You’ve been dumped, unfortunately. And so you’re homeless, obviously. The ashes of the cat are gathering dust somewhere. You find yourself asking yourself a lot of questions.
How can I live again? What’s next? What am I going to do with the rest of my life?
“You do have this sadness and emptiness. You have questions about the decisions you made, and have over the last five years,” he says.
“But there’s a process – it’s like your life is building slowly back up from under you, just the accumulation of experiences and decisions. The state of being homeless is too sudden and intense to fully heal. The commitment with moving out takes time and commitment.”
That means turning to specialists who can help you overcome the physical and emotional challenges of homelessness. Then there’s the psychological side of things.
“It’s a lot like being a survivor of a major trauma,” says Mike, an addiction counsellor and psychotherapist at Cambridge Behavioral Health.
“There’s cognitive impairment, there’s PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] – there’s the impact of being homeless – there’s body changes, for sure. You have a lot of stuff to deal with. It can be like a large, bad messy pile – if you can clear that pile up and take down that pile of accumulated things, you can start to climb out.
“But people experience them differently. Some people may face trauma in a very different way – by developing an addiction. And they may struggle differently, because they are attracted to some ways of living – different behaviours, different ways of thinking. I use those factors to encourage people to try and move through it in a different way.
“It’s different for everyone. It’s not going to help everyone. I’d say within 10 or 15 years, people would be really living life again. People are going to get to a stage when they’re fully well. But I’d also say that in my lifetime, that’s going to happen. And that’s what makes it both incredible and extraordinary.”
Take it from me. I’m a survivor of my own major trauma. You’ve been there too.