Jane’s story

11 Sep 2023

Jane experienced severe trauma, addiction and prison

Since September 2022, The Wallich has been supporting Jane to be able to live an independent, substance free life.

Read her story

Overcoming complex trauma and addiction

“I spent a few years in prison due to being dependant on drugs.

There was some really awful family trauma including my daughter dying and her father, my ex-partner, being killed six months later.

Before that, I had lost my sister who was the only family member I was close to apart from my daughter. She died just before Christmas, very suddenly with no warning.

I had been on drugs for over 15 years and could not see a way to stop them.

I got off the drugs in prison and really wanted to change my life.

My daughter dying was a changing point for me.

I needed to get better and get my life on track to show that all the trauma and loss had not happened for no reason and that I could live an addiction free life.

There have been many dark days but there is a light of hope now.

I’ve been drug free for two and a half years now. I’m determined to keep it that way”.

Getting support and learning to live

“The Wallich have been amazing.

My Support Worker keeps telling me ’It’s you that’s done the hard work’ but I could not have done it without them.

They have shown me respect and encouraged me and helped me learn to live again.

I know I’m not on my own.

I left prison with 3 days of medication, £80 and a bag of clothes. I had met my Support Worker Nina online and she was there to meet me at the police station.

Right from the start, she told me she would always be honest with me. That there would be bumps in the road, but would face them together.

Nina got me signed up at the GP and my meds sorted within 48 hours.

She understood what a massive change it was leaving prison and how vulnerable I was.

She didn’t overwhelm with too much, but she made me do things right from the start.

At first, I was too scared to go to the chemist to get my daily methadone.

First of all, Nina came with me, then she met me there. Within two weeks I was going by myself.

Sometimes I feel the world is against me, but Nina always calms me down and we talk it through and make a plan.

I haven’t had to deal with the real world for such a long time it’s been a bit of a shock.

Nina has always been clear that Stepping Stones [The Wallich’s floating support service on Anglesey] isn’t forever but there to get me back on my feet and into a forever home of my own.

I was really scared about this at first but I’m slowly looking forward to it.

Nina has helped me with all my appointments with the different services.

At first, I was too scared to go out anywhere because of my past but now I’m getting used to it.

I’m a different person and that was a different life I’m never going back to.

Sometimes I’ve had to really fight for my rights.

I was refused to go on the housing register, but Nina and The Wallich kept supporting me to appeal. It took five months, but I won my appeal.

Nina has put me in touch with Caniad [An organsiation that helps people with mental health and substance addiction]. I want to share my experiences with others and become a Peer Mentor.”

The feeling of independence

“I’m happy in my life and believe in myself and my future.

There are wobbles and bad days. I can get quite angry sometimes, but Nina can always help me see a way of sorting it out.

We always sit down and make a plan. Every problem has a solution, you just have to find it.

I sort out all my own prescriptions and collect them now.

I make all my own appointments. Nina has been taking me, but the next step is to meet me there, so I get more used to going to places on my own.

I go to some of the shops on my own.

Me and Nina make a plan every month of the things we have to do – like pay bills, fill in forms.

My physical health isn’t good, so Nina is helping me sort out getting telecare [a 24-hour telephone link to community alarm and response services].

Sometimes we have been out on a shopping trip to Bangor for clothes or things I need.

It’s an amazing feeling to have the choice to buy what I want and enjoy it. Before I was always in debt and all my money went on drugs.

I used to do craft classes in the prison, so I’m hoping I can maybe do a couple with The Wallich for other clients.”

Hopes for the future

“To live in my own home and be as independent as I can. Every part of my support is working towards that.

I know the support won’t be there forever, but The Wallich has made me realise I am a person who has the right to live my life in the way I want – and to be treated with respect and dignity.

I’m learning to live my life again and I feel very positive about that.”

Nina, Senior Support Worker at The Wallich, said:

“I have had the privilege of sharing Jane’s amazing journey with her.

Her determination to change her life has been inspirational.”

If you’ve been affected by any of the topics mentioned in this case study, help and support is available. Visit our Help & Advice page to find out more.

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