Life has been moving so fast I’ve had trouble keeping up. I’ve started work, have been travelling to Plymouth with my Mum who was supposed to be going in for an operation which has now been put off, and my daughter Tamsin has gone to travel the world for a year with her boyfriend (of four years), and she left this week. They are in India now, in Mumbai where she says it is hot, smelly and busy, and are off to the sea in the next couple of days. I am so excited for her, it will be an amazing experience but I am going to miss her. The last couple of weeks I have tried to spend as much time as I could with her and the week before her going I must admit I have been quite emotional. I went on a ‘leaving do’ night out in our home town last Friday, and then we had an early Christmas last Sunday. We had a Christmas tree up, a lovely dinner, Christmas pudding, crackers, and even a pressie each. It was great fun. We all really got into the spirit of it. I even got happy Christmas texts from friends.
Also after years of not being well enough to work, in the past couple of months I have spent days working on job applications, and have got an interview for each one. Three weeks ago on a Friday I went to an interview and started work on the Monday. I am back doing Advice work, which is where my experience lies. I feel I am good at it, and it is the sort of work I love. I am part of an exciting project working for the CAB delivering sessions in jobcentres. I am so chuffed It does seem like my dream job. Not only does it combine research, & meeting different people, as an added bonus one a big aim of the CAB is about influencing Social Policy and they have been very successful in doing this. One example of their social policy work is after incapacity benefit changed to Employment Support Allowance (ESA) a certain amount of income from permitted work was disregarded for people on non contribution based ESA, but not for people on contribution based ESA. The CAB brought this to the attention of the Government and the 2009 budget including provision that means that the earning limits will be the same for both contribution and non contribution based ESA from 2010. They have also been instrumental in bringing about changes in policy in areas such as: Working tax credit run on, backdating housing benefit and accessibility of Job Centre plus. The CAB has great ethics and seems to have passion for what they do. I am really excited about the job; I can see myself staying with them, and maybe changing roles in years to come and would love to be involved with the Social Policy work in the future.
Also I am very chuffed that I have not had the physical symptoms of panic/anxiety while taking part in group-work. This had been my biggest worry about working. I had thought I would be fine on a one to one basis, and believed the overwhelming feelings I get in a group situation would always affect me. It hasn’t I have gone to training courses and not only not experienced these feelings, I have been an active contributor and really enjoyed them. After years of negativity and anxiety taking over I thought I would never be able to do this type of work again. Over the last year the work I have done on myself has really paid off. I have transformed myself from a frightened of life, can’t do, person, to a sparkly and bright, loving life, can do person. The future looks exciting.