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My Life so far – NOT what I expected

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I save a lot of pics like this if I see them on twitter or somewhere – just because I like them.  Mainly funny, upbeat,  philosophical, inspiring,  motivating etc.
Something a friend said to me in a text message recently reminded me of this picture.
It certainly describes my life.

But I’m not OK with it – yet. That will take a while.

I’m 55 – and now have nothing.

The post from 7 Feb 2015 titled Battered, Bruised and Bankrupt explains.

When I say nothing – I mean nothing financially. And no security.

No money
No income
No savings
No ability to earn any income because of all the ME symptoms severely affecting my life. (Certainly not just now.)
No Benefits – I am not well enough to deal with the process. Nowhere near well enough.
No GP ( or as good as no GP).
I do own 50% of this flat I now live in with my husband – but at the moment this is 50% of nothing (financially). As it has a large mortgage on it and there is no equity in it.
And we now have nothing to pay off the interest-only mortgage with in 8 years time. We did have various mortgage Endowments – but they were taken from us by the Trustee In Bankruptcy and cashed in.

Worked hard since 17

With Commercial Union Assurance (now part of Aviva) for 19 years.
Then Prudential for almost a year.
Then NTL ( now Virgin Media) in telecoms for 4 years

Studied for professional qualifications in Insurance (Life and Pensions) and Financial Services (for Compliance work).
Obtained A.C.I.I ( ie. Associateship Of The Chartered Insurance Institute) in the Life & Pensions branch early 1980s .
Obtained MLIA {Dip) and FPC (Financial Planning Certificate} in early 1990s.
During the early 1980s I also worked in pub jobs for 3 (sometimes 4) nights a week – on top of my full time job. I did this over a period of a few years and think I worked in 5 different pubs.
The reason – to save up for my 1st flat. For the deposit, costs and fees, furniture, etc.
I was keen to do this but not have any debt when I moved in.

All these jobs/careers I had to give up and resign from due to my health. And all the symptoms of what I now know to be ME (or CFS as it was called at my diagnosis).
NB. I left all these jobs with nothing – even after 19 years in Commercial Union.
There was no help or support from my GP at all. And I just wasn’t well enough to be able to push for more help.

Finally got diagnosed with what was called CFS in 2003.
After more than 12 years of going back and forwards to GP – but feeling I was being treated like a time-waster each time. As if I was just being lazy.
Appalling treatment really.

By 2004 I had to accept I just couldn’t risk working for an employer again. Assuming anyone would have me . . .
Although I was feeling a bit better again after some rest time, I still had a lot of symptoms to cope with. I knew I could only work when I was able to. And would often need big rest and recovery periods.
No employer could be expected to cope with this.

So the only option left was to work for myself.

In 2004 I started up the Property stuff seriously.
Buying the 2nd flat to rent out (ironically the one we now live in and are very glad to have !).
By using savings and remortgaging our home I got started.
Then managed to build up to owning 15 flats by 2014.
Mainly by remortgaging them or using additional borrowing to raise funds for the deposit, fees and costs to buy the next flat. When the value of the property had increased enough to allow this.

The point of this was to get to a point where I would have been able to sell off a property every year. Or maybe every 2nd year.
And the profit would give me an annual income.
(It is very hard to make any real monthly income from the rent – there are so many expenses and things to deduct from it.)

Ironically, if I had done nothing at all we would now be much better off financially.

Hindsight again . . . . A totally useless thing.

Remortgaging our home was a calculated risk. But it was the obvious and only option to use. Neither of us have ever had any inheritances or lottery wins !
It had loads of equity in it at 2014.
Partly because of the increase in the property market. But also because we had bought it in 1998 with a very small mortgage. We put down a large deposit of 65% of the purchase price.
This was done partly by saving up very hard for a few years and going without most things. Really scrimping on everything.
And the reason for this – our future security . . . .

Now at July 2015 – Bankrupt.

Husband dragged down with me – as some properties were bought in joint names.
But he has been totally supportive and never blaming me. And I’m so grateful for this.
So, the loss of everything – apart from the flat we are living in.
Oh, and we were allowed to keep our beloved BMW. Because it is so ancient now ! (Think I mentioned this in a previous post.)

As I explained in previous post, the Bankruptcy was voluntary because of my health.
I couldn’t go on.
And this was the only way, as I understood it, to give away all control and responsibility for all the properties. And hand over all dealings with everyone to a Trustee In Bankruptcy. ie. All dealings with banks, letting agents, tenants, insurance companies, etc etc.

It hasn’t worked out quite like that . . . .

But that’s life isn’t it ?
You get told something but the reality turns out to be quite different.

But at some point all this horrible Bankruptcy stuff will come to an end. And I will be able to “relax” and have some peace of mind.
No idea when this will be – impossible to get any clear info in writing.
And I will have the energy (well, more than just now) to hopefully find a decent “ME friendly” GP.
Not really for treatment – not expecting miracles. But just for some symptom control and support.

At the moment I have none of this. Just nothing at all.

But I’m still here.
And there are many people out there with ME or CFS who are much much worse than me.

So I’m grateful that I’m not even worse than I am. And that I do have “mini bursts” of energy. And can do some things. Even if the recovery time after it takes days . . . !

PS.
Apologies for any typing errors. I tried my best to check it before hitting the publish button.
But I really struggle to use my laptop or tablet etc. And am all out of energy now.

Feeling Sorry For Myself Today !

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Ok I confess I was feeling a bit sorry for myself today. But its allowed at times isn’t it ?

Reasons :

1) Now Friday night and I haven’t been outside the house since last Sunday. (Actually that is just 5 days which is better than some weeks. But still not great.)

2) I am managing to work (for myself) but doing it poorly. Backlog of work just gets bigger and bigger !

3) My life for such a long time now has been :
Work – too much for me – unwell – rest – recover
– then start all over again.

4) I just cannot get a proper break to allow myself to get better – or work towards it. If I stop for 1 or 2 days (when CFS forces me to) the work backlog and problems get worse. And makes it even harder when I restart a day or two later. I don’t want to keep going on about this as I know I’ve mentioned it before – but it feels unresolvable just now.

5) Have so little energy or time left over to do anything nice or fun – apart from work, work, work.
Not the life I would have chosen.

5) I was guilty of dwelling today on how many days of my life have been “lost” because of this bloody CFS.
By lost – I don’t mean days I haven’t got out the house. These are very common because I work from home, then have no energy left. I mean the days (like today) when most of it has been spent being unable to do almost anything (even work). And have been in and out of bed most of the time. (Still in my PJs now.)

6) Often feel the outside world has no idea what my life is like.
For instance neighbours that I haven’t managed to chat with properly for ages probably think I’m a bit unsociable. Some friends I’m sure have taken offence that I haven’t been in contact for ages. Etc etc
And my husband tends to play it down if people ask. He will say things like “she gets a bit tired” or “she tries her best”. Neither of course give any inkling of the reality.
NB. This is a difficult area for me and always has been.
I don’t know if I can yet explain it properly. You see its not that I am looking for attention or sympathy. But I often feel that hardly anyone knows how hard I am trying – and how hard it is day to day. And I am so sensitive at anyone thinking I’m lazy or not trying.

7) Sometimes I feel scared I could slip into a “severe CFS” state and won’t be able to pull myself back. If things in my life don’t improve and the day to day stress lifts a bit. This can’t happen on its own I know – and I am trying so hard and so many things. But these take up even more energy.

8) I keep saying “I will get there” and “I will keep going” . But some days I don‘t believe myself.

9) I was also dwelling (too much) on the way so many people treat you if you have CFS or ME. Not everyone by any means – but so many people.
Hubby once said to me “Anne, people are bored, don’t understand and are not interested”.
A young girl (young teens) with ME put it very simply in an article I read recently. She said “people have not been very nice to me since I got ME”.
Both of these sum it up at times . . . .

2 hours to type an email (brain fog etc)

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Another Lost Day . . .

Had an important email to do today & I really wanted to to sent early morning. But I failed to get up very early (around 10 am) so I went straight into my office from bed – still in my dressing gown.  With my breakfast – a banana and a cereal bar.  And water.
(I’m not daft enough to start on an empty tummy !)
For info – my “office” is the bedroom just next door to my actual bedroom.

But this email took me around 2 hours to do – even though it wasn’t all that long or that difficult. But for me some days – a simple thing like this can take ages. The effort of thinking it out and actually typing it out just got harder and harder the more time I spent on it. My head got sore very fast so this slowed me down anyway. Then my neck got stiff. Then the dratted brain fog descended – where it becomes so hard to think clearly at all. My thoughts seem to come in slow motion – as if they are trying to get thru treacle or something.
But I kept pushing on – as it really had to be done.

But I do know that “pushing on” like this does usually make my CFS worse.  So why did I do it you ask ?

Well if it hadn’t been sent – this would have led to a delay in getting some work started in an empty flat. This delay would = money problems (as no rent coming in but mortgage etc all need paying). This would then = more stress.  And more stress would = worse CFS symptoms.

A bit of a vicious circle.

By the time I finished this and did one more thing – almost 2.5 hours had passed. And I was feeling so unwell I had to go back to bed.   At 12.30 lunchtime.
And slept thru to 8 pm tonight !

Not ideal at all.
Anyway – I just really wanted to have a moan about it.  As this makes me fed up some days.

My Work Is Killing Me

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My Work Is Killing Me

Couldn’t get back to sleep – the racing brain again.

Thoughts rushing around at 100 miles an hour, lots of different work ideas, many contradicting each other, cannot decide what best to do over 2 o/s issues from yesterday, lots of other o/s problems rushing into my mind that need dealt with too, all important things (as I deal with Property – everything has a financial effect or knock-on and a financial penalty if ignored too long).
But I cannot focus on anything properly.

My concentration is shot to pieces – and its only 6.30 am. Not even out of bed yet or started my day.

And have the bad headache back again.
It started chewing away at my head as soon as my thoughts turned to my work. But don’t want to take painkillers just yet. (only 4 left in the house – but that’s a separate problem !)
So decided to type a post for my blog instead.
As my hope is that getting this out (of my head) will help release stress therefore help my damned CFS symptoms . . .

Don’t want to go into too much detail here about yesterday’s property problems – as it will be on the boring side. (And I plan to start another blog about this.)

But the No 1 item in my head is the unhelpfulness of the banks.

In particular a bank I spoke to on the phone last night for around 30 mins.  I mean we all know it’s the credit crunch – but honest to god – they could not be more difficult or awkward to deal with if they tried.
I was left feeling that I wished I hadn’t bothered as it turned out to be such a waste of my time and my energy. Both as valuable to me.
Still – I should be grateful that at least it wasn’t India.

I am sure this is the No 1 reason for so many small business going to the wall.

This Week So Far

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It has been quite a difficult week so far – and now Thurs morning.

Am doing my best to keep dealing with my Property stuff and keep everything afloat. Its such a battle some days – most days actually. But its almost impossible to get a decent rest from it to help my CFS.  Because if I take time off – the work backlog increases. And I can miss certain deadlines for things that need to be done. This then may cause a financial loss or penalty of some sort – which then gives me more work.

And what does this result in ?
More stress = worse CFS symptoms.

Anyway – I just want to have a wee moan about it here. As it saves me inflicting my moans and tales of woe on friends face to face who are kind of trapped into listening at times.

Yesterday was a typical rubbish day.

Was in bed exhausted all morning and afternoon.
This was following a bout of hoovering the day before (Tues). Well not much of a “bout” – just the living room. Plus I used my Turbo Tiger (a hand-held vacuum cleaner – not a sex toy I should add . . ! ) to vacuum the sofas. But it was very hard work.

I knew this would take it out of me but it just had to be done. I have 2 visiting pussy cats who have been in a lot recently – they are gorgeous. But the build-up of fur was making me very sniffy and sneezy. I love cats but this is one of the reasons I don’t have any of my own.  But I like to have a visiting cat – in this case 2.

In the past my husband would have done any hovering needed. But we have been living apart since Jan this year. (Which is another story.)

Anyway – I didn’t manage to do any work until the evening. And rather pathetically this consisted of just 2 emails . . .

I won’t go into much detail as it really is very boring.
But just to say it concerned a flat with a recurring damp problem, a letting agent who I thought were helping me to get this sorted but have just dumped it back onto me, and a local Council (who are also factors for the building) who do F**k all when it comes to vital communal repairs to things like drains, gutters etc. No matter how many times you ask them. And a tenant who is now leaving – as nobody can get this sorted.

Probably because of the history with this – I started to feel ill very quickly when trying to think out the wording of the emails. I was trying to stay focused but kept thinking about the general imcompetence and unhelpfulness of the Council and was feeling angry and frustrated by it all. Plus the letting agent who should be helping me were now increasing my problems (another story . . ).
As well as the horrible tiredness/weakness – I got a nasty headache very fast, plus stiff neck, sore shoulder and upper back. My concentration became poor very fast and I was losing track of my thoughts and struggling to focus on what I was doing.
A simple thing will take me ages when feeling like this.

Anyway I pushed on to get the emails done – and it took me 2 hours. Even with the slightly complex history – it should take maybe 20-30 mins tops.
No wonder I have a backlog.

And by the end of this my headache was so bad I had to go and lie down (again) with the light off in darkness. And take painkillers obviously. My eyes were so tired and strained too. I couldn’t even tolerate any light.

Eventually got up again and had something to eat. Then back to bed for the night.
But didn’t even manage to do any “normal” things – like get even washed and dressed.

But I will get there . . .

A Small World

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Right now I feel as though my world consists of 2 rooms upstairs in my home – ie. my bedroom and my office (which is in the next bedroom). And my day to day life is just : work – exhausted/CFS worse – then sleep.
Then more of the same.
But at least I do have the luxury of working from home and for myself. Which is just as well as some days I work very badly or slowly. And some days I don’t manage at all. But thats nothing unusual with CFS – it just wouldn’t be much good to an employer !
The biggest problem I have right now is when I try to have a decent break to allow my CFS to get a bit better – all the work problems escalate. (I always have a backlog as its hard to get on top of things.)  After a few days off I will feel rested and stronger – but then have to face problems that have resulted from me missing things that maybe had to be done by a certain time. And with it being property – almost everything has a financial penalty or cost of some sort. This then causes more work and problems . . .  and a lot of stress.
An awful lot of stress !
So I seem to be in a vicious circle which is hard to get out of.
But I have to keep going – no other option. I did choose to get into property because I have CFS. (Realise that will sound odd and will explain more in another post).
I never expected it to be easy or a short-term thing. But right now it is quite a struggle.
Its difficult to get any balance in my life – like doing nice things eg. actually seeing people, friends, actually getting out of the house. Even just watching TV or reading would be nice !
I seem to be cancelling things more – or just not making any arrangements in the first place, as I know there will be a high risk I will have to cancel if not well on the day.                                                                                                                       So its not easy at the moment – but I will get there.

NB. I’m not looking for sympathy here – I just want people who know me to understand. Because I don’t think very many people do ?

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