Friday, 2 April 2010

Again it's been a long time since I last blogged, I must get into more of a habit of it. Life has been hectic lately, at least by my standards, lots of appointments with doctors, nurses, therapist, legal advisors etc. caused partly by a rather nasty infection and partly by my benefits appeal, which is next Thursday.

Next Thursday at 4pm hangs over me like a dread weight, a little like the anvil waiting to drop like in an old fashioned cartoon. Having to justify myself and defend why I need incapacity benefit and how I'm ill enough is horrible, I hate having to do it. I hate the 'game playing' that becomes involved and the need to bend the truth to fit their guidelines. I hate the rigidity of their system that makes no account of the things that really affect my ability to work - like how tired I am every day, day in day out. The 'fatigue' is what stops me from doing so much I long to do but I struggle to communicate this to the professionals who are trying to help (or hinder as their role entails...). Increasingly I'm being asked what job I want to do, am I going to continue any study, work related activities, volunteering and all the rest. But I don't currently have the energy to get a hair cut, or see my friends, or even go to church group, so where am I going to get the energy to do all these other things?

I am trying to trust God, because I know all things are in his hands, but I am struggling. I don't even know if the benefits are part of his provision for me or if he has some other plan. Another point of the benefits appeal that worries me is the truth; I've been told what to say - but some of it isn't 100% true, or is a blurring of the truth or being economical with it. To some extent some of this can't be helped - a system that judges you fit for work if you can watch tv for 30 minutes and follow what is happening means that sometimes you do need to be careful what you say. Some of this is also remembering what a worst day is like and talking about that, which is something I'm very bad at, I'm used to playing down how awful I feel, so this is all very counter-intuitive. But I do not want to lie outright, because as a follower of Jesus I want to be honest.

After I had been thinking about this yesterday I read that day's entry in Spurgeon's Faith's Chequebook and the words seemed to spring out of the page at me:
Let the reader never for a moment attempt to help himself out of a difficulty by a falsehood or by a questionable act; but let him keep in the middle of the high road of truth and integrity, and he will be following the best possible course. In our lives we must never practice circular sailing nor dream of shuffling. Be just and fear not. Follow Jesus and heed no evil consequences. If the worst of ills could be avoided by wrongdoing, we should, in the very attempt, have fallen into an evil worse than any other ill could be. God's way must be the very best way. Follow it though men think you a fool, and you will be truly wise.
So I'm doing my best to prepare, praying, trying to trust, trying not to go to pieces completely. These benefits have such a negative impact on my mental health, which is infuriating because I was just beginning to feel like I was getting somewhere with the CBT, beginning to feel more positive about myself, feeling pleased that I finally felt like I was recovering from the depression.

I don't know if I want to win this appeal, although it would bring a little bit of money into my life, which wouldn't be unwelcome, but it would also bring back all the 'pathways to work' interviews and extra demands. Additionally there is talk of how I should be applying for more benefits, including Disability Living Allowance, which I can't stand even to think about. It makes me feel like life isn't worth living, what's the point in all this? The sheer amount of stress, on top of feeling so ill makes life seem very unappealing. This is so bad for my mental health, the DWP make me feel worthless, guilty, useless and a fraud on a number of different levels (for example, for being able to knit and knitting so much). I hate this system, it feels like being kicked when you are down.

I feel like such a wimp making all this fuss.


  1. hi i came across your blog via raverly.

    good luck with next thursday. try not to feel bad about yourself. have some distractions between now and then, to take your mind off of it. i know thats hard with m.e but it sometimes works with me.xx

  2. Thank you Em, really appreciated your comment xxx