My passion at a young age was to travel and I started this dream by becoming cabin crew back in 1989 with AIRTOURS International airways and then worked in different roles in the travel sector. In 2016 I was diagnosed HIV Positive. My world was shattered and felt so alone as I felt I really had let myself down and no one to really turn too. As time went on, I noticed I had started to find the job impossible with the medications I was taking, and this affected my mental health. I built up the courage to see my GP to talk about all my situations. I could feel my sparkle disappearing worrying about everything and overthinking things making it worse. It was not helped when in 2018 I got the news that my dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and then lymphoma cancer. Seeing him deteriorate and the effect on my mum was devastating. I felt more of a failure because I could not be there constantly to support them.
Then in November 2021, I boarded the tube. It was packed, I fainted and fractured my right tibia, fibular and twisted my ankle. At hospital they inserted a pin from my knee down through my bone to hold the bone together and plates and screws all over my right lower leg and ankle. I am still in recovery. I did try to go back to work but I had a breakdown as I just could not cope. The constant pain that I'm in has caused my anxiety and depression to flare up. I started having awful thoughts of what’s the point in carrying on.
As winter kicked in, I was just starting to get my benefits of £77 a week and the energy prices soared. I had nowhere to turn. I had already relied heavily on my elderly parents. My gas bill alone was £60 per week on a prepayment meter. Now I had another worry on my mind, the choice of heating or eating. So I contacted ABTA LifeLine.
I was immediately made to feel at ease when I spoke to them. As cheesy as it sounds, the name Lifeline is just what the charity has been to me. LifeLine provided me with energy and food vouchers as winter set in and the temperature dropped. They also supported me getting a new freezer, which was invaluable as I was able to freeze food and save money on food costs.
I don’t know what would have happened without the support of LifeLine. My mental health is slowly improving, and this charity has played a very special part in my recovery.
*Name changed to protect identity