The serious stuff

Baring in mind what I have posted about emotion, I have to be careful here. I have been writing this post in stages over the last few days so that I can have a break from it before I get my knickers in too much of a twist. I am angry, but most of all, I am scared. For myself and for my friends and for the people like us. I do not pretend to be an expert on this topic. Far from it. These are just my thoughts…

Me? On benefits? I never in a million years saw it coming. It is soul destroying to be unable to provide for yourself, and your family. Do you think we want this? To be so ill we cannot earn a living and live a normal life? Do you think I racked up twenty-odd thousand pounds in student debt to get a degree and then not be able to use it? My savings, the money that was saved over the course of my whole life, are gone, spent on surviving and on the bare necessities. My money now goes on my prescriptions and my food and toiletries, things like that. Not holidays and a flash lifestyle like the media makes out.

If you have ever had the pleasure of tackling an ESA form then you will know how hard they are. I am unable to fill in the dreaded forms myself. There is a deadline within which the form has to be returned. My arms and hands are too weak to write legibly, the brain fog makes it near impossible to work out what each question is asking, my concentration difficulties mean composing a coherent answer is extremely hard. As M.E sufferers we cannot be pigeon holed and do not fit into either the Yes or No box. The system is not suited to us. A computer decides whether we are fit for work or not. Of course there has to be a limit and a cut off point, but the system, in my opinion, is wrong.

This passage springs to mind when I think about the benefit cuts…

“First they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.” Martin Niemöller

Our grandchildren will ask us how people felt about it at the time, in the same way that I ask my grandparents about the miners strike and their experience of the Second World War. “How could people let it happen?” they might say. As a history student I know that such a topic will be studied at university in years to come. The Cameron Cuts. In our society we seem to only look after number 1. But what if you’re not well enough to? There are some incredibly poorly people putting their health at risk to protest and campaign against the current benefit cuts. I suggest a read of Diary of a Benefit Scrounger

Where will we live? How will we eat? Are they not basic human rights?! The rights of criminals and terrorists are being honoured but what about us? What if it was happening to you? I lost my health within 3 weeks. Good health is not a given. I do not want to have to rely on the state to survive. I would love to work and to earn my own living. I feel I am just a number. A number that needs to be crossed off so the government can say it has met some target. What do they think will happen? That by taking away our source of survival we will automatically either be fixed or disappear.

If they could see us now, all using our laptops, we would probably be deemed as fit to work in an office or call centre… What they don’t see is the hundreds of breaks we have to take throughout the day just to be well enough to use our computers for 10 minutes at a time. If they saw this blog they would probably assume I am clearly capable of working with a computer. They do not see that I write each post over the course of a few days. I do not sit here and bang out each post on the day it is posted. It actually takes me weeks to string the paragraphs together because that is the rate my brain will work at without throwing a wobbler. By posting yesterday I was left unable to do anything else, including having a shower.

They do not take into consideration the noise and ‘bright’ lights of an office. I understand that the country is in a mess and that cuts need to be made. But how will we, the weakest in society, survive? I have friends who, when their benefits are cut will be homeless because they have no family to look after them. Homeless. HOMELESS. I worry how I will be able to afford to pay for my prescriptions. If the government wants us to be fit and healthy enough to be back at work, taking away that money that pays for our medication is surely shooting themselves in the foot. I am so lucky and fortunate that my family will support me through thick and thin, but at the age of nearly 24 I will feel that I am even more of a burden when I cannot contribute financially.

I will stop now before I get too wound up.

I am scared.

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