Megan explains how our Clinical and Recovery-focused Accommodation service (CaRFAS) service in Wellingborough supported her to take her first step towards living on her own.
“I spent a lot of my twenties in hospital. I have emotionally unstable personality disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and I struggle with self-harm. So I was frequently admitted to hospital when I wasn’t mentally well. My illnesses meant that I couldn't go to college and I had to put many of my goals on hold.
I first moved to Together’s CaRFAS service after I had been in hospital for a while. Moving to the service would be the first time that I’d lived out in the community, before that I’d only ever lived with my mum or in hospital. To support me through this the CaRFAS team came to visit me in hospital and I also did a couple of overnight stays to help me settle in.
We worked together to identify and write my recovery goals down
When I first arrived I found it really strange at first. I wasn’t used to preparing my own meals or doing daily things like cleaning and cooking – it all seemed really alien to me and it was tough to learn how to do it again.
What really helped me along the way was meeting with the recovery team here. We worked together to identify and write my recovery goals down, it helped me to visualise where I wanted to be and work out how I would move towards living more independently in the future.
The staff offered me support to help me stay on track. I would talk through particular problems I had with the staff team and they helped me to develop different ways that I could cope and different methods I could use to do this. Alongside this they supported me with managing the practical things I needed to be able to do really well in order to live on my own. For example, by helping me to plan my meals and manage my money.
It’s like a stepping stone towards living on my own
Once I’d made some progress I incorporated another goal into my plan. CaRFAS, in addition to the main accommodation has a bungalow on site. Once I was well enough and had built up enough confidence I wanted to live there. It would be like living on my own, but I knew I could still access support if I needed it. In my support plan I included what I needed to do in order to do this. I had to set up how to pay the bills, budget and what I needed to buy to furnish the bungalow.
And it worked! A few months ago I moved from the main area into a bungalow. This gave me more independence but I also still received support and knew it was there when I needed it. It’s like a stepping stone towards living on my own. I’m really pleased to have taken that first step. I’ve built up friendships, am a lot better at talking to people and I like going out.
In the future I would really like to be in full time employment, to have my own home and hopefully a family. It’s really helped me to be mentally well too.”