Looking back, I remember what life was like when I started this blog. I remember how miserable I was, stuck in a shabby YMCA flat, barely able to go out due to my chest getting tight and wheezy and feeling like a prisoner in my own home. I hated it. I hated myself. I gave up in the end and started dressing only in huge shirts and hoodies. I gave up on life and I think that if I had carried on that way for much longer, I would have ended it because I really felt like there was no hope. No reason to keep going. No one was helping me at the time, partially because I didn't know who to ask, and I was still running around after other people, cooking and cleaning when I couldn't even stand up properly due to my sore back or breathe properly. I wasn't sleeping because of the noise from other flats (sometimes it was like living next to one night club and below another) and after a 13 week "course" at the Job Centre, I was so driven down that I couldn't carry on looking for work and have been on ESA ever since due to my physical and mental health respectively.
Those "courses" the Job Centre send you on are a waste of time and money. You go in for two days a week and you have to sit in a room with other people (often the concept of "intelligent conversation" was "'Ere! D'ya watch Big Brother?" and then you sit filling in inane worksheets about job hunting (the whole thing repeats every few weeks so you do it all at least twice) and then when you finally get let out, you're totally burned out and it is frankly depressing. My physical health has slowly become more of a barrier towards working. It isn't that I wouldn't want to, it's just that now I can't work. I can't guarantee where I'll be from day to day, whether or not I am going to be in hospital or not, and can barely walk from my bed to the toilet on the worst days. I am oxygen dependent and have to use my powered wheelchair to get around. The reason for this decline in recent years has been just because of the illness I have and the fact that like all lung disease, it does tend to deteriorate as you get older but it had a lot of important factors which made that happen faster. There's not a lot we can do at the moment, so I try my best to keep positive and hope that things will one day improve. After I had an attack in front of my advisor we knew it was time I went to ESA. Life on ESA is good. I'm never short of anything and as it's topped up by extra components as well as DLA, I like to think my life is comfortable and a lot easier. The best bit though is not having to sign on at the dole office every 2 weeks! I do get a bit bored and antsy though after sitting around all day every day or being confined to my bed.
My life is a far cry from what it was. I hated my old life and by the end of it, I was almost ready to give up because I had convinced myself that no man would want me and as a result, I had no confidence and well, its hard to move on and forget about what someone used to do to you when you have to live with the effects for the rest of your life. Don't get me wrong, I owe my illness for making me a stronger person emotionally and showing me how much I can push through, but if someone offered me a fresh pair of lungs which would work and mean I'm not weighed down with an oxygen tank anchor, I would go for it. No question.
I probably shouldn't have gone out today, but I desperately needed to break the boredom. I've been confined to my bed as my infection is starting to kick back at me. I've been bringing up more thick green stuff and it seems to get stickier as days go by. But so long as I keep my chin up and keep going, we will beat it. I may be connected to an oxygen tank, but I have a "can do" attitude!