For the past couple of weeks I have been struggling to sleep and just generally function as a person. It’s currently 0200 and having crashed for a nap at 2000 for a couple of hours writing this is my way of trying to get my brain to shut off for long enough to get at least a few more hours sleep before the kids are up and the day starts again. My problem is there are currently too many variables going on in all aspects of my life which is causing me to constantly overthink all of them, all of the time. So let’s get them down on paper to see if that can let me sleep.
If you’ve been reading through my previous blogs you know I’ve been injured for a long time. In fact it’s coming up to 4.5 years for my back injury. For the 13 years I’ve been serving I’ve been injured for a total of 10 of them. That’s pretty ridiculous when you look at it. To add insult to injury I’ve recently been struggling with a wrist injury as well. This week I went down to DMRC Stanford Hall to have both of my injuries looked at and to see if anything can be done. For my back I had an MRI which came back as having a bulging disc but nothing of concern. Which is good and bad news. Good that there’s nothing obvious that causes me to have continuous pain. It’s bad that they still don’t know what is causing it. Suggested action is more rehab which in itself is frustrating. Having been injured for as long as I have I seem to have been on permanent rehab for as long as I remember. I know all the exercises and what they’ll suggest as a program. My issue with this is I can’t do the majority of these exercises due to pain. So for me rehab is pretty much pointless right now. Prescription drugs are not the way either as I’ve tried pretty much all of them as well and they don’t seem to touch it. Going around in circles again with my back so other than the daily frustrations and struggles there’s not a lot else I can do. Moving on to my wrist this is becoming a serious aggravation. I have a constant pain in the joint which gets worse throughout the day. My little and ring fingers are weakened by the problem and the pain radiates up my arm rendering it pretty much useless. After an examination it is thought that I probably have psoriatic arthritis. They gave a steroid injection to see if that would work. 5 days in I’m pessimistic as the pain has never gone away. The only positives I can take from this at the moment is that it’s my right wrist, which as a lefty I can still function in most areas. Also only 2% of the country have psoriasis, of which only 1 in 100 develop psoriatic arthritis so that makes me a little special, right? Back to see the specialist in June so we’ll see what happens then. Nothing really I can do about either injury other than do my exercises and manage them so as not to completely ruin my day.
Naturally the injuries are having a knock on effect in my job. I’m currently waiting on a stand up desk. I did previously have one and decided to give it up in hope that it would help me get upgraded. In reality this was a really stupid idea as I still needed it and now have to spend time away from my desk to make sure I don’t cause my back to seize up making me less productive. Although having to get up means my wrist has time to rest so not to render it completely useless. Injuries are so fucking annoying! I’ve yet again been temporarily downgraded as I can’t complete any pre-deployment training I need to do. I am supposed to be deployed towards the end of the year so that’s unlikely to happen. Yet another source of frustration as I’ve been trying to get myself into a position to deploy ever since I had my surgery 2 years ago. I was almost there but these setbacks have possibly made this unachievable. With me only having 2.5 years left in Service is there any point in me carrying on? Leading on to the next set of questions.
What should I do next? What career path do I want to go down? And how quickly do I need to take action? 2 years is more than enough time to get courses completed and start putting out feelers for jobs. One route would be to do Buddy Check full time. But currently there’s not the income stream available to make that happen (please donate at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/buddycheck). Another route would be to carry on into some sort of HR position in civvy street. Ideally I wouldn’t do this. HR is not my passion and not where I ever imagined my career going if given the choice. However if the right position came up then obviously it would be stupid not to consider it. My ideal job would be a football scout and analyst. For as long as I know I have always wanted to be in the football industry. My playing days are definitely well behind me so scouting and analysis is the route I want to explore. For as long as I have loved football I have also played Championship/Football Manager. Scouring through endless lists of players, checking their stats, developing them through training, and setting them up in the tactics that I’ve been perfecting over the years. Every year I’m seeing more and more people who play the game starting actual football jobs by using their Football Manager skills. So why can’t I? I’ve started a plan to make my dream a reality. I just need to put it into action. But when do I do that? Can’t really do the 7 clicks to freedom as we’re not currently in a position as a family to buy a house and risk me not having a job to go into. The next way would be to aim for November 2025 when I’m currently due to leave. Which would be fine, however the medical process might have something to say about that before then if I’m going to continue being downgraded. Once again uncertainty. Then you throw family into the mix…
Recently my wife’s Nannan passed away. This has led us as a family to start questioning where we see ourselves living long term. With just over 2 years to go (for now) we were thinking about this anyway. We were thinking about staying where we are currently in North Scotland. We love our life here. However with the recent passing, and being away from the core of our family in South Yorkshire, we have started to feel a little isolated from them. My wife’s mum is bedridden with a long term condition, and I have ill family members as well, so this feeling of isolation is increasing on what feels like a daily basis. We both love our family and ideally want to spend more time with them. Especially for the kids as well. They have spent some time with them. But with covid, and the cost of living crisis, our relationship with the wider family is through video calls which is not ideal. We want our kids to have a closer relationship with them. The problem with this is where would we look to settle then? As much as we want to be back closer to family we don’t want to move back to where we grew up. Current housing prices mean that if we wanted to be close then we would probably have to move into an undesirable area. Which brings up its own problems. Then there’s the usual employment opportunities, schooling, etc. Once again more problems than solutions.
Throwing all these different issues together is making my brain feel like a cement mixer. Constantly going around and around and around and around… Leading to exhaustion, anger, frustration, anxiety and stress. Which all exacerbate the situation further. Something needs to be given but I don’t know what. Doing this has helped though. The situation is now on paper and I can start picking apart the different elements to work on. Also by doing this I know I need to share this with others. What’s the saying, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. It’s now 0425 so time to try and get some sleep in. Thanks for listening.
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