Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Not Much Help

So the Work Psychologist tried to speak to the asperger diagnostic person, but to no avail. That ends a five month diagnostic process ending in failure; a process that is deeply flawed when it comes to adult diagnosis. If you cannot or will not diagnose the individual as they are, then what's the point. Surely if I had what they wanted - a full developmental history from childhood - then I'd already have a diagnosis. Everything else would be anecdotal and probably dismissed, as I have been. 

The last conversation I had with the Work Psychologist, who has done nothing else, featured more of her telling me how great I am, which is of course no help at all. It's like telling the condemned man you cooked him the best meal he'll ever eat. Telling me how much you think I can do whatever I put my mind to doesn't actually tell me how I can do that without any support. 

All she could do was give me the number for yet another social enterprise, this time Alliance Homes, who, I'm guessing, are a housing association. There are a number of these organisations and I've spoken with a few of them, all to no avail. I do not imagine they will be any different. How can they be: they don't have any real power to change the system, nor any influence over decisions made within it. Like the Work Programme (these are the sort of groups that become providers) they can't create opportunities, and have no expertise in mental health, learning difficulties or autism spectrum issues - or anything health wise. 

I am meeting them next week, but I don't have any expectations anything will come of this. I am fully expecting things to be twisted and my position misrepresented. This is what happens now: the individual is always the scapegoat for his situation. He is either lazy, stupid, or ignorant. Always something of his own making. If society cannot get past such superficial attitudes then I don't see how anything can improve.

More likely they will recommend me to visit Positive Step (again) whom they, I'm sure, will know to be the local purveyor of mental health solutions. They will of course have no idea whether CBT, the only thing Positive Step offers, is suitable or even effective. In fact it seems CBT is being pimped by the Jobcentre.

I've tried the 'Beating the Blues' programme. This is what Positive Step offered when I first dealt with them (they have no in-person programmes I could get to, though it would be exactly the same curriculum). I seriously question the efficacy of this programme for anything except minor phobias: like dealing with a fear of spiders (unless you live on the Planet of the Killer Spiders or something). Dealing with more existential problems, such as depression in an era of crisis capitalism and neoliberal class warfare and social engineering overseen by cruel hypocritical greedy aristocrats, requires something else entirely. 

When I tried the course they featured a number of case studies to illustrate
each part of the programme and how it works. One of them was a struggling single mother who's biggest issue was her lacking income. It was quite telling that, in the end, the best they could offer, from her experience of the programme, was that she was reportedly feeling more positive. That's great (assuming it was true - never mind what became of her which we do not know, so how effective the long term prospects are is anyone's guess), but it won't pay her bills, rent or buy her food; exactly the sorts of crises that lead people to feel depressed in the first place.

Essentially the programme tries to teach that you need to develop an objective awareness, in the moment of crisis (such as when you have a wobble about not being able to buy food for example), so as to step outside of yourself and deconstruct your thinking. This is why I say it's useful for minor phobias because we know that, say, encountering a spider in the bath isn't a permanent crisis in the way being sanctioned is. Thus you can, after momentarily calming yourself, realise that the spider isn't a horrible agent of death out for and capable of eating you while you sleep. 

You cannot deconstruct what you can't control, and as the article linked says, you can only be taught to acquiesce. To accept your shitty lot and attempt to make peace with the agents of that system (assuming they aren't of the ilk that will sanction you at the drop of a hat) and take the banker's deal, Noel. Aside from how immoral that is, it's not going to help your self esteem. But they don't want you having self esteem (that breeds confidence which breeds independence of thought), they want your compliance. In that way you can be held responsible for all the failings of the capitalist system, as is the lot of the sick and the poor currently.

Oh and just to remind readers: Positive Step work with Atos (maybe that will change to the new guys, Maximus)!


  1. Alliance are the new name for the local council's housing association.
    Positive Step are owned by ATOS
    The aim of CBT is to rationalise everyone who undertakes it into a state of stupidity and compliance. That's why governments love it so much.

    If the work psychologist was worth tuppence, she'd have asked you months ago "what happened to you?" this is the only real question any doctor/therapist/shrink should ever ask of any person seeing them for diagnosis. They never ask this, they usually start with "what's wrong with you?" worded many ways, but the same idiocy grows from it.

    Look out for the work of Dr Bob Johnson, if you want a primer on the real nature, causes and cures of every single mental health condition (even that description is totally fallacious once you know the truth) He's no guru, no psychobabble merchant, but he's one of the very, very few professionals who see through the bullshit and actually help people to be well.

    The system wants no one to be well.

    Everyone who needs help for MH is better off staying clear of the system.

  2. Problem is, one has to be seen to be playing the game. I have to agree with the WP - to a point. I can't just poo poo all that she says (which isn't much and has mostly comprised her backpedalling). I still have no idea what the point of her is. I don't have any confidence Alliance Housing will be any different than any of the other agencies that exist. All of them get their funding the same way, all of them lack any real power or influence and none of them have the capacity to change the system or make anything happen. Unfortunately what then happens is that the blame for that is placed on the client's shoulders.

    The last person like this I spoke to (not including the Work Programme) was from NS Housing (probably the same people ffs) who promised to write a letter I could take to my GP to support my case, but then never did claiming that I had somehow said I didn't want the letter after all. I had to ring her boss up who had to ring her on her day off just so I could speak to her (not that I had any clue as to her schedule). She wasn't happy. Complete nonsense.

    But that's the system. I haven't spoken with my GP all year. In fact the only time I spoke to a GP was in regard to a blocked ear and I had to wait over 90 minutes to be seen (I think you know who that particular doctor is, mentioning no names).

  3. Yeah I know who you mean.

    As for being seen to be playing the game, it's unethical and obscene. It causes harm to individuals, real harm. Reduces us to units of compliance, ticked boxes. We have to shape who we are to fit the box, just to have a meagre allowance to half live on.

    I believe that it's like being trapped on a wheel, a caged hamster. All of it. They change the name of the wheel, the name of the cage, but it stays the same, keeps us running and going absolutely nowhere.

    Most of the people employed by the myriad agencies are just there to put their arse on a seat and tick boxes, reality means nothing to them. Increasingly this applies to GPs as well. Seen their private company? Just perfectly placed for picking up the new Fit For Work Occupational Health Assessment scheme to bully the employed who are unwell/disabled back to work and save employers having to pay SSP. I think the employers get a £500 tax free bonus for it too.

    Nests all feathered nicely there.

    Do have a look at Bob Johnson's work. if you can. It's an eye opener and might be helpful to you, when the charlatans you deal with are of no help at all. Don't lose sight of yourself Ghosty, that's the real danger of having to be seen to play the game.

    1. Good advice in these troubled times. I'd be a lot happiier if it wasn't miserable December and the season of madness! Ugh. It takes an awful lot of effort just o get through to January, coping with anything else is too much.

      I'm a bit confused (not surprising at this time of year): who's private company, the local surgery? The last thing I want there is a private organisation getting involved! I guess that was inevitable.

      Thanks for the reply; i will look up Dr Johnson.

    2. I think this time of year is the time to take the deepest, biggest breath you can and just lay low until the madness and greed is over. You have some post to clarify stuff upthread, but it isn't Greedmas related ;)

    3. Yes, I think there's no other alternative than, psychologially, to lay low and hope the storm passes quickly. It all does my head in really.

  4. ...and for some incoming comedy shenanigans, UC appears to be rolling out locally next Feb


    1. Actually we mightnot be affected. Unless I've read that incorrectly this area specifically isn't mentioned. The next region south however is. Whether or not that means anything - and whether that would mean people on ESA would be automatically migrated is anyone's guess. This whole thing is a godawful mess...still.

    2. actually it turns out i had read it incorrectly. that's depressing :-(

    3. They'll be writing each claim in pencil on a photocopied excel sheet for months I expect. That's how it's gone in other pilot areas and still they cock it up, even with the single person/no kids claims.

      Hope all their pencils break.

    4. Do we know if this is open to all claims, or just single people claiming, essentially, JSA? Are they migrating benefits over?

      It won't be easy: everywhere else it's been tried has been a disaster.

  5. I think it will be the same as the other pilots, the simple, single person, no kids claims first, then they'll attempt to add more complex claims and it will all fall to bits. I haven't read a word about migrating existing claims yet, probably because it's such a mess, even with simple claims. Best info on this is from rightsnet in the Universal Credit forum.


    1. Hopefully Labour will scrap this nonsense but at this point that will likely cause as much work as introducing it.


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