School was problematic for me and I had some behavioural issues. I was then expelled from school at 6 years old! I eventually received a special needs ‘Statement’, so the school took me back. Just two years later, I was awarded the most improved student in year 5. My teacher and remedial help were instrumental in my behavioural change, which made it more conducive to learning. I became much more trustworthy in the eyes of authority figures. In year 6, I received and award from Luton education authority. I went to regular high school and had a mentor in year 9 who made me curious to learn more about my disability. I researched the condition and was able to speak with others about it openly. This was quite liberating. I did my GCSE in math and started to do science at college but withdrew after 2 weeks. I then did BTech in IT and qualified.
Shortly afterwards, I went to a job fair and met someone from the Dame Kelly Holmes trust who invited me to join ‘on track’, an employability skills course. At the celebratory evening, I was interviewed for and received a job as a quality assurance software engineer with a 1-year contract. After this ended, it was difficult to get back into employment which led to a period of clinical depression. The doctor prescribed anti-depressants but to me, these just masked the symptoms and took away the negative energy without replacing them with anything else. I felt like a husk of myself and around the holidays I had suicidal thoughts. After the holidays, I was contacted about a job in another city and commuted there by bus. Within a year or two I was fully immersed in the job and office culture. I wanted a career change and left that job but didn’t find it easy to get another job. I used the time to catch up with friends etc. and was fine for a while.
Our family relationships had been strained since my teenaged years when my mother left because of domestic violence. I lived with my dad and younger brother, but the relationship was rocky at best. Last summer, I had a fracas with my dad. An argument quickly escalated to violence when he hit me. I lost my rag and punched him in the face. It was an ‘end of the rope’ moment. I reported the DV to the police even though my dad wanted to sweep it under the rug. My dad was known to the police, so I was put in touch with the safeguarding team who referred me to Penrose. I had an interview and a vacancy came up at Biscot House.
Since coming to Biscot House things have been great! The main this is the ability and space to explore myself and my interests. I have tried gardening and cycling and have been given the opportunity to run a recycling workshop, which I researched and devised. It brought out leadership skills I didn’t know I had as well as the opportunity to collaborate towards a common goal.
Living at Biscot House is a comfortable experience and the staff need special highlighting. Not only do I feel listened to, but they have helped me develop as a person. They go above and beyond with what they do, and I am so grateful to them.
I am looking forward to the future and have applied to university to study nutrition and dietetics. I am exploring housing options for when I move on. I still get along great with my brother and see him all the time and am seeing my dad on occasion. I am discovering new opportunities and learning new skills and understand that stress is a contributing factor in my mental health issues.
I am determined to keep my stress at a minimum and to continue to talk about issues. I am looking ahead to a bright future.