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The Myth of the Just World

Following from Thursday's surprise call from the jobcentre I had my signing yesterday along with meeting The Psychologist for the outcome of the test. It's all somewhat confusing. Though signing went smoothly I'm still not really sure where I stand with respect to this test. She seemed to indicate that I have something called Non Verbal Learning Disability which, I'm told, is a newly discovered neuro-diverse condition (if indeed that's the appropriate word) and that I may also have ADD. It all seems to be about tendencies: getting a concrete yes or no seems impossible and, I get the feeling, inappropriate. Unfortunately the system requires that degree of certainty (as do I, quite frankly).

A preliminary questionnaire answered from the first appointment prior to the test itself led her to conclude that I suffered from anxiety (duh) and depression. Now I can't attest to whether I feel the latter (I'd say more frustration than depression, but I can't really be objective). She was surprised and concerned I wasn't getting treatment for this. I explained that the CMHT aren't interested and that my GP isn't much better. He thinks the CMHT are useless and has said that they wouldn't see me for a routine diagnosis of such a condition (I had asked). This is compounded by his belief that 'getting a job' would cure my addled mind - and therein lies the problem.

I'm still not really any closer to any kind of solution, or even a diagnosis. She went through the test results, but I didn't walk away with some kind of certificate - ie a concrete diagnosis of something I can take to my GP (or indeed anyone) to work with. I have a letter from her with the promise that the results will be made available to him, though I suspect that an actual result - a diagnosis - won't be forthcoming, and she made it clear, after the test, she wasn't qualified to diagnose Aspergers. What does any of this mean: I am told I have (possibly) x or y condition, but then on the other hand that it means nothing, in terms of getting support or help (because at the very least getting a job is the be all and end all).

This is difficult for me to articulate, but it seems that they - the experts - are happy for you to have tests, even be diagnosed, etc, but only insofar as that it doesn't mean you actually have any kind of problem. Society doesn't like weakness and has grown intolerant of weakness: problems, physical emotional or mental, are there simply to be overcome. It's just easier to tell someone that getting a job would solve their problems. My GP tells me that 'if you could find the right job (so to speak) it would be better for you'; consequently writing sick/fit notes is seen as anathema - it makes things worse. They simply believe you will otherwise whither and die presumably in front of Daytime TV on cannabis. I find that insulting.

This realisation exposes the truth of the right wing agenda as it's based on the just world fallacy - if only you could find the right job everything would be great and all your problems would be healed. There's an almost Christian ring to it, but that should come as no surprise of course: much of our current thinking is based on Christian social ideology - work now reward later. Of course that's a means of control, which is why the likes of Eric Pickles support it.

The truth is that I can't ignore the problems I have - that's why they are problems. Certainly I can try to overcome them, receive help to do so. However in that I am only human; all the self help superstar guru rhetoric doesn't make it any easier and doesn't guarantee success in an increasingly hostile social environment in trying to overcome problems. So when I'm given the choice between Work Programme and Work Choices (if indeed there's a difference between them), I have to wonder what the point of it all is. The goal in both cases is the same: pay a social enterprise firm to get me into work. I'm also told that, despite the recommendation of Work Choices, on the basis they exist to help people with problems (to put it simplistically), they aren't specialists in dealing with, for instance, neuro diversity, depression or anxiety. So what's the point? But of course what choice do I have.

It's like being told that you need to learn to drive and then learning that you have a visual impairment that makes driving impossible and then being told you need to learn to drive to overcome it. The whole system, with it's bias toward the marketplace, is the problem. I commented to The Psychologist that my emotional state won't change anytime soon (she said 'in time it will') to make the point that the system is the problem. Another analogy would be comparing it to washing your hands in dirty water - how clean will they be?

I may edit this post as I process all these perspectives over time. On Monday I again see my GP and will of course present him with The Psychologist's report and tell him what she thinks. I doubt much would change; he's ideologically opposed to writing a sick note and I have no doubt he will defensively reinforce his errant belief in the just world fallacy. Unfortunately, what he refuses to accept is that we don't live in the 'but if you....' world, that's why it's a fallacy. Equally unfortunately he, like many others (especially the Coalition), doesn't accept the reality of his point of view.


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