Friday, 13 March 2015
So, where have I been?
You don’t have to be that observant to have noticed the rather large gap between last June and a few days ago in which I produced not a murmur; I suppose it is only right that I fill you in on what happened during those months by way of explanation because at least one person missed me.
As you may have been aware, I was not in the best place about this time last year, having lost my welfare benefits due to a range of factors which I won’t go into. I was also faced with the loss of the work I was doing at the university in Chelmsford and renewed calls from my wife for a divorce. Well, I was sent into a tailspin, plunged further down the Abyss than I have ever gone and found myself almost completely helpless and defeated.
I was under the care of the local Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team and I was finally given some practical help rather than just medication to help me cope. I had my first ever social worker who put me in touch with a support worker called Laurence from Family Mosaic, the Local Area Coordinator called Ben and the local mental health trust’s Employment Specialist called Richard.
Laurence has probably had the hardest job as he helped me get my welfare payments back again which really cheered my wife up as she had been supporting me with £100 a month to buy my groceries and toiletries, an amount she could ill-afford to spend out of her pittance of a wage. I was on that minimum amount for about seven months which wasn’t easy to do with the price of living having sky-rocketed in the past few years but it did make me much better with my money when I started getting the £101 per week Employment Support Allowance in around November. In fact, I know feel as if I’m quite well off which is a sobering thought but I suppose you need to struggle financially before you realise that, although the benefit payments are still quite atrociously small, if you’re careful you can survive after a fashion.
I still haven’t had any reply back about the complaints I lodged with the university but then I never really expected anything from them as the staff there don’t really like to admit their mistakes which kind of makes them a lot like the Department for Work and Pensions whose screw-up and inefficiency left me without any income and would have left me starving if my wife hadn’t have graciously bailed me out. Oh, I did get all the money I should have received from the end of last March until my claim was reinstated but no apology was forthcoming for the loss of the claim forms I sent to them (twice) or the fact that they sent the wrong form to me to fill in which only complicated matters.
The divorce was finalised in July but I am still living with my ex-wife as we’re both having trouble getting re-housed because neither of us wants the other to be made homeless. It seems, however, that the housing legislation is set up to make sure that any separation is acrimonious because the local authority have informed me that the only way to protect my ex-wife’s claim to a council property is for her to take me to court and have the joint tenancy made over to her. This wouldn’t be so bad but there is no guarantee that I won’t be left homeless by the local authority who, thanks to the assholes in Westminster, have every opportunity to wash their hands of anyone in need of housing. That’s our compassionate Government for you.
Slowly over the last few months I have started doing the odd bit of voluntary work again and some of it actually gives me the chance to use the initial teacher training I undertook last January to March. I now have two students, on a one-to-one basis, that I help with basic computer skills and I gave a presentation on depression to some social work students for the local council back in November. I am, however, not as busy as I once was and I’m not as anxious to go outside of the walls of my flat as I used to unless I really need to do something important.
It has been a hard slog getting to where I am now but there’s still a long way to go before I’m anywhere near back to a place where I can cope with life without the support of the small band of helpers I’ve been given. And life isn’t helping much as there has been a lot of bad news lately that outweighs some of the good news I’ve had. The biggest pieces of misfortune are finding out that my Dad’s cancer has spread and he now has tumours in his neck, lung and adrenal gland all of which has had the tin hat put on it by the passing of Biscotti, our Syrian hamster, caused by of all things cancer.
As you can imagine, I haven’t been up to writing anything over the last few months hence my absence but I’ll try to post something every so often from now on but I won’t be as intent on writing as I have in the past because I’m still struggling to cope with everything even though my situation has improved enormously from what it was. I do still want to be a thorn in the side of my local MP though (while she still has a job) so I’ll try to be as cutting as usual about her and her complete lack of interest in her constituents because it amuses me.
Until next time…