Wake me up, I'm dreaming
Moving to Options Bytown was like a miracle as far as I'm concerned. I had been living in and out of institutions, hospitals and rooming houses for years before I moved to Options Bytown. The rooming houses in particular weren't really very healthy for a single woman.
You could sneeze and your door would open. Every night I would move my bookcase to block my door in case someone tried to get in. In the middle of the night when they did try, the books would fall out and I would be out of my window and into the alley in a flash.
The usual story was that you would 'graduate' from an institution or transitional housing when your doctor or your caseworker thought you were able to live independently. It really felt like getting pushed out of the nest because the only thing I could ever afford was another room house. I had done the 'circuit' twice already. I was treading water and backpedalling and I didn’t want to leave because I knew what was waiting for me out there.
When I heard about Options Bytown - apartments were you could live by yourself - it sounded like a "wake me up I'm dreaming" kind of thing. After a pretty intensive intake process I moved in. It was a very freeing feeling which was a welcome change for me.
I always knew I was different even before I was formally diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. One moment I could change the world and then the next I was a scared little rabbit. I've been struggling with suicide and addictions from the age of 13 and have been in and out of hospitals since I was 17years old. For the longest time I just felt warehoused.
Options was like heaven. I had been sober for two years when I moved there. There were support staff and everything I could need or want available. Most importantly the building was safe. I decided at one point I could make use of the housing support workers at home and I did. I spoke to them every day. Sometimes we just talked and things would come out. I learned basic lessons like how to avoid drugs, not lend money, etc. I made friends. I learned life skills.
Over the years I've seen a lot of changes at Options, but things just seem to get better.