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The Post I Actually Came Here To Make

Following November's medical, the DWP have taken me off the "Work-Related Activity" Group (where they are hoping to be able to get you back to work at some point). Unlike the last medical, where they didn't give me enough points to be on benefits at all and I had to go to appeal, this time they've put me in the "Support" Group.

When I first signed up for "Employment Support Allowance" (ie Disabilty/Invalidity benefits) I was told that Support Group basically means there is no hope for you, for example, if you are terminally ill or something. The actual statement is, "The ESA support group is for claimants who the DWP consider to have such severe health problems that there is no current prospect of their being able to undertake work or work-related activities."

It's useful, because it imposes no requirements on me and it is therefore unlikely I will get put on sanctions. At the same time, realising that an independent assessor, who is under pressure to find me fit for at least some "work related" activities, thinks I'm *that* badly impaired by my mental and physical health problems... is pretty freaking depressing. As if I wasn't struggling with Depression badly enough already.

On the other hand, looking over the last year's worth of posts and seeing how very many times I've set or signed up for a monthly target and failed to meet it, or posted Depressed/Anxious, or posted that I need a hiatus from the internet... yeah. I'm not fit for work in any capacity, am I?

I've failed at everything I wanted to achieve in the last year - my GYWO wordcount, FINISHING *any* of my fics... everything.

Maybe it's time to give up on writing and fandom and LJ and all.

I still haven't heard from St Thomas's after the tests in October and November.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 17th, 2015 09:05 pm (UTC)
Being a "scrounger" myself, actually i scrounge for carers allowance and a paltry income support. But hey better that jsa. I felt i had to say no matter your current inability to get anywhere outside of your house to a work placement, does not as they put it mean that you are not capable of work. It just means that even with the increasing amount of "work from home" people that are out there, the jsa / government people still can't come to terms with it themselves. Basically you can find things to do from home (if you arent already doing those things).
Dec. 17th, 2015 10:49 pm (UTC)
Okay, I'll engage.

The whole point of my despair is, no, I cannot even work from home.

If I could, I would be.

Any employment, even self-employment, requires the ability to say you will do something and then DO IT.

Leaving aside my mental illness (GAD and clinical Major Depressive Illness) my physical disabiliy means I cannot sit at the computer either every day, or on any schedule that *I* get to choose. I can go months at a time when I can't sit at the desk (and my doctors say that using a laptop from a prone/semi-prone position in bed is even less healthy for my spinal damage).

That is what really depresses me and makes me feel my life is not worth living.

It's not about being house bound (though, yes, not getting to visit friends or attend church or a choir or any other group I'd like to join makes me lonely and depressed) - I have signed up for online courses and then had a flare up that means I can't sit at the computer and do the exercises or check in.

I tried writing - and even in a notebook with a pen, my ealth means I cannot do it to any schedule other than that decided by my disability and my menal illness. I have days - WEEKS even - when I cannot manage to prepare a meal or have a shower. On average I wash my hair, with the physical effort of either standing or bending over a sink, once every ten days.

I have weeks at a time when having cooked, I don't have the spoons/energy to EAT.

I live alone with a visiting (family) carer because when I did move back in with my parents, (a) I could not leave the house without one of them accompanying me because of where they lived and (b) I found my dad deciding what I got to watch on TV, when I got to go online and when I went to bed etc unendurable. (I'm 37, not 17. And it was bad enough at 17.)

My GP wants me to have state carers getting me up and putting me to bed - which I'm resisting, because in the experience of people I know, you get put to bed and got up when it's convenient for them (with several people to care for at each end of the day) rather than when *you* want to go to bed or get up.

Since you don't know me - or my situation - I find you telling me what I *can* still do, both unwanted and inappropriate.

I *did* try working from home - my problem, then and now is *reliability* because I cannot tell when I go to bed at night whether I will be able to get up and function in the morning - and that is without flare ups and serious episodes of Depression which can last months.

If I *could* do anything to get myself out of this situation, I WOULD. I'd rather be dead than in my situation and the only thing stopping me from killing myself is what that would do to my 80-year-old father.

The ONLY thng I cared about for the first five years of being disabled was staying in work any way I could. When I lost my job because I am unemployable I DID attempt suicide and was Sectioned under the Mental Health Act. I regret more than anything that I failed in that.
Dec. 17th, 2015 11:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you for engaging, first off i whole-heartedly apologise for seemingly to judge your condition when i had no idea of your situation. It wasn't intended, I'm not sure i actually did, but i will bow down to you has i cannot see it from your side of things. I further apologise if my reply seems to be saying i'm not guilty of judging you or your circumstance ( i try not to do these things, but i don't always succeed).

I really appreciate you sharing so much of yourself. There's an in-built instinct within me that wants to try and help you, but i know that ultimately i will probably do more harm than good in doing so. I'm not even sure whether i should go any further with my thoughts on what you have told me, that's me worrying about how this has already affected you.
Dec. 17th, 2015 09:09 pm (UTC)
It would be a shame if you left. I like knowing you're out there.

I get that the news is depressing to hear. I hope it becomes more of a blessing than not as time passes.
Dec. 18th, 2015 12:03 am (UTC)
Thanks, that's sweet, hon. But to be honest, I don't see what's the *point* of me being out here, if I'm not getting anything done, you know? It's not just the writing, it's engaging at any level, even that of leaving comments on people's posts and fics. It's just not been happening.

There has to be some point where I have to accept that things are not working. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, is, after all, the definition of insanity.
Dec. 18th, 2015 01:02 am (UTC)
It's ultimately your decision, of course. But there's no harm in lurking, if that's all you feel you're able to do. Maybe you'll be better prepared to interact somewhere down the road. But again, you have to do what feels right for you. I don't mean to pressure you.
Dec. 17th, 2015 09:34 pm (UTC)
I don't know, I think you've accomplished quite a lot this year. You've posted pretty regularly--which requires and uses physical and mental resources. You've advocated for people with mental and physical disabilities. You've informed and communicated. You've supported your friends, making their lives brighter. You've found a new fandom (I envy you that one *g*). (Don't shrug! It actually requires quite a bit to fall in love with a new thing!) You made it to and through those appointments in October/November, and worked with the doctor who was determined to take you through it all again on a slim hope (which I'm still hoping for).

Maybe you weren't able to write as much as you'd hoped, but you can carry those goals forward--why not? If you still want to. The only person you're truly answerable to is you. I understand how disheartening (yet relieving) the assessment is. And how you can look back in the year with disappointment. But...from the outside, you're pretty remarkable. *Hugs*

(Oh, and I agree fully with your previous post, too!)
Dec. 18th, 2015 01:02 am (UTC)
You've found a new fandom (I envy you that one *g*). (Don't shrug! It actually requires quite a bit to fall in love with a new thing!)

Heh. If only you knew how much I wish I hadn't. Too many fandoms, too many characters, too many ideas. In part because of getyourwordsout and my annual goal, in part because of moods and health and not making things any harder than they have to be, I've let myself write where the inspiration was, rather than what you are supposed to do and choosing ONE project and working on it until you have at least a draft before you pay any attention to the other bouncing idea bunnies.

What do I have to show for it? Two fics I started over two years ago and still haven't finished. A collection of scenes without any plot or story for Tony Stark, Bruce Banner and Clint Barton in various combinations. Two Pros fics, one of which I started for 2014's Big Bang. Over twenty files in my WiP folder. And not a single finished fic in seven years.

There surely comes a point when you have to admit to yourself that, much as you have ideas, you can't actually WRITE.

What's the *point* of carrying all these WiPs over to another year? Why am I even TRYING?

If I write FOR ME (with no thought of being read) and I just get down all the random scenes which clutter my mind... yes, I can get WORDS out. But they don't have throughlines or plots or STORIES. They are just SCENES without point or purpose.

If I write with some hope of being READ... the story is far the most important issue.

Nothing I write is read-able. I can't imagine HOOKING anyone. It's pointless.

I don't get ideas for PLOTS, as such... just stuff happening but lacking STRUCTURE. I just can't do it.
Dec. 18th, 2015 12:04 am (UTC)
I'm crazy busy at the moment with mostly nice things, but I will get back to you properly on both posts when I've had a chance to read and think about them properly.

I understand how you feel, it's all set up wrong, whether in work or out, you have to prove how 'useless' you are to get anywhere, when actually what you need to focus on is what you can do despite the illnesses.

One of my health assessors advised that I refer myself for a psychiatric assessment because she thought I was a lot more poorly than I thought, even though I was managing to hang onto work by my fingernails. It really shook me up. She was of the opinion that the slowness of my recovery (because apparently you have to keep to a schedule, it's not enough to actually be recovering) was because I had underlying issues which hadn't yet been addressed.

All I was looking for was support to stay in work, not a reason to stay off it.

Don't give up on fandom, not when you enjoy it. If it stops being a source of joy, then do what feels right. But while you still enjoy it, stay with us.

I've missed you :0)

It's hard watching your world fold into what you can manage and not what you know you are capable of, to accept the limitations of disability, but don't beat yourself up.

It's not important that you fail, only that you try. Don't give up trying. I'd cheerfully strangle anyone who told me to make lemonade from lemons, in my humble opinion the people who spout these aphorisms probably never had more to contend with than missing their bus - but this might help a little http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/30-quotes-failure-that-will-lead-you-success.html

Dec. 18th, 2015 09:45 am (UTC)
I can absolutely understand the mixed feelings about the DWP judgement - not to have the ridiculousness of having to 'prove' yourself to appeal committee is great, but being told 'we don't think you can work at present' has its own attendant stressors, as you say *hugs*

I'm sorry you've been frustrated in achieving your goals this year. From an external perspective (which I know isn't always the point, but it's the one I can give), you do and have made contributions to fandom and LJ life and you're part of our community and we value having you around to whatever extent you can be.

I hope you hear from St Thomas's soon. *hugs*
Dec. 20th, 2015 09:28 am (UTC)
Gawd, how upsetting. Can see why that would trigger 'what's the point' thoughts.

I really hope that in five years time this will have turned into a bad time you can look back on and think 'I'm glad I didn't give up then'.

It sounds like you already have a more than full time job struggling with health. Feels like that really should count as 'work'.
Dec. 21st, 2015 10:21 pm (UTC)
Hey hon! I know I'm hardly ever on LJ any more, but I hadn't heard from you since I last wrote with my own sad news, and I've been thinking about you. So I wanted to let you know that, and to send you some love. Then I remembered LJ and here you are. :)

I'm so sorry things are so bad, even if they have the nominal upside of at least the system not trying to make you fight for the support you need.

I'm sorry I haven't been around for our usual online chats in the last month, but I'm much more robust at the moment, if you feel like just venting, or talking about our usual silliness.

Much love to you, my dear friend.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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