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How despair can make us stronger

In the past 12 months, I have gotten engaged to my wonderful and supportive girlfriend, bought a house and adopted a perfect, if a little crackers, cat that I received the permission to name Logan. It was shaping up to be a fantastic year. Then we moved into our beautiful new terraced house. Almost in the same breath, I nearly lost it all. The house may have been perfect, but our neighbours were not.

For every good moment or event, it seemed that something evil lurked around the corner ready to snatch it all away again. Every day presented a new challenge for us. At times, simply waking up felt like an invitation for the world to dump a fresh load of misery my way. We needed help but the avenues we pursued did nothing to alleviate our situation. Eventually, we decided to leave our beautiful home to move away from the dangerous anti-social behaviour. I felt like a failure.

In becoming homeless and having my physical well-being threatened, as well as my fiancée’s, moving forward with life felt impossible. The future looked either entirely black or non-existent. At that time, giving up would not only have been the easiest of options but often the most welcome. So, how am I sitting with a roof over my head once again and writing about this ghastly experience now?

From the depths of despair, I found I was able to push through feelings of anxiety by focusing on what was most important to me; taking action to make the future bright once again. These important things being my fiancée, our relationship and the life we’re building together – things that had been so callously threatened.

With this in mind, I had but one choice. I set to work on reclaiming our home. It took months of time and was extraordinarily challenging. Sometimes nagging thoughts would demand that I give up. There were so many road bumps and obstacles to climb that, at times, this felt like the most viable option. I’m not sure of the exact path taken or formula for my success, but somehow I managed it. I climbed the mountain. Crossed the desert. I did things that I never thought possible of myself; things I never thought I would ever have to. But after six long months our nightmare neighbours were finally evicted. We won our home back.

I am changed for the experience, of that there is no doubt. I am stronger, more assertive, yet I feel more vulnerable than I have before. The shocking reality of what actually happened to us perhaps only now sinking in. It may take a while to fully recover from this turbulent time but I am slowly getting stronger with every passing day. In the end, I can reap the rewards of who I have become, what I now know I am capable of and above all else can remain ever thankful for the important things that keep me moving forward.

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