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My moving on plan

March 01 2020

Sometimes moving on is lonelier than you’d think. Here’s help from regular the Pavement writer, McGinlay

Unhappy and struggling at a hostel (see #123 Nov/Dec 2019) McGinlay made two plans to tackle a crap diet and the toxic place she was staying.

In a nutshell 
"I was motivated by frustration and wanted to take control of my life, even on a small level"

  • Plan 1 focused on wellbeing
  • Plan 2 listed the things that needed to be in place when it was time to leave the hostel

PLAN 1 : Wellbeing
Food: I lacked basic nutrition in the hostel, so I invested in a £10 blender from Argos and started making smoothies. The hostel food was processed crap so I collected fresh fruit from outreaches and blended them. Recipes can be found on YouTube (if you don´t have a device, get a library card and use their PCs). Educate yourself on simple cooking techniques and take control of your nutritional intake. Reduce caffeine which disturbs sleep patterns, causes dehydration and is aggressive on the nervous system. If, like me, you suffer insomnia, anxiety or panic attacks, it is crucial to reduce or quit caffeine – instead drink water, juices and herbal teas. Invest in a flask for hot drinks and soups.
Get out: My environment was toxic for my CPTSD symptoms, so I made sure I removed myself from the hostel building every day. I would go for walks in the park and sit by a pond or river. I was based near the Thames and would stay there for a few hours, watching boats or walk to the Royal Festival Hall because it hosts lots of free events. The plus side of being homeless is that there are lots of free sessions available, such as yoga, deep breathing, art therapy, sound healing and meditation.

PLAN 2 : Support & safety network
No matter how much people say they care for you or support you, they do not fully understand. This can put a strain on the relationship as many people cannot offer much help. This is a hard fact to come to terms with when facing homelessness, but it’s a common challenge. So, I widened my network to support all aspects of my needs: dyslexia, CPTSD, back pain management, women's support and peer mentorship. I have now gained a Level 2 Peer Mentor Certificate and voluntarily support others in my local area.
Safety: You will not be the same person after your homeless experience! You might have to change ALL contact details. Your change might include appearance, clothing and even your name – for example if you have experienced domestic violence, sexual violence and/or have been in prison and want a fresh start. You can legally change your name by Deed Poll for £10. It will take a while for these changes to take place but is worth doing for your own personal safety and to start over with a clean slate.
Keep up the emotional support after you move on: Homelessness is a shock to the system and the impact can still linger years after. I recommend that you journal your journey. Write your plan, feelings, thoughts, goals, achievements, strengths and things that need improvement. Do not rush. Try not to be hard on yourself. Send cards of gratitude to those who have continuously supported you and forgive those who did not understand. Build better relationships with others, most importantly with yourself.

  • Read more like this on insta, see #McGinlays2020vision #HMLLM