My name is Susan.

I have been with ubu for nearly 5 years. It hasn't always been perfect. But I wasn't always perfect.

Growing up, I used to associate with people who put me in unsafe situations. I didn't understand the negative effects these friendships caused, and thought only I knew what was best for me. I couldn't see the walls that I built up to protect myself were actually isolating and holding me back.

When I moved to the ubu support, I did not settle in at first. I didn't engage with staff or other consumers. I felt that I didn't need the support which was been provided for me by either ubu or the healthcare professionals. My health and wellbeing got worse and I returned again to the difficult situations which resulted in me not been very happy.

But my enablers didn't give up on me.

Over the past year I slowly allowed my walls to come down. Although it was hard to trust others  - it still is sometimes  - I let them in. We sat and discussed how they could support me to make things better and to help me feel better about myself. I now regularly accept guidance from my enabling team, who are working with me to help me develop a brighter future. And I feel this past year my life has turned around for the better because of it.

Whereas I used to feel very anxious and alone, which made me not want to socialise, I now frequently take part in many group outings such as a community social club, meals, bowling and day trips. I have begun to feel safer in my own home and with my support staff; this has meant that I stay in for and participate in meetings with professionals both in my care team and from support organisations, making decisions that benefit my life.

I am now looking forward to my future and learning all the new skills on which I previously missed out. I have learned to better budget my finances and access educational and career opportunities in the community. I currently attend a college course studying animal care. I really enjoy this and hope to build a career working with animals, instead of building walls!