I’m sitting in the living room of the flat that I’ve called home for the last three years. It’s peaceful, other than the sound of muffled hip hop beats penetrating the wall from the flat next door. The distraction, which I’m quite used to, is annoying but bearable. Normally my neighbour’s routine is to start pumping out music at 1pm, gradually get more and more stoned throughout the afternoon, and then collapse into bed around 6pm (or that’s what I assume he does, as that’s when the music stops).
There’s so much that I love about living here. This flat has afforded me my first spell of peace and stability since I found myself caught up in the mental health system in 2007 after experiencing an episode of psychosis. I have moved home about five times since then, and have had four spells in hospital, so it’s been a fairly chaotic time. But my last spell in hospital was over five years ago, and I feel very blessed to have enjoyed an extended period of stability, both in terms of my mental health and my living situation.
Unfortunately, that could be about to change. My present accommodation is ‘supported’ which means I have a rolling week-to-week contract that is tied to the support I’m getting from a local mental health charity called Mind. After my last spell in hospital in 2013 I moved first into a shared house supported by Mind, and then after a year and a half I moved into my current accommodation, a self-contained one bedroom flat (also supported by Mind). The shared house was utter chaos – non-stop antisocial behaviour from several of the tenants – so I was delighted to move into a flat where I would be living alone.
I have had regular assessments from the staff at Mind since I’ve been living here, and within the mental health system supported housing is generally regarded as temporary. When you are well enough you are expected to move on. I have a review meeting tomorrow and I’m expecting I will be put under pressure to move on.
Naturally, tomorrow’s review meeting has been occupying my thoughts and prayers in recent days. I’m quite anxious about it. During times of prayer God has spoken to me and indicated he wants me to stay where I am, and so part of me feels I must trust what I hear from God and fight to stay, even if that doesn’t chime with the norms of the supported housing process, or even my instincts.
Obviously, work and finances come into the equation. I’m not going to go into the details of my financial situation on a public forum, but I’ll just say that I have some savings, though they would only be enough for me to rent privately for one-to-two years before I would need to be in full-time work or claim state benefits if I want to stay in London.
Part of me would love to be working and to own my own flat. But it would be very difficult for me to get a mortgage with my mental health condition, and it would also be difficult for me to find a suitable job because of my turbulent past and ongoing mental health problems. I have a lot of good experience and skills, but the medication which I’ve been taking now for over a decade has sadly affected my mental and physical health due to some pretty unpleasant side effects that I now live with on a daily basis.
There are many other aspects to this situation that if I were to discuss would mean a really lengthy blog post which I suspect no one would read. After all, it’s not nearly as interesting as discussing the omnipresence of God or my latest musical endeavour! But I wanted to give you this overview of my situation in the hope that some of you will pray for me, particularly over this meeting tomorrow, and that God would grant me wisdom in dealing with all of these issues. Please pray that the way forward would become clear, and that I would have peace of mind whatever happens.
Thank you so much for reading and God bless you.
To read the follow-up to this post, from after the meeting, click here.