In the past week, I’ve had quite a few requests for a, “What is going on with you, woman?” update. I had written a rather long, verbose post. But instead, here’s the HANDY DIGEST! Contains embarrassing information.
- Quite a lot has changed. This is actually an introductory sentence, not a bullet point, but I feel it would be shivering and sad had I not awarded it the status of
- bullet points like this.
- And this.
- First of all, I wish I could retract my Guardian article about the transformative wonderfulness of Personal Budgets/Direct Payments. After five months of waiting, after being told, “M’lady, it’s all in hand. Educate thyself. Just pay for all your books and such like”, it turns out that I actually owe everything. I have no funding- none- for my Certificate of Higher Education course. I’m not sure what exactly happened, but they seem to count disability living allowance as income. Thus, I pay £160 a month for the next twelve months, leaving me not only seven months in arrears, but broke. I can’t afford it.
- My social worker is spitting, but alas, from the distance of her holiday right now so I’m not sure what’s happening. She is furious. She has sent a raging email, that uses- hark!- the words, “inhuman” and “illegal”. She said that this was my route out of a life of benefits dependency. My heart sank and cracked when I read the words, and shrivelled when I realised that they were true. She’s also citing my mental-improvement, given that I have something to focus on and be careful and well for, and how I’ve been doing (I’m not being modest. I’m proud of this. My first module mark was 74%, and that’s the module one of a first year degree, and I know that’s good for someone with the Seven GCSE qualifications) I’ve been doing. I have worked my considerably sized arse off for this. It’s given me something to talk about and think about rather than my own tiny microbe life which consists of just trying to get through the day. I don’t know what to do. I’m on my second module and struggling because of
- depression, not just mine. I’m rubbish on both counts.
- It’s also physiology. The aforementioned depression-not the sedate, serene kind- is making it very difficult to concentrate and remember things. I’m also just a bit of on the d-d-d-dense side of this topic. It fascinates me, but I find the scratchy, unfriendly numbers and alien words hard to relate to.
- At this point, I don’t know if I can continue my course. It has knocked my motivation. I often feel it’s pointless, and I’m waiting to be chucked off, to be called out of class and told I have to go home. I feel like I don’t deserve to be there, because I’m scrappy and skint and I am ashamed of it. I already felt like a pathetic charity case. Now- what am I now?
- I can’t afford any of that money. I couldn’t anyway, but I especially can’t now because
- From next month, DLA will comprise the entirety of my income. I’ll no longer be claiming any out-of-work benefits. The reasoning for this is simple- my tenancy ended at the same time as my boyfriend’s. His ended favourably. Mine ended on the terms of my delightfully crooked landlord, who said I could stay on, providing he raise the rent of my tiny flat that doesn’t have any door handles by almost £300 a month. In the immortal words of Michael Hilland: AYE YER MA.
- So, we decided to move in together. We love each other, really, quite a bit. We spend all our time together. We are siamese. There is also the fact that sometimes, I’d like to feel like a real human being, in a real home, and not the last-ditch-shit-better-let-this-out hovels I end up in because of my circumstances. I want- very much- to just live with the person that I love, like, y’know, a couple. It’s something I’ve never written about here. But it is so incredibly important to me to have a home. I need one stable vein running through my life. I need to be able to sleep and retreat. We want our lives to be together, and we’re happiest that way.
- I’ve f0und somewhere to live. Robert has a job-not one that could support us, but it’s a job he works over 16 hours a week in. This means I wave goodbye to my benefits, aside from DLA. I think- although I’m not sure- that I can claim enough housing benefit to cover most of my rent. The rest, and my share of council tax, will be paid by my DLA. And, after that, there’s my money to live on. It’s not much, at all.
- I made this decision after a lot of ARGH FUCK. It is worth it. I’ll find some way to get money. I feel assaulted by the government recently, like many others in worse positions than me. I almost don’t care if I am too poor to eat, if I can’t finish my course because I can’t pay for it. I don’t want to be at their mercy. Whatever happens happens on my head- my neck, my own lovely guillotine. I hate waiting for the chop. I am happier being the one with her hand on the lever. I’m sick of looking over my shoulder. I’m sick of feeling a lurch in my stomach whenever I check the post. I know that even if I have a breakdown right now, the outcome will be the same. I’ll lose my benefits anyway. Here it is. It is in my hands. On my head.
- Students, slow handclap thanks. You’ve had the biggest platform imaginable and for the most part peddled your own agenda. We would have appreciated some solidarity at the protests against welfare reform that are resulting in suicides and will result in homelessness and mental disintegration across the country. Please just show some support, eh?
- So, we’re in financial “fuck!” straits. We’ll be able to pay our rent no matter what- it’s the priority, we love our flat. We were incredibly lucky to get it. It’s in South London and when the bedroom window’s closed, you don’t hear a thing, not a bird or car or a plane rumbling by. It’s been years and years.
- We haven’t moved yet and don’t until the 7th, which in itself is going to turn my mane grey, because- well, lots of reasons. It’s in South London. I like it there.
- I am trying to view the lack of money as a motivator. I’ll carry on in my course that I can’t pay for and will be kicked out of any minute. I’ll wait for responses from universities. Nothing yet, except from one I had to withdraw from due to realising the journey time would be about 5 hours a day, at best. It’ll all be academic-AHAHA-withut finishing my course. There is no funding- I have checked. I will write, aggressively, almost petulantly, hoping someone thinks I’m good enough to pay. I’ve applied for fifteen jobs. I have received not one response. I feel ready for work now. I have had the predictable response to stress (becoming a bit ill), but I’ve handled it quite well. If I don’t get into university this year I try again next year. If I can’t finish my course this year- I have no idea what to do. Save up and finish my modules another year, and apply again. I wish someone would cast an eye over my CV. Three years as a professional mental is good for some, the some suspiciously quiet. The rest- it’s understandable I’m not hearing anything. I feel tainted. Like I wiped my arse on it all and fired it merrily through every window in Britain. DO NOT TOUCH! Infected.
- As I can no longer claim benefits, and I’ll be out of my borough, this is also the end of any support that I have had. It’s goodbye to the community mental health team and all the secret-hush-hush help. Aside from them, I don’t really have any support. I have Robert, but it’s not that fair to push all my fears onto him. He can’t help that much either, except for reassuring.
- I also can’t afford my prescriptions and I’m not- or not going to be- on any benefits that entitle me to them. I can’t afford reduced rates, either. I’ve been back- fairly regularly- on Seroquel. Sleep. It is everything. Ah well.
- I see a psychiatrist on the 1st. That’ll be interesting!
- All in all, these turn of events have made me feel like a complete wastrel without much of a future. But bollocks to such thoughts.
- I am likely to get into trouble for writing this post.
Despite all this, my mood is somewhat better. It’s either due to lack of sleep or that I feel hopeful that I can sort this out. Somehow!
So, there’s an update. I tip my hat to you all.
Filed under: Bipolar Disorder