Manchester, England




Following a tough few months in Alt Bank Hostel I finally got the flat which would later become my home. The way it works when you are in a hostel is you have to bid for properties. I was offered two flats prior to this one, and even though I was desperate to get out of the hostel, the first two flats I was offered were really bad. They were in really bad locations and pretty much surrounded by drugs (not great for someone who recently gave up that lifestyle).

Eventually I was offered the flat pictured above! It was in a fairly nice location and was pretty much all I needed (1 living room + 1 bedroom). Having three kids at the time and really wanting them to spend time with me I got a double bed and a sofa bed for the bedroom. When the kids stayed over they took the bed and sofa bed and I slept on the living room floor on the couch pillows. As harsh as this sounds it was great! Anyway i’m getting ahead of myself.

As I said earlier, the flat was really nice I spent sometime prior to moving in painting some walls and trying to make it homely. I also wanted to sort the bills out I couldn’t afford to pay anyone else’s bills let alone my own!

I was excited about moving to the flat but when I actually did it just didn’t feel like home. I had some furniture (bed, couch, kettle, pots and pans) but that was it. The flat and walls were very bare and I had little money to buy anything to go in the flat. I had no curtains (it always seemed so bright in the bedroom!) and I just didn’t feel comfortable. Looking back I think growing up I had this impression of what a home was and what it felt like and this just wasn’t it. The silence also drove me mad! I suppose having kids from a young age and being in the Air Force from 16, I was just used to someone always talking. I think the silence was one of the hardest things to get used too. There is no answer to how do you get used to silence, you seem to just do.

After about two weeks I mentioned this to my dad and he said he would give me a hundred quid to get some pictures and furniture for the flat. This really did help I bought a (small) bookcase and little coffee table and some pictures for the wall. This made all the difference!! It started to feel like a home and I did start to feel like life was changing.Β  The kids were spending time at the flat with me and even though I had virtually no money I was managing my lifestyle really well, shopping in cheap shops and getting about. I had bout Β£70 a week for shopping, electric and gas. Things were tight but life was actually simple. I was keeping up with my medication and at one point I had Β£200 saved up! I had never managed to save money EVER. During my time in the flat my nan was really pushing me to go to college. I always had a passion and drive for computers so I decided to go an see a college in Liverpool and try to get onto a course (if anything at the time I just wanted to do something).

So my mental health at this point was steadily becoming stronger, I had a great nurse and help and she would constantly come round and make sure I was taking my medication and also that I was coping in general. I would be back and forth to the hospital for care reviews and to be honest I didn’t really take a step back were this was concerned.

Looking back life was really simple at this point, I was having my kids regular, attending college and just generally popping about Liverpool. Lets move onto the next timeline and talk about College!

What I will really say is I made so much growth while I was in my flat. WhenΒ  I moved in there my dad told me (“there’s no place like your own front door”) and I never understood this till about 4 or 5 months into living in the flat. I moved into an empty place and this really did become a home for me. I learnt a lot of things about myself while I lived here

  • I learned that I can live by myself independently.
  • I learned that I could financially manage my life
  • I learned I was actually a really good Dad to my kids and how much they truly meant to me.
  • I learned I actually wasn’t a bad cook and my flat was always immaculate
  • I started to appreciate my own space and learned to appreciate the silence
  • I learned I was actually a lot stronger than I originally thought. I always had this impression that I was a weak person and the fact was I am strong and bold to make decisions.
  • I took small comfort in the little things in life such as buying and reading books and comics.

I also got myself a little dog for company who was great “Rocky”. To this day we get on like a house on fire but he can be hard work (and I suppose I can be too for him). Companionship can be found in many forms and for me he is a great companion.