I’m in the Work Related Activity Group of Employment and Support Allowance so I have to talk to a JobcentrePlus person at least every six months. At my last “interview” the JobcentrePlus employee, “P”, lied about where it was supposed to take place. He told me I was supposed to have attended the Jobcentre itself which is a lie because I got it changed to a telephone appointment and my MP’s assistant remembers me making the phone call to make that change. P is a liar.
P then tried to force me to take medication and therapy against my psychiatrist’s advice. My psychiatrist says I’m as well as can be expected and I’m not to rock the boat. Medication does not help me and there is no specific therapy available for my condition in my area. P thinks he knows better than my psychiatrist. P also gave me incorrect information about the Mental Health Information Station at the Walpole Hall. He told me they do therapy there. They don’t.
By the end of the “interview” he’d harrassed me so much that he’d pushed me into suicidal ideation. Instead of ascertaining where I was and who I was with (he knew I wasn’t at home) he sent the police round to my house. The police broke down my door leaving me out £150 for my insurance excess as the door was beyond repair. He did this to me despite my warning him just how fragile I am. I felt bullied and threatened and intimidated and I still feel that way. I freak out whenever I hear someone with a similar accent to his. The police were furious with him too. He wasted their time and by not giving them complete information he potentially jeopardised my life. He didn’t give them my mobile number, just my address and he knew I wasn’t there. The police only found me because my mobile number was on a crime I’d reported back in 2002 and I hadn’t changed it. If P had asked where I was and if I was alone he would have discovered that I was with my carer who is capable of dialling 999 if necessary. My carer chose to talk me down rather than needlessly escalating the situation. It would have worked if Jobcentre P hadn’t been so incompetent.
I’m terrified I’ll be sanctioned because I refuse to disobey my psychiatrist. I cannot comply with JobcentrePlus demands because my psychiatrist will not give me medication. What am I supposed to do? Buy random psychoactive substances on the street? I’m terrified. I honestly don’t know how much more of this I can take. I’m fighting suicidal thoughts every single day but the actions of the DWP/JobcentrePlus just make it worse. They claim they’re doing this to help us but they’re not. They’re making things worse. Much worse.
All the snide comments about nut allergy warnings not being comparable to “trigger warnings” got me thinking. This is not complete but I had to get it down. Please be kind. I can’t take much at the moment.
0.05 – 2% of the population have experienced anaphylaxis. It has a mortality rate of around 1%. Borderline personality disorder has an incidence of between 1 and 2% in the general population but 10% of us will complete suicide compared with 1% of the general population. 70% of people with BPD have attempted suicide and many of them have made multiple attempts which could result in morbidity. It’s commonly accepted in the psychiatric profession that it can take very little to send someone with BPD into a crisis state where suicide attempts are much more likely to happen. (That’s even part of our diagnostic criteria!)
Knowing all of that, can anyone explain why warnings for things that might be likely to trigger someone with BPD (or any other mental health condition) are so despised? Or should I just assume that people who hate trigger warnings also hate people with mental health conditions?
I’m miserable and I’m tired and I almost wish I understood why some people are so nasty that they’d rather put lives at risk than live with a few extra words in front of some things. There’s part of me that doesn’t want to know because I’m not sure if I can deal with that much hatred.
It really resonated with me, so much so that I almost wonder if the writer looked inside my head at some point. I deliberately read some of the comments because I wanted to hear the flip side and try to understand why this was the case. The “pessimistic”, “Eeyore psychology” comments were useless but they did help me figure it out. It all comes down to validation. When everything’s going to hell and you say, “This too shall pass,” I know you’re lying. This crisis might pass but I’ll still have my underlying condition and there will be many more crises in my future. This puts my back up and means I treat anything else you say with suspicion. If instead you say something like, “Fucking hell, that’s awful. Would you like a hug/cup of tea/mountain of chocolate?” I’ll love you forever. That phrase tells me that I’m not a failure or being oversensitive or unreasonable. I shouldn’t need permission to be emotional but because of my life experiences I actually do.
The comment about the writer of the article being one of the “offended by everything generation” helped me work something else out. I’ve realised that people who use terms like “the offended by everything generation” are actually part of the “wish we could go back to a time when we didn’t have to think before opening our mouths.” Which is odd because that generation are ones who taught me that I should think before speaking. They seem to have forgotten their own values.
I realise that this isn’t a one size fits all and that some people prefer those trite, empty phrases but I’m not one of them and it’s such a relief to discover others like me.
It was also nice to see so many different people being represented in the drawings.
In 2011 a small Lothian-based mental health independent advocacy charity, CAPS Independent Advocacy received funding to do a collective advocacy project around the diagnosis of personality disorder. This resulted in a number of outcomes:
– an advocacy group who meet regularly
– a steering group
– a two day training course which aims to educate people about Borderline Personality Disorder, teach ways of working with people who have BPD and reduce the stigma surrounding it
– a huge resource pack.
I can’t serve up the groups or the training here so here’s all nine sections of the resource pack instead.
Today I officially learnt that my DLA award letter is not accurate. The letter claims my award is valid until 2019 but the JobcentrePlus man just told that isn’t so. My award will last until I get my PIP letter which he says will be very soon because of the area I’m in. So instead of being able to relax because I survived another Work Focused Interview, I’m freaking out because any time now I’m going to have to go through yet another assessment and I probably won’t get this one. Nothing about my condition has changed, I’m still fucking nuts but because the Government are compassionless cockweasels I’m unlikely to get the small amount of extra that makes life just about bearable because they’ve changed the goalposts again. I don’t like living like this. I started out as a medical student! I want to be well but this shit just makes me worse and vastly increases the amount of baseline anxiety so my sleep is fucked which increases anxiety etc and then I either can’t do anything or have to self harm if I want any relief. Nothing else works at that point so please don’t try suggesting anything.
It’s shit like this that makes me question the intelligence of Tory and some other MPs. What they’re doing to people like me is completely counter-productive. Ok you could argue that a chunk of this is my fault because I should have appealed to get into the Support Group of ESA but the DWP’s scare tactics about possibly being found Fit For Work on appeal freaked me out too much and the stress of waiting over nine months for a decision was horrifying. This constant reassessment of people who aren’t going to get better because there’s no fucking treatment available for this condition in this part of the country is ridiculous! It costs them money, it costs me in terms of poorer health and money because of dressings and TCP and my loved ones end up stressed to hell. This is why my most commonly used tags on Delicious are tories-are-evil, tories-hate-the-poor-and-disabled, and tories-want-the-poor-and-disabled-to-die. Anyone who thinks doing this to me and people like me is a good idea is EVIL!!!
For the past four years I’ve been a steward at the Health and Community Fair at Pride Scotia. For the past three years I’ve also manned the Scotsgay stall where I’ve sold my (mostly rainbow) chainmail jewellery to help raise money for the event. All my profit goes to charity. Pride is on Saturday and unfortunately it looks like I’m going to have to pull out of this one. The problem is I don’t want to. I feel like a failure, a shirker, a faker. I don’t think my health problems warrant pulling out. I’m just getting over a cold which floored me and set off my asthma. That alone should be enough of a reason as colds don’t normally trigger my asthma. It usually takes flu to do that. But it’s not enough. I feel like I’d be exaggerating my condition if I said I couldn’t do Pride. I probably could do it but it would leave me in a seriously messed up state. Right now I’m struggling to climb two flights of stairs. The Health and Community Fair involves lugging chairs and tables up a flight of stairs. And don’t get me started on the fatigue and pain.
This year the Fair is being run by someone new. Someone I don’t know. The previous four years it was run by a good friend which made the whole thing easier. This year is scarier.
Then there’s my Evil Brain Pixies. They’re being extra evil at the moment. Horrible hypnagogic hallucinations (awesome alliteration!) and really racist paranoid thoughts. I mean Daily Mail levels of racism which as I’m a PoC is freaking me out! This isn’t me at all! I know almost immediately that the thoughts are bollocks and just paranoia but the emotions they trigger stay as they do.
I still have insight but I’m worried things are going to get worse. Even if they don’t, I don’t know how much longer I can cope like this. I think I’m doing a fairly good job of faking normality. I delivered 1/3 of a two day training course last week, made it to the cinema, and interacted with people.
I was supposed to see my psychiatrist in Feb/Mar but he never sent out an appointment. I finally plucked up the courage to contact Inchkeith House. He’d forgotten about me. I was told he’d phone to arrange an appointment as I said sending letters was problematic due to Royal Mail’s crapness in my area. That was over a week ago and still nothing. My problem is that I appear to be or get labelled as “high functioning” which is a load of bollocks. I’m not really functioning at all. I appear to manage because I can do some complicated things but I can’t manage the simple basic stuff. I’m too embarrassed to go into those details. My boyfriend and his flatmate are just about keeping me afloat but it’s getting worse and they can’t help forever.
My anxiety is so bad that if I resolve a problem it takes my emotions the best part of two months to catch up and stop freaking out about the solved problem several times a day.
Despite all of the above I still feel I should bloody well make the effect to do Pride. I’ll be letting myself and other people down if I don’t and they’ll think less of me or think I’m faking or being melodramatic. And I’ve no idea how to word the email to the organisers. I just want to run and hide but I appear to have written an essay instead. Now why couldn’t I have just written that bloody email?
Update: Email written and sent and the Pride organiser is being very understanding. Phew. So why do I still feel so bad about it?
I wroted a book! It’s the omnibus edition of the book project artwork of a similar name, Keep Calm and Take Your Meds (A Library of Lunacy). The original project was about my experience of being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and what happened next. People have been buying it. It’s all rather scary! I just need to sell another 3 books to break even. The money from anything sold after that will either go to charity or be put aside for the next print run assuming people keep buying it.
You can fuck right off with forcing “suggested friends” on me with no way to remove it from my feed. I really didn’t need to see the secondary account of someone I blocked for racism.
Same goes to the old woman who deliberately rammed into me as hard as she could yesterday evening just after I’d finished the book launch. Why? Because otherwise she would have had to move behind her friend as I was stood on the pavement talking to my friends. No, I’m lying. There was plenty of room for her and her friend to walk beside each other. She just rammed into me as hard as she could because my standing on the pavement obviously offended her. Fortunately my friend stopped me from smashing my face open on the pavement. This was witnessed by three people including my mum. Do I have a sign above my head in ink which is only visible to the scum of society which say, “Kick me”? It’s beginning to feel like it.
Back in early-ish 2014 I decided I might create something for the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival (SMHAFF). Technically that’s more indecision than decision but I don’t do decisions. I can only do big, scary things if I can convince myself I’m not doing them. The result was what I call the Book Project and what everyone else knows as Keep Calm and Take Your Meds (A Library of Lunacy). It was exhibited in October 2014 at Summerhall during SMHAFF. It was fairly well received and one of the most common comments in the Little Book of Comments was a request to buy a copy of it. I’d had vague plans to turn it into an ebook or an omnibus edition but I’m terrible at finishing what I start.
One of the visitors to the exhibition was Jennie Renton who runs Main Point Books, a delightful little second hand bookshop in Edinburgh. She wanted to exhibit my work during MentalHealth Awareness Week which is in May. I agreed. In the process of finalising details for the mini-exhibition and a Meet the Artist event on 14th May, the subject of the Omnibus came up. Three or four full days of work later and the final proofs have been sent to a printing company in Glasgow. My book should be ready to sell at the event!
Argh! What have I done? I’ve created a monster! My brain is struggling to process this. I’m torn between pride and joy in having accomplished something, albeit with a HUGE amount of help from Jennie – I could not have done it without her, and terror because it’s terrible and awful and a mess and badly written and the artwork is horrendous. Several people, mostly friends, have already ordered copies but I’m terrified they’ll hate it when they actually see it. I wish my Evil Brain Pixies would just let me enjoy this moment but they won’t. They’re loving every minute of this. I’ve gone and done what I desperately try not to do. I’ve given them ammunition andthey’re shooting the good parts of my mind like it’s a zombie infestation.
Anyone know of a decent Evil Brain Pixie exterminator?