Every single fucking day, I open my eyes and I cry for the career that I have lost. The career that I dedicated 16 years of my life to. I loved nursing with a passion. Yes, it’s physically and mentally a very demanding job and you could argue that you are a glorified shit shoveler, but despite all of that, I miss it with all my heart and soul. I really do.
Yet despite all that love, I had to make the choice to change my job. To give up the career that I loved so much. I had to take a job in the local shop in my village, as a part time checkout operator. Why? I was going backwards financially. I was making too much money to claim anything for help with rent or childcare. I was sinking further into debt. My boys would get what food I could afford to buy, so there were days I drank lots of water so I couldn’t feel my empty belly. I was starting to hate the career I loved. So that’s why I changed careers.
I got help with child care costs and a small amount of housing benefit. It wasn’t much, but it helped. I was able to buy a lot of the reduced food at work which helped to keep my grocery bill right down. Things were not marvellous but they were sure as heck better than before.
Then, in 2009, came my constant companion. Pain. It spread through my body like a wildfire, and the were mornings when I would try to get out of bed and have to shove a pillow in my mouth to scream so that I didn’t wake/scare the kids. I had rheumatoid arthritis, but the pain was not constant. The pain relief I was taking worked. But not now. Nothing helped. I did everything I could, I exercised to keep my muscles working and took painkillers. I pushed myself through work every single day.
One day, it was just too much. My body knocked me on my ass. I couldn’t move without crying. I called my doctor and thankfully I got an emergency appointment. I got taken there in my PJs because it hurt too much to move my arms. I was written up for some stronger pain killers and was referred to several people at the hospital and for several different scans. I was given a three month sick note.
Months later I had my diagnoses (more than one 😭😭😭) and I was medically retired from work. I was heartbroken. I had worked since I left school. I had never had to survive on benefits. Until now. I cope. I don’t live. The boys are well fed, and I eat what’s left. But I miss my job. I would run to the door and beg to be let back in to work. If I could. But my situation is never going to get any better. This is it for me now. There is no better.
What really fucking hurts now is when I see the things that are posted on the Internet about benefit claimants. I see the things my friends have written about benefit claimants. Do they think that of me? Do they see me like that? This is almost more than I can bear. Do they think I love living my life this way? Well I don’t. I hate it. I hate being a prisoner in this chair. I hate not being able to work. I hate having to rely on what the state gives me. So please take a moment before you say those things. Try and think that there are some people who would give their eye teeth to be able to work. Including me.