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Stuck - Fear of the Marketplace

In the past I have seen a couple of counsellors. The first was a stoney faced old harridan with zero interest whose only contribution, that I can recall, was to say that agoraphobia was dealt with by dumping someone in the centre of town and leaving them to their own devices, as some think you teach a child to swim. At the time there was mention of a diagnosis for agoraphobia as the first attempt to understand my issues. There was no mention of Aspergers or even ADD (or any such thing) and so I asked the counsellor, sat there looking at me like a statue, how you treat this condition. She had made no effort to engage with me, talk to me or ask me anything other than my name and some cursory preliminary questions. In turn I too sat there, confused as to what was meant to happen. It's my belief that the counsellor should lead the session, but what do I know.

Subsequently I saw another counsellor a few years later, via the local GP, she wasn't much better, certainly a warmer personality, but no more helpful. It seems that counselling is really just someone sitting and listening to you. Now that's great - for certain situations only. For me, notsomuch.

A recurring theme was the 'stuckness' of my life. I've often felt like life was - is - like a caul; a barely perceptible membrane that hems me in. This membrane, matrix-like, is created by various social conventions and cultural norms that one either identifies with or struggles against. The most successful people I know are the least sensitive - that's not meant unkindly, it's to say that because they don't really think too deeply, even feel too deeply, they don't perceive that membrane. They get up, do a fairly average job well paid or otherwise, go down t'pub, watch the footie, etc. I have never been that person: I don't like football, I have never really enjoyed the taste of alcohol (save the occasional bottled beer), and couldn't function in a fairly average job. I can't really articulate why, that's the point of the Asperger's diagnosis merry-go-round (that I'm still waiting on), but I feel it. I loved the Matrix, a great action movie but with surprisingly insightful depth regarding the conformist nature of human existence.

Of course most people will regard this as poppycock of the most self indulgent kind. They will think I'm feeling sorry for myself; that I'm lazy. Why shouldn't I have a crap job? Why aren't I prepared to get up and work all the hours a non-existent god sends? Of course everyone else has to do these things. Is that really how we want our society to evolve? Isn't that just capitulation? The tories want quiet acquiescence into slavery - because that's where we are. Slaves to ecnomic conditions: beggars can't be choosers. In some ways I envy those people with less sensitivity, although they probably would choke on how patronising that sounds. Again it's not meant to be. Ignorance is, well, bliss!

This isn't acceptable to me. This is my life and I believe it precious enough to protect from capitalist predation, or marketplace and speculation. I simply couldn't function in the vacancy I viewed earlier on the DWP website. A job stapling papers (or some such, it wasn't, as ever, particularly clear) miles away. Travel would be a nightmare enough that I couldn't cope. I didn't apply, nor will I. But what help is there? Again the DWP offers nothing, but conformity to the 'beggars can't be choosers' idiom. Not good enough in my opinion; if these people are going to hold the purse strings that allow me money to either eat or starve then they have a responsibility to provide me with better choices. This is one of the richest countries on the planet and the best we can do is some crummy adverts in the DWP? No training, no education, no opportunity for self development, no support for doing it yourself. Nothing. I find this laughably ludicrous. I have issues that make it difficult for me to 'take what's given' yet the DWP, and I suspect the incoming (for me at least) Work Programme, are culturally incapable of dealing with this. It seems to me that the WP is nothing but another layer of state funded bureaucracy the populist press can both insidiously rail against and support that offers no real solutions and is therefore egregious and iniquitous by it's own irrelevance.

How can we as a society ever move forward if all we are prepared to do is let ourselves be dominated by business as usual in the marketplace?


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