I have done a lot of soul searching over the past few weeks. I had completely lost control over my life. My future has been in the hands of an insurance company and Centrelink. Not a happy place to be in.
I have not slept well over the last week or so, still tossing and turning at two and three in the morning. Pain, anxiety and fear all overwhelming me. At 3 am this morning I made a life changing decision. At 9 am I cancelled my Centrelink allowance.
I am now back in control of my life. No more living in a negative, poverty conscious state. While on these payments, you are made to feel useless, a burden on society and lower than anyone deserves to experience. Relying on a government payment with an invisible illness is, to say the least, depressing.
When the system makes mistakes, and you are sent somewhere that is not helpful nor an option, it only serves to lower your already dwindling self esteem. These mistakes have far reaching affects, on everyone involved.
As most of you know, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is a disease which causes inflammation and joint pain and damage. It is in a lot of cases, an invisible disease, until the damage becomes so bad that you require assistance to live. There is no known cure, nor do doctors know what causes it.
When you have a disease like this but you look normal, you are made to feel like a liar or “faking it”. “It’s just a bit of arthritis, get up and move you’ll be fine”. Attitudes like this and being told I am lazy and don’t want to work, cause far more damage than the RA itself. When I am treated like this, I tend to push myself more.
Last week we had a rental inspection. It happens every six months and while my son does all the housework, he does have to go to work. So last week I decided I would wash the floors. I have a special mop, it has a bottle where you put the detergent and pads on the bottom. All I have to do is squeeze the trigger to wet the floor and run the pads over.
I spent the next 24 hours in so much pain, and most likely did more damage. My lower back and my right arm would not move and it took quite a lot of pain killers as well as my normal medication to be able to move again.
The mistake that Centrelink made, sent me to an employment agency, one that caters for normal healthy unemployed people. I was made to fill in a survey, which was not read, and which I found out later will never be read. Therefore my current physical condition was not discussed nor taken into account. I was told I was to apply for 20 jobs per month and if I did not my payment would be stopped.
Now 20 jobs per month is a lot but just imagine applying for all these jobs and because of illness you are rejected from every single one. Imagine what that would do to your self image and to your health. I immediately flared, all my joints were swollen and the pain doubled.
Luckily I was not on a full government payment. I have income protection and will have it for another 2 years, unless a cure is discovered. The difference between the two payments and the departments involved is massive. The government one does not care about anything other than getting you off the payment. The insurance company gets all the details of your illness, they make their determination based on the physical evidence and the advice from medical experts.
You are treated with dignity and with care, during what is a very stressful time. So now without the stress and pressure, I am now back in control of my life. I can now focus on dealing with my illness in the best way, to ensure the best outcome possible. I will most likely return to working life at some stage, but the work will be based upon my illness requirements and my physical condition.
I think what I am trying to say here is, don’t allow others opinions of you and your circumstances to control your very existence. No one sees you as you really are, they see you as they are. The is a huge difference. Be gentle with yourself and do what needs to be done to ensure that you are the very best you that you can be.
Take back control, it is your life and you deserve to have the life you want.