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As you may know, I have Crohn’s disease. It’s miserable, and of late, it’s been more miserable than usual. Which leads me to an unusual problem: at any given time, half the clothes in my wardrobe don’t fit.

So, for those of you who don’t know, Crohn’s disease has many a symptom, but the biggest one is that you get horrible diarrhoea. This causes, amongst other things, rapid weight loss. If you go to your doctor, for help relieving such things, you are usually given some steroids. Which cause rapid weight gain. Honestly, you can’t win for trying. You’re either wasting away, or ballooning up, sometimes in the same month.

So clothes shopping takes on a new shade of horror. Especially if you’re me and already don’t like shopping for new outfits. I like the outfits I have. They have been specially vetted so as to have nothing scratchy, or itchy about them, they are all mostly navy or grey, and I have shoes that can mostly be worn with the vast majority of the items.

Thing is, when I start losing weight, as I am currently doing, the clothes don’t fit so well anymore. Which leads me to the next issue, which is that I live in the UK, which is not a country that believes in an extra extra small, or a size zero. This is problematic, because at the moment I’m just on the right side of not underweight. Fear not, I’m waiting on a referral to a specialist, and won’t waste away properly anytime soon, but as it stands, people are getting a bit concerned.

Because, and you’ll know this if you’re tiny, but if you are very small and wear anything in a size that’s a bit too big, you will look like you’re swimming in your clothes, and people will start asking questions.

Recently, it was inflammatory bowel disease awareness week. I nearly missed it myself, but then I saw on Twitter that it was a thing, so I had a look at their website. Interesting reading, if you stayed away from the scary bits, as I tend to for my own and The Mom’s own mental wellbeing.

But it was there, in the depths of several pages, that I happened upon a rather interesting fact: the UK government will allow you up to £500 to spend on new clothes if you’ve got the Crohn’s or other similar ailments.

Considering the UK government is currently taking away all sorts of benefits, I was amazed this even exists. But never mind. It does. I am considering taking advantage of it, but am loathe to fill out paper work and so probably will not, but the idea is interesting.

As I’m going home for a few weeks soon, I’ll be able to shop in the world of tiny sizes once again (side note: M&S sort it out, there are many women in this country much smaller than a size 10!) I’m considering how best to accomplish my goal, which is to get a set of clothes that will work for when I’m very thin, and for when I’m steroidally puffy.

My solution is the mighty sweater dress. Sure, I’ll look a bit ropey when I’m too thin and there might be some funny bulges when I’m not thin, but hey, I only have to buy the one dress.

Also, I find it odd that the government is willing to buy me clothes, but not say, toilet paper, which frankly is very useful at times like these. But then, it’s kind of nice. It reminds me of when I was younger and deeply unemployed, and I had to ask The Mom to take me shopping. She’d rock up into town, and help me pick things out that might suit me. It didn’t often end well, but that’s not the point.

Who would the UK government send to make sure I’m spending the money wisely? Would it be David Cameron? Probably he’s busy right now, but maybe George Osborne might come with. Or maybe, since I’m a woman, they’d send Teresa May. That would be horrible, as she’d probably want to check my papers before we even got started. Maybe they’d send someone else, maybe the Minister for Health, or perhaps there’s a Minister of Fashion.

On my visa, I’ve no recourse to public funds, so I reckon this sort of thing is off limits to me, but still, a girl can but dream. And the idea of UK plc sending me on some kind of What Not To Wear themed shopping trip is certainly enough to keep me entertained whilst I’m on the toilet.

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