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.