I wasn't sure whether to put this in working matters or the under 25's area. I decided to put it here as it may be something others here have had the same problem with.
Hi everyone! I've suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis since before I can remember. I'm now 23 years old and have developed multiple auto-immune illnesses including Crohn's and PSC. Here's a brief back-story.
I'm currently at a high-point in life - An advantage of developing these illnesses at a young age (If any) is that you create your life around it, instead of it putting the brakes on a life already planned. With that, you become accustomed to every day life and don't have a healthy life to really compare it to - Just times of pain vs. times of less pain.
I'm currently studying Fine Art and Professional Practice at Blackpool & The Fylde college. My illnesses have created issues but have never halted my progress, and my foundation course in 2012-2013 went very smoothly everything considered. I had to take a month out in Christmas 2012 due to a major flare up which knocked me back severely, but very understanding tutors kept me going.
I've now finished my first year of University and am in what I'd like to call a "High point". I met my girlfriend in University and she's very supportive, helping out around the house and being overall a perfect and supportive relationship. This took a lot of pressure off of me as I struggled to do house work and education at the same time.
Ever since I was little I've been on benefits to help my parents out with costs of transport and costs of care, and we made several changes to the house for my sake. Going on to the usual first-job age, I was too ill to work and was diagnosed with PSC at 17, putting me out of commission for essentially a good 4-5 years. I had to leave sixth form and felt like I had no hope for a good future.
Fast forward to today, I'm in a position where my illnesses are in total remission. I started Remicade for my arthritis, started my driving lessons and am managing University with some difficulty - However, I feel like I've become "Trapped" by my benefits, and this is where the dilemma comes in.
So weighing it up, the choice is between two majors - Keep the benefits, don't overwork myself and make sure I have the money to keep myself going through University or get a job, have a completely unreliable income that may end if my illnesses come back into light and risk losing my benefits.
Now, this is a decision I myself have to make, but it's something that a lot of young people will go through. Like anyone with illnesses who hasn't had a normal life - Now that I've tasted normal life to an extent, I really want to see it. Coming to terms with not having a normal life is a huge part of having an illness, made even more difficult by the traps put in place by our government and their right to totally rip our benefits away if they deem us "Fit for work" by their standards (aka the standards of a normal, perfectly fit human being).
Crippling pain is a normal part of daily life for a sufferer of arthritis. Fatigue in itself is a symptom I would not want any person to suffer, and we live through it day in and day out. I want to put a friendly message down to all of those in positions similar to mine and all of those who are losing their hopes and dreams to keep on going and make the most of life. In the end, it's highly unlikely that I'd end up in a terribly position taking on a job, and I definitely feel unfit for it, but my desire for a taste of life keeps me going hoping that one day, I can take it on and hopefully succeed.