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Guardian Angel

My past relationships haven’t been good. I was on my own for a long while before I got with my youngest’s dad. Same as with the others it was good to start off with but it ended in bad violence, where he ended up really physically hurting me, and the police got involved. He hasn’t been around since.


I was in a bit of a state back then, I was on my own with my three girls, and I really didn’t know what to do. One of the school mums told me about the baby group Home-Start was running. I thought it would help to meet people and she said she’d come along with me, but when I went there I just broke down. It was far too overwhelming for me - too many people, too much in my face. I was experiencing anxiety and depression and everything else, so the people at Home-Start suggested I speak to Lisa who provided me with some 1:1 support.


Then I did a course they were running supporting mums who had been abused. That helped me learn to deal with things. And Lisa kept coming out to see me weekly, and helping me out with different stuff.


After that I got connected with one of the Home-Start volunteers, Susan. And that’s been really, really good. She’s just been so supportive and we’ve built up a great relationship. I haven’t got any family to support me or anything - my mum died and I haven’t seen my dad since I was young and don’t have anything to do with him. So it’s been nice to have someone to fall back on, someone on my side who can help me build up my confidence. Emotionally sometimes I just need someone to vent to or talk about things with, and knowing someone’s there for me, and that they’ll be in touch to make sure I’m OK is really nice.


Then there’s the practical stuff too. I’ve had a big problem with my gas and electric going on for months. I was making phone calls every day and getting nowhere and it was causing me a hell of a lot of stress. The kids were freezing and I couldn’t even cook them dinner. It was just a nightmare to be honest, and Susan’s really helped me with sorting that out. She helped me with citizen’s advice too when I had a bit of a crisis situation and helped me get funding for a new oven – it’s stopped me feeling totally overwhelmed.


Susan’s helped me with my middle daughter too. She’s got really bad confidence issues because her dad left when she was very young and she’s had problems at school and stuff. Susan’s helped me get her into clubs and stuff like theatre and dance, which I can’t afford to pay for. That’s really helping her.


She’s been like my guardian angel really.


My life hasn't been easy from square one, and it’s all just built up. I was in a very bad way - no confidence, didn't want to go out and all sorts. I’ve been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder which means I just can’t deal certain situations.


I’ve put myself in hospital through overdoses. I used to feel like I had nothing, that I was a rubbish mum, and I would act irrationally, waking up in hospital and feeling absolutely sick to the stomach thinking ‘What have I done?’ ‘Why did I do that to my children?’. The thing is at the time I’d just think that I was no good for them and that they didn’t need me – just awful feelings.


I haven’t done that since I’ve been with Home-Start. Knowing I’ve had someone looking out for me has stopped me. I mean I’ve had my ups and downs but I’ve not taken an overdose or anything. Sometimes I’ve thought ‘Oh god I just can’t cope with this situation’ but then I’ve had my Home-Start people to fall back on. I’ve phoned them and they’ve said ‘Look, it’s OK, I’m here’ sort of thing. It’s all about having the relationship with them and trust, and that’s something I struggle with a lot due to my past.


The support I’ve had from Home-Start has built up my confidence a hell of a lot. I wouldn’t have been able to speak like this before. Wendy my Home-Start Coordinator said I seem totally different to when she first met me. It’s changed me so much.


Although I’ve had some help with the children in certain ways, it’s been more support for me to be honest. But I guess that’s what it’s all about, if I’m not right, and not where I need to be as a person, then I can’t be there for them. The support has given me a gentle push in the right direction. I’ve still got a way to go, but I now value myself much more as a person and as a mum.”

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