A Transforming Rehabilitation story

Growing up in Poland, Anna dreamed of the perfect life in England but her reality couldn’t have been more different. While serving 30 days in probation Anna took part in our Who Am I? project through our Transforming Rehabilitation service and realised that what she thought was the end of everything was actually the beginning…

Here is Anna’s story in her own words.

“Doomed – likely to have unfortunate  and inescapable outcome.

That is how my life felt for me, but let me start from beginning.

I was born  in Poland, grow up on a pigs farm, in a middle of nowhere, often watching faraway lights  and dreaming  to go where the lights are, and see what other people doing, sometimes the wind would bring  sounds of a hooting train and i would just dream off getting on that train and never coming back again.

At school i was very bright child, getting all rewords and  often getting best scores in physic and mats test, or reading my essays to whole class, which made me target for bulling. My parents didn’t have lots of money so i often worn second hand clothes, I hated it, i just wanted to be like other kids, happy in their own skin loved and wanted.

At home  there was always lots to do, me and my older sister helped with work on the farm , feeding animals and work with the plants and vegetables, they also had asked me to castrate pigs and dissect the chickens. Perhaps there wasn’t much free time, and that feeling what is going to come next, and its not going to be good was always there.

There was lots of violence around, my dad get to be arrested sometimes, and sometimes ambulance was coming. My parents  use alcohol as a coping mechanism. They have been producing their own vine and they had their own vodka factory. That was the way of dealing with life situations.

When i was six, my cousin explained to me what being dead is, so i tried to commit suicide, just ended up for a week in hospital with concussion, and everyone took it as accident. Honestly, I wish i could escape the abuse, which i experienced in every possible way, and constantly being manipulated.

At  the aged of 18 I left the farm, full of big dreams started university. I had to work, to pay for my education, i loved it, the independence. Managed to get primary school teaching degree and psycho pedagogy master degree. For my last summer holiday I  came to England, for the first time, just to explore, I fell pregnant, baby’s dad have left us, he must off been young and scared. When i graduated i was mum of beautiful    3 months old baby girl. We moved to England  permanently, to start life with my ex husband. We had another girl, and when the time  came that my girls were to go to school i got pregnant again with twins.

Having five years old, three and a half years old and newborn twins  was a really hard work. My husband at the time was never there, my family was in another country and i found it really difficult to cope.I used alcohol to deal with my feelings and emotions.  just wanted to be like other humans, go to work and pay taxes, and my life seemed to be on postpone. I felt like I’m just living to expectations of other people, to pleas them.  The marriage only happen, because my mum would not speak to me, when i said i would like to counsel the wedding .

There is and end to everything, the end to my pretend life was the day of me being arrested. Me and my husband had disagreement and under influence of alcohol i attack him, my daughter called police and in a middle of Saturday afternoon, when people washing their cars, i was taken from my home to prison cell in handcuffs.

I spent there 16 hours, no food, no drink, no cigarette, rethinking my life choices. The court case took place one moth later. I pleaded guilty , court ordered me to pay thirty pounds fine and do 30 hours of probation. Shortly after that my husband have sent me divorced papers and reason for divorce was my unacceptable behavior. I got a letter from my GP about emotional abuse and financial controlling, but i didn’t use it, at the end  it was about me getting freedom, not about who is wright and who is wrong.

What i was so ashamed of, turn out to be the best thing in my life. People i met in probation offices, have been really kind and helpful, i remember them saying, don’t worry we all do mistakes, and they give me lots of help and support to lift myself up, from the place i was.

“Who am i ” course give me tools for life, i had really good look at myself, finding my qualities, my strength,  my role models. I loved drawing my life map, finding out about healthy boundaries, learning about communication with others , learning what is normal, or acceptable and what is not. The course was so brilliant i did it twice, because i really wanted to put into action everything i learned. What seemed the end was just beginning, or the  end of being doomed.

Today, I do not blame my parents, I understand they did their best, I do not keep close touch with them, and we don’t see each other much, but the door is always open for them if they want to come see the children, I do give them a call on their birthday  and special occasions, but it is not my job, to keep them happy, any more and its not my job to make them proud of me, if  they can not be proud of me the way I am.

My relationship with my ex husband is good, we do communicate, in a civil way, and i learned, that if my feelings get hurt i can tell him in a nice way, that means i need to practice biting my tang and not react on emotions as i use to do. I understand, he is a man who does’t know how to treat a women, all i could do is remove myself from the uncomfortable situation, and finish relationship, that didn’t serve me any more.

My relationship with my kids have changed, I am here for them. I ask, how was your day and i actually mean  it. It’s really important for me now, to know how they feel, and that they have tools too manage their feelings and emotions.

Lately my second daughter change her gender, she is a boy now, wearing boys clothes, having boys haircut and being called by boy name at school. It was school, that asked me for permission,  to call her by boys name, and whatever i  felt inside, i follow my child request, and give my consent.

I’m here to to support my children, in finding their own identity. Its not about whats good for me and what i would like, its about what  is good for them, and they can go the roads they choose, as long as its safe.

My eldest daughter finished the term with 4 rewards, my twins are 8 years old now and its beautiful age. really rewording.

Sometimes i think to myself, how it is even possible, that I live in a house full of kids and i can bring them up us well as i can, that we have roof over our heads and food on the table.Home feels like home now, its safe,its place we looking forward to come back to.

Its really important, that they have wings, and they have sky to fly.

With myself, i do have my goals, i would love to go back to uni or to collage, update my qualifications, and get carrier i always dreamed of. When i go back to studding i want to have time to enjoy, i love learning.  For now i have a job, that i am really grateful for, that pays the bills, that allows me to be on the school runs everyday, twice a day. It works for me.

Sometimes I smell my  perfume and think to myself, does it get any better? All the time I try to get to know myself, get out, or exceed my comfort zone, trying new things. There are dance classes that i attend, learning ballet and tap dance, its not about becoming a dancer, its about trying new things, doing our best and being best version of yourself.   I love drawing and paintings, recently i donated two of my drawings for McMillan cancer research and they been on sale at Brick Lane in London . I also help out in a school, i do volunteer job, helping out in head of the school class. It does boost my ego a little bit, but i want to be useful member of society.

I do look back, not very often but i do. When its gets hard sometimes, because it does, i do think off that dark place, off hopelessness, of not having any purpose, of myself in peaces,completely broken,and then being given a chance.

Probation exceeded this chance enormously, by giving me tools for life. I still attend support group for my addiction and therapy for my childhood trauma. Sometimes its not easy but its worth it.

I am part of community, I have my lovely children,we live in beautiful part of England I have goals, dreams,  purpose , and I pay taxes.

Forever grateful.”