Yesterday I completed almost 2 year of Psycho-dynamic Therapy, and the best part of this slightly scary but exciting experience is, it was my decision to leave. This may seem odd, but after dedicating more that 100 Tuesday afternoons to an intense examination of my life, I am now well enough to stop. I have learnt so much in this time about myself, and in in any other relationship I would call my therapist my best friend. She has supported me through this journey with intelligence and total compassion and it is Ali I will miss most.
Living with Depersonalisation means I have had to relearn what emotions feel like; to try and clarify this I ‘feel’ with my body, I experience the ranges of emotion physically, negative emotions like anger and I develop intense heartburn, annoyance is felt in my stomach, pleasurable emotions come from my back and shoulders. I understand this might seem really odd but it is a part of who I am, and now I recognise the signs I can manage my responses. Similarly learning to accept and understand why and how my Depression affects me I am confident I can better manage it.
With Ali’s assistance I have realised I will always have my mental illness, and that I can live with it without it consuming me, I have rediscovered that although I have both physical and mental disabling factors these do not define me.
Of the vast amount of knowledge I gained, the one I’m sharing is the reaffirmation that I along with every living being, is by virtue of our existence, Enough. Enough may seem a strange word to use, but I struggled to find one that didn’t suggest having a financially cost to it, a Google synonym check on valuable returned: Precious, Costly, High-priced, High cost, Expensive, Dear, in the first line.
The notion of life having a price, allows and goes some way to inform the rhetoric of the current government. When each person apparently has a cost appointed to them; it most be remembered some people are deemed more expensive than others, for example it is asserted disabled people cost £570 a month, Taking this a step further, Conservative ideology appears to assert each person must literally ‘pay their way’ and wherever someone is entitled to financial help from the State, this Price is paramount.
I propose it is this thinking that underpins the persistent discrimination against people claiming benefits and in particular disabled people. Claimants are reminded throughout the process of claiming and interminably in the majority of main stream media, to be as Failing to contribute, and be the direct opposite of valuable which is worthless.
The seemingly endless assertions of worthlessness certainly amplified my recent descent into severe depression, and the increase in poverty I and other disabled people are experiencing will continue to have a negative impact on my mental health.
Through therapy I recognised I had internalised the Conservative ideology of a price on my own life, and that I had found myself lacking. However acknowledging this has given me the tools to address it, I have forgiven myself for absorbing this poison but not the authors of this rhetoric.
I know how fortunate I am to have had access to Ali, she has helped me comprehend the real value of Life as a disabled woman but more importantly as me.
There is an excellent article in todays Guardian wherein Martin Forde QC states #Windrush victims “should be compensated for the devastating psychological impact of missing funerals and relationships collapsing…who lost their jobs or homes, or were detained or deported “; further he says he needs to determine “what the impact has been – psychological and financial.”
I totally agree with this and I believe this thinking needs to be expanded to all victims of the ‘Hostile Environment’ created by Tory ideology, and for me this has to include Disabled people. I’m not going to try and compile a list of the multitude ways we have been subjected to attitudes and policies, which have impacted upon us both psychologically and financially. We all have stories of the torment we personally have experienced and we all have felt the sorrow when so many disabled people paid the ultimate price, with their lives.
I tweeted this belief earlier this morning and the following reply from @llamakip sums up how I feel:
“Working with disabled people I can confirm the ‘hostile environment’ is not just reserved for immigrants. Right from 2010 the language used was offensive (remember they began by equating benefits with drug & alcohol abuse) and the DWP became politicised as an ideological weapon.”
Because of this I constantly find myself searching for the one experience, article or project which would ignite a public response strong enough for the Government to seem to be “they are very, very anxious to be seen to be sympathetic” to our cause?
I believe it is now time we multiple survivors of the ‘Hostile Environment, created and managed by those in power, came together. The racist and discriminatory treatment of the people in the #Windrush generation has appalled so many, and I truly get it.
We disabled people have spent the past eight fighting to survive as our lifelines have been slashed away and we have lost thousands of our community already as a result. But the discrimination, which I believe it is continues, just as it will for anyone considered unwelcome by the elite.
We who feel this way are no longer alone Kenan Malik in the Observer today considers how the working classes have been used by obscure the racism of the elite; Barbara Ellen raises the points of how the powers are continually abusing homeless people, and in a slightly older post Dt Frances Ryan links the Cuts and Austerity to those with low/no incomes face similar discrimination. These are by no means the only groups striving in this Hostile Environment, spare a thought for Refugees, those trafficked in modern slavery, Rape and Abuse survivors, EU Citizens, the groups are mind blowing.
I am sick of being kicked, threatened, intimidated and abused by the Discriminatory Policies and Actions of the Elite and if you feel the same, then what are the options? We come together to make the Statement of Enough heard , we continue surviving until we can no longer do so or we become as the German citizens did under the far Right; the Choice is Ours to make.
So again I ask is it not time or ALL of subjected to the prejudices of those in , and those who really hold the power came together to say ENOUGH, Change Must Come and it Must be For the benefit of us ALL.
The hows and means are for a later discussion firstly we must decide Together WE Can
From Leon (as above)
We should start using those two words (Hostile Environment) in all communications with the DWP whether that be over the phone, in the Job Centre or indeed its contractors who are contracted to create it
All you have to say is ” I feel discriminated with all this hostility”
So the ‘Honourable’ disabilities minister Sarah Newton stated in a press release (no questions people) the DWP is to review 1.6 Million PIP application forms; so the 220,000 claimants with Mental Health problems (of which I am one) should receive the Mobility element previously disallowed.
This simply Terrifies me. On paper I ought to be able to look forward to a point some time in the (distant?) future, my PIP award resembles a similar amount to that of my prior DLA – about an extra £35 a week. However I share the fears of fellow blogger Joe Halewood who said on Twitter “What sort of idiot thinks reassessing 1.6 m PIP claimants – and it will be a FULL reassessment not just MH aspects – is good news? PIP will go down as well as up and some will have it taken away. 1.6 m more stressed out claimants too!”
Given the Tories track record regarding Disability Benefits, I too am concerned this review will not merely identify claims with Mental Health elements to reassess, I feel this is more of an excuse for DWP to further slash PIP payments. In the aforementioned press release Ms Newton also stated ““We are working with stakeholders to change the PIP assessment guide so that we can implement the judgment.”
Oh dear, more ‘changes’ to the assessment guide? Whilst I think some of the expected 220,000 claimants will have their benefit increased, I also concur with Joe “PIP will go down as well as up and some will have it taken away”. The outcomes of the original ‘changes’ to ESA, as well as the introduction of PIP, demonstrated the value the Tories have for disabled people; and it is for these reasons I Fear this review.
I am also slightly perturbed that this exercise will “take years” and whilst I agree priority for the upgrade should be given to “claimants who have since died, and those who had their benefits denied entirely“. But given this, it is more likely I will be reclaiming PIP before my claim is reviewed, therefore I will presumably not benefit at all from this whole carbuncle, and I know I will not be the only one.
Overall the only thing I KNOW concerning this situation is More Stress is guaranteed.
The following true tale is the introduction into what will be a series of posts regarding a seeming miscarriage of justice and potential disability discrimination; names have been changed to protect the identities of these involved. The purpose of this post is to help the family concerned achieve real justice; please share as widely as possible.
Alison is a single parent of14 year old Adam, both live with various diagnosed and pending diagnosis health disorders including Fibromyalgia and Elhers Danos; Alison is also Autistic and symptoms suggest Adam is as well.
Due to Adams health, he found it difficult to cope with school from the beginning and despite special educational needs intervention, including one to one lessons he struggled experiencing bullying which resulted in him developing depression. These experiences became worse during Adams transition from junior to senior school, so much so that in 2015, Alison began to home educate him. Utilising her qualifications in Advanced Sports Therapy, Holistic Therapies and counselling, Alison along with other professional devised and delivered a programme of education with a wide variety of skills and healthy activities. This proved very successful wih two reviews from the LEA and feedback from the young carers project Adam attended, resulting in him showing a general improvement in mental capacity, attitude and general happiness.
However despite the improvements in Adams education and development the local social services were unhappy and persuaded Alison to undertake a psychological assessment. This transpired to be 4 and ½ hours of Rorschach testing and a further 3 hours of probing of her medical history, during which time Alison without an advocate, perhaps understandably became extremely agitated. The findings of this assessment, which interestingly Alison’s own GP deemed totally unnecessary, was Alison being regarded as having Somatic Syndrome Disorder and thus influencing Adam into thinking he has medical conditions. The findings despite an array of medical, educational and other evidence to the contrary, was then used by social services to go to court, the outcome being Alison was found to be unable to care for her son and Adam was removed from home and taken into care.
The court when considering Adams future, refused to consider the historical and educational evidence of Adams physical and psychological health and relied entirely upon Alisons psychological assessment. The miscarriage of justice transpired therein as it appears that the psychological assessor determined: Alisons willingness and ability to research the most appropriate consultants for her sons health, indicates she is only willing to work with selected professionals; further it seems Alisons knowledge that her personal diagnoses of autism and elher danos both have a genetic pre-disposition to health issues, was considered by the assessor as a desire to transpose these onto Adam.
Further the court found that Adam should be taken into care permanently and that contact with his mother would only be regulated once Alison shows no further concern for the health of her son.
The second post will follow soon.
From The Independent – Are the Media finally catching up?
Back in January I wrote about how my transition from DLA to PIP lost me £140 per month, and in March I posted about the saga I had with my Mandatory Reconsideration; both of these pieces demonstrated precisely what this loss meant to me in real terms. Since then I have found myself so behind with bill payments, I now am past ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ and am at the bailiffs knocking on the door stage.
The reason for raising this is, today a FOI request asking ‘The percentage of current DLA claimants, who, on conversion to PiP, were reduced in their claims’…was answered by the DWP. Unsurprisingly their response was “I can confirm that the Department holds the information you are seeking. However, Section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act exempts this information from disclosure. This is because the information is intended for publication at a future date.
Once again the DWP hide behind Section 22, but fail to indicate WHEN these figures are to be produced; could this be because the data once revealed, will show another proven case of how the Welfare Reform Act is persistently failing disabled people?
The recent outcome of the 18 month long fight by Mike Sivier confirmed that “10,000 people lost their lives” after being determined they were well enough to be placed in the Work Related Activity Group! Will this latest refusal for information, demonstrate yet a further number of disabled people, who although surviving, being adversely affected by the decisions of civil servants
We were warned back in 2012, by the then Minister for disabled people Esther McVey that, “more than 300,000 disabled people will have their benefits cut” under the transition from DLA to PIP, are the DWP refusing to release this data, because this figure is already much higher?
There’s seems to be some confusion, I get the impression that people think Sparticus or the Spartacus network was run by Sue Marsh, that wasn’t and isn’t true, Sue was one of many individuals that worked towards several goals, her main job was media and PR… It was her job to get the work and ideas out there… Which she did very well… The Spartacus network was started by Jane Young as was the Spartacus forum Sue was not involved with the net work other than helping with getting info out such as tweeting and emailing out the Reversing from Recovery Report, or Past Caring etc the Spartacus Network was a collection of individuals that sometimes worked together, it was never an organisation. The network was handed over by Jane to other people working with Sue nearly two years ago, I think Sue involvement would have been much the same at that point as she was very ill, I’m not sure you will have to ask those involved with the network now.
Me and Gail started a new forum to work on the idea of a national organisation… Many years ago we tried to get groups to work together to no avail… After the election I wrote a blog post called one voice by which I meant a collective voice, Gail and I agreed to write an open letter to see if a national group like a union was wanted or viable even… We agreed to send it to people who campaign that we knew… I sent mine to a list of my friends partly from the old Spartacus network days (I wasn’t around for the Responsible Reform Report sadly) and partly from campaigning I have done since leaving over two years ago. I invited Sarah Campbell who wrote the RRR, Kailya Francklin who was involved with RRR, Jayne Linney who I’ve been working with on the truth campaign to get Mr Smith for his use of Statistics and his lies. And a few others that I’ve got to know who campaign in their own right… Gail invited those she knew, DPAC members, BT members, Mo Stewart, Susan Archibald etc, we asked them if they thought it was a good idea some said yes, some said no and refused to be involved. We put the open letter with a list of those who said they thought it was a good idea up on google docs to get a feel for how people felt about it, the response for the most part was good. In the mean time Sarah Campbell came to me and said did you read Sams blog about forming a union, I hadn’t but having read it we all felt he should be involved, a few didn’t like his connections to the new sparticus network, but his desiar to help form this organisation was the most important element so we asked him to be involved, he’s not keen on forums but he was facilitating open chats about the idea and was getting some good ideas together… This is when I found out about Sarah Campbells blog about forming a national organisation that she had written before the election.
Gail and I, well Gail mostly set up a forum, at that point some people who didn’t want to be involved started spreading stories about how this was a Sue Marsh project saying the ‘Cult of Marsh’ (If there is one I’m not privy to it) had taken over the project, this was a lie everyone involved had been invited by me or Gail because of their expertise, track record or interest… I was told more than once that I should remove the ‘Spartacus element’ if I wanted this to succeed but how do you remove yourself from yourself? I am an ex spartaci, I can’t change that nor would I want to… I’m still very proud to have worked with the author of the Responsable Reform Report, Sarah Campbell, and worked with her and others on the Revising from Recovery Report and Past Careing Report… but does it mean everything I’ve been involved in since or in the future is some how insidiously linked to Sue Marsh? Of course not… She has said herself she’s not involved, she’s not involved in campaigning anymore… You may not like what she’s chosen to do but it has no bearing on this project, she is not involved… I hope she achieves her stated goals with her new job, but it’s nothing to do with me, I’m sure the flack she’s endured for her decision has been awful if my recent experiences have been anything to go by…
The National Disability Organisation, was to be designed by disabled people for disabled people with a voted for steering group to help keep it ticking over, someone has to do the day to day jobs that keep these things going. Even DPAC has a streering group. At this point someone asked if Sue Marsh could join this organisation if and when it became a reality… Some said no, some said if we want an inclusive organisation then yes she is disabled… It all fell apart at that point… Some of the people that used to work in the Spartacus network began to be personally attacked and bullied, Sarah Campbell was so badly treated she has left campaigning, that is tragic, a very clever lady with lots of expertise lost to us… Gail also took a great deal of crap of of folks for being involved… That is why she chose to close the forum she had made and leave the project, she felt that she couldn’t be involved in a project that would start a national organisation that one day might let Sue Marsh be a member… I respect her decision but…
I think, that not doing something because of a possible future outcome would be sad and seems a bit daft… A million things have to happen before it’s even an issue…
Even though we’ve all had enough abuse… A few of us decided that although we are less inclined to be involved we still want the community to have a place to organise this national group, so I have made a new forum for this to take place. If you are still interested, please come join the new forum by following the link…if your only interested in spreading lies please don’t bother I don’t want to spend hours busting up fights on the forum as admin, if your interested in what you all have to say and or have ideas to share please come along and try to help create this national organisation… Dxxx http://ndorg.freeforums.net/
Please go and have a look at the forum, and if you feel this is a way you support, or even if you don’t but have some constructive ideas, let us have them….REMEMBER
ONLY TOGETHER CAN WE FIGHT FOR OUR SURVIVAL
This is yet more evidence of IDS electing to continue his campaign to punish the poorest of us for the complete cock up by the banks and previous Governments, despite it costing the public purse?
Further nickd at http://ilegal.org.uk/ has spent this week posting more evidence that IDS has been Lying to both his own party and the public throughout the Coalitions Term in Government; this covers Lies about Incapacity benefit, ESA and the Work programme.
Isn’t is time for IDS to be held responsible for these Lies, the same lies that have seen hundreds of chronically sick, disabled and workless people Die under his watch; irrespective of Who wins on May7, IDS will still remain responsible for the man who oversaw the deaths of so many
These are the reasons for the long running #TRUTH Campaign and whilst Debbie and I THANK all 6000+ signatories so far we need more; If YOU believe IDS deserve to answer for these LIES & DESTRUCTION please SIGN & SHARE https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/investigate-ids-for-lies.
Would be good to be able to take along a batch of 100,000s of names to the next Government showing
WE WILL NOT TOLERATE ANOTHER 5 YEARS OF SLAUGHTER
#TRUTHCampaign #IndictIDS #ImpeachDWP