2011: an annus horribilis

Posted: December 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

* This is by Harpy Marx, one of the best bloggers out there. I can personally relate a lot her experiences. Please read her blog . (link below) – Act of Defiance

I wrote this time last year that I hoped 2011 was an improvement. Well, it was spectacularly worse. To quote that great thinker Homer……Simpson there weren’t any dizzying highs, or creamy middles just terrifying lows. I suppose for the past year I have been restrained to a certain extent but having run the gauntlet of numb, pissed off, numb, pissed off, numb again. I have gone from employed, financially stable(ish) and healthy to unemployed …I still feel raw, undeniably let down, shafted, bullied and bitter over that and if I wanted to write about that experience I can’t due to various legal constraints…trying to come to terms with an injustice is hard. And where damage is done and nobody gave a damn!

I am sure there are many others out there as we are all “innit” together. My GP reckons that due to the economic situation many employers are setting up employees to get rid of them on the cheap. Indeed. So going from employed to unemployed in one fell swoop was a real kicker. The middle of this year culminated in me thinking seriously of suicide, with what had happened with my job I just crumbled and I wanted to disappear, my life was on a knife-edge, I couldn’t believe what was being done to me, it seemed so Kafka-esque.  I couldn’t cope with trade union full timers who seemed more intent on selling me out than defending me (in the end after countless emails and arguments I eventually got legal support…. Word of advice, get your support from rank and file members NOT full-timers, as they care!). The thing that kept me going over the months from March to August was watching the herons in the park, their tranquil behaviour instilled a kind of calmness.

Coupled with this shit, my health disintegrated. Colds, flu, chest infections, asthma (“What”? …. “Yes”, said the GP). Constant tiredness. If sleeping was an Olympic sport then I would be gold medal material. The assumption was because I was very depressed and anxious I would be tired. But to be on the safe side I had some blood tests, came back that my thyroid gland wasn’t working properly. The number of times I have been to that hospital for tests I think a seat should be reserved for me.

And of course being unemployed, your income plummets substantially and the daily grind of filling out application forms becomes your day. I am starting to wonder whether I am employable or more to the point, unemployable. So many people chasing for so few jobs yet the ConDems still blame the unemployed. Though I do wonder whether I am persona non grata. I’d hope I woulda got a job by now but no. What’s wrong with me? I have skills, experience and knowledge….yet…….!

Ok, by this stage I am wondering whether this looks like one big whinge but for the past year I have been in dignified silence mood, well sorta, but sometimes life and  luck (or the lack of it)  takes the biscuit. What I have got to lose? Life for me, and countless others, is in dire straits. I have no idea what 2012 holds. I try to hold out for a hopeful 2012 but the constant onslaught of shit has numbed me to the core, anxiety seems to have disappeared, comfortably numb is guaranteed due to chemical intervention (wonder drug Citalopram).

I am sure there are people reading this who can relate to some of it, things never crash-land in your life one at a time. Just experiencing one of these things is bad enough but three…misfortune or carelessness. Or just exceptionally bad luck.

But of course, the end of the year is nigh, and as I sit alone in bed tapping away at my laptop late at night (my partner took a job in Bristol, I see him at the weekends) I  start to feel cheated, frustrated and angry. The blood tests found something else out accidentally, at the age of 41 (42 on Friday) I am entering the menopause along with cysts on my ovaries. GP thought the cyst would go instead from today’s scan I have more. So next stop is gynaecology before that I need to speak to my GP. She talked to me about HRT etc. but I couldn’t take it in. I just felt another blow had taken the wind out of my sails. I told myself it wasn’t a big deal yet I can’t believe how shit I feel about all this. It feels like I am mourning some loss (if that makes sense).

And yet I try to carry on campaigning and being an activist concentrating on the struggle against the ConDems, it proves helpful but sometimes life and bad luck intervenes so I end up staring at the ceiling lying in bed listening to Rachmaninoff on Radio 3, wondering why nobody wants to employ me and mind racing about finances. Sometimes just seeing others in the same position makes me feel less alone (does that sound awful?) yet there are times when I do feel alone and isolated, where I want to barricade myself in. I wonder if I am turning into a female version of Yossa Hughes (“Gis a job”) as I think I have a lot to give, organisational skills and well composed pix of herons. Constantly saying to myself that it was my former employer’s loss doesn’t really sink in nor telling myself that I was a valuable asset. Obviously they didn’t see that. Again, as my partner, would reiterate, “Their loss, they don’t know a good worker when they see one!” But it doesn’t stop the despondency, moving on and coming to terms with this nasty blip in my life which is a goal but at the moment seems futile as I have no energy and my expectations are low. It also knocks your self-esteem, belief in yourself and confidence (and that was alway low) getting yourself back up by your bootstraps is impossible for the time being.

Thanks for reading this, I just wanted to share this, I have been keeping a lot of this to myself. Would like to thanks comrades and friends both in person and in cyberspace for being helpful, supportive and kind. I just can’t believe all this shit. I really can’t. I dare not hope for a better 2012. That just feels too scary. The struggle against those vile ConDems continues and on a collective level we will all feel the pain. Fight continues.


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