Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Brittany, a client in the Sheffield Place Aftercare Program that provides ongoing supportive services for families that have transitioned to permanent housing in the community, made the following remarks at Off the Wall on Oct 13, 2018.

We hear a lot today about trauma and its consequences.  I’ve lived it my whole life.  At age 6, my mother and father got divorced, leaving my father to raise my brother and me.  I was bullied horribly throughout school with nobody to run to.  It got so bad at the age of 14 I tried to commit suicide to escape all the pain I was feeling.

The next few years were spent in residential treatment centers off and on where I was diagnosed with having bi-polar disorder and severe depression.  At the age of 17, I decided to drop out of that awful school and became homeless shortly after.  Despite everything, I was offered the opportunity to go to job corps and was able to gain my high school diploma. 

After a year and a half, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter and moved back in with my father.  It wasn’t long after my daughter was born in September 2013 that the worst day of my life would come.  My father took his life in our home.  My father struggled with alcoholism and PTSD, stemming from his military service.  My father was my best friend and the only family I had other than my daughter.

To make matters worse, I started dating an addict who introduced me to cocaine and before long, I lost myself to addiction.  I remember sitting in my living room, looking down at an eviction notice.  I lost everything due to my addiction.  I got on my phone and called Sheffield Place.

I was there for a few short months before I left with my daughter.  I wasn’t ready for the structure, the groups, case management, and to relive my dark past.  I left and within no time I was homeless again living in shelters, hotels, camp grounds, and couch surfing with various people.  Only this time I had a new boyfriend, my abuser.  I had become pregnant again and spent the next couple of years being abused almost daily; verbally, physically, and mentally. 

Even going through this, I was able to get on top of things, and get my own place and a job.  Things were looking up.  In May 0f 2017, I was pregnant with my third child.  At 8 weeks pregnant, my boyfriend snapped.  He attempted to strangle me.  Luckily my neighbors heard me and called the police.  The sirens scared him away, but they caught up with him and got him arrested. 

I went back to Sheffield Place and was safe again.  So, there I was clean from drugs, a place to live safely, but no options available to further advance my future.  I was ready for change.  I had to get out of this never-ending cycle.  With the generous help from Sheffield Place, I obtained a seasonal job at the Jackson County Courthouse in the personal property tax area.  I worked there until it was time to have the baby.

By March 2018, I landed a job as a consumer service specialist at a large bank.  It’s a full-time job with benefits, and company is willing to work with me with any issues that may arise.  I was thrilled with my progress!  The best part was that I was able to move into one of the houses that Sheffield Place owns and operates.

I have achieved my goals that I set up with my case manager at Sheffield Place.  I am employed.  I have permanent housing.  I am clean from drugs since 2014, and most importantly, free from the demon that held me down and made me think that I was never good enough.

With my current employment, I plan to work at the bank and move up into management or work in the fraud department.  I plan on living in my safe home, happy and having the family life I always wanted.

Without the services and support from Sheffield Place, I’m sure that I would still be living couch to couch, on drugs, and on the street with nowhere to go.  Without Sheffield Place’s help with case management, therapy, parent  training, and services for my children and so much more, I would not be where I am today.  I am grateful for the difference that Sheffield Place has made for my children and for me.  Thank you for being here tonight to support these life-saving services.