(advanced warning - I'm typing this on my phone again!)
I have been a little remiss with the gap between this and my last post - hopefully, my readers will already know through Facebook/Twitter, as I think that's where most of you come from, that the situation has now been resolved, in my favour. Following my husband's slightly less polite email to my former boss that I mentioned last time, we got a reply by letter from the other partner in the firm - the one that, I have to say, I had more dealings with while I was employed there, and that I feel I got on better with personally. I sat on the stairs nervously while my husband read the letter. It started off not sounding overly promising, but as the last paragraph drew to a close, his face started to light up as he read the words "I confirm that (we) will not pursue you for the return of the money paid to you in error". We both shouted "YES!" and broke into dancing, hugging and celebratory fist-pumping. The whole letter was quite long and went on to clarify a few points where they conceded that there had clearly been some unfortunate misunderstandings, and very kindly had a personal message of regret at the way things had deteriorated. We wrote a fairly brief response with similar sentiments, expressing our relief and gratitude that this messy little chapter was finally over.
At this point, I have to mention my, frankly, awesome ex-colleague who got me that job in the first place, as my main reason for not blogging about what was happening in the first place was so as not to put her in any sort of difficult situation. She read my last post and sent me a great message of support, and after I let her know it was all sorted, said that she had spoken to the management team about my blog and hoped she had had some positive input on the outcome. I know she had to pick up an awful lot of slack when I started to be ill and, as the person who had recommended me for the job in the first place, I felt terrible for letting her down like that. I can't begin to express how thankful I am for her continued friendship.
As I'm sure you can imagine, I was on a bit of a high for a few days after that. I had a wonderful feeling of closure, and felt ready to start trying to live my life once more. It gave me enough of a push to start being able to think about working again, without feeling quite so vulnerable. My mother-in-law had come up with a fabulous suggestion of applying for a temporary job at the local Airshow this summer (which is a MASSIVE hint to anyone in the know as to exactly where I live...) - I know a few people who've done it in the past and it sounded like brilliant fun, with the added bonus of having a defined time span, so I'd have the reassurance of knowing it was a fairly short term thing if I started to have difficulties. I found the agency in charge of recruiting for the event, emailed them a copy of my CV with a covering note and was asked to come along to one of their group sign-ups for the event the following week. Which I did, and I feel quite positive about how it went. It was a little weird, as (without wishing to appear hideously snobbish) I was clearly the only one there from a "professional" background. As far as I could tell, they were mostly students. I should find out at the end of the month whether they want me for anything, so fingers crossed on that one.
The only slight hiccup I encountered was that they needed some sort of evidence of my illness to show why I've been unemployed for the last few months. I thought that seemed a bit off, but as I'm trying to be open and honest about my mental health issues these days, I figured it was best to go along with it. They initially suggested something showing I was receiving benefits, which led to me having to explain I haven't claimed any, largely because the mere thought of the process I'd have to go through sent me into a panic attack every time. I could go off on one about how ridiculously over complicated and unfair the benefits system currently is, and how it seems to be designed to keep it out of reach of the most vulnerable, of those that really need it, but I feel that's best left to the swathes of others I've read about who argue it with more experience & eloquence than I ever could. Put it this way, having seen some of what my mum & dad went through to try and get enough assistance for our family to live on when he first went through chemotherapy, I will do everything I possibly can to avoid having to go through that same anguish myself. I'm just bloody lucky I have a husband who is willing to exhaust himself working as many hours as he can to support us, and a family that are in the fortunate position to be able to give us a hand when that's not quite enough. I've strayed from my point somewhat here, but that needed to be said. Not having a benefits letter threw the agency a little, as this obviously put me into the position of not neatly fitting the little tick boxes on their forms. I suggested I could provide a doctors letter, which they seemed happy enough to accept. I duly scanned & emailed over a copy of the letter referring me to the local counselling service for CBT. After that, I can't help but think that if I am unsuccessful in getting a position at the show, it will be down to my health history. I know that's supposed to be illegal, as a form of discrimination, but would I really have any way of proving that was why I had been turned away if if happened?
Since then, I've been back in the position of feeling I'm drifting somewhat aimlessly while I wait for someone else to decide my fate. Last week my husband took a couple of days off to help my father overhaul our kitchen, which was a nice, distracting project to keep me occupied for a few days. I have to say getting it done has given me a wonderful sense of accomplishment, but the mass of tidying & cleaning it entailed did start to drive me a bit bonkers. I'm actually looking forward to the dentist appointment I have booked tomorrow as an excuse to get me out of the house and my dull routine for a bit. I think the near-constant rain over the last few weeks has led to me going out less than I should - I like to go for a bit of a stroll round the neighbourhood every day, but it's difficult to make yourself do it when it's tipping it down. Over the last few days, the rain has eased off a bit, and the moisture has been replaced by pollen, but at least I can dose myself up with nasal spray to try and protect myself from the worst of that. I think I'll be trying to get out more again next week.
I did have one more topic I wanted to cover briefly, but on second thoughts, I think I need to dedicate more time and thought to it, and I've waffled on quite enough for today. Here's to next time!