Skye is a care leaver who had a traumatic childhood. She experienced abuse and was introduced to alcohol and drugs in the family home from a very early age.

Later in life, Skye also experienced domestic violence and abuse perpetrated by the father of her child. She decided to prosecute the perpetrator and became involved in the court proceedings. She experienced heightened levels of anxiety and subsequently an emotional breakdown. She began abusing alcohol and cocaine as a coping mechanism and became unable to manage her tenancy and finances. Consequently, Skye lost capacity to look after herself and her child, the child’s father’s family took on care and  Skye lost all contact with her child.

Skye’s drug and alcohol use then increased and she also engaged with risky and abusive relationships. The situation deteriorated to the point that she felt no motivation or hope for change. Most days, she was unable to eat or sleep. She would frequently hear voices and experience fleeting suicidal thoughts. 

Skye frequently described herself as someone who never had any luck in life and that bad things always happened to her: “Nothing good has ever happened to me and it never will. That is my life and it has always been like that. No matter what I do. No matter what I try. It is always bad news and bad luck for me.”

Future 4 Me support

Skye found it hard to engage with F4Me support for the first two months, struggling to attend appointments due to the chaotic nature of her life. Throughout this period, her worker kept in contact with her, consistently phoning her, asking about her wellbeing and continuing to offer her appointments. By maintaining this regular contact, they gradually built a trusting relationship, and in time Skye was able to engage with face to face support.

F4Me supported Skye’s access to statutory Mental Health Services, and helped with arranging and attending appointments with her GP and mental health professionals. She found it difficult contacting services and experienced anxiety when attending appointments. Skye was eventually diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which helped Skye to know and understand more of  what she was experiencing and why things were so difficult - gradually this translated into a growing sense of hope which helped Skye engage with support and become more pro-active towards her goals and aspirations.

As Skye became more willing to explore her symptoms and triggers she also was able to explore new ways of coping and managing challenges. She began reflecting on her own choices and behaviour, especially the ways she responded to frustration and feelings of anger. She became determined to change this and engaged in discussions about it on a weekly basis. She became more able to regulate her emotions and manage challenges in a healthier way. Skye gradually became more resilient which also helped her not to return to using drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms.  

Skye was now able to actively engage with support for her finances and she also became determined to find new accommodation (her house was being used as a ‘party house’ and people were accessing the house without her consent). Her Personal Advisor and Independent Domestic Violence Advocate supported her with Homechoice applications, and her F4Me worker supported her in relation to rent arrears and accessing grants to purchase furniture and white goods for the new property.

Facing the Future

Skye is now more able to acknowledge her own emotions, deals better with frustration and is able to express anger in appropriate ways. The PTSD diagnosis has helped her to understand herself and feel less anxious about her symptoms when they occur. She is more able to independently manage her mental health and make positive choices.

With her finances under control, Skye is looking forward to a fresh start in her new property and feeling confident she is able to manage her income and avoid incurring further debt.

Skye has signed up with 1625’s community mentoring programme through which she will access support from a mentor to go to the local gym and explore other community services. She feels this will help her continue gaining confidence and reducing her anxieties around going to new places independently.

Skye recently told her support worker: “I know that luck is not that important. I know that if I want something I have to work for it. I know that if I work for something I will probably get it.”

Future 4 Me, October 2019