Manchester, England
paul@borderlinebear.com

Hostel – Alt Bank Hospital

Hostel – Alt Bank Hospital

altBank

On the back of being discharged from hospital I had no where to live. The hospital arranged for me to go into a hostel (for the short term) while I found permanent accommodation. This short term move, turned into a long and hard 9 months. On first impressions (and looking at the images ) the hostel looks really nice, it was a fairly new complex rebuilt. I was soon to realize that this would be a challenge for me. Surrounded by drug and alcohol abusers my challenge to live a life of sobriety was becoming complex. This all being said the hostel had really amazing staff (apart from the receptionist she was hard work), they would push you and teach you to learn the skills in life which people take as a given skill for instance, cooking and washing your clothes. Being in a long term relationship previous to my hospital stay I never did these things!

There were humbling moments in the hostel, I spent Christmas in the hostel and having 3 kids at the time I felt like my heart was bleeding constantly. I think from the moment I went into the hostel I cried nearly every night. The feeling of loneliness and the silence was almost tormenting. I heavily relied upon God and my faith to get me through this time. I begged and prayed for the Lord to prosper and not harm me, to end this torment and I always give him thanks a praise for my life.

In the hostel there was an on-site doctor who was so lovely, she understood my needs and understood my illness (which is rare as BPD wasn’t really recognized at the time). I was taking zopliclone at the time and my support network was really strong. Without these key people my situation could have been so much worse. My daily life in the hostel would consist of going to the gym, trying to speak to my kids and basically filling my day with what ever i could. My dad borrowed me a laptop he bought, so i would try and speak to people through facebook and generally occupy my mind (it was tough!).

I briefly want to speak about my Christmas in the hostel. This is something that really sticks with me to this day and is probably one of the most humbling situations I’ve ever been in. Christmas eve was challenging, I had no tree and I had no presents and more importantly I wasn’t surrounding by my kids. Again I cried myself to sleep. I had arranged to go to my brothers house for Christmas dinner which was kind of him and to be honest, I didn’t really want to go. My emotions and mental health wasn’t at their strongest and I still felt kinda like the black sheep of the family. Christmas day morning I was pottering about my space in the hostel, feeling a little lost and not really with it when there was a knock on the door. One of the stuff was at the door with a shoebox wrapped in Christmas paper. I took the shoebox, shut the door and went upto my living area.

I opened the shoebox and my heart just sank. Inside there were donated presents, a pair of socks, a wooly hat, toothpaste and some tinned food. It was at this point I realised this was the lowest point in my life. I had gone from living with financial security, my kids to no one and nothing. I cried, sobbed and I felt like me heart was going to stop. I realised at this point a couple of things. The generosity of people was still alive and well, people and the staff had actually gone out to arrange these shoe boxes for us.ย  I realised that I had been so neglectful of my own life and unappreciative of what I had. I also wrongly thought that this was me for the rest of my life. The rest of that day I went to see my kids for 1 hour at my mothers, then onto my brothers for christmas dinner, I had cobbled some gifts together for my kids over the previous few weeks and the day went smoothly. I honestly was glad when it was all over.

I suppose at the time I didn’t realise how important and what an opportunity I had to turn my life around on the back of this experience. If it wasn’t for this accommodation I wouldn’t have got my flat, I wouldn’t have learnt life skills like cooking, cleaning and even washing clothes! Also a massive point was that when I got my accommodation it wasn’t just a case of go on you’re out of here, they helped me get a package of furniture together for my new flat. Coming to the end of my stay in the hostel I was somewhat scared, there were lots of what if’s and I suppose I got a little institutionalized. Being wrapped up in a bubble in hospital, then (sort of) looked after in the hostel i just didn’t know what was to come.