Eddie Phillips

20150219_Eddie Phillips 02
Eddie Phillips, Manna House guest and Memphian

Who I am…

My name is Eddie. I’m from Memphis, Tennessee. Growing up in Memphis, it’s a gamble. As long as you try to keep your nose clean and do right, you might come out all right, you know what I’m saying?

It’s always been a work thing here in Memphis, try to get to some work and pay some bills. I used to do upholstery work and then I ended up going through little mental challenges, which I’m still battling with now.

Living with mental illness…

My mental illness is, you know, I hear things that’s not there, you know what I’m saying? I haven’t got my shot in a couple of months now, so I basically stay away from people, stay isolated, which don’t help me to get to where I need to be.

Last time I went to the mental health center, I walked and that’s in Frayser and I was staying in South Memphis. I don’t have a way to set up transportation ‘cause I don’t have nowhere for them to pick me up at, so it’s a challenge to try to keep up with my shots and stuff like that.

I’ve got a case manager who I try to call and I can never get in touch with her because most case managers have a backlog of clients and if I call her, I’m calling her from a phone at the Med or I’m using somebody else’s cell phone, and she’s got no way to call me back, so it’s a big screw up, you know?

Housing and health…

If I’m not comfortable with where I’m living at, it plays with my mental health too. Once I get into a place where I have a stable address, my transportation provider can come pick me up. I can get mail. I can get a phone through the mail.

Just because I have a mental illness doesn’t mean I’m dumb. I know if I don’t pay rent I don’t have nowhere to stay. And with the temperature being the way it’s been, I pay rent, Open Minds pays my rent, but I can’t stay there because I kinda got into it with some guy and it escalated into a little fight and I just had to get away from there because if I stay around there I’m a get in all kinds of trouble and then by me having a real bad record and then I’m dealing with mental issues, I might snap.

It gets confusing. It’s hard to keep it straightened out, but I’m determined.

What led me to Manna House…

I walked by here one day. At that time, years ago, I hadn’t had a shower in a month, I hadn’t shaved in a month and Ms Kathleen saw me and invited me in and I went and took a shower and I didn’t look the same as I did when I went in.

They straight! It actually helps everybody. Everybody that comes here and they homeless, it helps them because it gives them shelter.

How faith plays a role in my life…

Well I got faith. That’s the only thing really holding me up, to be truthful with you. I serve a God that I know can keep me straight. Usually a lot of things that I would’ve been off about I don’t go off because I think, “WWJD.” Only way I’m gonna put my hands on somebody is if they put there hands on me. I’m gonna protect myself.

I became homeless after…

Jail. For a long time I was a follower instead of a leader, and a lot of people that I ran across wasn’t good for me. I ended up in a lot of trouble and back in and out of jail.

I’ve been homeless most of my life, after my mom and dad died.

I define healthcare as…

It sucks, you know what I’m saying? I try not to get sick. I haven’t been to the doctor in who knows when.

The biggest challenge in my healthcare is…

Physically, I’m pretty healthy. Mentally I’m not and I know this. No matter what I try to do, I can’t get to where I can stay on my medication like I need to be.

I don’t have a phone and I have nowhere for them to mail me a phone to, so as far as making doctors’ appointments on the phone or setting transportation, it’s almost impossible. And then I’m dealing with my mental illness and trying to keep myself out of trouble.

And it just almost seems like it’s impossible, trying to accomplish things and can’t get it accomplished.

Learn more about the Manna House.

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