Supply agencies…I never liked them though I’d had no experience with them, now that I had I like them even less. They gave me no sick pay, not even Statutory Sick pay that every employed person is entitled to. My doctor signed me off, my neurologist (I’d been back with the NHS since the Optic Neuritis) put me through all the tests needed to get a diagnosis and I hobbled around my house and street trying to figure out what to do.
I slumped into depression, I would never teach again, I had failed, I might as well not keep trying. I accepted the treatment that I was put on but I spent most of my time looking up information on my condition and watching films.
At the end of summer I was deep in the pit, no light at the end of my tunnel and my contract for the room in my shared house was almost up. I had no job (my contract ended at the end of summer term), no money coming in, no hope and the added joy that at the beginning of all this just before valentines day my boyfriend had left me.
The next couple of years are a bit of a blur of hatred, anger, depression, anxiety, medical appointments and living with my parents again.
I worked back at the nursery when I could manage it, helping out caring for those children, seeing those that I had cared for as babes had grown into little boys and girls. I spent time in the garden trying to distract myself, organised some of the nursery storage etc in the same way I had as a technician updating all their COSHH assessments, policies and procedures.
I had no hope of ever working again of ever having a life again. All I could think of was how to escape the body that had betrayed me so badly and how to hide from the world. I ended up on a liaison psychiatry ward for two and a half months over the Christmas period the year after I was diagnosed. I was promised help and a full assessment I received well… a lot of time to sit and think, a lot of time to talk to other patients and not a lot else.
Eventually after I had left the ward I was offered help from a support worker who could come out into the community with me to get me back out of my home. While Jo was working with me something other than my ability to leave my front door and do some shopping without suffering a full blown panic attack happened. My confidence started to return, my mood elevated and I realised that maybe my life wasn’t over.
She helped me deal with the job centre and even find a centre who specialised in helping people who had been out of work because of illness or disability. That job centre ran me through a program that helped me to sort out my CV, made me realise how many skills I had gained over the years and how I could put them to use.
Jo had mentioned to me one session while we were out that if I could get my head in the right place I could make a good Support worker. That thought sat in my head for some time until the end of the program came and we started looking for jobs.
I was searching away when the man who had been helping me through all this from the office told me one day that a company was looking for support workers, he had mentioned me and my experience to them and they really wanted to hear from me.
I filled out the application form with their help and got through the interview somehow. I was so nervous I know I started babbling and I honestly have no idea how I got through it I don’t remember much of it so I assume I ended up dissocciating a little even though they were nice to me. I was honest about my MS and why I hadn’t been working, they were understanding of it all and that meant the world to me.
The second interview with the people I might support was an eye opener, it was with the service that I was working at last night and I was completely unprepared for how much support they would need. I told the line manager of my worries, that I wasn’t sure I could physically cope with that service due to my MS and he jumped at moving me to the service he had begun with.
I knew as soon as I met the ladies there that I wanted to work with them.
I have been there for two years now, they have made me laugh, tugged on my heart strings and encouraged me to push my boundaries. I still struggle with going out on my own but when I’m with then I have the confidence I had as a younger woman. I’ve taken on more responsibilities though not always through choice but necessity and gained some interesting Qualifications even if I can’t do the NVQ in Health and Social care that I really should be doing due to my degrees.
I’m struggling with my position at the moment, I’m stressed and I’m working too many hours but I love working with them. I may not get on with my co-workers a lot of the time but where possible I ignore that and focus on our clients.
BPD does not make working with people easy, I struggle to understand how they act and my fluctuations in mood do not make things easy but for some reason the people I support are different. I find connecting with them easy even though I don’t understand it I’m grateful for that.
I look back on what I’ve done in my working life and wonder at what I’ve accomplished yet still there are always regrets. I will never be good enough for my own mind, never live up to my own expectations. The MS MonSter is attacking and telling me that I do too much and I must remember to listen to it, to speak my worries to those above me in the company and give them a chance to make things better. If they do not then I will have to leave this job that has brought me so far because at the moment it is pulling me back down again and I can not allow that.