I Do Not Like Green Papers Ma’am. @PennyMordauntMP

This article from The Disability News Service is a pretty accurate reflection of the state of the UK right now.

Having openly disregarded out of hand the findings from the UN that they are guilty of “grave or systematic violations” of the human rights of disabled people, our government is looking into making anyone claiming disability benefits meet regularly with an “employment coach” (read careers advisors with powers to take away your money). Now whilst this has been presented as helping people with disabilities get back to work, this will apply to anyone who isn’t in an institution. Read people needing physical care at home, people suffering a mental health crisis, people in constant relentless pain. People who can’t always fight back.

As someone who is negotiating a reduction in hours to hang on to what physical & mental health that’s left, this is scary. The argument behind insisting that people with disabilities work is to give a purpose and improve mental health. Well my dear Tory MPs, let me give you some cold hard facts.
I love my job, but pushing through regardless has directly caused some very dark thoughts. And I am infinitely lucky to have the husband that I do because he listens every time I need to shout my frustrations at the world. Most people wouldn’t have the patience. (You, by the way, don’t deem him to be a carer despite dressing me every morning, helping me bathe, cooking for me, & cleaning. why? Because he does all of this AND holds down a successful job. Sounds fair, yes?)

Despite holding on by my fingernails, I work partially because I’m too scared that the state won’t catch me if let go.

A day of work leaves me with levels of pain that regular strong painkillers & morphine don’t touch. This is not “oh, take a nurofen & have a glass of wine”. This is unbearable pressure on my spine, deep bone pain in my joints to a level where without painkillers I’m physically sick. Now tell me how running your second home paid for out of Government coffers gives you a headache…

A day of work leaves me so exhausted that I can barely hold a conversation with my children. (I am eternally thankful for my husband & our parents who take care of the important kid stuff). 

Physical pain takes a mental toll. I’ve lived my life as a pacifist, but I wish every MP who thinks this is a great idea could live for a month with these daily pain levels. Of course, they’d need to carry on with their current lives because why should we be cut any slack? It does you good to be at work after all.

Since I went downhill 18 months ago, I’ve been asked on 4 separate occasions by government employees (DWP, Social Services, & Occupational health ) “do you think about killing yourself?”. Always matter of fact, like it’s a reasonable conclusion to draw because EDS doesn’t have a cure & no one knows how to effectively manage the pain. 

Putting aside the wholly inappropriate nature of assuming that someone with a disability would consider death preferable to their current situation  being permanent, the answer has always been no. Until I started trying to work through another physical dip this September. So here I am trying to negotiate putting my health & family before my job. Because, dear Tory MP, it’s not a job that gives me a reason for dragging my arse out of bed despite it hurting to breathe a good percentage of my days. It’s my family. I make a difference by bringing up two beautiful & well educated children. By growing old with my husband and reducing my financial burden on the NHS by taking care of my health.

You can try & strip away disabled people’s dignity in the name of austerity whilst you pander to large corporations who pay less tax than I do, but in the end you’ll be seen for exactly what you are. Hopefully by the general populous, but better still, I’d love to be wrong about the whole religion thing and see you meet God at the pearly gates and ask you directly, “DID YOU DO UNTO OTHERS….?”.
Note: I have started my official response to the green paper, but the form is so long and poorly worded that it is testing the limits of my speech to text. It’s almost as if they don’t want responses…

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3 thoughts on “I Do Not Like Green Papers Ma’am. @PennyMordauntMP

  1. Oh my goodness Holly, I had no idea of this. I feel absolutely awful that I have missed news of something so important but I have been very unwell myself in the past few months and have been rendered bedbound for large portions of time by a terrible reaction to a gastroscopy and a flare up in my bladder infections and that’s without getting to what seems to be a further decline in my bodies autonomic function, which has caused me to feel completely out of control of my body and that’s without getting started on the CRPS and EDS pain that too has taken a dip with everything else. I’m not ashamed to admit that this situation has caused my own mental health dip. I’ve meant to have been having a course of NHS funded counseling through its Time to Talk system, but I’ve been too ill to attend a number of the sessions and have been in tears in every session I have attended and yes my own mental health has also declined finally leading to a complete breakdown on my birthday last week. The thought of having to justify myself on a regular occasion brings on feelings of physical nausea. Disabled people are without a doubt already treated like second class citizens and it seems impossible that a country which supposedly prides itself on looking after those who are unable to provide for themselves is considering a move like this is shocking. Yes there are a number of people who play the system, but there are many, many more who through no fault of their own find themselves is desperate situations. Thank you so much for highlighting such an important issue and I echo your sentiment that people considering this move should be made to live a month in our shoes. Losing so much of my past life, including my work, has left me considering my own place in the world and I have yet to find an answer. I’m so sorry to hear that you too have had your own decline and hope that you are successful in managing to reduce your work commitments so that you may feel better.

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  2. Hanging on by ones’ fingernails is the EXACT phrase I frequently uttered during my last year at work. Your description of feeling that if you were to let go, and being unsure if the state would catch you, even though I am sure you paid your dues and taxes!
    Over here in the US, it seems we’re going back to reliance on family solely. It can be financially ruinous to become ill and those who have to fight the state along with their illness, seem to have few rights and little representation. It seems the person who gets in the “system” at birth, is in some cruel weird way lucky because they didn’t have to grow up to fight for assistance from society. I was lucky(?) to retire early at age 55. My physician did tell me after I expressed to him my resignation about my resignation that I would be eligible for disability. I had already spent the last 8 years having to go through hell and back every 6 months

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  3. Sorry it’s an epistle my hands hurt so I hit the wrong button. Anyway, I had to fight for a reduced schedule. I couldn’t even imagine having to fight the government.
    Hope your holiday period is going successfully and that your body is at least trying to cooperate. Praying that there really is a God or at least justice and you will be able to walk away from the career you loved with the dignity and respect you have earned.

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