"When I was seven years old, I started getting headaches, really bad headaches. For over a year I stopped going to primary school, and at the age of eight I was in my bedroom, slamming my head against the wall. Couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t have the light on, couldn’t have any noise around me at all, my head just pounding.
The doctor tried every medication, even medication for adults, nothing worked. After two years he washed his hands of me. At aged nine, the doctor couldn’t help me, he didn’t know what was wrong.
And then an optician’s appointment came up. Just a routine check. I hadn’t been out the house for five months, I was hanging on for dear life. And the optician straight away called my mum out and said, ‘There’s something behind her eye’. So that night I was rushed into Great Ormond St hospital in London and they said there was a tumor on my brain and if they didn’t operate immediately I would die.
I got out of hospital after a year and a half, and I was in a wheelchair for three and half years.
But then when I got out the wheelchair the headaches came back the same as they were. So at twelve years old I didn’t wanna live no more. Not if this was what life was about.
We lived on the eight floor in the high rise flats, so I pulled off the pigeon meshing around the balcony and went to jump off. My mum walked through the living room door and she said ‘Why are you doing it?’ I said - because I just want to die mum, and I can’t tell ya. She said, ‘Tell the paper. Write it down, then you can tear it up, you can burn it. At least you’re getting your emotions out.'
So I did, I wrote it out. And for fourteen years now I’ve been writing poetry. And I can honestly say that if there is nobody in this world you can talk to, that bit of paper is always gonna listen. Cos no one should have to live with what’s in their head on their own if their mouth doesn’t wanna work. Whether you’re writing, painting, drawing, even taking a photo, therapeutic arts saved my life.
I’ve been homeless three different times in my life. The most recent time a previous partner wanted things from me that I was not willing to do. But he kept trying to force and force and force things and I just said no, no more, and he went, 'Well then, just f-off, just get out my house'.
So I had one shoe on my foot and he just kicked me out the door. And in that house was my son, and all my belongings.
I had nowhere to go, I didn’t know anybody, and the only place I did know was a church. I went straight there and within a day they put me in touch with the Lighthouse in Rotherham, a house for homeless women getting away from abusive partners, and they helped change my world.
I want to help and influence people through what I’ve done, what I’ve had to suffer with in my life, the journeys I’ve been on, and I’m sure loads of people out there have been on those journeys, and they just want a bit of confirmation that they’re not alone and things will get better."
By sharing stories we can change attitudes and build a movement for permanent, positive change. Stand against homelessness and help us end it for good.