I was born in 1962 in Buckinghamshire. I used to live in Crowthorne with my brothers and sisters. When I was 18, I moved into a hospital for patients with learning disabilities, mental illness, and disabilities.
Underneath my ward was a locked seclusion ward for patients with bad behaviour, where people were locked inside rooms and given injections if they had a ‘burst out’.
When I was 20, I moved to a residential care home and I wish I hadn’t, it wasn’t my sort of place. There were lots of old men with learning disabilities and the staff weren’t very nice to me – they wouldn’t let me do what I wanted to do. I didn’t like it. I went there when I was 21 and stayed for three years. It was a long time to spend in a place I didn’t like.
When I was 23, I was sent back to the hospital. I didn’t like it there either. It wasn’t a bad place but I didn’t like it. I stayed there for another year and then moved to a nursing home. It was a nice place but had very small rooms. The staff were alright with me at first but the staff nurse explained to me about the community and she was getting a bit nasty with me. She got a wet shaver and scratched it across my face.
One Sunday, I went to the pub and in the pub I had a fight with a nasty customer. He kept on looking at me and he went up to me and he hit me in the face so I hit him back and he walked off. When I went back, I explained what had happened but they didn’t believe me. Nobody believed me, they said they didn’t want to hear it. I was very upset and unhappy. I put my hand through a window. They took me to the hospital, a doctor put me to sleep. I nearly had my arm amputated because one doctor wanted to cut my arm off but another doctor said no, stitch it up.
When the hospital closed down in 1990, I moved to another care home, where they moved me in with five people from the hospital just because I already knew them. There were two people who used to bang doors and kick staff. I had no choice about who I lived with.
It was alright but I didn’t like the people I was living with and I wanted to have my own house out in the community. I had to wait a little while but I finally moved to a place of my choice in the year 2000.
When I first moved in, I had someone supporting me all the time. At my review meeting, I decided I wanted to be more independent. I liked my support workers but I wanted to have more space and make decisions for myself. I am a man and I wanted to be treated like a man. I’m glad I’m living in the community. I had a review and said that I wanted to reduce my sleep-ins. I am on my own at the weekend now.
Now I’m going to be more independent. Soon my staff are only going to be here for a few hours a week and I don’t need a sleep-in anymore. I like being on my own, it makes me happy. I am starting my own business now doing gardening, sweeping up, tidying, lifting heavy things and washing cars. I liked my old job but I want to be more independent when I’m at work and don’t want someone watching me. I like being on my own and more independent. It makes me happy. I want to live in my house all my life.