You run out of steam. Where once it might have taken you 18 months, suddenly, it’s six weeks. Or worse, six days. The things you want to do are continually put aside in order to have the reserves to invest in your health and well being. The doctors appointments, the dole appointments, the job interviews…

You want to keep up with the house work, but it crowds you out. Moving the bedrooms round so you can minimize noise pollution from your neighbour is more important than washing up: because you need to sleep. The tablets the doctor prescribed affect other health conditions, so the ten day respite you’ve had, becomes a painful nightmare and the sleep train is brought to a halt.

You phone a ‘help line’, who is there to support you in your time of need… They fire off so many questions it’s plain they are not listening to your answers: they have their own agenda. Basically, that’s to punt you onto the online forums so you can have a whinge and a moan with other people in your situation. No thanks. With my level of skill and self awareness I become an unpaid support worker. Fuck you, pay me.

Having a minor panic attack you phone the Samaritans and hope to god that you get to speak to someone who is not going to patronise you. GOLD!!! You strike gold. This woman is clearly born into money, but she has empathy in spades. She’s intelligent and humorous and sees you. I mean, she really did see me. I felt held. I felt encouraged. I felt less of an alien for her observation of “You’re clearly quite cultured”.

I have described myself as a working class person with middle class tastes. I internalize a lot of snobbery and inverse snobbery and all kinds of other class war, class consciousness issues. I am pained sometimes by the things I like. The things that I am unable to access, to participate in, and enjoy guilt free. If I had money, these pleasures would not bring pain. It’s perverse.

Then you start to thinking about what kind of pet project you have been and have become. I want to take this lady out of the equation, she was fully congruent, she knew some of the emotional battles I was going through if nothing else. And there have been poorer (in every sense) people than her to not get the fact that £3 to get to a free community event is not free.

I am not putting blocks in my own path. I can not afford to pay for clay. I can not afford to pay for travel to doctors appointments, let alone social gatherings for the poor and dispossessed. And I do want to go, I do want to engage, but it takes energy and money both of which are finite. If you work in support, can you be more mindful of the realities of the people you are trying to support.

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