Elizabeth suffered depression until the Salvos helped her get back on her feet.
Elizabeth (right), pictured with Debbie Robbie, came to The Salvation Army to access its Moneycare free financial counselling service. She’s never left.
My depression got so bad that I couldn’t handle a lot of things. I was just going downhill. I wasn’t going out. I stayed in my room at my sister’s house. My communication with others was bad. My depression just went deeper and deeper.
After hearing my story, the doctor said I needed professional counselling. After a series of events, I was recommended to contact The Salvation Army and its Moneycare program.
I wasn’t very friendly towards the idea. By this time, I was so sick of having to repeat myself to everybody that it took me a fair while to go and actually see them. There was the pride thing as well. You don’t like to admit that you are in that situation. But I eventually made the appointment and went and saw the financial counsellor. That’s when I met Debbie Robbie.
I walked in and I said, “Look, I’m here for financial help, and I’m not here to be preached at. I don’t want the Bible thrown at me,” and all that sort of stuff. She said, “That’s fine, we’ll deal with your finances.”
Debbie really made me feel comfortable and [over a period of many months] we got all my finances worked out. She got me back on track and we did a budget and worked out everything I had to pay and how much to pay. She was really great and a weight just lifted off my shoulders.
Debbie gently made you sit up and take notice and she believed in what you were saying. She just had this aura about her—that she was a safe place to go. We became friends. I wanted to do something to repay her, and she said, “Well, there’s always lots to do for The Salvation Army,” and so I started volunteering. I got involved with the ‘mainly music’ program.
I felt comfortable with all this, but then I felt the urge to explore my religion. I said to Debbie, “I want to go to church, but I don’t want to go by myself.”
It was totally different to what I had expected. I was made to feel welcome from the first day. It still took me a while and I didn’t go every week, but I did feel welcome and accepted. I started helping out with Kids Church and now I’m also volunteering with Moneycare. Of course, all of this helped with my depression. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle, but I am a bit more outgoing than I used to be.
Without the Salvos, I’d be stuck back at my sister’s house and I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. I wouldn’t have been able to bring myself to admit that I was in all that financial debt. I now have a life!
As told to Lauren Martin