Melanie’s Story

I was born in a hippie commune in California, then we moved to a farm in rural Washington where my parents converted me to Christianity. I was a friend, sister, aunt, concerned citizen, voter, neighbor, and single mom. Mental illness struck me in my early 30s. I had always been bipolar but then became psychotic. People thought I was on drugs. My wife left me, my family alienated me, nobody wanted me. I became homeless. I didn’t find much help out there at first. Then something tragic happened and I received help, which led to other help.

Three years ago, I came to Jubilee. It was such a relief. It felt safe and non-judgmental. Every reasonable wish and need was catered to. I was able to get my driver’s license and even my nursing license back, and I was able to put all my finances in order.

After losing so many months of my life to psychiatric stays before Jubilee, I haven’t had any episodes since I’ve been here. I attribute that to the kind-hearted staff and volunteers, and to others who are excited to be on board at Jubilee. I’ve seen some of the most courageous women in my life here. I realized that the thing that made just about everyone homeless was completely out of their control. You get fired, have no financial resources, your husband leaves you, you turn to drinking, then you end up homeless. Once you’re homeless, you never get to relax. Jubilee gave me a place to do that. If you have stable housing, people with expertise, and classes, everything else can and will fall into place.

Where am I headed? I’m ready to reestablish a completely benign, average, and boring normal life with good mental and physical health. I might not every be able to work the same way again, but I have everything back in my life, and I’m actively contributing to society. The biggest gift we get to leave with is our sanity.

Now I volunteer and a few days a week I work with my nephew who was born with some challenges. But I am there for him. Jubilee also facilitated reconnection with my son, so I am there for him too. I enjoy fitness, dance, and theater. Now I am on a short list for an apartment—just waiting for the next vacancy—feeling happy and grateful.

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