Our Stories

Andrea’s Story

I was having mental health issues that declined a lot within my marriage, and I had a lot of issues with my marriage. It got to the stage where I couldn’t do it anymore. I left the marriage and went and stayed at a friend’s house but I was in a bad way and she couldn’t have me for too much longer and so I rang up Homeless Connect and they recommended Catherine House.

I couldn’t really go to my family – I’m so lucky that Catherine House was there really. It was exactly what I needed. I was under so much distress and pressure. Catherine House was a really supportive environment for women. It was nice to know that food was taken care of and I was able to just be there and sort through my issues and build my life again. They helped me receive Centrelink. I don’t think I could have done it if I didn’t have Catherine House’s support.

As much as I love my parents, they didn’t really understand mental health issues very well, and they didn’t understand why I left the marriage at the time either. The staff were really good in the way that they interacted with women there. It was very much a safe place, it was good to know that no one would know where you were. I was really overwhelmed because I had spent the majority of my time at home with my daughter, and I hadn’t worked in a long time, so the whole prospect of working again was huge for me. Because I had anxiety at the time, my case worker would get me to do mandalas to help ease my anxiety and helpful strategies like that.

I have a fiancé now, and I own a unit, I’m learning Italian now because my Italian isn’t up to scratch and I want to stay connected to my culture. I also became a grandmother, just recently. Before I came to Catherine House, I don’t think I could’ve foreseen my life improving. I was at such a low point in my life. Back then, my self-esteem was so low, and I was just so down and out.

To women at Catherine House right now: have faith, keep persisting, be determined to turn your life around. It’s not easy rebuilding your life.

Name changed to protect their identity.

Join our newsletter to receive regular updates from Catherine House