Out of the Frying Pan…

…And into the writing trial by fire!

Honestly, for someone affected very negatively by stress, on the face of things I don’t make life easier for myself. No sooner is the wedding stress out of the way than I pitch face first into a writing marathon.

Still, it’s not going badly so far. And, although several people who I’ve told about the annual creativity drive that is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, have told me that I’m crazy, or it sounds impossibly hard to write 50,000 words in 30 days, I actually find it rather theraputic.

That’s not to say the seizures have stopped. No, they’re still plodding along at more or less one a day. Mind you, I’d put that more down to the nice little health Questionnaire that ATOS sent me a few weeks ago to make sure I’m not a fraud, and the rather daunting prospect of changing my name in goodness knows how many places (I haven’t even started that task yet) or the great big wodge of a form that I have to fill out for my CBT. (Honestly, the thing would work equally well as a draught excluder. And while I know all the questions are important, filling them out has been killing my hand!)

Oh, and did I tell you I finally got a response from my MP? I wrote to her, way back in August, and apparently in September she replied. Only, somehow I only got the letter in November. Despite the fact that her office is around the corner from me, so it would only ever have to go via the local sorting office, which is, oh, let’s say a ten-minute walk away? I’ll be charitable and say it got lost in the post, or someone accidentally dropped it down the side of a desk or something, because she did say that she’d written to both the head of the local health care trust and Andrew Lansley, asking the former why local access to specialists was so poor, and the latter how he plans to address the “provision for epilepsy patients more generally”. So, not too shabby. It may not actually achieve anything, but it’s better than nothing.

And so, to round off a much-longer-than-I-expected post, here is a picture of me in wedding attire, because I’ve read that people who read blogs like such things:

…Well, it was the only
 one of just me.

Married life, and other things.

To be honest, it’s pretty much identical to life before, except that now I have a stack of Thank You cards to write, and a lot of paperwork to fill out to change my surname. I guess that’s a slightly contentious issue to some people these days, and while I don’t personally feel it’s a choice I have to defend, I seem to have found myself explaining it a few times over the last few weeks. Several people have asked whether I would or not. At the end of the day, it boils down to the fact that I want the same surname as O and M for convenience. I personally think that most double-barrel names get clunky in the end; what if O or M wanted to double-barrel their name again – would they then have the awkward task of choosing a name to drop? I worry too much about that sort of thing, although I quite like the sound of other people’s longer surnames.

Anyway. So, for me, the double-barrel option was out. Asking W to change his name was something I didn’t even consider, mostly because it would sound ridiculous. Honestly, you’ll have to trust me on this one. So that left me with changing my surname, which suits me just fine – my new surname is nice, and flows just as well with my name. Plus, I get to keep “Hill” for writing purposes, which I always knew I wanted to anyway. Essentially, I get the best of both worlds.

Still. That’s not my sole, trivial point for the day. I still haven’t had an appointment for Dr. Neuropsychology, although I might not get one – I had a letter today saying I might simply be referred for CBT. (More on that another time.) I’m still having seizures fairly frequently, although thankfully not several times a day. The wedding was clearly a big source of stress, which is obviously  over, but I am still not in a position where anyone is going to want me working for them. If this is my baseline, and I know that working increases the number of seizures I have, that’s a non-starter. Three or four times a week at least is no good for people, especially just for a part-time employee.

I’ve also had a nice fat form from ATOS in the post, for me to fill out and prove I’m still ill. What joy. I must admit, when I first opened the letter and saw who it was from, my heart skipped a beat. ATOS do not have a good name among people who claim benefits relating to ill health and disability, predominantly because they appear to be skewed in the favour of slashing the number of awards, rather than assessing people fairly. I don’t really have the energy to explain the whole debate here, but I will point you in the direction of blog outlining some of the more serious concerns. It’s an interesting read, although the topic is certainly worth researching for yourself, because it affects one heck of a lot of vulnerable people across the country, and a long-term illness or disability could affect anyone you know, or even your future self.

I try not to get too emotive and biased about things any more, because I don’t think that kind of argument ever really resolves anything – it just descends into “sob stories” that people dismiss as individual cases or overly subjective. But I do and will continue to encourage people to look at these issues more closely than they otherwise might. Very rarely is the overview of a situation as accurate as the full picture, and very rarely, in my opinion at least, is the story presented on the news and in the papers anything other than an overview, often one which is slanted to give weight to a particular point of view.