This is a real crisis

Mon 31 October 2022

Andrew Owen

I’m working, I’m not on benefits, but I’m still affected by the cost of living crisis. I’m also a gay man, and I think that matters. People in the LGBTQ+ community have a greater chance of bad healthcare experiences. So sometimes things feel even more challenging.

Content warning: this blog discusses suicidal thoughts 

I was diagnosed with MS when I was 21, after about 12 months of experiencing symptoms. It’s progressive MS in diagnosis. I have other health conditions too.

The biggest impact of the cost of living crisis, though, has been the worry. It’s really affected my wellbeing and social life. I’m prescribed tablets to help me sleep, but I’ve been advised by my doctor to limit taking them as they’re highly addictive.

At my worst moments I’ve considered ending my life. But I’m getting support.

I want people to know that this is a real crisis. It’s putting extra pressure on other services too because it’s affecting people in so many ways.

I’m working more than I should be

I feel under pressure to be working more because there is quite a lot coming out of my salary. I’m on a pretty good salary, but after the mortgage payments and everything there is not much left. I don’t think my mortgage will be renewed. I’m struggling, but then so many people are.

I’m well enough to keep working and I feel I just have to crack on. I’m taking on extra hours and working more than full-time now. It’s not sustainable, but there’s no other options, really. I could take on a lodger, but as I’m vulnerable I’m not sure that would be a good idea.

I’ve had to cut back on stuff. I have to focus on essentials. I rent out my parking space for extra income. I then have to park further away, and as I’m on crutches it’s not ideal.

Support should be targeted

I think the government needs to enforce lower caps on the costs of basics. So the cost of gas, council tax and things like that.

This should to be targeted towards people with the most need, including disabled people. We aren’t all in the same boat.

Tell the UK Government: it’s time to act

Sign our petition to call on the UK Government to urgently roll out a new cost of living package to support people with MS to survive the winter and beyond.

Sign the petition now

You don't have to face challenges alone. Find out about extra financial support you could get, as well as disability benefits.

You can also speak to our MS Benefits Advisor through our MS Helpline on 0808 800 8000 or email [email protected].

---

If you're affected by any of the issues raised in Andrew’s story, our MS Helpline can give you emotional support. Call 0808 800 8000 or email [email protected]. We’re here Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm except bank holidays.

You can also can call Samaritans 24 hours a day from any phone, on 116 123

*Andrew’s name has been changed here to protect his identity.