My name is Shaun and I have recently moved into my own home. Living there means I can live independently supported and enabled by ubu. In the past I have lived in lots of different types of social housing. Before moving into my own home, I was in a shared house. I spent a lot of time on my own smoking cigarettes and watching television all day. My confidence was so low, the thought of going out and meeting new people made me feel anxious. I knew that in the future I needed my own space and freedom to make my own choices.
Since I’ve moved to my own place, I feel safer and I am much happier and more confident. During the first few weeks when I had just moved into my home, I know was really quiet, I kept myself to myself. I could see my neighbours, some of whom are also enabled by ubu to live with greater independence, joining in with the community, going out to do their shopping and doing activities that looked like things I might want to be a part of too. I realised that I didn’t have enough confidence or skills to get out there, but I knew that I wanted them.
The ubu enabling team could see I was desperate to go out and do things like the other people around me but that I just couldn’t! It took a long time and a lot of talking and listening for the enabling team to help me understand that this was all about me and the fear and anxiety I felt about joining in. They worked with me to take small steps towards building my confidence. They helped me to take the lead so that I could say what I wanted to do and support me to do the things I could do.
I started by just going to watch television with some of my neighbours in the communal area of our flats building. It took a lot to make that first step, but I did it with a bit of support and it felt OK. The first time, I didn’t stay long but I was really pleased that I had made the effort, it was a good start. The next day I went, along with an enabler again and by the end of the week I felt comfortable enough to go by myself. To other people this might not seem like a big deal but for me it was a massive confidence boost to be able to join in and feel accepted by other people.
A few weeks later, some of my neighbours were planning a trip out for dinner one evening. This was something I knew I really wanted to do but again I wasn’t sure if I would be able to cope with it. So I talked it over with my ubu enabling team.
They helped me to face my anxiety and reassured me until I felt ready. I finally got up the courage and went along I was so pleased and happy that I did. Over dinner I got chatting to one of the other guy’s from another flat. We both realised that we have a lots experiences in common and it felt good to be able to share that with someone else. At last I felt like I was finally starting to settle in.
Since then I have spent a lot of time with my new mate, we regularly get together for a brew and to watch television together. I have also made another friend and we have been out to our local café a few times which has given me the confidence to grow and be happier simply being me. I haven’t felt this strong, brave and motivated for a long time. I am now taking the next step which is to look into what activities my local community offers that I might want to be a part of.
I have also decided to start getting myself a bit healthier by taking some small but do-able steps. Firstly I have cut down on the smoking and now I have an e-cigarette which is really helping me to work towards quitting altogether. I have also been going out for short walks, going a bit further each time and that feels good too. In the near future I would like to join a gym. It will be a bigger challenge but by taking one step at a time I’m feeling I can get there soon.