Multiple Disadvantage Day - True Stories - Jessica's Story - Tags: domestic abuse, trauma, impact, child in care, ill mental health, cope, getting better, drug free, mental health focus, referred waiting list, relapse, missed opportunities, seeking help, someone on site, threshold, fight, boundaries, try, future, relationships, hopes, dreams.

Jessica describes her upbringing as fairly normal. In her teens she started to use cannabis, and towards late teens had a child. Jessica didn’t have issues with substances until after her child was born. There was domestic abuse in her relationship with the father of her child, which led her to use substances - a behaviour that has continued through her adult life.

Jessica has since had struggles with mental health, psychosis, PTSD, and several mental health inpatient admissions. She has also been dealing with epilepsy and mobility issues from an injury. Jessica had her child removed from her care, and is not currently in contact.

Jessica’s adult life has been chaotic, and she has found herself cycling through mental ill health, substance use and criminal activity. The cycle tends to be that she suffers trauma, which impacts her mental health, she will then use substances to block out the trauma. This leads to risky behaviour to support the substance addiction. The shame of the behaviour also impacts on her mental health, which leads back to substance use to block out feelings of shame. This moves into criminal activity to support the addiction, which results in prison. On a day to day basis, she has felt that she does not have anything to live for.

Jessica has tried to seek help, and has a history of sporadic accessing of drug, alcohol and mental health services. When her mental health is poor, she struggles to keep appointments. This has led to being signed off from using some services through non-engagement. Jessica does not feel safe, and feels she does not have the help she needs to move forward in life.

There have been periods where Jessica has been getting better and doing well, however at times services can not support this. For example, after release from prison Jessica had a drug free stint, and was referred to mental health services to help deal with her mental health. However, there was an extensive waiting list. By the time she could be seen, she had turned back to drugs to cope, and the opportunity to do therapeutic work whilst drug free was missed.

Working with Fulfilling Lives, Jessica feels she has someone on her side working with her, for her. She feels her dedicated Fulfilling Lives Worker is often the only person doing anything for her, and is frustrated by other services’ boundaries and thresholds.

Jessica does have hopes for the future, and would like to be able to have a relationship with her child.