Ahead of the trend, but that simply means I am experiencing this for longer than most. It all started for me back in 2019. I had received a letter from the NHS warning me that my medications, for Parkinson’s Disease, were on the list of medications that may come into short supply if supply chains become problematic. Supply chain problems were something that were highlighted as a potential problem that might occur as the result of Brexit. I have recently experienced my prescriptions being repeated but only around 50% of my meds being immediately available, so then needing to return to the pharmacy for a second visit, once they can find some stock.
My position was this; I was working as a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor and the suggestion that my medications were no longer guaranteed to be coming in meant that to take on any new clients, was a risk. The risk would be that I might start somebody onto a course of therapy and then, should my meds be unavailable, I would be unable to remain functioning and therefore unable to continue their treatment.
Well, as any good psychotherapist knows, if your are working with high risk clients, which I was, then their well-being would be at risk if therapy should be disrupted. From a moral standpoint, I felt I had no alternative than to give up my work. Brexit was the catalyst for me to close my business.
That said, I was about only maybe a year or so away from needing to retire on health grounds alone; Parkinson’s disease was progressing quickly and this was beginning to have an adverse effect on my work; in terms of just having the energy to do the work, let alone that I had made some errors with booking appointments. My clinical skills were in excellent order, but my organisational skills were starting to be affected. So, with the disease affecting me and with Brexit creating a risk, retiring was my only option; though a future on Universal Credit looked bleak.
Since 2019, society has come under increasing financial pressure, as the cost of living has increased. The value and worth of our currency took many hits, the position we held as a country, in the league of wealthiest countries saw us drop down the list, as the country started to become poorer. The impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic is enormous and we may only guess at just how much this has cost our country?
Personally, our rent has gone up and up, the cost of running a home, a car, using utilities, fuel and the cost of food have all sky-rocketed. I am of the belief that, discounting the loss of the very nice self-employed income I had generated to that point, we must easily be over £100 per month worse off, simply through the cost of living increasing in every area of life. Families up and down this country are experiencing the same.
This is a time of uncertainty, in the United Kingdom. There is much hardship being experienced by many and all of the indicators suggest that this will get worse, before it ever gets any better. I look around our local villages, in these circumstances, and I have to wonder which of the businesses within them will survive the course and still be in business in five years from now?
I am ever the optimist and I try to retain a sense of hopefulness. One of the things that I do see, during times when society is under pressure, is that people become innovative. It is my belief that, in the hardest of times, people can step up and be at their best; their most creative and most inventive. These can also be the times when communities make greater effort to pull together and find ways to create supportive services and networks.
I will conduct a review of my own household’s income vs expenditure. I will seek opportunity to reduce or remove outgoings, where possible. How are you approaching this current difficult period? What is happening with businesses in your area? How are social charities and service providers stepping up to help those in need? Do you run a business that is now in ‘risky territory’ or are things more secure? How is your community pulling together to help people?
Without opening a political debate, I would like to hear from you about what difficulties you are experiencing and what you, and people in your community, are doing to mitigate against the worst impacts of these difficult financial times. Maybe, by sharing your own experience, you will help people who read this, in other communities, to become more innovative, inventive and creative?