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Tough Times

Its been over two months since being made redundant now and times are really hard. To spend day after day applying for jobs, not hearing anything back from anyone is extremely demoralising and depressing. Yes, its that dreaded word again, depression.

Having battled through it just over three years ago now, I had that light at the end of the tunnel. I stopped taking my anti-depressants, which were Citalopram and life was looking a little more rosy. I’d started a new job, made some new friends and moved in with some lovely people in Merstham. I was dating again after splitting up with my alcoholic ex and was meeting some nice guys out there for a change after years of random assholes. For a month or so I was dating a different guy twice a week. My confidence had grown. I’d got over my aunt trying to steal my identity and though I was pissed at it, it didn’t depress me. Work was great, I loved every minute of it and used to joke that I’d work for free as I liked it that much. The pay wasn’t fantastic but after a few months on Job Seekers Allowance it was a lot better and it paid my rent to my awesome landlord. I was getting on well with my mum too, which is something that didn’t go too well the years preceeding. Life wasn’t bad.

In June 2010 I met up with an old school friend that I hadn’t seen for over ten years, and we became good friends because of a mutual interest in photography. My friends kept nudging me to say I should consider dating him but at the time I wasn’t looking for a relationship as I didn’t trust anyone after my ex. It was at my mate from work’s hen party in July I decided to take a chance and I have no regrets since then in doing so as he has been my rock, saving me in more ways than he can ever imagine. Things kind of developed quickly, a lot faster than I expected, especially after I made a point of saying to take things slow and see how it goes.

I moved in with him January, much to my landlord and housemate’s disapointment as for some reason they would miss me! Work was still going well but getting ridiculously busy, I was working stupid hours but not getting paid for them nor accruing any lieu time. I was getting stressed and the thought of going to work each day was putting a strain on my emotions. I was disciplined for my “attitude towards work” a few days after my grandad died (how considerate!), work was beginning to suck but I stuck with it and kept on going.

I was struggling with pain in my lower back and started going to the doctors. My GP kept giving me various painkillers and anti-inflammatorys including Tramadol and Diazepam. Nothing worked though. I had blood tests every few weeks as my ESR and CRP markers were up. I had an X-Ray on my spine and it was noted that the discs at the base of my spine had started to wear down. It took them three months to refer me to see a specialist as they didn’t know what the problem was, all I kept hearing was “there’s something up, but we don’t know what it is,” very reassuring.

My employers were starting to get annoyed with me for having to take time off to keep going for appointments. I saw the Rheumatologist in December last year and he sent me for an Isotope Bone Scan. A couple of weeks later I found out I had a condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis. I’d never heard of it and wasn’t sure what that meant. Basically part of the base of my spine has fused together and is putting pressure on my hip and pelvis, causing severe inflammation. I was off work for a couple of weeks with a number of things at that time, including norovirus and the onset of Chrohn’s Disease, coupled with the pain of this arthritis that was kicking me down. I could barely move and struggled with sleeping. Not only that but a few days later I found out I was pregnant. Everything was going on at once!

I went back to work and found out on the day of my return that I was being made redundant. All I could think was, WTF! Why? Business is booming and the staff were struggling as it is. Their excuse was they were having role reshuffles and decided that I was no longer needed. Of course this had nothing to do with them getting annoyed as I had to keep going off for tests and couldn’t work in the warehouse anymore because of my disability or pregnancy. Yeah right! I was let go towards the end of February and since then they’ve been advertising for more and more staff, including for the role I was doing. I don’t feel pity towards them that I’ve been told that things have gone on a downhill spiral for them since I left, I feel good about that. I hope that doesn’t make a bad person, but after what they did to me I can’t help it.

I went straight down the Job Centre and was turned away by a very rude lady who said I need to phone or apply online for Job Seekers Allowance. I only wanted advice. I walked away with my head hung in shame. That night I sat down at my partner’s parents PC and filled in an application form for JSA. I had an appointment a week later and two weeks later the process began. Having to go back every other week to prove that you are looking for work, knowing that no one wants you because you’re pregnant and have a disability is very demoralising.

I explained to an advisor this morning that I was feeling depressed because I apply for jobs everyday and don’t hear anything back. She said I shouldn’t take it to heart and its not personal as hundreds of people are applying for one job. I know she’s right but its still hard not to take it to heart. She suggested if things get really bad then I should see my GP and try and get a medical certificate for depression and my disability as she could see I was struggling to walk, especially as I now have to walk around with a stick because my right hip as started to wear away now and its agony to move. I never even thought about it but she made a good point, it would give me a few weeks off to get my head together and I wouldn’t have to attend meetings for a little while. I said I’d have a think about it. But I don’t want to give up, I’m not that person anymore.

As depressed as I may get, as painful as things may get, I can’t give up. I may carry around a lot of burdens but I’m carrying something more important than that, and when he or she comes into the world I need to be strong for them!

Life has to get better, surely there’s not much else it can throw at me. God only knows its done that over the last 15 years already. I can’t handle anymore, please, whatever it is give me a break.
LH

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Things can only get better, surely…

Its been two months since being made redundant and I hate being unemployed. Applying for job after job, not hearing anything back due to the amount of applications they receive can be rather demoralising. Attending the job centre (aka hell) is a horrible experience, especially when they look at you as if to say “why haven’t you got a job?” Well, it wasn’t my decision and my ex-employers were clever with their words even though unofficially I could’ve had them over a barrel for unfair dismissal because of my disability.

That’s another thing, Ankylosing Spondilitis is one of the most painful things to have. People don’t understand that. Some days I can barely walk a few yards without screaming in pain, don’t even talk to me about trying to sleep. Having the base of my spine fused together and knowing the bones of my hips are grinding away with every move I make doesn’t make me look forward to what’s to come.

Despite having no money and no prospects at the moment though, I have a family that loves me, friends who care about me and a wonderful boyfriend who thinks the world of me. The future may seem bleak and our little munchkin may be being born into what feels like poverty but at least he or she will be loved, which is more than anything money can buy, and to know I have my family in these tough times gets me through the day.

This is my genuine thank you to my amazing friends and family (old and new) for the support you have shown me over the last few months. Without you guys I couldn’t have done this, I love you all!

Sincerest Gratitude,
LH xx