Stella is transsexual and has had intense lows brought on by feelings of solitude and the effect of other people’s prejudice. Her story illustrates how Together’s Resource Centre Community Support services provide a welcoming community free from prejudice, and a place where people can learn to rediscover a sense of purpose in their lives.
I used to go to a centre in Gravesend where I was living. When I split with my partner I moved away and went through a very bad time. I felt very isolated because all the friends I had here had moved on. I found it difficult to make new friends. Because I’m transsexual, people form judgements based on that, rather than on the person I am. I’m not one of these people who can really hide; it’s in my nature to think about other people and try to help other people. I don’t want to create uncomfortable situations.
The intensive therapy team called me and recommended me to a day hospital. When I went there, it was the most boring three hours of my life. I rang them up and said I wanted to try one of Together’s Community Support services.
I’ve found my niche in this place. It’s not judgemental; you can be yourself.”
I’ve found my niche in this place. It’s not judgmental; you can be yourself. There’s no pretence. Everybody here has a mental health problem to some extent, so you aren’t judged for that and the people are friendly. Everybody helps one another.
I come here most days for three or four hours. I feel at home; it’s a place where I can come and be myself, whatever. There have been times when I’ve been really low and have come here and burst into tears; usually for reasons I don’t know or understand myself. People have come over to see what’s wrong and been genuinely concerned, upset that I’m upset, wanting to help… I think it’s like a small community.
“There’s not too much pressure…”
The philosophy is: get training, move forward, look towards work. But there’s not too much pressure. It’s free and easy… patient. You agree to the rules of the building, respect everybody, and respect yourself.
Coming here has given me a reason to stay alive, and optimism and hope for the future. This is pretty much what I’m looking for.”
Using this service and coming here has made me much more optimistic. I’ve been talking about maybe doing some courses at the start of the academic year. My background is computing but I do enjoy helping other people so I’m looking at doing counselling. The kind of work I think I’d enjoy is being a support worker in a place like this. So far, I’ve got a lot out of the courses. In Exploring Recovery we talked about making use of Peer Support. That can be a major help and stop you being admitted into hospital.
Before, I was so low that the thought of taking my life was constantly on my mind. Coming here has given me a reason to stay alive, and optimism and hope for the future. This is pretty much what I’m looking for.”