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.
Living like royalty here. I ordered a surprise goodie bag from the local bakery on the "Too Good to Go" app. Not certain of the exact savings we've made but at a guess there's twice the price of what we paid. £3 got us 2 sausage rolls 1 cheese & onion pastie, 1 ham & cheese baguette & 2 chocolate éclairs!
I'm not personally a huge fan of this type of food however it was at least exciting to see what was in the bag if nothing else. According to the retailer we had picked a bad day to order so who knows what's on offer on a good day?
I think it's an ideal way to buy food cheaper, which would otherwise end up in the bin.
Far too much of that already happens on a daily basis in supermarkets alone. One year as a volunteer for a local family support charity, we helped collect all the supermarket produce disposed of on Christmas eve, to distribute to local families. There was so much of it we could have filled a small truck with it all. As it was, a handful of volunteers wasn't anywhere near enough people to help.
Truly shocking to see the amounts going to waste.
I'm volunteering for our local food pantry & community fridge. It's such a great and worthwhile thing to do, but I am shocked at who needs the help. We have midwives, post grad students and people working for a local environmental charity regularly attending, as well as addicts, people that are homeless and ex-forces personnel.
Food should be a right, not a luxury...
I was working for a small charity previously, but they wanted me to work too many hours which would have significantly impacted the carers allowance I receive. I had to stop working as the workload became too heavy to juggle the children and a job which demanded late nights and a non-stop workload. I now feel anxious about returning to work as I feel I will be forced to take “any job” as opposed to one which will actually suit my family dynamic.
I have done many unpaid work, volunteering over the last 30 years.
I was a classroom/ school trip helper.
I helped run the youth club as my children grew older.
I helped with the dance group, back stage at shows, wiping tears/ noses and bottoms of young children. I couldn't afford the coat of a ticket to watch the show my daughter was in. That developed into a fundraiser and I was successful at this, until a group of dance mums hijacked the PTA. Mums that were married and had no financial issues. They excluded me from meetings and information. They wanted me to carry on bringing in funding but without support from them. I refused and now I have been cancelled by them.
Now I'm lost. My purpose and way of keeping my daughter in dancing has been taken away. I'm hurting and struggling to find another roll I would find rewarding to me.
I work part time (20 hours a week) for a charity. I work because I have to. I like the convenience of my job, but it’s not a career. I would love to have a passion that gets me excited and helps pay the bills but I don’t see that happening for me. A job always feels like a means to an end. So I also spend time volunteering and getting involved with other things (such as Changing Realities) to add value to my life.
This weekend we are making the 250+ mile drive back to our old town because I have a commitment to a teenager who I used to volunteer with. It's not a cheap or easy trip - it will use more than a full tank of petrol and the day out is expensive - but I remember how important it was for teenage me to have 'spare adults' in my life, and I want to honour my promise to the young woman who has me as one of her spare adults. It's a cost (time and financial) that my family don't really understand but it's a priority. And my friends are excited about looking after the toddler for the day! He gets to stay in contact with some of his important adults too.
My hopes are that I can help as many people as I can with what I can contribute to the community by collecting surplus food and items. My fears are my ex-partner is trying to take my daughter from me and the abuse I still face off him. My fears are if I am not strong enough to face this.
Daughter finally has a job, now she is deemed a non dependent.
Still waiting for a form so I can get to see a dentist, now have an abscess and cannot see a dentist until I have the form to say I am poor. I never realised at 54 years old that I would be living hand to mouth in some sort of Victorian era where my teeth are going to cost thousands to sort out. It did not help that during Covid-19 times my teeth decided to play up and there were no appointments, of course.
The community fridge is proving to be a lifeline for so many and helps me detract from my day to day life, helping others during these times is so important.
Someone from the Housing Association phoned yesterday. They're going to be surveying the block for cyclical maintenance tomorrow, and, "will I be in 12-4pm?" I looked at the calendar, saw I'm down for an online Zoom meeting in the afternoon for my volunteering. I said, "I'll be working for at least a couple of hours during that time slot, so won't be totally available". She responded "WORK?! *YOU'RE* WORKING?!?" in such tones of outrage and disbelief, I'm still fuming now!