It may be Monday but I am not alone, Adam has taken a weeks holiday, well to say taken it he was more pushed, as he still had holiday’s that he had to use. I don’t remember him ever having to be pushed to take time off when he was working for BT, he couldn’t get out of their doors quick enough as far as I remember. I suppose how we react to work has a huge mix of reasons behind it, but I have watched Adams view of it change over the past 15 years, unlike me, he wasn’t forced to work as a child, although I do believe he did have a paper round at some point, but when we met he was like many of his age, unemployed and happily living off the bank of Mum. When we got engaged I told him straight away that the wedding wouldn’t happen until he was fully employed and apart from a couple of weeks here and there, he hasn’t been unemployed since. I am sure our attitude to work changes as we mature and there is a point somewhere along the line where we stop even thinking about having a job, we just do and we just do it. I know without a doubt one of the most traumatic events in my life was when I was made redundant, as I knew, although I tried to fight it, that I would never work again. Having a job, even though I was already housebound and clearly not ever going to be able to leave the house again, didn’t make it easier, it made it harder.
My view of the world was very much spun around the belief that we all have to work, no matter what that job is, if you can be employed, well you should be, liking what you do is a bonus. Working wasn’t just an expectation or something I did for money, it was something I did because I always had and as long as I physically was able to, I had to. I once said that I would be carried out of the office in my coffin, not that I thought that work was going to kill me, but because I thought I would work forever, never retiring, just going on until there wasn’t anything left in me to give. Even when I was scooting around the place in my wheelchair and I had a gastric tube feeding me constantly, I still didn’t see the slightest reason why any of that should change. I knew what my health could do to me, but I also was proving that I had no intention to give up. For the first three years of being housebound, I still held that view that I could go on forever, but I wasn’t taking into account the economic changes that halted all hope of that ever actually happening.
I know I have written before about the search for work and my disbelief how narrow-minded the British business world really is, but I know that I also managed to somehow say very little about my true feelings about it all. I know that in the past few years that millions of people have been made redundant, both physically fit and disabled, we have seen it on the news over and over again. Not once have I seen or have I managed to find the statistics on the number of people who have managed to continue working once housebound, or how they dealt with redundancy or finding a new job, one that they had no contact with whitest still fit enough to go out and about. I doubt very much that I am the only person this has happened to, but I do know that the reaction to the fact I wanted still to work from government departments, agencies, and even disability charities, was one of disbelief and almost laughter in some cases, I was treated as though I was asking for the impossible.
I know that I cried for days when I was told that I was no longer going to work, I couldn’t get my head around it and I knew that I was being thrown on the trip of life, I knew that I would never work again, as who would employ me, in my 50’s and housebound. I knew that day what I had to go out and prove, that no one would want me. It is hard enough dealing with the fact you can’t get out and about, but to also lose your job, a huge part of your identity, a huge part of your entire life, without even a glimmer of hope, was without doubt other than the death of my son, the hardest, most painful thing I have ever had to go through. It was, without doubt, a million times worse than the day I became housebound, as hard as that might be, the main things in my life went on and I had at least been working from home 3 days a week for several months, my life wasn’t totally unknown, just altered by 2 days a week. Losing my job was really the day that I also truly felt I had become housebound, isolated from the world and lost. That final day was hell for me, as I completed each of my daily tasks for the last time, I found myself in increasing pain, not physically but mentally. When I switched off my bank of PC’s in the office for the last time, I sat here watching each one go black and vanish, it felt as though large chunks of my own body were vanishing along with them.
Even now just writing about it, it is still painful, even the odd tear has slipped out. I don’t think any of us truly understand just how important that job that you don’t want to go to on Monday morning really is to just how we see our lives. I adjusted to being housebound because little changed, yes I had lost the going out thing, but in honesty, I was finding that harder and harder to do as it was. I had reduced my days in the office simply because of the effect getting dressed, going out, dealing with the world and coming home had on me, but I still worked 5 days a week and more when needed. I couldn’t gently slip into not working, I lost everything I had left of normality and suddenly housebound became a millstone around my neck, stopping me from moving on, as there was nowhere to move to. That last day of work was a double whammy, I lost everything thought important all in a few seconds when I disconnected from my PC’s and only had the one left right in front of me. I had to face all the problems that anyone has to when made redundant, yes I had a healthy bank balance but I had to decide how to manage it, what it had to do especially as we had a mortgage and no one would pay that for us, unlike if we rented our home. I face government departments who did nothing but pile on the stress, make things harder and harder, eventually, life settled down, the letters stopped, the calls stopped and life feel somewhat silent. I sent thousands of emails, applied for hundreds of jobs, only to be turned down again and again. All I really managed to do was to prolong the pain, as every refusal was like another part of me being destroyed, they thought it was about a job, the truth was it wasn’t just about working it was to me about being a person, not just invisible and sat at home.
We all underestimate just what is important in our lives and especially when it comes to work. I have never seen work as a right, work is a privilege and one to be truly grateful for, it is a belief that has only grown and grown as my life has gone on, I still have my life and strangely thanks to work, I have one other thing, a true knowledge of PC’s and their power to help you build a new life when everything about the old has vanished. It’s Easter Monday and many of you will be enjoying a day off, but when you go back to work tomorrow, just count the blessings that it brings with it, as living without it takes a whole lot of work to rebuild.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago – 21/04/12 – My love will never die
I have been planning this blog for a while now; you see there was something that changed my entire life it happened on this day 33 years ago. It should have been one of the happiest days of my life but instead, my world imploded. We had been trying to have a baby for a couple of years, I got pregnant for the first time just 3 months after we married, but I miscarried that baby and the next, so when I made it to 4 months without a problem the flags were hoisted and I stepped onto a cloud where I stayed for the next 5.
As I have mentioned before my husband was in the Navy and we lived in Gosport at the time, everything was changing at this point, he had been selected for officer training. He had already moved north to Rosyth…..