Yesterday I mentioned going on welfare, and that I had been in the process of writing a blog post about it when the news of my therapist’s illness made some of that draft obsolete. Here follows the part which still is relevant:
Financial troubles have been a steady companion for a long time: I cannot work a job on top of uni, and my husband wants to work, but is currently handicapped by a lack of language skills (even though he is making a lot of progress since he started integration class). We have been living off my husband’s savings, support from family members, and once we also had to borrow money from a friend. Our life is rather frugal: 80% of what I buy is on offer or from the “reduced box” – groceries which are about to expire soon and hence reduced in price. We do not go out or buy anything that is not absolutely necessary.
A while ago, my therapist came up with the idea of me going on social welfare, which would roughly equal the salary of a student job. I could not object based on pride as I am not in the position to turn up my nose at any kind of support available. But I kept putting off visiting the department of social services because frankly I was afraid of doing so. For starters, I have a bit of bad history with administration and it is a very anxiety-laden topic for me. But also, the idea of having a place to turn to in even harder times was so comforting that it was difficult letting go the promise of relief at the expense of possible rejection. It is a pretty stupid concept and I would advise everyone to just get it over with as quickly as possibly if being told this story. Inside my own head, however, things are not always straightforward.
Fortunately, I finally managed to drag myself there, with the result that the state support my therapist suggested is not even available for me. As a student, I fall into a different category of welfare which I have to apply for at the employment agency instead, so the journey continues for a while.
To repeat from yesterday’s post, I need a statement from my therapist that I am not capable of working a job; usually, it would be the employment agency’s own doctors who have to come to this conclusion as a result of their examinations, but with mental health problems, that is hardly possible.
Going on state support was not a decision I made easily, or even voluntarily, but it’s the only practical solution left. It would be great if someone gave my husband a job instead with which he made enough so that we could exist from that income, but that’s unlikely in the current situation. All I know is, if I have to work, that is the certain end of my university career – I tried before, and the result was that I prioritized my job over classes, because “without the money I can’t stay enrolled in uni either”, and I had not enough energy for both. And I do not have it in me to make a third start from scratch, should this second attempt fail. It is all or nothing in regards to uni now.
Life goes on, with or without me. With or without therapy. No matter how unfortunate it is that my therapist got ill just now, when I would have liked to be able to write to him about the whole welfare business, I need to try without him the best I can.
My last therapy session was in early December; the one scheduled for January didn’t happen, and it was a bit of a warning sign already when it took three weeks before my therapist could tell me when he’d have the next opening – we were supposed to meet at the end of March again. He’s been chronically overworked for at least a year: last spring / summer it was pretty much the same, when I’d have a session in April, then an emergency appointment in June, and then nothing until September. My blog is full with comments on staff shortage at the hospital. What’s sad is that on the last day we emailed, he told me he was currently working in a new colleague and that he hoped that we could have “at least one session per month” from April on.
I guess this post is rather all over the place, but all of this has become one huge “cluster” to me anyway.