Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Maya's story

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Maya's story

2nd June 2020
Maya*, aged 26, has experienced difficulties with her mental health since she was 16. Her family struggled to understand or provide support, which made her home-life very difficult and caused her symptoms to worsen. When things got really bad, Maya was asked to leave the family home.

I was so scared when I arrived at Caritas Anchor House and isolated myself. I have problems with depression, low mood and bulimia, and thought everyone I met hated me and would want me to leave. But I now realise that’s just a feeling and isn’t true. I’ve got a good relationship with my keyworker who is supporting me to move forward, and I’m so grateful.

When lockdown started, I felt lonely and powerless. I am used to being active, keeping busy and exercising. I have a fear of gaining weight, which has been really difficult as I haven’t been able to go to the gym and I’ve been snacking. But over the past few weeks I’ve had help to eat healthily and that’s been much easier thanks to the food that’s being provided at Caritas Anchor House.

A few months back I felt ready to get a job, but when it came to interviews and job opportunities my anxiety got the better of me. My keyworker helped me to sign up to volunteer, which I could do for a few hours a week to ease myself into work.

For the last few weeks I have been volunteering with the council to put together and deliver food packages to vulnerable members of our community. I love it. It’s been amazing to meet so many different people and hear their stories. I’ve met an archaeologist, cab drivers - people from different backgrounds and professions, all coming together to help. Also the look on people’s faces when you deliver food to them is amazing.

Volunteering has been really good for me during this time. I’ve spent most of the last ten years on my own, but this experience has helped me to realise I love being around people, I have skills that can help others, and it’s inspired me to want a career in teaching. I’ve signed up to a course which I’ll start when the college reopens. During this time, volunteering has given me a reason to get out of bed. It is a welcome distraction and is helping me to use my time productively.

I’ve been able to keep safe because of the things in place at Caritas Anchor House. There are restrictions on the number of people able to use the communal areas like the kitchen and laundry, and there is food, toiletries and cleaning products available for us. Not having to worry about getting those things means I can focus on moving forward.

I haven’t always felt like this, but I’ve recently realised that I have so much to live for. There is so much I still need to do, to visit, to see. I want to thank Caritas Anchor House, my keyworker, and the volunteers that I’ve spent the last few weeks with for helping with that.

*name changed at resident’s request

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