Reasons/Excuses for my lack of posts
I have been ridiculously bad at posting on a regular basis and I thought that those of you who had decided to follow me or read my posts deserved an explanation. Sorry that it’s quite a long one…
1. I moved to London
As you may already know, my partner (who is in prison) is located near to London and the distance between us and difficulty having regular visits was quite a strain on both of us. We were then informed that he would only be allowed to live in London once released anyway, so I decided to look for ways to return there. At first I was quite excited at the prospect of seeing old friends and to build bridges with my family, the only thing that was an obstacle was how expensive private accommodation was, and the lack of people willing to arrange a council swap.
2. I was preparing to start university (part time)
I had wanted to return to university for some time after having to drop out previously due to my mental health difficulties. I had begun to give up hope of this ever happening but one day I had a brainwave, the cheapest and easiest way to get my foot in the door in London, as well as fulfil my dream of getting a degree, was to apply for university with accommodation. Thankfully I was accepted and began to nervously but excitedly prepare for studying an English degree.
3. My mental health deteriorated
As the move approached my doubts began to set in and my mood deteriorated to such a low level that in the weeks before I left I was visited by the crisis team where I live in Wales on a regular basis. When I arrived in London, instead of things improving they actually got worse and I received some support from the crisis team there while I waited to have my mental health support needs assessed. This struggle continued for the entire time I was in London, meaning that I spent a lot of time hiding away and didn’t get to do even half of what I’d planned.
4. My physical health deteriorated (including a great deal of pain)
Before I left Wales I was trying out a drug called Humira for my Ankylosing Spondylitis. When I left I was no longer entitled to that medication and it had to be reapplied for by the rheumatologist in London. In the meantime I struggled until I was allowed steroids for four weeks while I waited. That helped things slightly but with the pain from that and my mental health I struggled to visit my partner much, which made us both feel awful.
5. I dropped out of university before I’d even started
I realised that I wouldn’t be able to cope with the workload of even a part time degree course. On top of that ESA were threatening to stop the income-related part of my benefit if I did begin the degree which would have meant I would have been unable to afford to pay for my rent (as housing benefit would have been affected) and my carers, who were put in place by the physical disabilities social services department. I had no choice but to withdraw from the course before I’d even started.
6. I moved back to Wales
The accommodation I was in was for students only so when I dropped out I was given my notice to leave the property. As I had only lived in London for 2 months I wasn’t seen as having a local connection to the area and was informed to make my homeless application to the part of Wales I’m from. While I was waiting for a decision to be made on my application, with my date to quit the property fast approaching, some friends said that I could stay at theirs’ for a week until the council could find suitable temporary accommodation for me.
7. I became homeless and had to stay with friends
I moved in with friends and although I appreciate their support it felt awkward living in someone else’s home and having to live by a whole new set of rules. I probably sound ungrateful but I missed the internet and having a mobile signal, bad TV and most of all time to be completely undisturbed with my writing. I’m one of the lucky ones though, at least I had somewhere safe and comfortable to stay. I just hated feeling like a burden.
8. Money stresses (Thanks ESA – part time students don’t even get a loan!)
ESA have since removed the income-related part of my benefit as they are adamant that I am receiving a student loan. Firstly I advised them that I would be studying part time and any idiot knows that you don’t get a student loan if you study part time or if you have studied previously as much as I have. Secondly I told them that I wouldn’t be starting the course and I didn’t. Thirdly how can I be living permanently in Wales and studying in London, do they think that they pay people enough to commute?? The tenancy support for the place I am currently living at has said that she has sent proof of my withdrawal from the university to ESA. Of course it will probably take at least a week before they even bother to deal with the letter, then ages before the decision will hopefully be reversed, and I can’t even count on getting the money they took away paid back to me. Meanwhile I am left to struggle paying for the service charge where I’m living, paying privately for my entire care costs, as I need support but can’t get any help from social services right now, and all the general living costs of supporting yourself when you are disabled.
9. No support once I returned to Wales till my assessment tomorrow
I have had zero support from the local CMHT since I returned, even though I was promised that an assessment would take place the same week I arrived back (it hasn’t), I was receiving care from them up until two months ago and I was receiving care from a crisis team in another area who also contacted them to advise that I would need support. Usually I would have help from a PA for ten hours a week which both myself and social services would contribute towards. At the moment I am paying the entire cost and getting less hours. I would usually have a care coordinator who would be a point of contact for me when I was struggling. I also had a long-term tenancy support worker, understanding doctors and the crisis team. Then while I was in London, my physical health needs were assessed and carers were arranged to help me in the shower and with cleaning and laundry. Now I’m back to struggling alone which is very unsafe for me. It feels as though the CMHT want to brush me aside for as long as possible, perhaps to test out how likely it is that I will harm myself without support. Anything to cut costs. I have an assessment tomorrow which I am not feeling very confident about, in fact I’m completely dreading it.
10. Moving from temporary accommodation to temporary accommodation
I can’t complain too much about my temporary accommodation, I’ve stayed in a lot worse when I’ve been homeless in the past. At least they are warm, I have my own space and feel relatively safe. The worry is how unprepared I am at the moment for a permanent council flat when I am in fact very high or at the top of most of the lists. If I get council accommodation I will at least be able to get a furnished tenancy but if I get a housing association place it will be unfurnished and I will have to start with nothing. Added to that will be removal costs and basics like carpet and curtains.
11. Family stress because I can’t make it back to London for my sister’s baby shower, I have now been replaced by her fiancé’s sister
At the moment my low mood means I am very over-sensitive and paranoid at the best of times but after my recent argument with my sister, because she can’t understand why I can’t afford to drop everything and head back to London for her baby shower, I feel, after seeing my sister’s whatsapp profile picture yesterday, that I have been well and truly replaced with her partner’s sister. It was a lovely shot of the two of them looking…like sisters when in fact she has never once added a picture of the two of us. I am obviously not deserving of sister publicity. I probably sound as pathetic and jealous as I feel but I thought I’d share so the other pathetic and jealous people would feel less alone.
12. Worried about my partner’s fast approaching parole hearing
His solicitor is telling me not to worry him but doesn’t he have a right to know that so far none of the reports for his parole hearing in less than two weeks are ready??! Cannot believe what a shambles the justice system can be. Feels like they are trying to extend his sentence by as much time as they possibly can. The hearing itself is going to be by video-link to save time so there could be numerous technical hitches which could mean that he won’t get a chance to respond effectively to the parole board’s questions. On top of that the probation officer’s negativity about my relationship with him doesn’t make me feel positive either. I am absolutely heart-broken that I can’t be there to support him and feel completely useless.
13. Procrastinating about my writing
As you may be able to understand, I’ve been struggling to focus on my writing, although I have had some great ideas and really want to get started. I have also been invited to join a writers’ group but considering the lack of writing I have been producing recently, I am very nervous. I am hoping that Nanowrimo will be the creative turn-around that I need. Does anyone else participate? The idea is you produce a 50,000 word story during the month of November. There is also the social aspect to enjoy with an internet forum and meet-ups locally. It sounds like exactly what I need.
14. Having an early mid-life crisis
Currently feeling as though I have achieved nothing with my life so far and unsure which direction to go in next especially considering the number of obstacles currently in my path. I am 29 in a few days and want to have more to show for my life by the time I turn 30. I really want this to finally be the year where I take my writing seriously and improve creatively.
15. Being treated like a criminal for having suicidal thoughts.
Last night was interesting. After being instructed by the CMHT (who I called to explain I was extremely depressed and having suicidal thoughts) to call the crisis team here if I needed to, I then attempted to call them three times before giving up and calling NHS Direct. I know that NHS Direct get a lot of bad press but they actually dealt with my call really well and when they suggested that I speak to an out of hours doctor I reluctantly agreed, hoping that he would be as understanding as they were.
The out of hours doctor gave me two options, either go to the hospital where he was based at for assessment that night, ( which I couldn’t afford to do) or he would call the police to ‘check on me’. I explained again that I couldn’t afford taxi fares there and back, which is my only way to travel there but that I didn’t want to bother the police. He insisted so I agreed for the police to come out thinking that they would check on me then leave.
Instead they insisted they take me to the hospital he was based at as he was ‘so concerned’. At one point I had four police officers in my living room and felt so intimidated that I agreed to go despite my money problems. Part of me also hoped that I would finally get the help that I needed as the police said that if I got assessed there then I wouldn’t need my assessment booked in for tomorrow.
I got there and had to be escorted through the waiting room with the officers feeling like a complete criminal just for feeling hopeless and suicidal. Then when I finally saw the doctor and he had spoken to the CMHT he completely changed his attitude and said I could either go home or go to the mental health hospital before getting sent home, as I obviously wasn’t going to do anything.
Ok I didn’t attempt suicide last night when I got home but I do feel backed into a corner and I am really struggling to keep my head above water. The only reasons I haven’t completely given up yet are my partner, the friends who don’t lie about me or tell me to ‘get a grip’ and the tiniest shred of hope that I might get a positive result from the assessment tomorrow. But basically: I AM STRESSED!!!
Please let me know if this helps at all or if there is anything in this post that you would like to see covered in more detail. I look forward to hearing from you!