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History of a Benefit Scrounger

April 11, 2011

Got my first job aged 12, a paper round before school, soon to tourn inot 2 paper rounds, one after school as well. Aged 14 I took another job as a butchers delivery boy, so sturday mornings were spent riding one of those old fashioned delivery bikes with a huge basket on the front, delivering meat round the local neaighbourhood. Soon after this I also got a job working Saturday afternoons and all day sunday in a burger bar, lazy bugger aint I šŸ˜‰ I left school at 15 with 3 low grade CSE’s, but being lucky enough to get a job in a warehouse, not glamerous but it paid ok. Next job was in a factory, where I made it to the dizzy heights of supervisor, lasted 6 years there then decided needed a change. Af ter some soul searching decided to go into nursing, oh forgot to say did a stint in a nursing home when I was a teen. Started Nurse training in late 80;s became a Registered Nurse in 92. I then fast tracked, firstly getting a job as a staff nurse in the hopspital where I trained, stayed there for 3 months, then got the offer of a job as a Deputy Managed of a community home doem in Essex ( I am from Lancashire). At this point I was married and had 2 children (both bor while I was doing my nurse training). I moved to Essex on my own, living in a nurses home for 4 months, this wasnt working so had to quit and moved back up north, again didnt clain benefit, got a job with a nursing agaency, whilst looking for something permenant. Got the offer of a job in Dunstable, looked inot this carefuly and decided we could all afford to move there, unlike Essex. Tokk the job as a Clinical Nurse in a Social Services care home, lived in the nurses home for a few weeks till I found family somewhere to live. Stayed in this job for about 1 year then was given the chance to set up and manage 3 care homes in the Bedfordshire area, hell yeah all my work had paid off. It was hard work but we got the homes up and running, with me being based in a challenging behaviour unit (back when we loved labelling things). I was there for 3 years when around my 30th birthday I suffered a subarachnoid haemorrage, thus put me in hospital for 3 weeks, with mild stroke like symptoms, and kept me off work for a further 2 months. This is the first time I had had a serious illness and been unable to work. I returned to work, taking on to much to soon, and after 4 weeks back I had a severe mental breakdown, It was strange, I had spent years caring for people then I needed caring for myself. I gave up my nursing career, and was on Incapacity benefit for about a year, during which time I spent months in therapy and as a recepticle for every anti-depressant on the market, I was also being treated for high blood pressure.
I then was given the chance to go on a back to work training programme for the long term sick and disabled, teaching me I.T. skills, CV buildong, interview skills and trying to build my confidence.Lucky me I did so well when I finished the course I was offered a job at the centre as a trainer. This went really well until I was given the opportunity to open another centre in Bedford and run it. Again I took on to much to soon, and had another breakdown. This put me out of work for 2 years, the forst year spent in a near vegititave state, then a year building my self esteem back up. I then heard of a scheme the BBC ran called Extend, which was desinged for people with disabilities to get into Broadcasting. The scheme was a 12 week plkacement, which I spent working in the Archives, I had the placement extended to 16 weeks, then was interviewed for a full time post, I spent 7 years working as an rchive Libararian, it was fantastic, being based at BBC Television Centre in London, the commute was hard, but worth it. Two years ago things started to change, which I didnt cope with well, staff were laid off, locations were moved, there was a lot going on, our futur was uncertain. During all this my wife was diagnosed with MS, which added to the pressure, she works for the BBC as well, but had to cut her days down, which meant I had to get to work on my own. One day after having an argument with my manager over time keeping (bloody public transport) I lost the plot (technical term) and walked out, suffering yet another breakdown. I got sick pay for 6 weeks, then SSP for a year (I think) I then got nothing, unable to leave the house, unable to talk to people I couldnt fight for what I needed, my wife helped me apply for benefit, then appeal when I was refused, dont ask me for details, I cant emember. It is only recently, 2 years after leaving work that I fianlly won an appeal and was given DLA, not much but it helps. I have also recently been diagnosed with diabettes, I still find it hard to leave the house, I take things very personally and if I make a mistake or anything goes wrong I withdraw into myself, I tkae medication for anxiety and depression, diabetted, high blood pressure and high cholestrol. I have to have it in weekly dossettes so I remember to take it, have been know to take double, forgetiin g I have taken it already. On really bad days I consider taking it all in one go, but I dont think I would, I have a granchild on the way and couldnt let my family suffer. A few weeks ago after over 2 years my contract at the BBC was finally ended. I cannot see a way forward, nor can my Doctor or Consultant, think I finally destroyed my ability to funtion in the outside world. This may sound like self pity, but at the moment it is my reality. Dont know how I am to cope with the new benefit changes, I have had numerous assessments, each one a nightmare, we shall wait and see. Until then I will carry on as a carer for my wife at home, tuerning out self indulgent pieced on here and chatting on Twitter when I feel up to it.
Anyhow, cant end on that note, to depressing.

Two fish in a tank, one says to the other …………. how do you drive this thing šŸ˜‰


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