I’m not scared of my post any more. Not scared to open emails either. Not even scared to answer my phone. After nearly 4 years of hell, being terrified of anything and everything, its all been falling into place lately. Good things keep happening. People keep giving me stuff. ‘Posh’ teabags to last me all year, friend’s old vacuum (its bloody amazing -I’ve gone from dreading housework to vacuuming every hour, hoping to find new dust), a new birthday dress from Sophie (now have 4 new dresses – check me out, from pauper to princess!). Genuinely thought landlord was going to turf me out because I’m supposed to pay 3 months in advance but all year I’ve been paying 2 and trying to catch up. Dread seeing them in my emails. They rang to say they were going to offer me a 6 month contract payable one month in advance. If I don’t miss any payments they’ll give me a year. The rent is still astronomical but we get to keep/live with our dog. What is it with landlords who won’t rent to dog owners? My teenager is way dirtier and more accident prone than my dog!
My best friend told me “you’re finally getting something back for all the good you give out!” Which is a bloody lovely thing to say to your friend. Make a note of that one.
I was totally expecting to cry my eyes out & punish myself for being an awful, hopeless failure on my 50th last week. Not one tear shed. Amazing.
I feel like I’ve finally emerged from a body and soul that didn’t belong to me. Hated being so weak, so scared of everything. That had never been me. Always a fighter, a tough old boot, get through anything. But the dog days are mostly over.
Practising ‘The Secret’ has really paid off. Whenever the fear starts creeping in I tell myself no! Positive thoughts only. If you think the worst, you’ll get the worst. Which is easy for me to say now I’m (hopefully) through the severe anxiety as a result of the brain injury. Nothing I was scared about happened. Or if it did happen, it turned out the fear was worse than the actuality.
Was upstairs when I heard the post drop on the mat yesterday. Weird but I knew it was going to be a brown envelope. Could hear the rustle of the cellophane window as postman shoved it through the letterbox. Seems to make a different sound than a Christmas card. I looked downstairs and yes, there it is. One single brown envelope on the mat. Got that instant fear pang in my stomach but stopped myself. Whatever is in that envelope you can and will deal with it.
It was a letter from the DWP. Had another health assessment 6 weeks ago. 2 years ago I had one and they rang me 3 days later at 4pm on a Friday afternoon to tell me every single payment was stopping as of that second, they had found me to be fit for work. Fit for work when I was in tremendous pain, crying and panicking 24/7, not knowing who I was or what day it was. I needed to claim Jobseekers, she said.
At the time I was barely leaving the house. I’d decided that if I didn’t interact with anyone, my brain injury would stay hidden and I wouldn’t have to keep apologising. I’d snap at people about the slightest thing and then cry bucket loads because it ‘wasn’t me’. To be honest I didn’t have much of a filter before but its even worse now. Or I’d have a full on panic attack in Sainsburys, unable to breathe because of too many people or too many noises. Sensory overload.
I got really lucky at the Job Centre. The lady assigned to me was lovely. Told me I should appeal and that she’d mark me down as having to do the bare minimum of one hour a week job seeking. But you have to attend once a week or you get penalised/sanctioned whatever. A few times she’d ring and say “Joooooy, you haven’t come in” and I’d say “oh my god I’m so sorry I forgot!”( which should probably be on my epitaph). And she would say “its okay, my finger is hovering and….SUBMIT! There I’ve signed you in”. I mean how lucky was I?
I went off to Headway and they helped me write a letter for mandatory consideration. They’ve been a god send to me. Being able to talk to people about a brain injury you can’t really understand yourself but they get it, is so reassuring. Nothing but kind words and warm advice. I didn’t have to appeal the DWP decision, they sent a letter following the mandatory appeal saying I belonged to them again (or something) and yes, they acknowledged I was disabled. Not just the brain, all the other stuff as well.
That was two years ago. Yesterday I held that brown envelope in my hand and I knew it was going to be alright. And it was. No mandatory consideration or appeal needed. You’re a fully fledged disabled. HURRAH! I thought. And then had a word with myself because being disabled is not actually an achievement haha.
But the greatest achievement is losing the fear. Getting my inner strength back. And I can’t wait to start 2020 with more optimism than I’ve had for years. Its a Christmas Miracle! And it feels good.