Sophie's Story | The Salvation Army

Sophie's Story

Sophie shares how she found Herself ‘One Step Away’


‘I was born and raised in Blenheim, and moved to Christchurch in 2013 to study travel and tourism.

Whilst still studying, I tried applying for jobs in the sector, but kept being told that I didn’t have any customer service skills. So to get that kind of experience I worked in the fast food and security industries. It was going well until my life changed in a matter of seconds.

I was out driving home from work one night and I remember turning right. The lights went orange and there was a car coming, slowing down as though it was going to stop. But then it suddenly sped up and went through, hitting the front corner of my car and sending me into a power pole. The accident wrecked my car and I ended up in hospital with serious injuries.

In hospital it was discovered that I had sustained a head injury, and it meant that I had to start over, learning how to talk and walk again. I also had a broken wrist which was left undiagnosed and untreated. I was told that the pain was ‘in my head’. It was only when I went back to my usual doctor that my broken wrist was acknowledged. It took two surgeries to repair, with perhaps a third one needed.

After being discharged I was sent to a rest home. It was a very low time. I was only 28 and in a rest home, with no people of my own age, and with no motivation to even get out of bed in the morning. I was also suffering from feelings of extreme anger and didn’t know how to deal with them.

I was angry with the driver of the other car, angry with myself, angry with the hospital for not believing that my wrist was a real problem, and angry that these things were eating me up and making me feel one step away from completely crumbling.

I was at my wits end when my community support worker suggested that I join the Salvation Army’s Positive Lifestyle Programme.

My only knowledge of The Salvation Army was remembering that when I was growing up, they would go around on a truck picking up cans.

Joining the Positive Lifestyle Program was a big leap for me, because after the accident I was really scared of the unknown. But they’re such lovely people – easy to talk to and not judgmental, which quickly calmed my nervousness.

I’ve learnt to identify my anger triggers and deal with them to prevent outbursts. I enjoyed joining a Christmas group and got to know some people there. Most importantly the program helped me get my confidence back.

The result is that when I’m having a bad day and feel that I should just give up, I can tell myself that I’m worth it, I can look after myself, and I can do anything.        

I ended up finding a 2 bedroom place to stay with my cat, and that suits me much better than the rest home. To fill time, I’m volunteering with the cruise ships in Lyttelton. I welcome people on or off the boat, helping them with enquiries and questions. It feels really good to finally put my tourism qualifications to work.

The best thing about The Salvation Army people is that they don’t just abandon you when you seem to be alright. They journey with you for as long as you need it. That’s very special. It’s the same with their supporters, and I am very thankful for that.

Please make a donation today and help more people like Sophie find a way to cope.