This weeks blog post is a link up with The Money Freak. The Money Freak talks about following Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps in the UK. The Money Freak also offers excellent advice regarding budgeting. Well worth a read.
Having mental health problems don’t just impact on the mental and physical. It can have a significant impact on work and income.
I have been out of work for the best part of a decade. It isn’t how I saw my life. As a teenager growing up, I vowed I wouldn’t spend my life on benefits. I had it all planned out. I would be a teacher, happily married and would have two kids. I would be comfortable and not feel as powerless as I did. I often look back at my teenage years and realise how naïve I was.
At school I was a hard worker, I excelled at English, Drama and Science. I liked Maths but, despised my teacher. I even I think won a student of the year award. Unfortunately, when I was 15 all my hard work has crumbled. Someone mugged me coming home from school and ripped a laptop bag off my shoulder. Two grown men against a tiny teenage girl. The police investigated but, nothing was every done. I think it was the trigger my mind had been waiting for.
My mental health broke down under all the pressure I was under trying to live with the repeated abuse and the surrounding secrets. The gaps of time I had grown used to over the years grew longer and my grades suffered. The internal voices became louder and my fear increased. I was also experiencing depersonalisation and derealisation. I didn’t feel real and everything else didn’t feel real.
Friends reported that I was being rude, aggressive and was acting different. They couldn’t keep up with my mood swings and the school expelled me when Dream hurt a pupil.
The school let me come back when I had to do my GCSE’s. I scraped by with 2 Cs, a handful of Ds and shamefully a U. That ended my dreams of being a teacher.
Employment and benefits
Over the years I have had several attempts at employment but, usually ends with me being fired and confused. Employers have fired me for things I can’t remember doing, saying I am too inconsistent or I have missed shifts. After a few years of bouncing from one job to another I had to throw in the towel and claim disability benefits. Which thankfully I have never had trouble with accessing but, I know how lucky I am.
I have had my fair share of assessments and I lived with constant fear it will be stripped away from me. I feel sometimes I don’t deserve it and am ashamed that I claim benefits.
Why is it expensive?
I have not only got mental health problems; I also have a complex heart condition called tetralogy of Fallots (Tetralogy of Fallot is a group of four structural abnormalities within the heart that occur together.) and in 2016 I was also diagnosed with a chromosome deletion. I have had several significant surgeries since I was a baby.
For me being disabled has meant lots of appointments, medication and lots of car parking fees. I live in a rural area which means I have to travel a decent distance to get to these appointments. Getting a bus just isn’t an option when you need to be at the hospital 25 miles away by 9am. My carer Tim is fantastic at taking me to these appointments, his £62 a week carers allowance doesn’t always go far enough though. Especially as most trips to the hospital take a full day.
Tim also helps me when I have been admitted to hospital late at night and been discharged at 2 am after one of the insiders have attempted self harm or suicide. Tim also takes me to almost all of my therapy appointments.
Therapy as well has been an additional expense. Whilst I am lucky to live in the UK with our free health care the mental health services is lacking. I had to turn to private therapy as I wasn’t getting the right help on the NHS. The NHS is a wonderful service but, seems ill equipped to help DID patients. However, £40 a week for the long-term future is well worth the investment if it means becoming well.
Often Kat is great at giving me petrol money and paying car parking fees. The carers allowance barely covers my living expenses and I cannot work because of my health issues.
How does DID affect budgeting?
I have found budgeting difficult over the years until recently I was impulsive and couldn’t keep track of my spending. When I had the girls, I became better at making sure I met their needs. Over the years I have had a time where I can’t remember what I have spent the money on, I have also found things I don’t remember buying.
I have also ended up with significant debts because of struggles with managing debts. However, I discovered this very bossy man on YouTube. Dave Ramsey spoke about using the envelope system and James has implemented it into our finances. Hopefully, it will allow us to manage our money a lot easier.
My life isn’t set in stone and hopefully as I recover I can achieve those long-forgotten dreams and I will be comfortable physically, mentally and financially.
One day at a time though.