Bonnie Support Services

Bonnie Support Services

A letter of thanks

This is a thank you letter to my family worker and to Bonnie Support Services.

My name is Rachel*. I was born in West Africa in a country called Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone I was married to a man whom I believed was meant to be my protector but instead, he turned out to be a violent man and an overbearing burden. My husband caused me a lot of pain throughout our married life such as leaving me blind in my left eye due to the physical abuse he forced me to experience. I was forced to experience and deal with constant physical and verbal abuse such as him calling me useless and hopeless, but the real damage he caused was that I began to believe him.

I thought I was useless and hopeless for a very long time. In Australia, our situation got worse and I then became homeless with my two children Michael* and Phillipa*. This stage of my life was a very difficult time and although we found temporary accommodation I at this stage was also diagnosed with severe mental health issues that included depression and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I lost all hope and I began to think that suicide was my only option. I had experienced a lifetime of pain and to end the misery I attempted to drink bleach one night. This may have not been one of my best choices but at the time I felt alone and couldn’t bear another day. Luckily my son Michael* saved my life that night as he caught me in the laundry trying to drink the bleach. I acknowledge the pain I would have caused my children had this gone another way and that no child should bear this responsibility but I am very great full that he was there that night.

After this incident, I was also given an eviction notice to move out of the rental property that my children and I were living in, for failing to pay the rent. This was emotionally draining and caused a depressive state of mind. I didn’t know where to go or how my children and I would survive. I didn’t know what to do and felt my only option was to go to Housing NSW. When I went to Housing NSW and explained my circumstances they referred me to Bonnie Support Services. To this day I feel that this was a blessing in disguise. Bonnie Support Services gave us temporary accommodation in one of their transitional properties and assigned the children and I with a family worker.

I was assigned a Family Worker called Carolina. I feel she is a Godsend lifesaver; she gave my children and I hope when there was no hope. Trust is a very big issue for me as I hardly trust anyone, but Carolina was the first person that I ever trusted and felt I could open up to. My family worker was very encouraging and supportive. She made me feel good about myself and made my two children very happy, by helping us get permanent and stable accommodation. She helped us release the stress we were feeling and taught me some coping strategies on how to overcome my depression and anxiety. Due to my mental health issues I never used to go out as I was too scared to do this. I would stay indoors at all times and purposely isolated myself, but my family worker worked with me to face my fears and begin going out slowly with baby steps. I feel I am confident again and am emotionally feeling much better.

Thank you Carolina and thank you Bonnie Support Services for saving my life, and my children’s lives. Thank you for giving us hope to live again. I will never forget this for the rest of my life.

* Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Photo Courtesy : vistamommy

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