Well. Bluntly, right now I’ve got £2 to last through to the 22nd and something tells me that’s not going to stretch too far. I could really do with a hand here.

It’s been a hell year again and rather than things looking up, it’s month by month becoming more of a grind. For the past four or five months I’ve been managing to get through to a week before payday (which is not great) and surviving the last week out thanks to the kindness of others. This month, I couldn’t even make it that far because I got hit with some extra stuff to pay out for the kids school and college respectively. So yeah, it’s December 11th, I’ve got £2 and don’t get paid for another two weeks. I could do with a leg up. I’m a month behind on the internet bill which means if I can’t at least cover that, the end of the week will see me cut off until Xmas.

If you’re wondering how I got here, that’s a bit of a long one but I’ll try and keep it as brief as possible. That won’t be very brief, sorry. I’ve popped donation links towards the end.

Describing this year as “a lot” would be an understatement. We started fairly cheerily thanks to folk’s kindness and for the first year in many, the kids were able to have Xmas. It was amazing for them and I’m just so grateful, after everything, we were able to do that.

Not gonna lie, I was in a pretty deep hole with everything. You probably already know that, mind. Em dying, the non stop grind of keeping the kids going whilst we were also dealing with a help worker who consistently made everything worse, my own dicky health. I was pretty glum, really.

Folks who follow me on Masto know some of what’s been going on, it’s so much I’m not even sure I can cover it adequately but I’ll give it a go.

One of the kids, already in a slump over Em, got violently assaulted twice just after Xmas. It left, as you can imagine, them in a pretty bad way. Once was bad, twice in quick succession was a what the everloving fuck thing. You know, if you’re wondering whether the current rhetoric here on normal island is having an effect, this was the worst way to get an answer. Yes, yes, it absolutely is. (They gave me permission to post this btw, I’m not that much of an arsehole)

And then the bloody cat got themselves stuck across the road and we lost them too. Absolutely unrelenting stuff and if that were the lot of it, that’d be enough.

The help worker who didn’t. The youngest, like everyone else in the house, is incredibly neurospicy. Up until recently, they’ve been partially non verbal, prone to aggressive, house trashing and punchy, meltdowns, struggled with eating and the list goes on. I’d be regularly trying (and often failing) to avoid being on the end of one or the meltdowns by chilling them down because, well, ouch.

Between me and Em, we’d put years of work into chipping away at the struggles and after Em died, me and the school had gone (even more) hell for leather at trying to make the kid more comfortable with themselves. (The school have been consistently amazing btw, I doubt I’d have gotten everyone this far without them. They’re stretched thinly because 2023 but they’ve made so much time to help, sat through the rough patches and mucked in wherever they can. Totally above and beyond the call of duty, they’re incredible folks).

The worker came in and derailed everything. By June, things were so bad, we’d lost so much progress, the kid just about avoided ending up in hospital because they’d all but stopped eating. Every “you can’t tackle things head on, you have to go slow, be kind, do this stuff so it almost feels like a tangent” met with the worker doing the exact thing I’d said not to because it’ll go to shit and it then going to shit. And it went really to shit.

(Also, if one more person mentions reward charts, if you hear a distant scream, that’ll be me.)

It took a huge effort between me, the eldest, another support group and the school to pull things back from the brink. We did it! We’re not back to where we were before hand but we avoided things going from bad to oh fuck fuck fuck and we’re slowly building the youngest back up. I’ll take that, it’s on a steady upward thingy and I just try not to get too annoyed or upset at everything being reset. I manage that, mostly,

As you can imagine, this all did wonders for my mental health! I picked up my Instagram again a few months back to start posting drawings to and there’s a point where in 2018, I’d just stopped posting and realised that between then and now, between my own health being bad, Em’s health nosediving and me and her having to spend the next few years dealing with that as our new normal, I hadn’t stopped. Fucking hell.

Bonus! I was lucky enough (!) to catch the bloody virus in April and that’s piled fatigue on top of my existing fatigue for good measure.

Anyway, to top everything off, we ended up losing over half our income. When Em died, stuff coming in was knocked down two thirds. When the bereavement payment ran out that lost us another 300 monthly, the eldest doing that thing people do and ageing lost another few hundred, then their claim went to shit and we’ve been riding out each month for months now on next to nothing whilst trying to sort that out.

Folks have been immensely kind, I’ve cut down on everything* but this country in 2023 is ensuring things get more difficult. Food and essentials have shot up, I’m behind on a few bills because the money just isn’t there to cover their rocketing costs and fuck knows how to sort that. I’m making next to nothing go as far as I can but you can only make next to nothing go so far. And without help, things would have been really, really bad. It probably sounds stupid but I’m really thankful for that help and kindness because this bad is already more than enough.

Mainly, I just want a nap at this point. The past few years have been a rolling shitshow and one where every time I think “well, surely this is enough now”, the universe has other ideas for me. It’s literally and figuratively exhausting and so much has been out of my hands to deal with – it’s life happening to me, a lot.

I can’t stress enough how much kindness people have shown me throughout all this and the ways they’ve found to help lift me have been way beyond anything. As difficult as things have been, people (that bloody worker excepted) have gone to ridiculous lengths to help keep me going and despite everything, it could and would have been worse. There aren’t words to express just how much this has meant.

Right now, I’m just having to spend a lot of time reassuring myself that it’s not like I could have drastically changed the course of anything rotten that’s ate away at me for the past few years. It’s difficult not to feel like a complete failure when there’s weeks where you’re wondering how to feed your kid when you’re skint and because they can’t eat a great variety of things that’s even more of a struggle.

On a conscious level I know that’s the strain and depression and I can shake myself out of it most of the time, it’s still a fucking lot though and I’m tired.

Having to lay all this out and be here again was, really, the last way I wanted to see the year out. Technically, I was out of options a few months back but I’ve constantly held out thanks to the kindness shown to me and being a stubborn old bastard, determined to fight through whatever. Shit’s burying me tho, so.

At this point, I’d just like to be online still by Monday and feed the kids but I have no idea how to manage that myself without divine intervention.

I’ve got a Ko-fi and there’s Paypal. I didn’t want to set up a gofundme after last year so things are a bit messy, like.

If there’s any way you can help, I’d greatly appreciate it right now, and I say this with full knowledge of how much help I’ve had already. I know, I know and like I say, I’m out of options so…

Thanks again.

Rob

*in fairness, some of it wasn’t by choice – stuff just bounced and there wasn’t much I could do about it.


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