Several years ago Judy lost her dear friend Jan. Jan’s body finally gave out after years of terrible abuse both as a child and an adult and also from misusing drugs and alcohol to try and deal with the pain. Before she died Judy and another friend tried to get help for her but it was really hard to find and what they did find actually made things worse if anything.
The mental health services didn’t seem to know how to treat her and managed to strip away her coping mechanisms by making her re-live what had happened to her during their assessment sessions. They then told her they could not provide her with any help for 10 months. This increased her need for drugs and alcohol. They suggested she should get support to deal with her alcohol but this did not address the basic issues so was not successful. On reflection, she was probably suffering from PTSD.
On two occasions Jan contacted Judy in the middle of the night to say she had taken an overdose. This resulted in the two of them spending exhausting, long nights in A & E, where she was regarded as a time waster and probably a down and out. Nothing could have been further from the truth. She was generous and caring and, when she was not ill, great fun to be with. Against all the odds she managed to hold down a responsible job until she finally rapidly became too ill after spending some time in Queen Elisabeth Psychiatric Hospital.
After her death, Judy wanted something positive to come out of Jan’s life. So she set up the Jan Foundation to give mentoring support, using trained volunteers, to women going through domestic abuse or DA. The Jan Foundation has operated since 2004 and most of its volunteers have been affected by DA themselves. However like a lot of small community based and led charities we are struggling to keep going.
So Judy set up J’ai Moi.
And the story goes on.