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focus on where you are headedOn Monday I decided I’d had enough of waiting for the post to arrive to see if the latest missive from Housing Benefit had arrived. I rang up. I got through to a guy who was trying to be helpful and telling me figures, but he was reading it out loud as he went and it didn’t make a lot of sense. He told me my claim hadn’t been suspended and that a decision had been made to pay some £3 rent a week for me. None of it made a lot of sense and he said the paperwork would be in the post in a few days and I left it at that.

By Thursday nothing had arrived and Friday was a washout too. After returning home I would open the door with trepidation looking for post on the mat. When a cold caller rang the bell I almost reacted badly once I realised he wasn’t the postman delivering a thick envelope. I’m waking up early with weird bad dreams. I can phone up and chase this or I can just wait it out. Either is stressful and quite honestly the end result will be the same.

Yesterday therefore, I sat down and made a list of what I have control of and what I can do something about:

  • my physical and mental well being
  • what do I want to do for a living?
  • what extra work can I do now?
  • what do I want?
  • how do I learn and find answers to these questions
  • love my children and carry on supporting them

I am going to try and focus on these. Some involve doing research online, talking to people about job opportunities and direction. There’s reading round counselling as preparation for September’s start. There’s also doing meditation and physical exercise as well as my physio. I need to get out of my comfort zone, at least once a week.

I acknowledged, for the first time, that I’m sick of being poor. I want to be off benefits and tax credits, to be financially independent. This claim re-assessment has swept the rug out from under my feet and for the first time in a very long time I am simply scared about losing my home, even though that is probably an unnecessary fear. It brings back old memories of being petrified of losing a home and then doing so. I want to feel safe.

So this scare has made me think harder and more immediately about where I am and where I want to be. Whether I can find part time work that fits in with studying and children and all the rest of it I don’t know, but I’m going to start looking. I have had it easy these past few years, and if that’s because benefits have been overpaid then so be it. It might all end up being a positive kick up the arse.

But I still look forward (sort of) to knowing whether I do owe £15,000 and whether I have to pay it back.