Been an interesting few days, my last 3 weeks have been busy, going to Disney Paris with my partner and her children, attending court regards my children and no professionals turning up because the court forgot to send the order. My partner has a colonoscopy that went wrong and now I am in trepidation with regards Monday coming as I am back in court. Life if very on edge for me, I am struggling to know what to do for the best sometimes when though I think things will be better soon. Life definitely is throwing me some curve balls at the moment and I hope it will get easier soon.
All I seem to be able to think about at the minute is money and how much worse it’s going to get in winter. My doctor has prescribed medication for my anxiety again because I’m constantly on edge and worrying about it.
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.
Is the cost of living crisis over? I think that it is no longer a crisis, as that implies something short term and accidental. It is more of a manmade disease than a crisis. I think what we are experiencing now are the very intentional consequences of policy decisions which reward the rich and further penalise the poor. Coupled with the deliberate hostility towards anyone who has to rely on social security and the punishingly low rates of Universal Credit and disability benefits. I think in the UK today we are experiencing Capitalism at its most extreme as part of the Conservative's fascist regime. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer and success is determined solely by how much wealth can be accrued, regardless of the cost to the health, wellbeing, happiness or future of people or our planet.
The way I see it, the cost of living crisis is DEFINITELY NOT OVER, nor looks likely to be over in the coming months or years.
I believe the ongoing cost of living crisis is pushing up prices in every sector of the economy and the country as a whole is still suffering.
Around where we live petrol costs have crept back up again. (Were down to £1.35 p/l now back at £1.52). An average weekly food shop for 1 adult /1 child is coming in around double what we were paying back in early 2022. We've basically quit buying anything other than what meals we might like a few days at a time to avoid throwing away food that perishes easily. So no choice with fresh fruits or veg, dairy produce or fancy extras like dips desserts or pre prepared salad items. Even supermarket pizza is around £6 upwards. That's a pizza meant for 1 person by the way - at home.
We ate takeaway last week. I was shocked it came to £20 two meals. I had chicken cashew nut with fried rice, the sauce was watered down, the meal was full of large watery onion & green peppers with about 5 half cashew nuts in the entire serving?! Seems to me everywhere is feeling the pinch!?
I've had car insurance renewal up over £100 on last year's price which is an outrageous amount to have to pay. Thankfully I've shopped around to find cheaper but not easy to do.
Nothing is any cheaper. Quarterly water rates jumped up by £30 earlier this year!!!? Not just a few extra pound.
Obviously I've also seen an increase in energy bills over the last few months.
There's no increase in my payments to account for the extra costs. In fact it's been both in the news and social media that the government are looking to cut benefits for those with long term health conditions. I am livid with their measures. I jump through enough hoops to take their rigged tests already! If I could work I would. I loved my old job.
I have basically gone without so much of this last year just to afford to cover the day to day bills. I've been wearing old bikini tops as I haven't been able to afford new underwear as it's no longer fitting or falling apart. Does nothing for your self esteem at a medical appointment to not have clean well fitting underwear.
Once upon a time I could take my two youngest shopping and tell them, "no problem! We can afford the luxury products", at the supermarket!!! We didn't have to worry about the bank balance or the account having enough in it to cover meals out when I couldn't face shopping /cooking, or the cinema to cheer up up/end of the week treats, etc.
So in my view, no it hasn't gone away. The cost of living crisis is still very much alive and kicking and here to stay by the looks of things. 😤
In spite of all our difficulties with physical & mental ill health, I am writing with some happy news for a change. My 18 y/o son passed his Level 2 City & Guilds Welding certificate, and I'm going to be a mother-in-law as my eldest son popped the question to his partner. It's vital that we have things to look forward to. We who live in poverty are as deserving of happiness as anyone else.
It's tough, immigration fees and NHS health surcharge has been increased amidst already stretched pockets of immigrants. Our hearts are racing and we are wondering, when will it end?
There was a story on my internet homepage this morning stating that an MP had said you can tell why people are obese by what is in their shopping trolley. If the government were to give people on a low income a bit more money we could buy healthier food and look after ourselves better, which would mean a saving for the health service.
I am unable to cope in this present situation and very hard to think of future plans.
The cost of living is so high and with high energy bills every month don't allow to think for future. And if I think about future it's scares me. Worried for mental health and physical health of my son and mine. What future hold for us? No positive thoughts. Waiting to see the light from end of the tunnel.
I have to plan ahead of the list of items which I would like to cut down to save money in order to manage future. Inflation gone high, interest gone high but our income is not increases according to that. So, we may have a shortfall in our income and had to cut some basics to get some other mandatory bills such as mortgage, council tax etc. It is very hard to plan for the future at this living crisis as it give me a mental burden which deteriorate my health condition as well.
So to manage my mental health and provide for my children, I plan, I plan and plan and plan. I plan for summer holidays, I play for Christmas, I plan for back to school, etc. I get bits n bobs for those goals whenever I can. But that's is all I can plan, a month in advance. I plan until Christmas, them the planning for birthdays and Easter and summer and Christmas start all over again.
But I can plan outside of that, that is for the kids and I prep and plan for them. But for myself or for other things like holidays, personal aspirations, etc. Those just don't exist for me. Morbid as it sounds the only things in my future I can guarantee is that I'll never be comfortable money wise and that eventually I'll die and not need to worry anymore about paying bills or if something breaks and I can't replace it. Real life planning doesn't exist for me. Maybe college, maybe work one day, but hard to imagine when I'm so much pain now that can't hardly get out of bed.
I feel sheer panic when I think too much about the future. At the moment, my son is 2 so I have no work commitments. Once he's 3 I'll be considered gainfully self employed and hopefully will get a start up year, but by the time he's 4 I'll have to bring in a consistent monthly profit or the Minimum Income Floor will be applied and we won't be able to afford to live.
The pressure of making a business profitable, and not just profitable over a year but profitable every single month regardless of expenses being lumpy, is terrifying. But I can't go back to being employed - between my health and my son's health, it's not possible. The work I do is important and I love it, but all the DWP care about is profit. It's such an unrealistic and cruel standard to place on a small business when plenty of large corporations get lots of government support and aren't anything like as profitable, % wise, as sole traders are required to be.
I've had to think in terms of 3 months at a time maximum, because if I let myself see the bigger picture I get overwhelmed by the clashing priorities of building a sustainable, meaningful and successful business (and life!) versus meeting the DWP's capricious and unyielding requirements so that we can afford to eat.