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We need to talk about vulnerability

Vulnerability is something that can, and probably will, affect most of us. Whether directly affected or not, it is certainly something that needs to be addressed in wider society.

Take my sister as an example. She spent years in the Territorial Army, and served seven months in Afghanistan, mainly in Kandahar and Camp David, as a driver and medic. I can’t imagine the horrors of what she went through and seeing her friends and colleagues injured or even worse. Of course, even after this, she knew of friends who unfortunately committed suicide after returning from Afghanistan after suffering from PTSD, which she also suffers from.

A few years after returning, she was involved in a motorbike accident that nearly ended her life. Still affected by this, her PTSD became worse and led to years of depression.

Suffering with depression and PTSD, it was always hard to hold down a job, and so onto benefits she went. Her situation wasn’t helped when we lost our father suddenly in March 2017. This was a complete shock, and naturally set her back from the road to progress.

It was later in 2017, when, at 42, she was confirmed autistic and suddenly things started making sense. Not helped by dyslexia either, we were all a step closer to understanding her better.

Thanks to inheritance from our departed father, she managed to buy a small flat with a beautiful view in Gourock, Scotland. However, this was a repossession buy, and for months over the winter, she had no heating or hot water. Let down by plumbers who said they would come, this continued for months. Her support worker did all they could, and we, as a family, did as much as we could, but with a disabled mother living alone to also look out for, I found that my shoulders were not broad enough. Surely it shouldn’t be just my responsibility. Somebody who served our country should not be left forgotten.

Now it turns out that the fire brigade broke into her flat because of a leak that came from the previous owner’s bad plumbing choices. The leak had gone down to the flat below, and they had already threatened legal action against my sister for previous leaks. I don’t know how this is going to affect her, but there must be some help out there somewhere.

We need to talk about vulnerability, and we need to do it now.

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