Tuesday, 24 November 2015

I Beg to Differ...! (Mini Rant)

Just saw something which said, 'Just because I'm a Tory, doesn't make me a Twat'.

Let's put it this way.

If you voted Tory, you voted for policies which have caused the death of thousands of disabled and ill people, the vilification, further suffering, and destitution of more.

You voted for a rise in homelessness, a million people now relying on foodbanks, policies which have destroyed (and not replaced), social housing.

You voted for cuts in vital services, and social security.

You voted for the lies and hate spread on a daily basis - and what's more, you likely believe they are the truth, and that things like this have to be done.

You voted for the privatisation of the NHS, and all these other policies which put money, -corporate and personal greed, ahead of people!

'Just because I'm a Tory, doesn't make me a Twat'...

I beg to differ!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

My Night...

It's 3am.
I'm lying awake listening to the wind. A dustbin (or something), just fell over. I'm glad hubby secured the garage door. The rain has warped the wood.
It seems I do all my 'best' worrying at night time, and even though I try very hard to sleep, insomnia is a lifelong thing, but it's worse now.

I used to like the nights. I loved the calmness and the feeling that the world is all mine. It used to be my most creative time, so I was never worried about not sleeping.
Now though, I'm either lying awake worrying about the future, -being without hubby, the Cerebral Palsy getting worse, or the WCA.
If I do sleep, I often have nightmares about the WCA itself -not even so much the outcome.
A recurring one is I'm sitting on a chair in the assessment room. It's very dark and there is a panel of people watching me, judging me. 

They ask leading questions, that seem innocent but they're not. They know it and so do I.
They shine coloured lights in my eyes, and keep asking me more and more questions -like a quick-fire quiz show - and I can't answer. It's too fast and I can't think!

Most of the nightmares are similar to this. In some they come to my home, and they are judging the things I have. They are invading my space, where I once felt safe.  There is suspicion - and an uneasy atmosphere which I can feel, even in sleep.

In the dream (whichever version it is), I feel panic. I want to  try and get away from the questions, judgement, - (and feeling like I'm not worth it), but in the darkness I can't find a door, - and I'm trapped!
They get closer and closer and questions get more and more personal, along with 'why should WE pay for YOU'?!  You're a drain on society'! It goes on...

I usually wake up shaky and sweating! Sometimes I've cried out. My muscles tense and spasm which increases my pain. I either can't get back to sleep, or I don't want to, in case I have another one. 

No one should be going through this on their own home - as a result of government policy.
The fear of assessment and the scrounger rhetoric, is a psychological war, which government have declared on vulnerable people who already suffer enough, and really don't need the extra stress!

Even writing this isn't easy. I share a lot of things about my life - but describing my nightmares seemed like a step too far, even for me.

I've decided to do it though because I want everyone to know what disabled and ill people are being put through - and by writing about it, I'm taking power back, and I want YOU to understand that I didn't ask for this! 

Disability and illness are not things I would choose. No one would. In an ideal world, I'd be well, disability free. I wouldn't be so tired. I'd have a career, and children. I'd be able to walk unaided and I'd feel no pain - but I don't have those options - especially not since what mobility I did have is rapidly deteriorating, due to the 'wear and tear' of life with Cerebral Palsy.

I'm in fear of the envelope that tells me my assessment is due, and I jump at the sound of the letterbox.
I've tried to raise awareness of disability all my life and I've tried my best to fight the injustice that goes with it. I just never thought I'd be fighting against our government, and feeling the 'scrounger rhetoric' dismantling my self esteem, bit by bit.

Depression is worse, anxiety is worse, and now my pain is too.

These are my nights - tonight, tomorrow night, and probably every night after that, until I feel safe and wanted by government.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Acceptance -A Message to Iain Duncan Smith!

I used to worry that I was boring, and that I don't have the type of life others do.

I haven't travelled much, or had children.

I won't pretend not having kids doesn't totally break my heart, but maybe I was never going to do 'normal'.

I've certainly never felt like I fit in anywhere.

I tend to see things differently to a lot of people, and notice things they don't seem to.

Maybe that's just what I have to do. 

I don't worry quite so much any more.

Some people think 'she doesn't do anything' - but they're comparing my life with theirs. 

They are usually able-bodied, have energy, and they tend to take those things for granted.  

For obvious  reasons, (my Cerebral Palsy), as well as some not so obvious reasons, (depression, anxiety, lack of confidence), my life doesn't work that way. 

It never will.

I like helping people, and I'm passionate about making a difference. I have been ever since I was a little girl. 

It's taken me a long time to get here, but I realise that's what I do. My role IS to help raise awareness of disability. It is essentially what I've been trying to do, all my life.

Before, I used to think that I had to be this, or that -living up to the expectations of society, my family, and myself, but I never thought I would have to do the same with government.

Government has demonised disabled people. 

They tell us that if we don't 'contribute' to society by having a job, being a superhuman athlete, or someone else's idea of an 'inspiration', then we are worthless 'scroungers', that are not worthy of support, or a place among worthy, 'hard-working people'.

Iain Duncan Smith said at the Tory Party Conference, that he wanted disabled people to 'work their way out of poverty'.

For many of us, that is simply not possible, no matter how much we want it! 

We have exhaustion, pain, and so many other limitations to cope with. His words (as well as the Welfare 'Reform' policies), have consistently belittled, alienated, and trivialised, what disabled and ill people face.

They have seemingly been designed to cause us as much pain and hardship as they possibly can, and they are. Not only are we losing independence, and vital support, but we are dying in our thousands!

Following his heartless words, I cried -again. It's not the first time, (and it won't be the last) that the brutal, compassionless policies of this government have reduced me to tears, or made me so angry that I don't know what to do with myself. 

The points I want to make to Mr Duncan Smith, this government, and to the people in society that believe the lies and 'scrounger' rhetoric, are as follows: 

Disability IS hard work! It is an endless struggle every day from which you never get a break, and it IS a JOB! A job which no one would chose!

Many disabled people do work or have worked and paid into the system. Those that haven't, (through no fault of their own), still PAY to live in society! We are human beings - even though this government is failing to treat us as such.

Even if we can't work, we contribute to society in other ways! It's not all about money. People learn from us, - we have other roles to play. 
To put it bluntly, maybe it's not me that has to accept my life, and what I am. Maybe it's Mr Duncan Smith, this government, and society. 

Sunday, 8 November 2015

The Disability Discrimination Act - Twenty Years Ago...

Twenty years ago, the Disability Discrimination Act passed through Parliament.

Although I didn't label it as such, (being so young at the time), I had already been campaigning and raising awareness, for six years.

Disabled people fought long and hard for the rights, and promises that were contained in that document.

Now, twenty years on, many of the rights covered in the original DDA, and the act that replaced it, (The Equality Act, 2010), are being abused by our own government.

We are no longer able to be free from harassment, or Hate Crime. The government itself (DWP), inflict both of those on us, every day!

We are frightened of the assessment we face, in order to keep vital support.

I for one, have nightmares, my anxiety and depression has worsened. The constant tension has aggravated my pain levels, so my Cerebral Palsy has become harder to manage.

The government practices hate crime, every time they utter 'scrounger rhetoric' or feed outright lies, and misleading statistics to the media.

In turn society now think it's OK to judge us, and abuse us too.

We used to fight for access to buildings, access to jobs, leisure activities - and so much more besides.

The DDA meant that we were given those rights - although, from personal experience, that fight is ongoing, even though the Equality Act covers those things too, it's been a struggle to enforce it, but without the DDA, I don't think the Equality Act would have even been possible.

Apart from that, we know have a much more important fight on our hands, - one I never thought I would see, after so many steps forward in the time I've been campaigning.

Now,we fight for our LIVES!

As a result of Welfare Reform policies, disabled and ill people have died in thousands, after being 'Fit for Work' by companies employed (and paid), by the government to cut the Social Security Bill, no matter what the cost, in lives

According to the latest DWP statistics, between December 2011 and February 2014, 4,010 disabled and ill people died after being found 'Fit for Work'. That is in those years alone.

It obviously doesn't take into account the deaths before, or since - and I highly doubt I am the only one who thinks they are inaccurate. There have been thousands more!

It's not just those statistics that matter. It's the cost in quality of life. Self esteem ruined by being told we are 'scroungers' and reminded frequently that 'hard working people' pay for us. (Disability is hard work! It's agony. It's frustrating. It's limiting, -It's a job no one would choose)!

Anxiety about when our assessment appointment will drop on the doormat. Stress exacerbates many conditions - and that has likely hastened or contributed to those deaths

Disabled people who can't afford to eat, heat their homes, or get to appointments, because they have been cruelly sanctioned and lost their only source of income.

Those who have lost their cars, because they failed to qualify for Personal Independence Payment, (which has replaced Disability Living Allowance). They have lost their freedom, and have some have had to give up jobs.

The closure of the Independent Living Fund has meant that some of the most severely disabled people no longer have their independence that meant so much. In a lot of cases the money from the Independent Living Fund was not ring-fenced by councils, and as a result, has been spent elsewhere.  

The Disability Discrimination Act was a huge step forward, and a cause for celebration, and relief. People were so happy, but now we have to fight even harder - and we'll have to fight long after this government is (finally) gone, to get back all the things they have taken from us.

It's going to be a long road, and we need all the support we can get.