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Bob Geldof, Pink Floyd, The Wall

Bob Geldof, Pink Floyd, The Wall

I haven’t written for months, and most of what I have been writing has been about my counselling courses. The fact that I have been writing about it is good but I struggle to find the energy and motivation to write about me in other contexts which is really not what this is all about.

I was in a good mood this morning, woken up by the sounds of my children getting up and going out for the day without me leaving me in peace. I could catch up, potter about, do whatever, without calls of what’s for dinner, can I buy something, or the ongoing ramblings of teenagers playing videos.

Yesterday I went for my interview for Level 3 Counselling. We were together as a group for two hours which included a group exercise and a short writing piece. Then we came in for individual interviews. I really loathe job interviews as it involves me selling myself which is something I’m poor at but I did fine until the last couple of minutes when I started waffling and talking utter bollocks. I acknowledged the waffling and left, but it felt like walking out on a bad note. However I walked out feeling that the day had gone well and was positive.

I got home to a letter from the local council, saying they were re-assessing my Housing Benefit and could I, as a self-employed person, send in my accounts for the last six years, bank statements for the last two months etc. Now I have no reason to believe that I’ve done anything wrong to fall foul of the rules but I feel nervous. Also they say they might ask for proof of expenses claimed in the accounts. Which I should theoretically have for major items but of course some are allowances or estimates as they are for any self-employed person. Money has generally been tight this year, some of which I put down to an extravagant long weekend in January, but I don’t feel safe.

I already have my Tax Credit claim each year held up because I don’t claim Child Benefit for 2son so it gets flagged up as worthy of investigation, to the point that HMRC actually telephoned me a few weeks ago to ask for clarification, rather than send me a letter which is unheard of. My annual tax return already has my business accounts summary included which feeds into my housing benefits. Each year there is a short period where they decide I should pay some rent while they assess my tax claim and then decide that no I shouldn’t really. But I don’t get that back. I know I shouldn’t complain as I have a council house, not a flat or a flat in a council estate and I am extraordinarily lucky to do so, especially in London.

But I’m not sure how much more shit I can take.

With this course (that I may not get a place for as they have to cull a third) I am finally taking steps to find work that I will enjoy and may be able to develop and carry out for the rest of my life. A career change brought about by thinking about what I want to do, not what fits in around kids and partners. It’s a first. But I’m not sure that it’s going to happen fast enough.

I’ve recently developed a trapped nerve, affecting my right arm from finger tips up through my back to the neck. I suspect it’s been coming on for months but I woke up one Saturday in screaming pain. I’m struggling to use a computer and am trying to rely less on the mouse which seems to be the main cause. I had physiotherapy last year for six months for what I assumed was RSI for my right arm. It alleviated but did not cure. I think six months is your lot unless you’re paying. I am trying to spend less time in front of my computer but seeing as I use it to earn money that’s difficult.

I had/have just started in the last month to take a bit of exercise, trying to get out of the house every day for thirty minutes walk. Not setting myself targets or anything like that but just trying to take a break and enjoy it. It sounds minimal but it was about making a start. I have put on some weight over the winter, enough to push me to the boundaries of my current dress size. I don’t want to go up another dress size. I can’t afford to but also cannot accept it as just a thing that happens when life is tough but see it as failure.

I’m waiting for the results but over the last six months I’ve been under investigation with the NHS (in a different way from Housing Benefits). I discussed with my GP (and my practice has lost my two favourite GPs which hasn’t helped) wanting to find out exactly what was causing breathing difficulties, whether it was allergies, and if so, to what precisely. I wanted to know so that I could make a decision as to whether my health would improve significantly if I moved away even though the idea of leaving the life I have is incredibly scary. Now it turns out my lungs are in good nick and I haven’t got asthma (which we knew) and the preventative inhaler I’ve been using for the past few years has just had a placebo effect. So that’s gone in the bin (in the appropriate recycling container of course) although the GP hasn’t been officially told I haven’t got asthma so they’re all confused. It’s probably angina for which I am waiting test results. I’m annoyed with my favourite GP for prescribing an inhaler without looking into this when I first queried it but there you go, at least I’m sorting it out now and fell that I am at least taking some positive steps towards looking after my physical health.

I had felt, what with 2son getting funding through his EHCP for next year that I had a breather. His funding, by law, had to be decided by March 31st (as opposed to the previous year when it was decided at the end of August, a few weeks before term started). It was approved on March 30th which gives us some certainty although I do now have to look for somewhere new for him to go to study his A levels after the next academic year. My amazing social worker who worked hard for this warned my she might be re-deployed into another team. The good ones never last long.

3son is very volatile with an anger and rage that is not happy. He’s started fluoxetine (aka Prozac) which is forcing him to CAMHS so at least he is talking to an adult about his moods. He’s struggling with school having dropped an A level to 2 and is going for future choices that have lower entry requirements for him, which may well end up being the right choice but I see him just narrowing down his choices until he doesn’t have any left and that worries me. He’s an emotional drain but can also be an absolute joy.

My two challenging children are somewhat counter-balanced by 1son and 4son who are mostly absolute joys for which I’m just so grateful for the very selfish reasons that I’m not sure how I could cope if one of them needed me to give more. 4son is halfway through his GCSEs with a minimum of effort but no causes to worry and 1son is talking about going to university.

So I’m sitting here and rather than enjoying the solitude am worrying about whether the council will sweep away my financial safety rug from under my feet. I have to just gather the paperwork, send it off and wait and see what happens. But it makes me uneasy and I’m not going to not have it on my mind until I get a result.

I just seems that every time I move forward on one thing, another moves backward and I’m just trapped inside these walls of wealth, work, children and health.

Oh yes, and my parents are moving back to London next month, about an hour away.