Michael lost everything after having his own business
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Until a few years ago, Michael, aged 45, had two successful businesses and was in the fortunate position of being able to travel around the world. Due to unforeseen circumstances, he lost both businesses and his home and subsequently suffered an emotional meltdown.
Here he picks up the story:
I decided to make a fresh start in the Midlands. I was struggling as I had gone from having everything to nothing. My wellbeing wasn't good and I was referred by my GP to a support group who then referred me on to Bromford. That's when things started to turn around and Bromford made things very straightforward. It was great to have an advocate even though I'd had my own business and am a strong person, I wasn't at that time.
I always knew that if I needed them, Bromford would be there. It was a case of taking it one step at time. I was in a dark tunnel and couldn't see the light and didn't know if things would ever get better.
It was important that I had someone to talk to, who would listen and give me some direction. I was never judged but shown respect and dignity at all times which is vitally important. People need to know there are organisations like Bromford to help. Bromford genuinely did care and set me little goals to enable me to take control again and not be reliant on someone. I'm out the other side now but I know they are still accessible if I need them.
I had been a Business Development Manager in my business which used to support people getting back to work but being on the other side is a totally different experience.
I have learnt from this not to be too proud - men have to realise it's OK to ask for help, to work through it, keep your head down and focus on what's important to you and to think of what steps you need to take to get your life back. The first thing to admit is that you need help. I've been there and come out the other side. Please, please speak up.
I have had to learn a new way of life. This was the first time in my life I have been on benefits but I am ready now to get back out there and stand on my own two feet.
Today I've got a six-month-old baby boy, am stronger and ready for new challenges. I've got some health problems but feel I have something to offer and when I am physically fit I am keen to move forward.
Chris - Michael's support worker
When Michael first came to us, there was an initial tenancy-related issue of impending eviction as everything was crashing and burning around him.
His mental health was fragile and in the first few months, Michael would break down but it was good to see his gradual improvement over time. He needed a lot of moral support which we were able to give.
I recognised that Michael would qualify for disability living allowance but he didn't want to go there initially as he wasn't a 'benefits type' person. After a lot of persuading, he eventually engaged but was initially turned down. After an appeal he eventually received an apology and backdated money.
Michael has had a long battle and I will never ever forget the day when he came through it all. He is now stronger and his latest addition to the family is wonderful to see.
To download a PDF of Michael's story, click here.