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50connect 2016 mandys story I didnt just become homeless. There was a pattern that led me up to it. There was a lot going on in my family home. My dad was an addict and my mother suffered with depression. I have one brother and three sisters. I was the kind of child that would act out and get in trouble. I would self-harm. My parents just didnt know how to handle me so I was put into foster care. I was going to different counselors to gure out what was wrong. But when I look back now I was just a child crying out to be loved. Yet no doctor said that. I was just always labeled with various problems. I was 13. As I got older I got involved with drugs and ended up in nasty relationships with men that would beat me to a pulp. I thought it was normal as that was what I dealt with in the home when I was a child. So it was just like a cycle. I was going around in circles. When the heroin and crack hit me thats when my life was totally out of control. At the time I had six children. All I ever wanted to be was a mother. I think I had depression from a very young age but it just wasnt diagnosed. I would get to a place where Id be okay and then my depression would kick in. In the end I phoned the HSE Health Service Executive myself and asked them to come and take my kids because I knew I was either going to end up dead from suicide or from drugs. When I look back it was the hardest and best decision I ever made. I wanted to keep them safe. The psychiatric units and hostels wouldnt take me anymore because I brought drugs in. So I end- ed up in Dublin on the streets. At times it was so embarrassing. I would go to coffee shops and clothing shops to get dressed and wash myself down with baby wipes just to feel a bit normal. I was able to get into a drug treatment program and I got clean. It was then that I was offered the chance to go to Daisyhouse. I had a lot of anger. I had a lot of hurt. I hated people. I hated the world. Then I found I was pregnant with Saoirse. Imagine being pregnant with your seventh child and all your other kids are in care. I was so scared. I thought This is it here I go again. Yet I also found myself thinking This is going to change me. Im going to prove I can do this. But there was still fear there. I was afraid when I told Daisyhouse that Id have to go back to a hostel. But with Daisyhouse I got everything. Doctors appointments medication and it all made me stronger. The Daisyhouse staff was there for me every step of the way. I hope to move on from here and just live inde- pendently on my own. I am working on being a good mother. And I want to write a book. Thats my big goal. I loved to write books as a child even on stupid things. But as I get older the more I know what life is about. So Id like to write a book about my experience. And not only addiction and being homeless all around other stuff like mental health and mothers that have kids in care. The other night I came home and just laid there and thought Oh my God I am so grateful for Daisyhouse. MY NAME IS MANDY. MY BABYS NAME IS SAOIRSE. WERE FROM CORK CITY ORIGINALLY BUT WEVE BEEN IN DUBLIN THE LAST THREE YEARS. DAISYHOUSE