It strikes me as odd, in fact no, it strikes me as bloody ridiculous that the benefits system is so easy to fiddle but so difficult to work for those in need. The hoop-jumping and form-filling is easy as pie if you know what you’re doing, or are especially determined. But if, like me, you forget to eat some days, then remembering to reply to that email/letter that’s been sent is about as likely as becoming the Queen of Sheba.
See, stress is a major trigger for me, and many others, and filling in forms with information you don’t have from other forms that you have lost in the confusion and general haze of mental illness is nigh on impossible. So, as you can imagine, it’s also incredibly stressful. The stress then leads to more things getting lost, or forgotten, as your brain melts down and the crazy takes over, and before you know it you’re hiding in your bed in tears, screaming for it all to go away.
So the practicalities of life can be somewhat difficult, before you even get to the complicated stuff like benefits forms. What the government fails to understand is that, on a bad day, I forget to eat, drink and sleep because of my illness. I forget what day it is, what month, what year even. I have found myself having to check my Facebook profile to find out how old I am on several occasions because I have forgotten that basic detail about myself. And that wasn’t even on bad days, that was just run of the mill memory failure. That’s my life.
There are days that I simply cannot face checking my email because just the thought of the task makes me feel dizzy with stress, and I can’t risk that much stress because it could lead to another breakdown, another trip to A&E, another sliced arm, shaved head, psychotic episode, etc, etc. In fact the best case scenario is a night of crying, shaking and wanting it to all be over, and that’s really something I want to avoid.
So while for the average bear it might seem painfully simple; just a small form, just a couple of emails, just getting out of bed, it’s really not. It’s a mammoth task on top of the other daily stuff that needs doing like showering, having some form of social interaction or drawing the curtains.
Sure, not every day is like that, some days I can function much like anyone else, but those days are not the norm. Those are the days when I charge around trying to get on top of things, throwing washing in, changing beds, checking post, doing shopping, in preparation for the regular failings to return.
In my eyes a change in benefits system would move from form filling to assessment; your GP, psychiatrist, psychologist, specialist and whoever else can testify that you suck at life, maybe not everyday, but enough to be a serious problem and prevent you from living a “normal” life. Surely that’s a better system?