Flood survivor frustrated by stigma and unemployment
A woman who survived the floods of 2013 but who claims she now has to live with bipolar disorder and anxiety because of it, says she is at her wits end with the stigma she faces from her condition as well as unemployment.
Naydene Williams, 40, is a resident of Vermont. In 2013, she lived at Buccament Bay in a house that she says she struggled to build herself.
“I nearly get wash ‘way in the flood 2013, and see certain things, and experience certain things,” Williams explained shortly. From there she was taken into a shelter at Rilland Hill, where she resided from the time of the flood until some time in 2015.
“In the shelter I was hallucinating and stuff like that, but I wasn’t aware of the symptoms of anxiety,” she said.
She was diagnosed at some point in time, and SEARCHLIGHT has confirmed that she is being treated by a doctor who specializes in mental disorders.
Williams also takes medication, but she is required to take them with a meal, and she cannot eat properly because she has very little income.
The only funds Williams receives, she says, is monthly ‘public assistance’ of $250 from the Government. She distributes this between electricity and food, but at the time she visited SEARCHLIGHT, she said that her water had been cut off.
However, currently, she is living in accommodation provided for her. Nevertheless, the house she has been placed in is located next to the river which brings out her anxiety. Williams recalled that the night she moved in, “I take in, everything just went mad.”
She however stressed that she is not ungrateful.
She used to cook food, and “hustle” before the flood, but now she doesn’t want to be “on the road” at a time when she “takes in” because people end up taking advantage of her, which she says has happened before.
Her doctor managed to secure a job for her at the hospital, but, Williams revealed, “I take in on the work because I think I was overstressed that day, and I take in; my skin start to become hot and like itching.” Apparently, she was not asked to return after this.
Williams, who is also the mother of a 15-year-old who she had to put in a home, said that she also used to work at a store. She however claims that she lost that job after a neighbour ‘bad talked’ her with a coworker.
She became emotional at different times during the interview.
“This thing like it’s worse than AIDS,” the frustrated woman commented at one point.
“I just want to put it out there, to tell people, I’m still a human, and even though I get sick… people get sick,” Williams said. She continued, that while it may not be visible, “it’s like a disease, it’s like the stigma, you have to live with it every day, you have to get up to face the people dem, it’s hard for me.”
“I have this problem, (it’s) like I have sores on my skin, you know… something. I bathe myself every day, I clean myself, and I like to be clean and tidy and I like good thing, I like nice things,” she asserted.
“I’m not stupid, I just have a mental disorder…and everybody is ‘crazy’, what is ‘crazy’?,” Williams asked, concluding that ‘craziness’ is when persons do things out of the ordinary.
“Everybody does do things out of ordinary…everybody don’t have a mental problem,” she expressed.
“I can’t force people to be sympathetic with me, I just want them…just don’t attack me and if you think I’m crazy don’t let me know, I know all already,” Williams noted.
Her desire is to find employment.
The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) has confirmed that Williams resided at the shelter off and on, from the very beginning of 2014 for a year and a half, and has been placed in accommodation.
Anyone wishing to provide assistance to Williams may call her at 432-6013.