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Phillip's Story

Phillip's Story

Philip found himself homeless in February following years in an abusive relationship.

“When I look back to that day, I don’t see it as me. I was so stressed and felt so under pressure - it was like being in the middle of a tornado. You just feel yourself spiralling out of control.”

“I had been married 10 years and we had three kids, but over the years things became increasingly difficult. I was on the receiving end of some abuse. My mental health was beginning to suffer and the kids were becoming increasingly unhappy. They were caught up in the middle of it all and seeing things they shouldn’t have.”

“I couldn’t see them unhappy like that anymore. The most important thing is to have the kids in a stable environment. My own feelings were secondary.”

“It wasn’t a spur of the moment thing, it had been going on for a long time. I was isolated. I was made to feel unwanted. I was sleeping on the couch and wasn’t being spoken to. I almost felt less than human and in that two weeks I felt my mind spiralling and my mental health deteriorating. It is not a pleasant feeling. Only now looking back do I realise I had been pounded. I never thought I would find myself outside my family, away from my kids and out of my home.

“It’s a difficult thing to say that I left for the benefit of the kids, but they were very much at the forefront of my thoughts the day I walked out. We are incredibly close and I knew they would be so hurt and confused about their daddy not being there. I thought it would be better for them - and that was a sad thing for me to have to do.

“I packed a bag when no one was watching and left it in my son’s bedroom hidden under a blanket. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it. I woke up the next morning and left the bag with the clothes in it and I left to get my bus to work.

“When I left the house that morning I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back. I lifted the bag and got on the bus to go to work. I remember the bus driver making a small joke to me - ‘are you leaving us today? Are you not coming back?’”

“My mental state was very low and I was scared. I was feeling guilty because I had left my kids and I didn’t know where I was going to stay, but I couldn’t go home. If I look back to that day when I left, I see myself from outside. I don’t recognise it as me. That day was the hardest thing that I have ever done. I kind of see it like a third person now, but I recognise the man and I understand why he did what he had to do.

“I had seen the guys sleeping rough in Belfast and that was what I thought was going to happen to me.

Ending up on the streets would have been one stress too much at that point, I don’t know if I would have been able to deal with that and I am glad that I didn’t have to.

A sent an email to Simon Community NI and they replied really quickly. Their Home Team found me a bed in the night shelter and from there I moved to a Belfast hostel for two months. I didn’t even take any time off work, for the first week or two I wasn’t able to concentrate but I realised my job was an anchor.

“You do so much introspection and work gave me an eight-hour window where I was at least able to get my mind off things for a little bit. When you’re in a difficult situation like that time goes incredibly slowly.

“I had never been homeless before and the support that the Home Team gave was just incredible. They really help people like me - homeless through no fault of their own - and just don’t know where to turn. They are an anchor point. Within two months I was offered a house quite close to where my kids are.

“Without their very quick help I don’t know what would have happened to me. Would that have meant me on the streets? Is that something that I would have dealt with - maybe not. I knew I was homeless. I wasn’t sleeping on the street but I was still homeless.”

At Simon Community NI we respect everyone who comes to us for help. While this story is true, our clients name and image has been changed to protect their privacy.