Sometimes it feels as if you cannot afford to be ill in the slightest as a single parent.
I came down with a nasty chesty cough, which very much had the symptoms of a bad chest infection (I say this, as I have had the very same symptoms in the past, and it was diagnosed as a chest infection).
Obtaining a Dr's appointment was impossible, so I walked into my local Walk-in Centre, (after the school run) but told there could be a 3-4 hour wait.
After having waited nearly 2 hours, with a hungry child, I gave in with waiting & had no other choice but to discharge myself, as I had soo much to do when i got home, like, getting my child's dinner ready, getting his uniform prepared for school, housework, phone calls, etc despite being unwell.
However, things were no better the following day, as after the morning school run, I had shopping to do, and washing to hang out to dry whilst the weather was nice, and before I knew it - it was time to do the school run again! and so the cycle continued!
It very much felt as if getting well was a luxury, of which I just didn't have the time to recover!
Fortunately, I was able to get some over the counter medication, which was very expensive, but helped take the edge of things, but my episode of being unwell made me wonder about how many more single parents have faced this dilemma, but just soldiered on, and not ask for help for fear of Government agencies stepping in.
I have recently been awarded a higher rate of PIP (disability benefit) as my health has worsened. It was such a relief to receive and already my life has improved. It is amazing that such small things can have such a positive impact on health and wellbeing. I buy myself some fresh fruit each week, I buy more vegetables so I can 'eat a rainbow' again and we should be able to keep our car for another year. Best of all is that I have been on a day out once a month. Nothing fancy, just a drive to local country side or sea side with a picnic lunch and concessionary entrance fee to a sculpture park. The mood boost I got from going was fantastic and I still feel it now. At last I can use some of my Personal Independence Payment to improve my life instead of it barely paying for my survival.
I hope that this is a lot more positive than my previous diary entry. I have been struggling with life in general recently but a couple of people have said that I write well and in a reasonable manner. So I have started a write a short history of my own life from the memories I have, this is not an easy task but so far I am up to my teens (s long way to go yet). I have no intention of sharing this writing as most people would find it boring, I am writing it for myself so I can read through it once I have finished so I can pick out any positive memories from it and try to focus on these rather than the negative parts of life. I am hoping this will help me in the long term. After all my life is not just my own, I have a beautiful daughter to share it with and above all I think she needs me to be strong and caring so she can succeed in her own future life.
Warm home discount of £140.
Applications can be made to your energy supplier from 16th October.
Check online with energy supplier for elegibilty.
I have just read blogs/ articles written by other CR participants ….. I feel touched and also saddened by others people's realities. At the same time I feel hopeful too because CR is providing us a platform to work together to be heard.
Today I've been to a DWP consultation on proposed changes to the work capability descriptors. I went to represent the people I work with, but in my personal capacity (which means they'll reimburse my travel!). There weren't many of us there - participants were outnumbered by DWP staff - and it made me think about how few people would have the knowledge, confidence, time or ability to participate in things like this. I feel like I'm in a privileged position to have the social capital to feel secure in my right to be heard and to be in the room, but also to have the direct lived experience to speak for others who might not. In some ways, I feel that I have a responsibility to engage in things like Changing Realities and consultations like this one in exchange for my benefits. The state is funding my life for a few years and in return I'm fighting to improve the lives of others who either can't access the same support or who have no real prospect of escaping it.
It's also a stark reminder that we are disabled by our circumstances. There's nothing more effective at reminding me that I'm neurodivergent and chronically ill than travelling to a large unfamiliar city to sit in a noisy room with a lot of strangers. The flipside is that so much of my life is now comfortable for me that I don't notice my struggles as often, which can only be a good thing. I wish that could be true for everyone.
I feel grateful throughout all of this time, because no matter what, no matter how bad things get, we survive. That's a hugely important message I want my son to take away from his childhood. You can get through anything and at some point, things will level out and we will be ok.
The roof needs repairing, and the roofer has said that I can pay him in instalments! How amazing is that?!
I am slowly changing my mindset because I realise the impact that poverty has had on me is to make the previously happy and hopeful person I was, into a very depressed person, the cup has definitely been half empty. But I want to change that for myself and for my son.
I am a survivor of adversity, of trauma, and that is an amazing thing I think. I am one of the lucky ones.
It isn't easy to change your mindset when things are difficult and when maybe you didn't have the best start in life either, but I am trying because I want a better life for myself and for my son and despite the challenges we face, there is so much to be thankful for.
I am currently in intensive therapy and slowly, the lady I am working with is helping me to develop a toolkit of coping strategies. I'd like to share these with my son in a positive way and help him to see that his own reality can be better. No matter how tough things get, we are here and we are survivors.
I appreciate the Covid Realities and subsequent Changing Realities projects and the teams and partners, very much. The experience of being involved in these has been so uplifting and there are so many reasons to never give up. I have become an activist, I have become a person who sees the truth behind so many things, that's priceless. The projects have expanded me as a person and made me better in many ways. How lucky I am to have experienced this.
I do feel sad that the projects will be coming to an end, but I will be forever grateful to have taken part.
I want to start by saying that I’m managing, that I’m not broken, but, that I know I can’t keep things going as the situation stands, without significant impacts.
That’s what I want to speak about, the impact of poverty on my physical and mental health. How, if I track my life from 2019 to now, I can see just how messed up things have become.
It wouldn’t matter how much money I had right now in a way, the damage is done.
Poverty, slowly but steadily, removes your true voice. It takes away the strength to fight, to believe that we are worthy.
Over time, our friends have stopped asking us to attend events, stopped inviting us to places because we cannot afford to join them. Our circle has reduced so much and as a single parent to a child with additional needs, that has slowly destroyed my sense of self worth and my ability to get out and try to enjoy life.
My body ‘feels’ broken. I am experiencing a very difficult menopause and despite multiple attempts to garner healthcare support, I am unable to due to a family history of cancer. I’ve given up asking. So I just suffer and I don’t use that word lightly.
I can’t properly care for myself any longer, and that is so very sad to me. I gave up smoking and drinking alcohol, I tried to eat healthily but it’s so expensive now.
I recently had a minor accident and really hurt my foot. I absorbed the pain and carried on because there is only me to take care of things. I found out from my doctor when I could finally get in, that I have a suspected hairline fracture on my foot. I’ve just carried on, because although rationally I know I need to rest, realistically, I can’t. I can’t afford to get help to do jobs in my home and I have no one to help with my son.
I absorb the pain and I think well this is all you can do, but it makes me so so sad that I even matter so little to myself now.
I am not the person I was in September 2019. When I finally had help with my son, I had a part time job, I had possibilities and a bit of hope. I was building back up after difficult times and honestly thought we can do this, things will get better, they haven’t.
Recently, my stepfather died and the devastating effects of that have hit me hard. I come from a fractured family and have no support at all from them. They hid his death and I found out by accident. I cannot tell you how that felt and as I add that to the mountain of suffocating beliefs that I don’t deserve better, I know that getting out of this dark place has become something I just cannot see.
Whilst I keep telling myself you aren’t broken, the reality is a very different story…
I’m trying hard to keep the faith and I support others through voluntary work and a listening ear, so it isn’t over, yet.
I wanted so much more for my son, how sad that so much greed and apathy to the lives of people on low incomes has rendered any dreams that I had, void.
I do think that we have survived a lot, and maybe we can get through. But the crisis in the actual ‘cost’ of living this way is far from over for so many of us.
The summer holidays is nearly over. It’s been a tough one on entertaining 3 children. Wish I could have done more for them but hopefully next year I’ll be able to, even if that means planning a few months in advance.
But I feel optimistic about the future, surely it can only get better.
I was pleasantly surprised and happy to recently read that energy bills will be capped/reduced by 7% from October.
It's certainly a step in the right direction!
Had lot of things happen but everything seems to be going well x
It's been a while since I last shared my thoughts.
Life has been busy, summer holidays are in full swing and every day seems like a challenge and adventure.
I am definitely spending more on, not only food, but arts and crafts, days out, travel, snacks and new clothes. Not to forget the new uniform for the end of the summer.