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.
Certainly not, while the price of some things has gone back down a bit in price such as gas, electricity and fuel, there are still millions of families like mine that are going to have no choice but to leave the heating turned off this winter and stay cold in our own homes due to the cost. I am unable to afford to cook food on a daily basis, often having to eat cold meals instead that do not require the use of gas or electricity. In the shops the price of some foods has also come down slightly such as fruit and vegetables but again the cost of fresh fruit is still far too high to enable us to afford the recommended amount, also I am sure most people have noticed that apart from price increases in a lot of supermarket prices there has also been a reduction in the amount / size of package simply meaning another increase.
I also feel this has a larger effect on those receiving Legacy benefits that did not get any increase along with other benefits earlier in the year and also missed out on most cost of living payments. My situation on Legacy benefits means myself and my daughter are living on the same amount as we we were five years ago apart from the small increase in child benefit, with no help from my previous partner this is all we have to survive on. So simply, NO the cost of living crisis is not over and is yet a long way off. I am starting to lose hope that anything will change for low income families no matter what government is in place within my lifetime. Whenever there is a price increase in utility bills, internet connection, food or anything else it means I have to make more and more cutbacks in other areas to stay afloat.
It is not a case of if and when things will change, it is NOW that changes must be made in order for a fairer society where we can all have a reasonable standard of living, bring up our families to have the best possible start in life that is achievable and be in a situation to lift themselves out of a life of poverty.
So fed up today got paid on the 25th June, nothing left and somehow have to pay 157.50 for rest of term childcare, then this switches to £140 per week in 6 week’s holiday, I have to pay my car insurance, I have my MOT running out in a week and have school dinners, petrol, food, etc I need to buy… How do we go about selling legs or kidneys because I’ve maxed out credit cards. I’ve no options left, can see me having to give up my car but then I’ll loose my job.
Dealing with life's problems, it's like living on a hamster wheel. Sometimes everything's fast, sometimes slow, but forever constant.
There's no beginning, no end.
For months now, I'm compelled to wake up in the early hours, 3 nights a week, in order to check the social housing list... It's become so habitual, so engrained in my heart & soul I don't seem to be able to let go of looking online through tired eyes.
But If we could find somewhere more suitable, somewhere cheaper then I could save enough spare money to at least think about a replacement for the old unreliable car we have.
As if we haven't cut back on tons of life's little luxuries already & continue to unplug electrical appliances where ever we can or wash less often or deny ourselves fancy foods or a full meal or go without where we can. All in the name of the cost of living crisis.
This week for instance, a property came up. Weighing up all the pros & cons is easy enough. All without being able to see inside the place is a different matter. I want to bid on the place... I remind myself we need a real good reason to turn it down if I do bid... can I take the risk of bidding on it then getting to view it only to find it doesn't have all the things on our wish list? After all "beggars can't be choosers"
It's hard being a 'beggar'.
It's hard having to compromise.
Trading off one thing against another. Some outside space, for a more energy efficiency property? Or the security of social housing that's only a fraction cheaper to rent, compared to the insecurity of a rent increase at any point?
I have aspirations, this wasn't the life I imagined I'd be living. Yet here I am. Stuck on the loop of property poverty.
I'd best sleep on things... If only I could.
My ex partner left me in October 2019. I had to go to the job centre to make a claim for Universal Credit has my wage wasn't enough to pay the mortgage, bills and my 2 children. I made the claim in October and did not receive any money until the January 2020. This meant I had to use foodbanks and that Christmas was the hardest ever. Luckily I managed to still get Christmas pressies has I went to charity shops and a friend helped me out. I was made to feel I was begging for money when I was working full time. Since then I actually got a second job and earn my own money so I don't have to claim anything. If it wasn't for food banks we would have gone hungry over those few months. Before I would have just thought, get myself a job or go back to UNI. I was already doing those things so I felt helpless and worthless even tho I was working. I was also recovering from cancer and remember thinking I don't have time to be ill and just carried on. The positive was I gained strength from a place I didn't know I had until then. This will carry me through anything now.
My car's packed in again. I'm housebound without it. I'm cut off from friends & family already. Public transport is challenging taxis are more costly than I can afford.. I'm compromised which ever way I turn. The car is a lifeline. I'm isolated without it. However getting it diagnosed & repaired is a gamble. It may well break down again. I simply don't have "newer" car money. Even if I did have, the second hand car market means taking a risk when purchasing another.
As far as I'm aware it's well reported statistically that people on lower incomes don't have spare funds to pay for unexpected repairs or replacements. When will the status quo change for the better?
It would seem that the government does not think the cost of living crisis affects people on legacy benefits the same as everybody else... I received a letter today explaining that the new benefit rates are being introduced in April, but the amount I receive will stay the same as is has for more than five years now. As I was changed over from incapacity benefit to ESA I received an additional payment so I would not lose money at that time. I real terms however cost's of food, bills and other essential items are still increasing but the money I receive stays the same. How is this fair, to expect those on legacy benefits to have to find even more ways to make cut backs in order to survive. This is no way to expect people to live when there is no other choice.
I am on Universal Credit.
It's a trap, stuck in it.
Was out of work for two weeks and no help was provided - tired of System.
I dread being stuck in this situation. Struggling financially and unsupported. I don't hold out much hope as cost of living payment dates have been announced up to Spring 2024.
I do hope a revolution happens and the Tories bow out.
Poverty in the UK is so, so, so inescapable. I've been trapped in poverty ever since I had my first child - 22 years ago. It hasn't mattered what I've tried, unemployed, working full time, working part time, studying, continuous side-hustles, living in private rent homes, living in social housing - always poor. Any new money gets clawed back, by benefit loss. But right now, it's the worst it's ever been - there's no hope whatsoever of future improvements.