Leila has been a member of our Befriending service since 2011. In this series of posts, Leila shares her thoughts and experiences with us. Thank you Leila!

It is often a concept that loneliness is a physical thing. That people suffer loneliness due to a lack of good company, having no one to converse with. Although this is very true, there is yet another side to loneliness. That which is felt by people who are isolated because the people they confide in have absolutely no idea how desperate they are. Desperate for their calls to be heard and their complaint to be taken seriously.

In early May, I became convinced that people were determined to hurt me. I tried to contact Mental Health services who wouldn’t hear me. I called Adult Social Care who wouldn’t hear me. I went to the hospital and they wouldn’t hear me either. I spoke to my loved ones who fought me and I spoke to my friends who couldn’t understand what I was going through. I hid my shame from my volunteers who I thought couldn’t comprehend my pain and anxiety. I learned to hide fear at an early age which hindered my calls for help as I was “calm and not showing signs of distress”.

I suffered throughout May and June hiding from some, angry with others. I was fearful that those who could understand didn’t want to help and those who I knew wanted to help didn’t understand. I was on my own. I couldn’t eat or sleep, didn’t go to bed for up to a week at a time and missed countless doses of medication due to my care agency not administering meds safely.

I had people around me who couldn’t help and people who refused to accept the urgency of the situation. Trying hard to be appropriate in each situation was both exhausting and frustrating.

I ended up in hospital, in critical care for four to five days.  I had reached rock bottom.

This is me at my best, my worst, my ugliest and importantly my most beautiful.

I am out of hospital now.  I have spent many hours pondering what could have been different, how this could have been avoided. And it’s pretty simple. No agency, be it the NHS or Adult Social Care, has the man power to investigate each and every complaint. Workers are over-run with caseloads and there is no money in the pot to address these problems.

Once again, I am suffering because of cuts to services. This has been a running theme throughout my life as a child and an adult with additional needs.

I am back seeing my volunteers, without the shrouds. I’ve learnt people will either judge me or not. I am not scared to be me. I am still not talking to my sisters. Even though I know they wanted to help, their harsh, unkind words stick in my heart. This leaves me more reliant on my volunteers but I trust them implicitly. They have always been honest with me and they deserve the harsh truth… Me at my rawest. Me without covers and fake happiness. I no longer feel the need to hide.

This is me at my best, my worst, my ugliest and importantly my most beautiful.

I’ve learned that not everyone can understand but I will try to be as honest as possible about things, to try to explain and get as much help as I can to tackle my problems head on. It sometimes takes a lot of energy to get my voice heard and with powerful people looking out for me I will keep on trying.

I would not be here without my volunteers. Volunteers are amazing at problem solving and can save lives. If you need a volunteer, ask for one – and if you are not a volunteer, become one.

Want to read more of Leila’s posts? Click here.

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