Two and a half years ago my ex-husband walked out, 4 months later I was diagnosed with my brain aneurysm, 2 months later my ex-boss cut me off, 8 months later I lost part of myself from my brain aneurysm surgery and stroke. Four months later I moved to the north side to help out my supporter, 6 months later I applied for my citizenship with my RRV. I'm still waiting for that 6 months on. I am also waiting for the decision from QIRC - 4 months and waiting. In the last few months I seem to have lost south-side friends.
I can't change my life, it's stuffed along with my brain. I don't feel I'm close to what I was before my surgery and stroke. I feel like I've been devalued and dropped on such a low income and now I can't control what happens within my life because I can't spend what I used to. I can't even holiday. Anywhere.
Who would I talk to? Maybe the only proper person to talk to would be this country's Prime Minister.
Dear Mr Abbott
I would like to let you know what has happened to me. Here, in Australia. I didn't bring this surgery from New Zealand. I didn't bring the stroke from New Zealand. What has happened to me and my brain happened here, in Australia, 10 years after I moved here.
I would like to meet you and talk to you, tell you how I am now living. I could tell you about losing my job when I found out about the brain aneurysm. I could tell you about my financial situation from not being able to get another job while I was on the hospital surgery wait-list. I could tell you about my surgery and stroke in April 2014. I could talk through what I've done in the last 18 months and how my life is now crap.
I would like to talk to you about how DSP is a poverty income. I would like to explain to you how people live with their brain injury, and so many of us end up on a very low income which will never get us back to our old lives. I would talk to you about the recovery I have been doing for more than a year, but it doesn't make me "normal".
Do you understand, Mr Abbott, what brain injury is? Do you understand why people who never ask for this still end up losing so much from their life? Do you understand how they deal with their every-day emotions - and how they might finish this very sad life?
I'm not a citizen. Yet. But when I eventually get approval I really don't know why to bother, because whether I live here or live back in my own New Zealand probably won't resolve my life. Alone, on a very low income.
I used to work. I'd like to talk to you about how sad I now feel. I had a Graduate Diploma of Occupational Health & Safety. Can't do that any more - I forget it. I can't get retrained for any other occupation because, without the citizenship, I'd have to pay for it. No funds... funny, that.
What can you do, Mr Abbott, to help me, a person who has been dropped from their employer, pushed through the hospital and wound through the hoops in Centrelink? Would you talk about why the surgery was "selected"? Can you explain why a person who wouldn't have chosen that way might have ended up dead from rupture? Would you ever look at how and why my income is less than half what I had before surgery? Would you ever talk to me about the reality of my brain?
I have a request, Mr Abbott. I need someone to help me - to get back on my feet and return to normality. Sad, though, that I don't believe you would ever fix it. Or me.
Yours from my brainI think it's probably only me who feels like this - at least, it's only me with my brain injury. I truly hope that anyone reading this will live a much better life - with your partner, family, friends, workmates. Have your own very lovely week.