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Showing posts from August, 2017


It occurred to me, on the way back from Tesco earlier (always fun), that the notion of mental health diagnosis is completely wrong. Or at least inflexible.

As those who follow this blog may recall, I've been chasing an ASD (autism spectrum disorder) for several years; specifically in regards to Aspergers syndrome.

My diagnosis was based on a mode selected by the diagnostic team with a binary outcome: either I 'pass' or 'fail'. That is to say: either I meet their criteria, or I don't. I didn't and so they dismissed me as being 'ok' and leaving me to the tender mercies of societal expectations and norms. Something that I (and one of the reasons for seeking a diagnosis) find difficult.

This binary approach seems to me incredibly flawed. It does nothing to address the reality of the patients experience - even if we consider whether or not that experience is 'real'. What does it even mean for an experience of mental health to be real? If I feel t…

The New Support...Same As the Old?

So I've taken up with a new social enterprise; they are called Team North Somerset (or something - it's hard differentiating actual names from buzzwords and slogans). They get lottery funding until the end of 2019 (Brexit? Coincidence?) with which to help.

And to be fair, so far, they seem pretty decent. I'm not going to lie - they are certainly a vast improvement over previous agencies. I think that's because it doesn't come with a DWP pricetag. So far they are not holding my ESA to ransom, unfortunately the government are.

I should caveat that this could change at any moment. It's been my experience with these agencies that, at first they are willing to put you at ease. But later on they stop caring. Again this might be because of the connection of these groups to the DWP and a payment by results motif. But one must always be guarded dealing with these groups. That's unfortunate, but necessary.

However the fundamental, structural, issues remain: this grou…

Hell Bound for Kekistan

What is happening in the world?

It seems there has been a noticeable lurch to the right. Not just under the Tory jackboot of austerity, but in general, across the western world, for a lot longer than seven years.

It seems the systems that exist are being challenged such that what we are now seeing with the shiny whitey faces of the so called 'alt right' is the screaming voice of aggrieved privilege. These are people who think they are entitled to be the dominant group; white makes right, apparently. So that when other groups in society speak out and say "what about us?" the response isn't to address the systemic oppression and inequality they face, but to call them entitled and castigate them for daring to even speak.

We are told that multiculturalism has failed. Of course it hasn't. How many times during the day do you interact in a society that has a diverse melting pot of peoples? How often during that day do you suffer because of it? If you got cut up by …

That Time Again

All it takes is one snap of the letterbox, a single envelope glides onto the carpet, and there it is...that time again.

I knew what it was even before I picked it up. I could tell by the shape and size of the letter, even the amount of creasing at the corners. Another ESA form to fill in; the precursor to another WCA.

How I've gotten this far I don't know, but I really don't fancy my chances this time.

The machine never sleeps. There is no respite.

I have a month to fill it in and return it and then who knows how long before the second letter appears telling me to attend at their pleasure. Whatever the time, whatever the day or month. That's how it works. You have absolutely no say in the matter, you don't have any voice in how this process is carried out. That's the level of intrinsic distrust that operates in this society. Why should we accommodate your needs, they say, we think you're taking the piss. 

And then after that ordeal, the gnawing tension of w…

More Support?

Perhaps my cup runneth over. Another social enterprise has appeared; they are called Team North Somerset. They have lottery funding that lasts until the end of 2019 (at which point...who knows).

I had a meeting with one of their "wellbeing and work coaches" the other day. She seemed nice, but then they all do. The person I saw years ago from Working Links was friendly at first, and then, once you're on board, they completely flip. Will that be the case? Who knows. I'm prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I'm not confident.

To be fair, they are not beholden (as far as I can tell) to the DWP so there can be no threats of sanctions or penalties unlike on the Work Programme or any of their vile subsidiaries. But the fundamental problems still remain: these organisations at best mean well, but they can't address the root cause of people's problems caused by structural oppression.

What I suspect is that it will be the usual mild mannered mood mus…

Support - an example

So the latest instance of support predictably didn't materialise.

One of the more pernicious aspects of the 'doctor/patient' relationship (by doctor I mean any relevant authority) is that if you don't try whatever is put in front of you, you are deemed to be feckless. This of course isn't the sole purview of the mental health 'service'.

What makes it so pernicious is that, deep down, you just know that you are wasting your time. When it comes to actions intended for mental health, it is even more counter productive.

And so it is with the last piece of advice given to me by the 'Wellness Advisor' from Positive Step (the local sole purveyor of simplistic mental health solutions - ugh, solutions, what a word). In respect of help regarding a bus pass, which I sorely need given how isolated I am, he agreed that I needed one, but refused to sign off on one. Instead I was to speak to another social enterprise knowing full well that they couldn't. Guess…