“Looking back, I must have had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from all that abuse, but I wasn’t diagnosed with depression and anxiety until I was 19. I’m proud to say that despite having suicidal thoughts I managed to complete college.
When I left home, I stayed on my sister’s sofa for about a year. But we were evicted when the landlord sold up and I became homeless. YMCA was somewhere I could finally settle and have somewhere safe to call home.
My keyworker was a real lifeline. She gave me non-judgemental, practical advice. YMCA gave me space to heal and recover without being rushed. I always felt like my life was going at 100mph, and now it feels more like 10mph.
I built myself up, learned life skills. And now I feel less bitter, more at peace, more confident. The residents here are like a family to me.
Once, I thought my life would only ever be pain – but these days, I see the good things in life.”
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* While Rachel’s story is 100 per cent genuine, a model has been used and her name changed to protect her identity.