– Alone in London

Paul was brought up in London by his Scottish mother. When he was 16, his mother became unwell and decided to go back to Scotland. He chose to stay in London, but found it difficult to cope on his own.

“I just went in at the deep end, really. I wasn’t very confident, I wasn’t very educated. I didn’t know nothing, so I just floated about until I was in my 20s”.

Paul had friends he could stay with, but he also went through periods of homelessness, staying in night shelters and hostels. In 2001, Paul met someone, and he moved in with her. Unfortunately his partner turned out to be abusive, but they stayed together for 14 years. This led him to experience severe anxiety.

“They were very dark years of my life. They mentally disturbed me and broke me down.”

When Paul finally walked out of the relationship, he had lost contact with his family and friends. He had nowhere else to turn and started to sleep on the streets again. He was found by a local outreach team who referred him to Borderline’s Scottish Outreach Worker. Borderline then arranged for him to be accommodated at a local YMCA.

With support from his caseworker, Paul gradually gained in confidence, and in time was able to move into a flat of his own, and volunteered with YMCA at the time.

“I couldn’t wait to grasp the opportunity to start it and get everything done and build it up.”

The move has not been without difficulties. Paul’s experience has left him with health issues and severe anxiety.

It’s like coming back from a really bad environment. It’s like I’m out in the world and I don’t recognise it, I don’t feel normal in it.”

Paul is now focussing on moving forward, with Borderline’s continued support.

“I’ve been saying to myself I’m going to do this the proper way. You’ve got to make sure your priorities are right. Borderline gave me one hundred per cent support and they were with me all the way. I don’t know what I would have done without them.”

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