Although still wishing for a 100 hours sleep, I find myself actually feeling rather upbeat this morning, not that I was on a downer before but exhaustion had a habit of removing all emotions and leaving you as a smear on the floor. I was surprised when I woke this morning to find that I had a headache, I seem to have had quite a few in the last couple of months, but they have all developed over the day, not thumped through my brain as fast as my eyes opened to the alarm clock. It’s a really odd one for me as the classic all over headache has never been a feature of my life, I remember when I last worked in the office being asked regularly if I could give someone an aspirin, despite always answering the same, that if I did, I would be breaking the law. I really thought that work would be something that I would miss terribly, but with it now being 2 years since I was made redundant, I am surprised at how little I actually don’t miss it at all. I suppose the fact that I had been working from home and had used fully the closing weeks to look for a job, everything from that point went reasonably smoothly. Each change and each step further away from the world of work has been very much like the turning the pages in a book, my memories of the page before are clear, but 10 or 20 pages ago, well I know the story but the precise wording has blended into the past. 2 years ago I stupidly thought that my skills alone and persistence of emailing 100 of companies and agencies, would mean I would be working again very soon. I never allowed for the fact that British companies can’t see past having their employees in the office and living not far away, it was an impossible wall to get past, although I had preformed every element of my work from home for 3 years, they just couldn’t seen how easy it was for me to do so. I kept fighting their views for a whole year, before I gave in and accepted that just as the government had written me off as unable to work again, so had the entire working world and I had to accept it or drive myself insane. Sometimes you have to give in and for me the day that I stopped and faced the fact of what my life was going to be like from then on, was actually a day that empowered me to start living a new life and to stop trying to find a way back in time, to a life that had gone.
I’m not sure what made me start thinking about it again, other than it is two years ago this month I was made redundant, but it is actually the sentence I wrote last, that was the starting point that made me think back. It was that fact, that I had to face a situation, already clear to others, that my life had to change. The hardest part of being housebound is actually that word acceptance, amazingly it is made harder by people who think they are being helpful and trying to give you hope and away into what they think it the right way to live. I still to this day find myself chatting to people on line who want more than anything to get me out of my home, be it by moving house to somewhere they think is more suitable, or by finding away of helping me to get up and down those stairs. I have written many times about the detail of why my actual location has nothing to do with being housebound, so I’m not going over it again today. Becoming housebound doesn’t happen over night for most of us, mine was a slow slope down that hit a bombshell and then over night the door was closed for ever. Learning to live in a different way, did have a gradual start, one that eased me into a different life style, but still without really knowing it, I was still fighting it. Amazingly the one group that I thought would be throwing me down the stairs physically, the DSS, the benefits people held their hands up and said “You will never work again, so here are your benefits even thought you never asked for them”. That was from a government desperate to get the disabled into work, but they had their information from my doctors, it didn’t help my self esteem at all. I was caught in this strange world where I felt almost bullied by one side telling me I could still have a normal life, a job and everything else that required me to be outside. The other side were saying throw up our arms and accept you will never live that way again, you are a right off. Just one year ago all of that was still fighting a battle inside me, still trying to demand and destroy, voices with opinions and not one of those voices had sat down with me and asked one simple question, what is it I wanted from the rest of my life.
I believe that if you are going to live well in a housebound world the first and most important thing you can do is simple shut out all those alien voices and I hate to say this, but that includes even those you love, because this has to come from yourself and you alone. It wasn’t until I was able to do that, that I actual was able shut out all of my past life and look at myself in a new world and how I was going to live in that world. I was free to start making decisions, not just based on my health but also on my what was in my heart. You can’t do anything until you are at peace with where you are in life, you have to accept what limitations you have to live with, without those who keep lying to you and quoting stupid lines about there are no limitations, yes there are and you are going to have to live with them. It takes time to accept you have a new life and there is no going back. I wasn’t able to do anything until I was at peace with all of that, then and only then could I start to talk to others and to be able to say I was in myself happy. It may seem like such a small thing, but to be happy, to know your limitations and your ambitions is what makes life liveable. I am so at ease with it all now that I hear those people who want to tell me I can live my old life, but they no longer upset me, because I know my answers to them and I am happy to tell them.
Housebound isn’t easy, 6yrs nearly 7 now since I was last out there alone as a person, not on two feet, but on 4 wheels. Those first 4 years where a training ground, mixed with old and new, but it honestly took me until 2 years ago to finally feel at home in my home and so at home I am happy to be here for ever. It’s a long slow process and it takes strength, for the oddest of reasons, it takes strength to shut out all those who think they are being helpful, they aren’t living in the same world, so only you can decide anything.