The Depression Challenge

I started this blog yesterday  but had to stop due to the deep black hole I currently reside in.  It’s that place where anyone who suffers from depression can find themselves in, everything seems futile & it’s nigh impossible to find it hard to give a damn about anything. As a Counsellor and an obsessive self analyst I know Why I’m here, and this is what makes this episode worse.

My latest descent into the depths of despair is purely down to external factors; I’m terrified of today’s launch  of Workfare for the chronically sick & disabled; as I was recently placed (after yet another argument with the DWP) into the Support Group, I am theoretically at least, aware that for the moment I’m safe; however I have family and friends who aren’t.

At any time in the next few days they could receive yet another dreaded brown envelope, this time summoning them to an interview at a JobCentre to meet their ‘Personal Advisor’; a low grade civil servant totally inable to make any informed ‘decision’ about Ill health/disability.  From there, they could realistically be bullied into yet another assessment; only this time it willcarried out by an employee of yet another Publicly funded company, but still with absolutely NO idea of their Health needs. The Assessment claims to ‘help’ ESA claimants into work, but the recent Workfare experience should tell us all we need to know about people forced, by threat of removing benefit, into stacking shelves!

I’ve written this because usually, writing is an effective tool which helps me manage my depression; generally I find the process of writing cathartic, an opportunity to offload my angst, but for this latest bout it’s not working. After much soul searching I’ve come to the conclusion, this episode of depression is a result of genuine terror; I’m terrified, I have that gnawing feeling right in the pit on my gut, I feel sick and my black clouds are secured on the top of my head.

For me its not enough to try and relax/attempt to focus on how this won’t affect me, I just can’t. I firmly believe the countless inhuman Policies that threaten our very right to any sort of regular life, have become enacted, because that too many people have done just that. On every other occasion  when a new element of the draconian Welfare Reform Act has began, I’ve rallied; but this time I find myself felling at a loss at what to do.

So I’ve done the only thing I can at the minute, I’ve added my voice, and my fears to the ever growing awareness in Cyber Space; in the hope that we are heard in the real world, and in the hope that at if only at a sub-concious level, the process helps deflate my personal black clouds and helps me rise back out of the pit.

32 thoughts on “The Depression Challenge

  1. I’m sorry to hear you feel so low. I, too, am terrified that one of the dreaded brown envelopes arriving. How sad we don’t feel able to just live life as best we can with all the limitations illness and/or disability place upon us. Oh no, we’re supposed to look miserable, wear old, tatty, depressing dark coloured clothes that make us feel worse and have untidy hair,


    • (oops, hit wrong button on mobil, posted too soon, lol)
      We’re supposed to look ill for people to believe we are. Well I refuse to look a wreck & be smelly, I’ll wear colours & look clean & tidy cos it helps me to feel better about myself, the person inside this body that can’t cope with working or doing many things accepted as “normal”. I shouldn’t be made to feel threatened that I have to work because I look like I might be able to do so. Keep strong Jayne, don’t let the bs get you down, the ckimb back is so difficult.


  2. Yes I know exactly what you mean – I got to that point last year, having written all my life therapeutically I have now been silenced because writing seems so futile. What we are experiencing, whether or not we are ‘technically’ depressed is exactly as you say – blind panic and terror at what might happen to us, and those like us, next. This is compounded by the feeling that few people who have not been put through the system can even begin to grasp the nightmare that is happening around them. Worse – it seems few people care – can’t be bothered to read what we write, think we are being melodramatic or cannot grasp the gravity of it all. But we have to keep trying – it is all we can do. There are people who DO care, who ARE on our side and I have to keep believing that eventually the reality will be grasped by the majority and things will change. Hang in there hon – we need you xxxx


  3. Pingback: The Depression Challenge « paul8ar

  4. Thank you for writing Jayne..even when you really don’t feel like it. I have depression too and the ‘fog’ is all around me. I am frightened too….because although there are a few good people who are prepared to stand up for us..they are always silenced by the media who I think must be being manipulated by this government.As well as my depression/anxiety/Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I have a congenital spinal lesion, degenerative spinal disease..osteoarthritis, bladder and bowel problems, hearing difficulties, debilitating asthma and recurring respiratory problems because I am so immunocompromised. I am in a wheelchair. I have twice been found ‘fit for work’ and am currently in the Appeal stage. They took my benefit away in April and It’s been a struggle. I’m fearful that when DLA changes to PIP disabled folk all over will lose their mobility vehicles..and will just lose the will to live an enforced, restricted life.
    The only thing that lifts my spirits at the moment is chatting with others on a Facebook page called 4UP where there are so many others ‘in the same boat’ and the admin team give me hope that things will turn around, that eventually our voices WILL be heard and joe public will be made aware of what has been happening to us…..
    Keep your chin up Jayne….and I will try to do the same 😀 XX


  5. Pingback: The Depression Challenge | Welfare, Disability, Politics and People's Right's |

  6. Hi Jayne, I’m so sorry to read of your despair. I too have my battles with the pull of the “black hole”. At the moment I’m ok but anything can start the pull towards the hole. I totally understand your terror over Workfare. I got so depressed & so ill I told them to shove it. I’m fortunate that my husband works, we’ve had to “cut our cloth” & I feel guilty that I’ve given up but the terror & fright was too much for

    me. So I admire you Jayne, you are a strong


  7. continued from previous comment…. you are a strong woman who at the moment is being treated unfairly. You’ve got many “virtual” friends who all know how you’re feeling. Take care.


  8. difficult to read all this, it is so sad, I too am waiting for my appeal and I actually seem to be getting better from ME. My MP assured me that it is how I was the the time of the assessment that counts so I don’t have to dress down for it thankfully, but I am scared. Two years till I get my pension and this has been such a blight for me. I realise that I am one of the less badly off in health terms but it still hurts. After working all my life and bringing up my kids I was hoping for a bit of me time without ME and ATOS/DWP cramping my style. love to all of you Jx


  9. Hi Jayne, so sorry that you’re going through all of this. And, like you say, due to external factors which you can’t do anything about, it’s horrible! All the best, and I hope the deepest depression lifts at least a little bit for you! All the best


  10. Pingback: The Depression Challenge | Mental Health, Politics and LGBT issues |

  11. This is great Jayne, I totally agree with everything and you’ve expressed it so well. I have suffered depression and anxiety problems for 6 years and been on benefits because of it for about 5. I was shifted to ESA last March. I was actually awarded the benefit which surprised me as I did have to go to appeal one time when it was still incapacity benefit (which I won-from 0 points to 13.) I am in the Work group, I knew there was no way I’d be put in the support one. I have improved over the last year and I do want to return to work so I’m happy with that. I have had to attend about 4 job centre interviews but so far my adviser has been OK and just recommended I went to Mind for additional psychological support (which is really helpful) and that I did more voluntary work. I already do a few hours a week at the mental health trust but I’m writing content for a charity website too now, just 4 hours a week and I love it. I am concerned that the DWP have a time scale for us WRAG lot though and the pressure will get worse at some point. I don’t want to be bullied into full-time unpaid work, I want a part-time paid job. BTW I found you through Helen Sims who I met through Facebook Neighbours group-we bonded over our love of writing and disability rights.


  12. @Romy, agree with everything you said too, I lost points for being clean and well-presented: so for trying to make the best of things we get penalised! They do want us to be miserable, dirty and shabby! Why should being ill mean you have to lose your self-respect?!


  13. Also, I highly recommend Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for anyone suffering from depression: it helped me so much. It’s especially useful for recurrent or treatment resistant depression.


  14. Pingback: Mental Health – Talk or Stay Silent? | jaynelinney

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