Saturday, 22 September 2012

An 'Off Day' - A 'Guest Blog' Post (Written for the 'Spartacus' Campaign).

I think I’m allowed an ‘off day’ occasionally. With everything I’ve been through already, and will continue to go through until the day I die. I should allow myself an ‘it’s not fair’ day sometimes, because it isn’t.

It isn’t fair that I can’t walk or stand without help, it isn’t fair that I can’t have a job or a baby, and it isn’t fair that I am usually tired and in pain. My Cerebral Palsy is not my fault. It is a result of a hospital mistake, for which we have never received an apology.

They could probably argue that I was a ‘Prem’ baby and it could’ve happened anyway. Busy, overworked staff who didn’t notice my faulty heart monitor until it was almost too late. I know I’m lucky to be here at all, but the damage was done.

Anyway, all I’m trying to say, on behalf of all of us, is never underestimate the amount of strength it takes to cope with our daily lives and accept ourselves.

Now we are being told that our lives and our struggles are worthless.
We are ‘scroungers’ and when we get to assessment, our disabilities or illnesses suddenly don’t exist! Well excuse us for being hurt, frustrated and angry!

This situation just compounds everything we cope with already. I feel ok today, but some days I want to collapse in a quivering heap because I am so sick of struggling and having to fight for things that others take for granted.

The government claims that up to 75% of disability benefit claimants are fraudsters, and they are using doctored figures to justify harsh, callous and cruel benefit cuts which are damaging the lives of people like me. The real figures are very much lower. Only One  in every  Two Hundred  claimants are ‘faking!’

The fact that up to 32 people per week are taking their own lives out of fear, desperation and feeling that there is nowhere to turn is being hidden and ignored.

Put yourselves in our shoes, just for a minute or so. How would you feel?! All we ask is a little bit of support from society and the government.

I will fight against this with every fibre of my being. They will NOT win!

Simply share if you’re with us.

Thank you.

Friday, 21 September 2012

People must wake up to what is happening in the welfare state.

This is real and this IS happening. We must raise awareness of the realities of what is happening to disabled, sick and vulnerable people in the UK. We are wrongly losing our benefits. It is getting worse by the day.  Lives are being all but destroyed. For a disabled person like me or anyone that is too ill to work, benefits are a lifeline.

They enable us to put food on the table and keep ourselves afloat.We do not live in luxury. All we want is independence and the same chances as able bodied take for granted every day. None of us want to live on benefits. I want to earn my own my own money, have a job and be a Mum. Those options aren't open to me.

My Cerebral Palsy means I am frequently in pain and exhausted. The smallest of things that people take for granted and manage in a heartbeat are impossible or very difficult for me. Can you imagine not being able to stand and cook a meal, carry a cup of tea across a room, or not be able to get yourself in and out of the bath? Can you imagine what your life would be like if you knew you couldn't have children? Can you imagine having to think about every step in case you fall? That's what my reality is like. It's draining, it's hard...and it's heartbreaking.
While people have been left without vital money and the assistance that they need due to a deeply flawed system and a government that seems hell-bent on punishing and misrepresenting those who already suffer enough on a daily basis, I have to do this! We have very few people willing to speak up for us, so we have to do it ourselves.

Quite frankly a lot of us don't have the energy or strength to do this, but we are doing anyway, because no one else will. I cannot allow desperate and isolated people to commit suicide and live with myself. We have to at least try and speak out. If I sat back and nothing, I know I would feel awful. As of May 2012 an average of thirty two people are committing suicide each week as a direct or indirect result of benefit cuts.

 The company paid by the government to assess disabled and ill people essentially relies on a computer programme, a sort of 'tick box' system to decide if a person is fit for work or entitled to social security. Many illnesses and variations in a person’s condition are not being taken into account, and they do not accurately reflect the realities of our situation. 

What's more, the people carrying out these assessments are often not medical professionals. They are not required to be. I hear you say, 'well at least they have a person's medical records at hand'...but no, often, THEY DON'T. Can you imagine if someone with no knowledge of what you did everyday walked in and, after meeting you only once, had the right to decide if you got paid or not?! Is that fair? No. 
Many people with lifelong conditions and terminal illnesses are being put through this process, which only adds to the stress and anxiety they already live with.
It's not just the assessment it's the waiting for that letter to drop on the doormat. For me, and many others, it is almost psychological torture. I’m often anxious and unable to sleep Every time the letterbox goes, I find myself thinking 'is this it?' 'Have I saved enough money?  

If my benefit is cut I lose my independence that I have spent my whole life fighting for. I won't be able to visit friends independently if I can no longer afford a taxi. My husband will have to come everywhere with me. I won't be able to help pay some of the household bills and there will be no mobile phone to keep me safe.  
These things are essential. Helping to pay a bill and maintain a household makes me feel 'normal'. There are so many 'normal' things that are painfully out of my reach through no fault of my own!

There are others in far worse situations than myself - People with chronic illness who have been left without enough money for food or to heat their homes because their benefits have been wrongly stopped. The ‘system’ is failing us. We do not need to be punished and made to pay for the mistakes of the bankers and the government. It is not fair and it is not right.

I am asking you as a human being who thinks and feels the same way do, and wants so desperately to have a normal life, not to believe the government's 'Scrounger' rhetoric. I'm not denying that there are people who 'swing the lead', but being portrayed this way by the media at seemingly every turn is destroying my self esteem.

I've worked hard to accept who I am, and accept my limitations. Now, I'm told on an almost daily basis, that I'm a burden on society because I am unable to contribute to our broken economy.

Don't they realise that I am broken too? Being me breaks my heart some days. I say I've accepted things, I try and be strong. In reality, even though I try, I'm not sure I ever really will. I already feel worthless to an extent because I can't work, because I can't have a baby,  because I can't do so many things  I wonder what my purpose is? Lately those feelings have been compounded by a heartless government and a heavily biased, ill informed media smear campaign against all those who claim benefits - justified or not.

The government has claimed that up to seventy five percent of disability benefit claimants are ‘faking’. In reality, the figure is much less – only one in every two hundred claimants are fraudsters.

Please open your eyes and think for yourself. Question what you are being told by this government, before more vulnerable and desperate people are frightened enough to take their own lives. This must not be allowed to continue.   


NB: (2014-Edit) - Weekly deaths have risen an average of 73 - according to later stats). 

Saturday, 8 September 2012

ATOS KILLS - A Facebook Status Update Shared

Apparently, if we say ATOS KILLS on Facebook - we get barred.

They are an IT company after all and shouldn't have anything to do with CARE!

Come on then, bar me, because ATOS DOES KILL an average of 72 people PER WEEK!

If you don't see me on Facebook, you know what's happened.

I hope you also know that I am telling the truth, and if they ban my account, so be it! 

Either way, I'm doing and saying what I believe in and I won't stop!  
You might be able to bar us, but you won't CHANGE THE TRUTH!

Please share/RT and show them that we don't care and the truth must come out!

Helen Sims


Friday, 7 September 2012

Sunshine and Drizzle Cake...

I was in pain when I woke up. My hips were throbbing and the Endometriosis sharpness was surging through my sides. Shifting on my back, I wondered if it was too late to cancel our plans? I couldn't guarantee I wasn't going to be sick again.

My husband peered around the bedroom door, "How are you feeling? If you want to cancel we'd better do it soon..."

Bright, beautiful sunshine was streaming through the window, and knowing how rare it has been this summer, I responded with, 'No, I'm OK'.

I wanted to be up, out and taking photos of a church we hadn't been to yet. It might seem a strange hobby (especially for an Atheist) but I love taking photos of churches almost as much as I love taking photos of derelict buildings!

Churches and the graveyards that surround them are special to me. It's the architecture, the history, but most importantly it's the peace and the stillness. There is a calming effect whether you believe in 'anything else' or not. Churches rarely change so the feeling of timelessness is another thing that attracts me.

Imagine all those people for all those generations, that have pushed open that heavy door...

I didn't bother with breakfast - I rarely do. The 'Endo' makes me feel to sick in the mornings. Instead I swallowed a painkiller and sipped a cup of tea. Tea is my 'starter fuel' and feeling sick or not, I find I don't function well without it!

Marian, (my husband's sister) arrived and gave me a hug. We watched our husbands load my wheelchair into the back of their new car. "I hope it fits" she said, smiling at me, "Me too" I replied as another pain shot through my hip and down to my toes.

It did.

Mells church, (the church of St Andrew) is especially pretty. I'll include its Wikipedia link so you can see it for yourself, but I loved the porch with its window, that you can see above the outer door, and the interior is especially ornate, so much detail and unique memorials - one if which was designed by Edwin Lutyens.


I hope the link works!

The graveyard has several notable burials, perhaps the most notable is Siegfried Sassoon (1886 - 1967) -the  war poet and soldier. I'll put his wiki page below too:


With my wheelchair parked beside his grave (the church yard is too bumpy to push the wheelchair over and I definitely was not in a fit state to walk even a little way on my crutches), I wondered about all the things he must have seen. That has to change a person.

The writer in me wondered about his writing process, and if he had a desk! I don't have one - usually it's the dining room table or my notebook comes to bed with me...

I shivered a bit as the pain ran through me again...but nothing compared to what people involved in war must experience. I felt lucky.

Mells is quite close to us. It's a beautiful village with old cottages, a post office, pub and a few tea rooms.

The place is riddled with history, and I believe the nursery rhyme 'Little Jack Horner' has its origins there. The Horner's being local wealthy landowners, and responsible for bringing many 'arty types' to the village.

The sunshine made my pain seem less important, and as I sat on the wooden outdoor chairs of 'The Walled Garden' with the warmth on my back, I knew I'd done the right thing in forcing myself to go out. It is a case of forcing myself sometimes - what with the pain, nausea and depression, it can be easy to just stay at home with my husband and let the days slip by.

The lemon drizzle cake sweet on my tongue, the sunshine, and my husband's hand in mine made me so glad this one hadn't.