Hypomania is calming down. I am a little bit disappointed by the relative quietness in my head. This typing sounds like thunderclaps.
Anyway, hooray for the Conservatives, the new-New Labour. First we find out that DLA is in danger and now they want to cut incapacity benefits and boot people onto JSA, which is already a criminally low amount of money. Given the idiosyncratic and very-much-geared-at-physical-illness criteria for ESA in deciding who’s “fit for work”, let’s enjoy our final few months hating ourselves for being too mental to hold down a full time job so we can hate ourselves for being even poorer.
The Conservatives say they would pay for their £600m plan to “get Britain working” by cutting the incapacity benefit bill.
People on employment support allowance who are deemed fit to work would be put on the jobseeker’s allowance, reducing their benefits by £25 a week.
All incapacity benefit claimants would be assessed to see if they could work.
Robert noticed my worried face as I read this story and said, “It’s ages away and anyway, it won’t be for people like you, who have real illnesses and have the doctors and nurses helping you”, but it is for people like me, and for people like you, not just the famed, “dodgy backs” of Britain. (Speaking of which, as I write this, I have a completely buggered neck I can barely move. GIVE ME MONEY). It’s not the first time someone has said, “Ah, but YOU deserve it”. They can only say that because they know me well enough to know and see first hand how severely my illness affects my life. I’m still judged unfit to work by the DWP but I’ll eventually be assessed and probably booted onto JSA. I can walk, after all. And people who do bullshit, like a certain someone I know who does the double (works and claims benefits) and who faked a panic attack at an assessment, should be pulled (and in her case, kicked up the hole although there are many people who are in such poverty that they claim benefits for the much-needed extra income, which is seemingly never addressed). But the process for judging who is and who isn’t “deserving” isn’t just a medical one, it’s becoming a moral and social one. The system is hugely flawed. Have a read of the Benefits and Work forum to see actual examples of the judged “dodgy backs” who find themselves utterly fucked because of it.
I am aspiring to be in part time work by mid-next year. Nobody, including myself, believes me well enough for it yet, but I try to routinely do something (even if it’s just writing something by a deadline) to test myself and to keep busy. I am meeting the therapist for an assessment on the 22nd so that might help, too. But it’s besides the point. There is a sour attitude towards people who are ill in Britain right now. I feel like human flotsam, guilty for every single penny I spend, even though I worked and paid my taxes since I was seventeen. Just force people into shitty, badly paid jobs and cut benefits to the point where there’s no financial gain to be had on them. I don’t even have the energy or the impetus to write about it. “Benefit reform” by both Labour and the Conservatives have long since ceased to pretend to be humanitarian.
(P.S: I should say that I am embarrassed to be writing this as I know some people reading will be thinking, “Get to work! There’s nothing wrong with you! You can type this, you have a life!” which is a little internal prejudice against myself I hold also because my problems are mental and I am often ashamed of them. Which I think says quite a lot about what “real” illness allegedly is
Lydia just pointed out how much she hates the, “what do you do?” question from people. Ah, yes, me too).
Filed under: Bipolar Disorder