With a confident gaze and a voice that commands attention, it is apparent that Sue Yovich is a very strong woman. She has to be; she’s had a tougher life than many.
Sue explains, “I was in state care from 2 months old until I was15. I ended up being in and out of mental hospitals and received shock treatment at 13. I was sexually abused when I was very young and again at a psychiatric hospital, which led me into drugs, heroin and then prostitution to supply that habit.”
Sue stopped using heroin 20 years ago and is currently on a methadone programme. Although things aren’t always simple, she has come a long way. Today Sue keeps a lovely home and has a large circle of support around her.
The 59 year old has a number of health conditions which mean that she needs regular support. Sue uses Individualised Funding through Manawanui as a means of meeting her support needs, allowing her to hire somebody who suits her schedule and requirements. “My life didn’t really get on track until Manawanui. I really thought that I would get back to drugs once my partner died last year. I locked myself in my room and did nothing basically. I kept having accident after accident.”
Sue credits her support person Wendy for helping her get through those difficult months. “She’s made me feel that I matter. She made me laugh again, you know. She does things around here and does things because she wants to, not because she has to. She is a lovely person and is very much like me, but without the harder side. It’s been a learning curve for her. For her to accept me as I am is just the best thing.”
Sue says that she and Wendy have developed a friendship and often do other activities together outside of their working relationship. “Sometimes Wendy and I will go out and have a coffee. We go out to the beach and feed seagulls. Every time I go out with her and we go somewhere I see life differently and with different eyes.”
Her turbulent past now behind her, Sue hopes to memorialise it into a book. “I’ve got a laptop now and I want to start writing my book. It is my long-term goal,” she says.
Although she suffered from depression following her partner’s untimely death, today Sue is optimistic. “Now I feel good getting up in the morning and I feel good going out and doing things again. That’s a huge change for me. I have my independence. I don’t want for anything now. I wish that I could have this or I could do that, but I can do it all in time. I’m just taking it one step at a time.”