Appreciating Home

I am grateful to have my home. After being homeless in a psych hospital last year I have never appreciated having a home so much. Getting alone time in the hospital without being regulated in what I do was impossible. I depended on staff for tea, to use the laundry and eat.

I am very thankful to live alone. I struggle to live with people. I like a quiet environment and to follow my own set routines. People seem to get on my nerves very easily. The rooms I most appreciate in my flat are my bathroom and kitchen.

Although I had an ensuite shower in hospital it was only divided by a curtain. Staff would sometimes do their inspections when I was in the shower naked. I really appreciate the shower in my home. It is a glass box with plenty of self care products.

My moisturiser and lip balm were not allowed in hospital due to being in metal containers. I prefer a wet shave at home though I also use an electric shaver – both needed staff supervision in hospital. So I appreciate being able to use those things at home.

When I was later discharged to a hotel I had to share a bathroom with other guests. I always felt in a hurry as other guests were waiting. It was frustrating when the toilet paper would run out. The shower in the hotel took a long time for the water to warm up (like 4 minutes).

Although I’m not a big cook I do appreciate my kitchen. Recently I made myself steak, veg and chips. I really appreciated that.I also like to make myself a litre of soda a day with my SodaStream. Having access to the kitchen including fridge, cupboards and cutlery is wonderful.

In hospital I could only drink from plastic and didn’t have access to a kitchen. I got in the habit of taking my cup in my room to use the sink next to my toilet to stay hydrated. Staff occasionally filled up the tea & coffee jug but most patients were unhygienic with it.

In the hotel I was discharged to after, I didn’t have access to a kitchen either. There was a microwave, a small fridge and a sink in a cupboard to share with 16 rooms. I had a kettle in my room so I used to store water from the tap in 2x 2 litre bottles.

The hotel fridge was full. I could usually fit a microwave ready meal in for the end of the day. I visited the supermarket every morning to get a days food as I knew it would go off quickly. I bought UHT milk for my tea as it was long life.

Laundry was a challenge in the hospital. Although they had a washing machine and dryer it was locked behind a door. Getting a free member of staff to unlock it was a challenge. Staff were always busy. The dryer often stopped as it needed it’s filters cleaned often. A days work.

The hotel didn’t have laundry facilities. Though they would clean your bedding and one towel a week. I usually pulled my clothes in a suitcase half a mile away to a launderette each week. I was spending £8 a week at the launderette to do one load of washing and drying.

One of my first purchases after my bed in my home was a washer dryer. I really appreciate not having to carry my clothes to distant places and wait for it to be washed. I also like the convenience to use it. I can have clean towels and bedding when I want.

I particularly appreciate my own bedroom. I have Star Trek posters. My television is at the foot of my bed. For so long in hospital I dreamed of watching TV alone in bed and being able to charge my phone when I liked. These were the first privileges I enjoyed most in the hotel.

No matter where I was – hospital, hotel or home. I had my teddy bears, squidgies and Bible. They bring a lot of comfort and safety. I also have diffuser which I use to scent my bedroom some evenings with lavender oil.

In my lounge I have my desk and computer. I like to update my app and run my blog on that. I also use my desk chair to sit at a small table I have to do jigsaw puzzles. Sometimes I will use my table to a meal like did for myself on Christmas Day – I made a 3 course meal.

Overall I appreciate the privacy and comfort living alone. It’s a time where I feel I can be myself without anyone setting rules. My homeless experience has taught me to appreciate what I have. There are many people who still don’t have a safe home who I pray for regularly.