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A story of Anxiety, Domestic Violence, Substance Misuse and RESILIENCE

"Most of my problems came to a head when I had a breakdown in my early 20's. After I was discharged from hospital I was pushed from pillar to post and had Agoraphobia for 8 years. I was medicated without really knowing what was wrong with me.

Fast forward to me being in an abusive relationship, what was something I enjoyed doing, drinking, became a huge problem to help me cope with each day of abuse.

Finally, when my partner was dying of cancer and I was nursing her, I collapsed and I was taken to hospital where I was told my pancreas was "mush" and I was an hour from death. I was in hospital getting better and drying out for a few weeks during which time my partner died.

On my release from hospital I was supported by an addiction group who eventually packed up, so I went to ESRA (East Sussex Recovery Alliance) which I was never really sure or happy about, and then was introduced to the Oasis Women's Group ( Brighton Oasis Project) and Irene.

Irene is the person who has helped me more than anyone. She made me believe in myself. She made me believe I was worth something. She also showed lots of care which I felt I had never really known before. If you were being negative she would turn it into a positive. When she left to go back to Spain a lot of people were absolutely gutted. She left a legacy though.

I feel very lucky to have had Irene in my life and anyone I speak to, be it volunteers, staff or service users, all speak about her as the legend that she is here in Eastbourne. She's a one off and I will never stop missing the days when she was with us!!! "

She left me with the confidence to take on a volunteer role with a project dealing with lived experience of addiction, etc. And the courage to apply to the Samaritans as a volunteer and the belief that I could actually do it!


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