0 comment Monday, July 14, 2014 |
I have come to a rather uncomfortable point at my life where I am trying to decide whether I fight it out and continue to try to keep working 40+ hours a week, or whether I finally decide to stop gritting my teeth and bashing my head against the wall, and declare myself disabled.
This is a major issue with me, especially now during the election period when British people are up in arms with regard to What's Wrong With Britain. I have leave to remain, I have worked here in the past, and I am doing my damn-est, but the simple truth is I am a lone parent ethnic minority foreigner with a disabled child, on benefits. I am, therefore, The Problem. It shouldn't bother me...but it does. I'm fully aware I could go through all the tests and trials and be working full time, I could have my British citizenship but no matter what I did, I would still be a foreigner, living on hard-earned money by the true (white) British public in one way or another. It is why I've gritted my teeth and soldiered on regardless. All of my life, on one level or another, I've been the person everyone pointed a finger at to demonstrate What is Wrong With Our Society, and I'm fed up with the role, thrust upon me due to people's perceptions.
But unfortunately, things are escalating: as I'm typing this, I have moved my workspace downstairs because I can no longer sit in the chair in my office due to pain; my fingers swell up and I have to stop typing for a few minutes and so this is taking longer than it should (and I had to stop doing my typing job); the land line phone rings and I know I cannot possibly get out of my chair and get to it in time before it stops ringing; I realise I should be making soap but, honestly, I'm too tired to do so, or even load my dishwasher. I haven't made soap in weeks. I haven't actually worked in well over three. All my energy has been dedicated to the garden and to my son, and I've had no energy for anything else, including fun stuff with friends.
Things have changed, and while I'm not ready to completely throw in the towel just yet, I am having a long, hard think about what I can do, what I can't do, and what I'm only doing because I'm too bloodyminded to admit defeat. And the latter isn't very wise; I know there are plenty of people out there who will proudly proclaim they work for a living even though they have ailment A, B, or C, but they also are exhausted, washed out, and not exactly enjoying life. That whole Rosie-The-Riveter thing, basically.
The thing is, I need all the energy I can in order to be a good parent to my son; if I am tired, I am irritable, if I am irritable, I snap at my son. This isn't the sort of existence I want to have; and while this past week has been utterly exhausting, even while I'm trying to recover, I'm having ice cream with my boy, and watching another David Attenborough video with my son curled up on my lap. I want those moments; they don't last forever. All the energy I have, I want for Sprog. And I defy anyone to tell me different.
And that means, like as not, that the work hours will need to be severely curbed, that I may need some aids round the house, and also that I may need to find funds to replace what I'll lose with the tax credits.
So, this week, I'll trundle on to the Citizens Advice Bureau to make sure what I can do, and what I can't. I really don't want to lose any more money - I'm doing all right now for the first time in ages. But the business isn't providing enough income, and probably won't as I'm just too sporadic due to health reasons to really develop it. So options are required.
I'm also calling on an Occupational Therapist to help me find ways to work more effectively, and to also give the house a good going over. I am finding everyday tasks are becoming more and more difficult, and there are some things which I know need changing; I just can't afford to do it. If it requires a DFG, then I'll try and apply for one, but I want my needs actually on paper - and it won't be pretty; most of the time I ignore my symptoms, and having to take a good hard look at how I navigate the stairs first thing in the morning (back against the wall, sideways, one step at a time) is a rather harsh reality. There is help available, but I have to swallow the stupid pride and take it.
Now is one of those moments where I have to decide what is important to me: whether I want to try and live up to the societal status quo, or whether I want to admit that's impossible for me, and instead lean on a crutch or two in order to allow me to be a good parent. I have to decide whether struggling on in the face of pain and being uncomfortable is brave or merely making things more difficult for myself. What price dignity, what price comfort?
I think I've pretty much made my choice.