Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Thank you

In June of last year, my husband Ian, and I, went to Egypt. I became ill in Egypt, presumably having caught a bug on the aeroplane. On return to the UK I did not recover, but became far more ill. At first it was a chest infection, but as I failed to recover for months I concluded that CFS had got me, and was going to take me away from this world. Honestly, that's how bad it felt. I was bed-bound. Telling someone you were bed-bound does not sound so severe until you describe what it implies. No, I did not have a few months rest in bed. I was in bed because I could not move without agony. I was so weak that I could not lift my limbs. Eating physically hurt; my jaw ached, my stomach hurt, my eyes hurt and felt weird, the smell of the food actually made me retch at times, and when I did eat it was not accepted particularly graciously by my body. Simply sitting up in bed was frequently too uncomfortable to be realistic. I wore incontinence pads, as I was scared that I would not get to the bathroom when I needed to because of the pain and fatigue in my limbs. Every part of my body felt useless .. dead. THAT is what being bed-bound means.

So, in November, when Ian sat on the bed next to me and simply said 'I want a divorce', I honestly didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Had I had the ability to do so I would either have hit him with a brick (there were no bricks available mind you), or told him he was a selfish bastard with the timing of British Rail. Nevertheless, he was right, our relationship was crap, and doomed, and I'd wanted out of it for ages myself. So I agreed to a divorce. It was a struggle. My first struggle was getting my head around everything, not even just getting out of bed. It became apparent as soon Ian had asked for a divorce that his intention was not to play nice. He threatened me that if I didn't do things his way, if I sought legal advice, he would make all the money disappear. So I found a solicitor who did legal aid and would do home visits when Ian wasn't here.

It was been a slow, torturous process, the last eight months. The first step was getting myself well enough to get out of bed. Amazingly, knowing that freedom was ahead of me helped. My doctor had been telling me for months that if I was free from Ian, I'd start recovering. He was right. I have no idea of how I managed it, but with Ian being gone I had to start looking after myself. It's mostly been bread, tinned fish, and water, but I've been doing it.

Early in the year, Ian cancelled my credit card. It was linked to his bank account so I do understand this, but it was my life line; I used it only to buy food and fuel for the car. His reasoning was that he could not trust me to not drain the account. So I applied for benefits. While I waited for a response from the DWP I asked my mother if she could loan me some money. She wrote back to me telling me that she had no money to loan me, and then she gave my sister £4000 the next week. With sick notes from my doctor I started receiving ESA (Employment & Support Allowance). It took only a couple of months for them to call me up for a medical assessment, one of the most stressful experiences of my life (yes, more stressful than the divorce). As anyone who has been reading my blog will know; I have been extremely close to the edge of another breakdown.

I've had an amazing support network. For the last ten years the only social life I have known has been Ian's family, and occasionally interaction with Ian's university friends. I've made friends on the Internet though, who have proved to be the only people there for me. Thank you everyone.
Thank you N for always being online, listening to my complaints and daily gripes.
Thank you M, for coming to the solicitors with me and looking after my babies.
Thank you BV, for being a refuge, a sister, and a best friend to me.
Thank you A, for being an escape route.
Thank you BW, for being a shoulder, and strong for me, again and again.
Thank you J, for bringing me joy.
Thank you L, for all of the legal advice you've given me over the last few months.
Thank you S, for listening and caring.
Thank you T, for sharing my pain, and helping me laugh.
I wouldn't have survived without you guys.

I've had so much to deal with. I just cannot fathom that I have made it through. The divorce is over, except for needing the house to sell. The medical assessment for benefits is over. My health is nowhere near as good as it was at the beginning of last year, but I am no longer on deaths door. I feel like I'm at the end of the tunnel, in the light, looking back into the tunnel in complete disbelief and awe that I made it through.

Thank you so so much.

1 comment:

  1. Awww bless you honey - told you the light at the end of the tunnel wasn't another dead end :) And without you there for me the same as I am for you we'd both be in bad places now! XXX