This Time Three Years Ago Was The Worst Period Of My Life

This time three years ago was the worst period of my life.

A couple of years previously I’d managed to get myself a job, the hours were unsteady and my boss refused to give me any information further than a week ahead about whether I had a permanent job or whether I would have any hours. Because of this, I didn’t declare my job immediately to the housing benefit department until I had concrete information to take to them for fear of not being able to pay my rent (I had had periods in the past where I had declared unsteady earnings which led to my payments being stopped and me paying no rent for 4 months while it was sorted out).

As a single parent with massive anxiety and depression I was too scared to risk being evicted. So in June 2015 I was taken to court for benefit fraud. As a result, I lost my job, my boyfriend, my mental health spiraled, I was self harming and putting myself into dangerous situations. My self esteem was at an all time low, I entered into another relationship with an abusive boyfriend because I didn’t feel I was worth any more.

I knew that I could never be free of the benefits system while I had children and couldn’t get a job on much more than minimum wage so that September, I enrolled on an Access to Higher Education course at a local college so I could apply for university. Being in education made me start to believe in myself. I made new friends, and was working hard to achieve top grades. I was offered places at 5 different universities and took a place at one of the top universities after Oxford and Cambridge in London – the LSE. I was also offered a place on a mentoring scheme in London in my first year.

Being at University, being in London (I’m a northern small town girl) and being mentored by a strong female figure changed my outlook on life completely. I ended the relationship I was in and I started to believe I could do anything I wanted to do, something I’d never thought before. I get a student loan and a scholarship from my uni because I’m a mature student & single parent so I manage to support myself with that and work during the summer holidays.

This summer I decided to do something different. I saved up some money over the year to start my own online fashion business, which I have done (follow me here if you’d like to: http://bit.ly/2JfZZHN). It’s in the early stages, but eventually my goal is to help people like me, who are experiencing the shitty parts of life. To use my business to help other women with sizes made for real modern day women, paying decent wages if I employ anyone, and giving a portion of profits to women’s charities. I would never have considered being able to do any of this without making the changes I made to my life.

I suppose the moral of my story is that whatever you’re going through, however hard it may be, it isn’t the end of your story. It might be the catapult into something much better, you just have to try to find the way. If I hadn’t been taken to court, I would have never gone to university and I would never have ended up where I am now. Going back into education was the best thing I ever did for myself and my children.

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