And I’ve just realised I’ve passed a million hits

Please send cake.

Not that one.

“I Had An Appointment Today” and musing upon why we hate the BPD label

Courtesy of Prozacville

Edit:  Ooh, Mind already linked a post on this topic.  Anyway…

Hello! I made my last post about youth work private as I got some hassle via the lovely medium of email and I cannot be arsed to deal with it.

On that note, I seem to be adept at starting hassle unintentionally because of my colourful language and gung-ho ness. For the record, thank you and as lovely as it is that people care enough about me to stand up for me, please don’t feel the need to defend me anywhere, I’m quite capable and it creates needless drama.

EDIT: Whoever you are, you clearly didn’t listen to me. Will you stop, please?

I had an appointment today. We went outside and I chainsmoked my way though it. There was a squirrel family innd I met two cats!

It rained like hell today, which I was grateful for.  I like the rain a lot better than the sun.  It clapped out when me and Robert were hiding outside Kings Cross after googling Spanish breakfast and ending up eating churros.  He’d been on his night shift and wasn’t exhausted yet, and I was wide awake, so it was nice to spend a few hours together before he got his hibernating bear sleep and I did my thing.

My mood is good right now- good enough that my social worker is ringing me to check I’ve not been arrested on Monday. I’ve been having issues with agitation and ARGH! shakiness for a wee while.   And some fluttering, constant anxiety that’s been affecting me, ahem, physically, so I need to be within sprinting distance of a bucket or a hole in the ground.  I was quite low, but I think a lot of it was to do with the flueyness and feeling awful-ness of shingles.  It pissed me off and it hurts!  The agitation and a bit of irritation remains while my mood has escalated a little, partly, I imagine, due to lack of sleep. Which was a relief, as my tiny high spikes lately have been rather enjoyable, if not also vaguely silly (Just ask my poor, awful, recently chopped off hair.  After spending half my life avoiding looking into mirrors even in a good mood I can’t do it, thus have no fucking clue what the hairdresser is doing.  My third haircut since I moved to London and apparently so bad that the stylist didn’t want me to pay for it.  It’s growing on me, a bit, unlike my poor hair). She’s not particularly worried and neither am I.   It’s a good mood and if it goes tits, well.  No point worrying until there’s something to worry about.   I’ve been a lot more productive (16000 words in the past week,  been writing a lot, although my social worker said, “Did you read over them? They might have been, y’know… manic nonsense…”  Nope, never do, but Robert did) and have a lovely clean and tidy bedroom, hurrah. The kitchen still does not exist.  And weed helps calm me down.

I think I’m okay without, but it’s a kind of insurance, I guess.  There’s little urgency on either side, which is a good thing.  It’s all mild suggestion.  I told her I knocked my last high mood on the head with a fuckload of Seroquel and Lorezapam, so that was fine.  She rightly pointed out how could I knock it on the head now since I have neither of those medications?  Ah well, people can duck then, I might meet the new psychiatrist when he starts, and I might not.  I still want to be discharged, four years is enough and I don’t think I’m unwell enough for the CMHT.

As for the BPD thing, who knows!  If I recovered then I’m skeptical.  BPD doesn’t just “get better” on its own without treatment. It’s ingrained, and while it can lessen as you age, usually you need some sort of therapy to recover from it as far as I know. I got nada, and yet I don’t have symptoms of it any more. My own theory is that I had traits-self harm, which, although scarred and I hate those, I often fail to see the problem with,  fear of being alone, insecurity, self hatred and etc- to cope with things as a teenager- then I learned to cope better.  I don’t have the problems with unstable relationships (I have social anxiety, lessening, but I view that separately, it’s not fear of rejection, it’s embarrassment!), emptiness, etc. I can see why I was diagnosed with it, but not a full-blown disorder.  It’s more complicated than that, I know, but in short, I’m no longer concerned. I’m a lot better in a lot of ways so I yay that rather than want to question too much why. Since I stopped throwing up what little I ate and stopped taking laxatives for the rest, I’ve gained 20lbs, but I steel myself, and it’s okay. I eat healthily, my body deserves that and so does my loo, it’s important. It’s all good. I repeat this to myself if I feel panicky. No scuffed knuckles, no blood in my mouth. No self harm, less insecurity. This is good and analysing how I got here isn’t helpful.

If things go tits and I end up in hospital at some point, it’ll likely be quite clear what’s up, whether it’s a manic thing, depression, BPD madness or Other. If not, then even better. I’ve been reassured that if I become really unwell, nobody will consign me to the bin. That is what I was terrified of.  I’m not concerned, but I am interested in it.  It’s been quite a, “Hmm, that’s interesting” thoughtful time. Well, to me, anyway, probably boring as balls to anyone else.  I’ve gone on and on about labels and identity here before in my chin stroking moments, but now I’m curious as to the rather quite visceral way me and others refute things.

We talked a little about blogging today. We’ve never really discussed blogging, even though it’s part of my life. In mentioning the borderline thing (in context of medications), I told her a few other mental health bloggers previously or concurrently diagnosed with BPD had resisted it violently and were distraught about it. One blogger was diagnosed with schizophrenia and then BPD, and the BPD thing threw her most. I think it says a lot about that diagnosis. “Phew, schizophrenia…hang on, BPD?” I was, as you know, massively upset with the BPD diagnosis. I’d finally kind-of-accepted bipolar disorder, and that’s apparently a lifelong disorder that’s mostly controlled with medication that makes you fat, sexless, gassy and bald. But borderline personality disorder, well, that seemed like a giant kick in my beautiful, bipolar balls.

I mused on why some people are so resistant to the label, even though it’s all fluid and will change from person to person, doctor to doctor, and is sometimes quite subjective and only useful as far as treatment.  It was the, “instead of” rather than, “the and” that threw me.  I was quite obsessed with it for a few weeks in that intensely focused way I’m capable of occasionally. I read absolutely everything about it that I could find (including this article on end of life care with a patient who has BPD.  It’s fascinating and it literally never occurred to me that such a situation could exist) and tried to find myself in there.  I found little bits.  Was he right? Was it all really… and here, I think, is the rub… my fault?

There is stigma at work here- inside and out.  I like to think I’m a groovy accepting person, but my annoyance at the borderline comment shows I’m not entirely free of stigmatising attitudes myself, which annoys me because my rational mind understands it.  The so called “biological” mental illnesses (that is, Axis I disorders in the DSM-IV) are kind of blameless. They’re still unpleasant and joyously murderous, but nobody really blames you for having manic depression or schizophrenia. They blame your genes. Axis II, well, that’s you. You’re just fucked up. Even the moniker, “personality disorder” is accusatory. It’s oft said, but it’s true- your personality, your fault. You’re fucked up. Piss off. DBT handbook will be in the post! Axis I is real, Axis II is made-up. It’s crap. This is stuff that has been classified in a certain way; they all exist with each other, because they are all descriptions of behaviours, and that’s all the names are. Behaviours that exist and that I believe can be classified, named and treated if needs be, but that’s all. Sociopaths exist like schizophrenics exist.

The cruelty of this perspective cuts me to the quick, even though I know on a deeper level, I fear there’s truth in it and that’s why I run from it.   Personality disorders- and the dreaded, hated borderline personality disorder in particular- are often shaped by abuse.  There’s the “good” abuse victim (hello, PTSD) and the “bad” abuse victim (hello BPD).  And she’s usually a young woman.  The pain is too visceral, too visible, and thus terribly frightening and threatening. It makes people want to wince and look away, or to expel your from their presence. But in a sane world, people with things like BPD would be treated more sympathetically, not less. I don’t read many mental health blogs anymore (it starts to get bad for…well, your mental health) and I had to stop reading some BPD blogs because the descriptions of abuse that they’d suffered were agonising for me to read. To read, so imagining how they actually felt every day is horrible. And makes me a wanky little coward.

I somewhat intellectualised my protest- labels, pah! I just want the right treatment, pah! You didn’t read my fecking notes properly, pah! But really, one sentence summed it up- “Please, please do not tell me that I have done this to myself!”

Bollocks, this got long.  SNIP!

Continue reading

I suit this.

I am not an American Maverick. I am an Irish Midget.

This is the only photo of myself that I’ve liked for a long time. I think it’s settled then; I’m growing a moustache. And a giant chin.

Thanks for the comments on the previous entry- there’s a lot less of a disparity than I thought there would be, but then again, it isn’t exactly a scientific poll…

And a question: medications

Oh, and this was bothering me earlier:  are Americans on a lot more medication that the rest of the world?  The answer is most likely yes (privatised healthcare et al) but I thought I’d ask for personal experiences to see for myself.  When I’ve peeked at mentalist forums, which often have signatures that share diagnosis and medication- the Americans seem to be on a fuckload of pills that I’ve never heard of but that if I didn’t know the context, I’d swear were the Latin names for plants.

So, out of curiousity…(and by prescribed, I mean currently, not in total)…

Included Canada because, although I know their healthcare is different,
though they still have a ton of medical billing people and nurses, I
wondered if it had a similar attitude.

If you’re taking more than 4, why?  I don’t mean that in a howling OH MY GOD WHY way, but what were they prescribed for? I know with things like manic depression you can get a mood stabiliser, antipsychotic and antidepressant, so there’s three already (that’s the most I’ve been on at any one time and it felt like far too much).

Thanks, I’m just curious!

Nee gnaw

Do you ever read your old journals, diaries, blogs and forum posts and want to chew your own fist off in embarrassment?

As a general rule, I never read anything on this blog from 2007- mid 2008. Oh god. What an uppity little madam. Young and mad (and newly diagnosed as such, which is even worse! Once I got that magic affirmation of my mentalism and sort-of accepted it, I pretty much thought psychiatry was my bitch and had to do what I said), that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. See also: my old Livejournal, 2003-2007, especially the manic periods where I’d write 3000 words four times a day, sometimes going into exquisite and florid detail about the beauty of the walk home from a tube station. Oh how the cosmos and I were one! Jesus christ. There’s something charming and innocent about the obnoxiousness of youthful diaries. The universe-halting significance of a nipple hair. The emotional storms blazing across pock marked skin. Relationships based entirely on mutual music taste. But my seventeen year old self really sounds like the manic depressive Adrian Mole. As did my twenty year old self. And my twenty four year old self. Only, y’know, sexier.

It’s there forever online. Or for at least 10 years. If I hadn’t thrown out all my paper journals (when I’ve been depressed and thinking about suicide I’ve tided up a lot and thrown things out) I think I’d have no knuckles left. And I’m writing a bloody book! In ten years, in the unlikely event it’s still in print, should it even be published at all, I’ll be sneaking into Waterstones wearing a beige mac with a lighter in my pocket. (If they still have Waterstones, and not just iPads. OOH YOU CRAZY KIDS AND YOUR TECHNOLOGY!)

There is something sad about being a Grown Up and not being allowed to be a stroppy seventeen year old anymore.   I don’t think I was ever really emotionally unstable, I think that I was a teenager, maybe for two years longer than I should have been.  A teenager who was coping with some quite adult things sometimes, but still delightfully, stupidly, simply a teenager.    As a teenager, everything felt so vitally important and significant, and thus every little thing could illicit a dramatic response. Nowadays anything short of a nuclear bomb dropping on my face doesn’t faze me. I’m still moody and insecure and still feel like the girl in the corner of the playground sometimes.  I still get pissed off and stroppy about things.  But now I’m all Grown Up about it.  Instead of thinking, “OH MY GOD THEY HATE ME, THEY HATE ME, I’M AWFUL!” when people don’t speak to me, I get all Grown Up and think, “Well, they’re probably busy, and to be fair, here I am not saying hello to them, either”.  I should, one day for old time’s sake, run home in tears and write a poem about it, in my own blood, titled, “Why Am I So Fucking Shit?”

I do sometimes miss slamming the door because my mum shouted at me. And writing loud UNDERLINED!!!!!!!! diary entries about how much I hate her.  I became a grown up, and one who grew up in the psychiatric system.  It can feel like being emotional is punished within it, and it’s a shame.  Teenagehood had a lot going for it.  It still does- I think as a teenager, unformed as we are supposed to be, we’re also our raw, essential selves.

If you kept a diary or journal when you were younger, what was it like? Bonus points if you post excerpts! I may if I get the balls to.

I Like Robert

I jokingly called Robert a narcissist earlier. His response was, “I’m as narcissistic as any handsome, intelligent, excellent dancer with a body built for sex”.

I like Robert.

It’s all true, of course.

Today has been conducted through a haze of painkillers, which is getting me down somewhat. The only thing I really did was go to Tesco for juice and toilet roll. I spent about five minutes agonising over the decision. “I could get the cheap rolls. They’re only 42p. Or I could treat myself with 3ply posh roll. But that’s nearly £2…”

And that is how interesting my life is.

(I bought the 42p rolls. Despite what the Daily Mail would lead you believe, most people on benefits cannot afford to wipe their arses with 3ply, let alone have a flat screen telly in every room).

I mentioned lamotrogine to my social worker. I have taken it before, but I don’t think I did so with much diligence. As far as I remember, I didn’t have many side effects from it- certainly not the crippling ones I had with Lithium and Depakote. Either way, if I’m going to take medication I just want something that will even me out so I can be discharged and bugger off from the mental health system. That, and this, helps me focus too much on mentalism, when I don’t really want to anymore. I think it’s becoming counterproductive. I find mental health fascinating in general, but it’s not healthy. As long as I’m in the mental health system, I’ll end up writing here because my appointments are too dull to bore the cats with.

Either way, la! I’m okay with continuing without medication, if I can learn to live better. My feeling is that the doctor won’t discuss it anyway, since they are understaffed and overworked, and he doesn’t think I need medication. If only hypomania didn’t turn to rage then depression, I’d be a happy, probably imprisoned, little bunny.

Anyway, back to the subject- I like Robert. He is nice.

Edit: apologies that I keep editing posts and deleting details. I’m feeling uncomfortable here at the moment so prefer to post the minimum of what I’m thinking, if I post at all.

Ding dong

EDIT: Worst written post ever!

I do indeed have shingles, so a shiny pustule to everybody who said so!

I went to the walk-in clinic on Saturday in Soho. People kept wandering in and out, asking to use the toilet, returning with the suspiciously glazed eyes of someone who was smacking up. The two hour wait was almost like sport. There were two nurses there, one who seemed stressed and grumpy, the other who seemed to carry the sun in her pocket. Luckily, I saw the sun nurse.

She examined me, confirmed it was shingles then explained to me what that was. She took me temperature too, which hasn’t been done to me for years. Little bit of a fever, unsurprising because I’ve generally felt a bit fluey and shite. She asked for any conditions I have- only two, manic depression (I think, who knows) and asthma- and then asked what medication I was taking. I told her none, and she put down her pen. She then told me that she had noticed I was shaking very badly. I do this sometimes, as I’ve explained before. I have confetti days where excess energy just kind of shivers me down. In the waiting room I couldn’t hold the pen properly to fill in the forms so Robert offered to do it. I did it, just in very arch, careful handwriting. The shaking and occasional problems with my speech are two little tics that sometimes give me away.

Anyway, I was quite embarrassed by this and she reassured me nobody else was going to notice and jump to any conclusions, she just did because she was a nurse. She went back to saying that because the rash had been there for more than three days, there was no point in taking any antiviral medication, but I did need to take better care of myself because I’m too young to be getting shingles. I am always run down. I haven’t been in good physical condition for quite a while now.

Before I left, she made me promise I would speak to someone about taking medication.

I left feeling a bit exposed. That morning, I’d been woken up by a paramedic shining a torch in my face. Thank fuck I wasn’t having one of my North Korea dreams or else I would have died of heart failure. Or summary execution. This was because I had sent a depressive text to Robert (it wasn’t anything particularly scary, and it was partly due to feeling manky because I’m all shingley), then promptly fallen asleep due to the antihistimines I’d taken for scratching. Oh, and my phone is broken. So I didn’t hear his calls, he assumed I’d topped myself or hurt myself, and panicked.

Nothing did happen, but there is something Not Right when someone close to you worries about you like that. Someone’s first reaction to not answering the phone at 2am should be, “Oh, she’s asleep”. Not that. I am not terrible at the moment, but there are some things in the past two months (that I don’t feel like talking about) that remind me of me back in 2006. And not in a good way. I’m aware I’m Not Quite Right at the moment. Not in any profound way, but it’s there. And also that I’m better at hiding it these days. I’m sleeping well enough, so it’s not just that.

Anyway, I’m going to start taking medication again. Maybe I just needed more time to adjust to life without it and develop better ways of living without it, but if I’m being honest, the whole experiment has been a failure, and I need some extra help for my moods. Because I want to get somewhere in my life. I want to write, consistently, I want to earn enough money to live somewhere with Robert and the cats, to study and to travel, I want to have a baby one day and have a spare room for a crib, I want to learn stuff and talk to people, and just live my bloody life. Not spend it on a constant balancing act. I don’t get anything done. I don’t get anywhere. I want a fucking life. A proper, full one where I can forget that I have a mental illness.

It doesn’t have to be forever, just until I get more stable. I am more stable than I was four years ago, but slipping, a bit. I don’t want to slip a lot. So, it might not even help, but it’s worth a go. I don’t just owe it to myself to try harder. It’s not just me that this affects. I sometimes forget that.

Anyway, it’ll just be Seroquel, so.

Hi, I’m going to be completely disgusting.

Yep, this is how much I don’t want to see my doctor! And given its position, I’d definitely have to pull my sleeves up.

So, nurse-friends and doctor-friends, given that I know bugger all about anything medical, I have this on my shoulder and don’t know what it is (apart from disgusting). Under my armpit is swollen too. It’s nowhere else on my body. A few days ago, they weren’t so much there but it was agony to be touched on the area, I couldn’t even wear a bra it was so painful.


It’s not bites, I don’t think- the skin’s only broken from itchiness. It isn’t heat, it’s been there and in the same place for days. It isn’t fleas, I have indoor cats and Robert would have them too. It’s very localised to my shoulder. I went to the chemist who gave me antihistimines for that. He said he didn’t think it was bites nor scabies either.

Any ideas? And would it be something I could treat just by going back to the chemist? Not asking for someone to e-diagnose me, just to give me an idea so I can speak to the pharmacy-man.

(For anybody who previously respected me, I apologise).

EDIT: Shingles! It looks exactly like that. Thank you, Gemma. I’m pretty sure that is in fact that- the pain, sensitivity, the tiredness and mild fever (I have been unwell the past week) and the rash. Since it’s a herpes thing, is it related to the fact I get a thousand cold sores a year? I wonder if my immune system is rubbish, I get run down constantly and catch everything going. Go my body! Is this a mentally interesting thing? Stress causing a shite immune system?

Anyway, if it is shingles, can I get away with not going to the doctor for it and just put up with it? I’ll go to the walk in centre just to make sure (especially since both me and Robert have noticed my eyes being weird, they’re red, they look odd and my vision is blurry, but it’s probably being tired). Thanks for your advice! This is just how much I hate going to see my GP.


Out of curiousity, when you go to a GP for a physical health problem, how often do they say it’s all in your head, or put it down to your mental health?

I’ve barely seen my GP due to his unfortunate habit of making me pull my sleeves up on every visit.  I find it hugely embarrassing and demeaning.  I don’t like my friends to see my scars, so why a stranger?  (I also don’t really get the whole big deal about self harm, but that’s a tale for another post…)

I don’t tend to go to the doctor’s for physical health problems unless forced, such as last year when people around me were wondering if I had leukemia, because I was covered in huge bruises and could barely stay awake.  He did a blood test and gave me a lecture on self harm.  Annoyingly, it was the first time I’d done it in over a year, and I did it after the (understandably hugely upsetting) abortion.  Still, it made a change from when I was getting lectures about my weight after I’d put on stones on medication.  And nothing was up in the blood tests, so god knows, maybe I was just being beaten up by ants in my sleep.

I’m having a physical health problem now but I doubt I’ll go to the doctor unless it really begins to scupper me.  My GP is okay, but probably somewhat too thorough when it comes to mental health.  So he tends, in my case, to just put everything down to mental health.  One day when I snuff of cancer I’ll laugh.

Every Time I Try To Write About the Budget, My Teeth Fall Out

It’s been a good week, for a few reasons.

The first is that hypomanic eBaying sometimes pays off, and bloody cheaply at that.  I have wanted a rocking chair my whole life.  ‘Tis a modest want (it being a rocking chair, it warrants a ’tis.  Bring my vermooth), but they’re so damnably expensive that I leave “shabby chic” (i.e broken, scuffed and crap) furniture stores with tears pouring down my face.  Not in sadness, you understand, but in rage that some people have that level of disposable income.

During my most recent Funny Turn I bid on a gorgeous (fake) leather rocking chair on eBay, thinking I could drag it on the tube from Kent.  Which is stupid, really, given that:

a) I am about the size of a hermit crab and

b) I have the strength of the weedy, loser hermit crab that gets beaten up by all the other hermit crabs.

I won it (whoops) and for the princely sum of £20!  So overjoyed was I that I sifted through similar eBay listings joyfully bellowing, “FUCK YOU!” at their absurd price tags.

I am not usually a Look What I Bought type person.  Those sections in loathsome lifestyle Sunday supplements titled, “What I Bought This Week” make me want to headbutt their writers until death.  Stop waxing idiotic about your fucking meaningless purchases you use to prop up your failing self esteem!

But… look what I bought this week!



It really makes my mentalist, “rocking back and forth in a room” a lot more glamourous.  So far, I’m the only person who has reclined on it who has not had a snooze.

Even better was that I posted, “Er, fuck, seemed to have bought a chair in Kent, I have no idea how to get it back up here” on Facebook and my lovely fellow blogger Karita offered to pick it up for me!  So not only did I have an excellent chair to sit on, I also had the opportunity to meet someone I have liked from afar for ages under quite strange circumstances.  Nervewracking but hooray!  I met her husband, too, and we chain smoked, talked about mentalism and had a gay old time.  Marvellous!

(I thankfully didn’t win any of the more absurd shit I bid on).

The second reason this week has been a good one is that I spent a day in which I was social.  Four people in one day!  That’s good stuff.  I also met someone who answered questions with human beatboxing, and that is…well, that’s just great.  My best friend Stephen also wrote something lovely about me on his blog which almost made me cry. It is the second nicest thing ever committed to the internet about me; the first being someone on CaB remarking that I had, “nice tits”.

I haven’t been very productive this week but it was mostly due to lazily enjoying feeling fairly normal and getting out of the house.

I’ve been okay, and I think the reason why is that I’ve been sleeping regularly.  Not a lot, and a few times I’ve had to take Seroquel to help (almost run out of them now) but still sleeping.  Sleeping really seems to be the key for me.  If I sleep too little, I go doolally, and sleeping too much very, very obviously impacts on my mood and makes me depressed.  Last week, I panicked a bit because I had taken Lorazepam and Seroquel to calm down (this was at the tale end of the hyper episode, which turned to rage and me screaming and trying to kick the shit out of everything), and I slept way too much.  I woke feeling desperate and suicidal, but I made sure I didn’t sleep the next two days, and it seemed to leaven things out.

All of this has pretty much confirmed in my mind that the initial diagnosis of bipolar rapid cycling was spot on.  People close to me agree, there.  I have huge mood swings for no discernible reason, which, when you boil it down, is it, really.

That said, I’m being offered no treatment- no DBT for borderline (my social worker doesn’t think it will be useful, she doesn’t think I have BPD), no medication (and I have always been too afraid of being bollocked to tell the doctor and social worker that my medications haven’t worked because I stopped taking them and didn’t tell them- yes, I know, sorry), so, hopefully, if I don’t go totally mental, I’ll still be discharged and see how it all goes.  I think I should probably take some medication but am also wondering if I can manage it alone by being very careful in my sleep.    I’ll try again for the next month, and if it all goes tits, I’ll hit the panic button, and we’ll see.

Thing is, though, I don’t seem to have many other problems these days.  I hate saying that because it feels like I’m tempting fate.  Which is bullshit but you can’t rid yourself of all superstition, even if you’re like me.  I have massive mood swings that are fairly bastardy, but that’s about it.  Everything else seems to have kind of shimmied away.   No self harming, no crazy flip outs.  I deal with everything in a far calmer way, am almost, in fact, unfazeable.  I think I am, mostly, “healthy” mentally.  Bad body image aside, but these days I make sure I eat (I was never a bulimic who binged, I threw up normal amounts of food.  So not bulimic, but pa purger) and keep my fingers away from my throat.  I’ve put on weight, but sighingly accepted that because I don’t fancy getting more dental work and seemed to damage my metabolism quite a bit with it all.  I’m being, AHEM, mindful.  Which helps.  And going out with someone who has such a healthy attitude towards food and for whom it’s a huge part of their social life also helps.  Robert is like a Mediterranean grandmother. I’d miss out on so much, and I don’t want to any more.

So,  I wonder where I’ll end up?  Well, on the streets sometime soon, if George Osbourne and Iain Duncan Smith have their way.

I’ve avoided writing about the budget because I begin to panic when I even think about it.  I can barely bring myself to even read about it without wanting to spit in disgust.  Reward the banks, penalise the poor.  It’s not an attack on “benefits dependency culture”, it’s an attack on the sick and disabled.  People screw the system and in these times we need the extra cash in the coffers.  My problem isn’t so much with the idea of getting people off benefits- I want to work within the next year.  It’s the ethos of it.  The, “pull your bootstraps up” bollocks, the fact that the government basically blames a lot of sick people for their own problems.  It’s as if they were reading the venom on HYS and thought, “My gosh!  You’re right!”

As a mentalist on benefits, over the past few years I’ve felt under fire.  I don’t read the comment pages on newspaper sites anymore for that reason.  It makes me so uncomfortable that people out there view people like me in such a derogatory way.  I’m scared of even posting the cost of that chair in case someone shouts, “HOW DARE YOU BUY ANYTHING OTHER THAN GRUEL WITH YOUR MONEY?”  I did work, I worked my arse off until I was too sick to do it anymore.  I’ve worked since I was seventeen, worked instead of getting an education because I had to support myself.  At the moment, I’m still too unstable to work, but I want to. Anyway, it’s not people like me, is it?  I forgot.

I had another IB50 form to fill in in March.  Only last week I received notification that I met the threshold for incapacity, which means I don’t have to go to a medical.  I was petrified of that- as I opened the envelope, my mouth dried, my heart started hammering through my chest wall.  I’ve only ever been to one medical and so was so confidently crazy that the person performing it rang the Jobcentre to see why the hell I couldn’t get Incapacity Benefit and stated I should categorically not work.  She seemed to have a mental health background, or at least, she was very knowledgeable upon it and believed I was manic.  I still had to work as I didn’t have enough contributions due to years of temping.  We all know how that ended.

I’ve heard so many horror stories of medicals.  People I know have bought suicide kits to their appeals.  And yet they’re getting harsher.  I’ll definitely have to go to one early next year, when I’ll be moved over to the ESA.  I am dreading it.

They talk about ending the “benefits dependency culture”, and yet they target DLA, a non-means tested benefit!  It’s there to cover the extra cost of being disabled.

I’m in a strange age bracket where, if my DLA was taken away from me, I’d also lose my home.  I receive the Severe Disability Premium because I get middle rate care DLA, and lower rate mobility.  I have an indefinite award which means I’ve been judged ill enough that it’s likely I’ll still be ill in two years time.  This is true; even though I am managing myself fairly well, the nature of my illness means it hits me out of  nowhere.  I didn’t exaggerate on my DLA forms, and that almost makes it more galling.  I was telling the truth when I wrote that  there are times I am so depressed I can’t get out of bed to urinate so I kept a pot close to the bed.  I have indeed burned down four cookers due to my inability to concentrate.  I have indeed propositioned strangers in the street.  It’s all true.

I was happy when I received the indefinite award when I renewed it because, if you’ve ever done a DLA form, you’ll understand how bonecrushingly humiliating they are to fill in.  I spend most of my day-to-day real life trying to hide the extent of my mental health problems.   I’m open here, of course, but I am often reclusive for that reason.  On those forms you have to go into the tiniest and most private details.  Seeing on paper how rubbish you can be is upsetting.  And doing it for monetary reasons is even more so.  It’s emotional prostitution.

I’m under 25 so I can only claim enough Housing Benefit for a single room.  Disabled people under 25 who receive the right benefit (Income Support and the Severe Disability Premium) are exempt from that rule, so, I live in a one bedroom flat, which puts me- and I’m aware of this- in an absurdly priveleged position.  For people who have physical disabilities, the single room rule exemption means they have room for people to come and care for them, and for their various apparatus.  In my case, it was helpful because my mental health problems made it difficult for me to live with people.  When I did share houses, it was at the time when it was clear I was mentally ill, which got me into trouble and made it very uncomfortable.  And also fairly vulnerable.  At one of the points in which I was sharing, I was suffering from psychosis, hearing things and very paranoid, so I could barely get the courage to even leave the room and lived in fear.  Having social phobia also did not help.

A one bedroom place frankly gives me the privacy to be as mad as I like, and also gives me the space to have people stay with me when I need it.

If I lost my DLA, I’d lose that.  I don’t want to live on benefits forever.  I never wanted them in the first place, but I needed them.  I am dedicating what time I can properly use (i.e time not spent being mental and finding it impossible to focus) on writing right now, to put myself in stead for the future, and then I will come off benefits.  If I’d never been able to claim them (and it looked like for a while, I wouldn’t be), I don’t know where I’d be right now.  Homeless and dead, probably.  Having a stable home has improved my situation tenfold.  But that’s going to end for a lot of people too- the Housing Benefit cap will be set at £400 a week for a four bed house.  That may sound like a lot, but consider families living in London.  The rent here is ridiculous, and it’s not like families can just sticks and move somewhere cheaper when their kids are in school.   Chuck the poor people into the cheap ghettos!

The crux of it is that the budget cuts aimed at sick, unemployed, disabled and poor is that it’s founded on suspicion and dislike.  The assumption that you are dishonest, idle and inherently unworthy.  It’s a Victorian, upper-class sneering attitude to take.

Where will the work come, and how will people will be to undertake it given the cuts to NHS services, particularly mental health services?  In the smallest sense, my social worker confided in me that my psychiatrist had been so brusque, bad tempered and rushed at my last appointment because the cuts had meant that they were drastically understaffed.  That appointment made me cry and has also made me fairly against the idea of seeing a psychiatrist again.  That’s one tiny event caused by cuts affecting one person; in the future, access to services will be more difficult to obtain, and treatment is going to suffer.  So how is the nation supposed to be healthy and well if they cannot find the treatment and support they need?

In short, bollocks to them all and I wish I’d pissed and shit on my vote then shoved it up Nick Clegg’s arse.  I don’t even want to continue writing about it.  I could have been all intelligent and academic, but nah, at the end of the day, I’m selfish and worried personally about what’s going to happen to me.

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