatment while living in that environment. They insisted I go to a women’s shelter quite a distance away, and I refused. I told them I would find something, anything as long as it didn’t involve living in a shelter.
And at the very last minute, I found my way out. I found what seemed like a safe place to live, with safe people, in a safe neighborhood. A whole upstairs to myself. Sure it was old. My room didn’t have heat. Another didn’t have electricity. There were holes in the wall and it was falling apart at the seams. But it seemed safe. Without any thinking, I wrote a check and got my key. I was willing to do anything not to live in a shelter.
I was okay for a couple of weeks. Nothing extraordinary happened. Then the landlord said he needed a security deposit (something he said he didn’t need at all when I paid the first month’s rent) in a check written out to him personally (he was not the owner of the building). Something didn’t sit right with me. Then the next week, I came home from work to find out there was going to be a man moving in to one of my rooms upstairs. I googled the landlord to find out that he was a convicted felon who owed over $30,000 in restitution.
I was starting to lose my hope again. This was not the safe place I envisioned it to be. This was turning into a nightmare. Still, I told myself, this is better than hell, this is better than where I was before. I isolated myself in my room, just as I had done before. Hopelessness increased, and I wanted to just give up. My therapist at program was concerned and asked if I could stay with anyone for a few nights, just to keep myself safe. I really didn’t know anyone outside of work, and I was afraid to be a burden on someone. But somehow, I mustered up the courage to ask if I could stay over for one night, and that person said yes.
I don’t know why things worked out the way they did, but it turned out to be a good thing that I wasn’t home that night. I received a call that night that the landlord had moved a homeless man into my bedroom while I was at work that afternoon. My things were removed from the room, my artwork torn off the walls and put in the hallway in a giant pile, like they were meaningless. These were things that meant so much to me, thrown together like trash. Fighting broke loose, violence and threats ensued, and it was definitely not a safe place for me to be in. Just hearing what was happening over the phone was enough for me. All I could think was what would have happened if I was home that night, how things would have turned out. But I’ll never know, because somehow I ended up in the safest place I could be.
I didn’t know what I was going to do. I tried to block it out and tell myself it was all going to be okay, that I could deal. I didn’t go to PHP that following day because I had a cardiologist appointment. My therapist called me that afternoon while I was at work to see how everything went. I mentioned the situation at home the night before and I could hear the concern in her voice. She told me I could not return home, that it was not safe for me anymore. She called me back with the contact information for an emergency shelter a few towns away.
I sat in the corner of the backroom at work in a complete emotional meltdown. It was less than one week into the month, I had just invested all of this money into a new place to live and now I was going to end up in a shelter. I had nothing left. No money. Nowhere to go. No hope.
I found an angel that day. I’m not exaggerating when I say this person literally saved and continues to save my life. I didn’t end up in the shelter. They took me into my home, bought me what I needed, fed me, and supported me and have continued to do so even as I have nothing to give back in return.
I was able to go back to that home and get most of what I needed out of there. My clothes, my shoes, my books, my computer, my bed. I came in to find some of my stuff in the hallway and I wanted to cry. My bathroom was a mess, brand new shower curtain torn off the rings, feces all over the toilet. It was all a disaster. We grabbed everything we could fit in the truck and left. Just once, I thought, I wanted to be able to move somewhere without it being a runaway situation.
But I am safe now. It’s been nearly a month and I am with people who I can trust and who support me. I don’t live in fear. I can sleep at night without having to worry about anything. Although I am out all of the money, my security deposit included, and am struggling financially just ot get by, I will figure things out.
I found a home, and that’s what matters right now.