Personal Review: October 2018

October was very linked to my career. Do I have a job yet? Not quite.

One thing I had plenty of in October were interviews. People have taken a lot more interest in Joe Stevenson, and this is an important stepping stone in my life. I’m ambitious, and Disability Central hasn’t been cancelled. As you’ve probably guessed, Universal Credit doesn’t do enough for me. I’ve still got to beat my way past the first pretty tough barrier to find employment.

For those of you reading this, I’m sorry about the delay. But there are plenty of bits and pieces regarding October to tell you about. Let’s get started.

The Epilepsy

The frequency of my epilepsy didn’t change much throughout the month. However, for the first time in a while I can say I didn’t have a seizure for about two weeks. Throughout September and in towards mid-October they just kept occurring once a week. After that, electric stimulation did forget to hit my head during one week when October closed.

Still, there are these nasty, negative feelings I keep getting. When they come along, I feel my heart beating faster. These feelings usually transpire pretty quickly, but they’ve been going on for a while now. I always feel them about ten seconds before I have an epileptic seizure. But they usually lead to nothing; it’s just kind of weird.

It feels like I haven’t seen my specialist for a long time now too. I’m only going to guess that I’m due to see him in November. I’ll get a pre-app reminder, and checking through my huge stash of medical paperwork can take a long time.

The benefit of catching up with him will be discussing medicinal cannabis. It’s proven to be so useful for so many people. Alfie Dingley hasn’t had a seizure since he got the nod from the UK Government to start using it. He’s just a child, and certainly deserves his freedom.

It’s a lot to digest, although I’ve never come close to choking

Epilepsy doesn’t control my life as much as it did his. But still, it does hold me pretty tight. Can I get rid of my seizures with it? If so, then please, give it to me! I’m taking a combination of four different types of anti-epileptic drug at the moment. Plus, I’m downing nine different tablets every evening, and some of them are pretty chunky.

What I take obviously doesn’t control my epilepsy, so I’m certainly willing to try other stuff.

The Interviews

The interviews, the interviews, the interviews…

No, they’ve not got me a job yet, but that doesn’t mean they’ve been useless. Practice makes perfect. I’m a lot better at selling myself than I was at the end of September. I’ve just not quite passed the finish line yet.

At the start of the month I was looking for work that seemed to be suitable for myself. That involved working for charity organisations.

But that wasn’t a great idea. I’d say they’re looking for people with more experience. People often do have long-time experiences with charities just through volunteering with them. They choose to volunteer because of personal connections they’ve made in the past. They continue the connection by getting known, liked, and appreciated by charity members too. When they put their name forward for paid work I’d say they’ve always got the best chance.

Like in September, I had another interview with the British Red Cross – this time in Salford.

Feedback from the interviews I’ve had for paid charity work has generally told me I was giving decent answers. However, they lacked the depth that others provided. Concentration is needed before interviews to research and remember details. But memory loss makes that tricky. Plus, if you volunteer with one for a few years, then you’ve had a lot more time for it to stick in your head.

After my bids for charity work there was a pretty short-lived attempt at getting a retail job at B&M too. I’ve got a bit of retail experience, and do appreciate bargains. So I went along to the interview and tried my best. And not long after that I found out that I hadn’t been successful. The reason? Well, they liked my answers, but I just lacked as much experience as the other candidates.

But maybe I should be happy about that one. Retail like that doesn’t float my boat much to be honest.

In November more interviews will take place; I guarantee it. I need to get more familiar with Randstad Recruitment, who could well get me working temporarily with the NHS. In a similar way to getting charity work, it’s hard to find work with the NHS on a contract. But starting off with temporary work experience with them sounds like a good idea.

The Social Scene

I should have been more social this month. I’ve been very focused on getting that job that would be so important to me! From a social perspective, I believe improvements are due to be made.

But still, October included a few other things that were somewhat social. I happily caught up with my Dad a couple of times in the month. I also joined him, my stepmother Helen and sister Natasha in Whitworth during October’s final weekend. That was nice. Shortly after that I caught up with my cousin Jamie and local friends too. That was kind of nice. I can’t deny that we did have fun, but I can’t consume as much alcohol as those people.

October didn’t include any strenuous walking though. They were just too hard to take on when I was free, and I wasn’t always free on every day during the weekends.

I’m planning to socialise in many different ways during November. There are new groups to join as well. As in October, I’ve already had a chat with fellow members of the GMCDP too.

The Creativity

I felt more creative in October. My mum paints when she can in Stockport’s Vernon Mill, and during the month I gathered interest in a bit of painting too. I enjoyed it, and can see myself still doing it when I’ve got a chance. Hopefully my mum can teach me a bit more as time continues.

I’ve been to interesting art exhibits. I went to Vernon Mill’s annual show, where many paintings are up for sale. Talent exists in the building, and I’d have spent a bit of money there if I had it. But another exhibit I went to was at Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. It has a great mix to look at, including an exhibition of interesting historic wallpaper.

I’m pretty sure most people will recognise this more-recent wallpaper for quite some time

I also had an urge to write a song. So, I did. The song I wrote is called “Dizzy”. Nobody’s really heard it yet, and it’s quite possible nobody will ever hear it! Even with my fingers getting sore from not plucking strings for so long, it was nice to play again. Music still means a lot to me.

For the Time Being, I Eat Fish

Last month, I established myself as a vegetarian. This month I’ve taken my foot off the pedal a little bit. Although I’m hoping to go vegetarian again after more preparation, I currently label myself as a pescatarian instead. It’s just difficult to ship in to full gear with that without eating too much cheese at the moment.

Thoughts about not drinking cow’s milk or eating cheese have come to my mind as well. Personally, I think those are the things that perhaps cause more bother than not with animals.

Right now, we’ve got another animal who likes to eat fish living in our house. We call him Felix… because he looks like Felix, and we don’t know his real name. He’s a cat, and he likes to scratch. He’s a bit gross with the way he seems to sneeze sometimes. But he keeps turning up at our back door. It seems we had to let him in, and he spends a lot of time around here now.

Good luck in finding “Deemie”; I hope he’s safe.

We thought he might be another cat that has apparently got lost in the neighbourhood recently. Photos are shown of a missing cat locally for people to see when they walk by. However, after taking a camera shot of one of the lost cat’s photos, it seems it doesn’t match his appearance entirely.

With this cat being scratchy and kind of gross I’m finding it hard to get too close to him. I do miss our previous two great cats who passed away; may Colin and Bob rest in peace. Still, I don’t despise Felix enough to do what my late Grandad mistakenly did. We feed Felix a bit of cat food every day, but leave it at that. He’s kind of sneezing too, and we know feeding him half-a-paracetamol won’t do him any favours.

A Pretty Odd Month That’s Over

October was more about learning about keeping my cool on the spot. Like I said, I haven’t found employment, but the post-interview feedback hasn’t been bad. If my next interviews don’t go well then the option of practicing interviews at the job centre is available. But I’m pretty confident about it all now.

Despite more interviews coming, November’s going to be more about socialising than anything. Spending a night out for my friend James’ 30th birthday has already passed by, and I’ve got other social events to be a part of too.

Anyway, thanks for reading this; take care with your lives! I wish you all the best.

British Red Cross by Christopher Paul 

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