A post by SunshineMeadows.
Originally posted on BBC Ouch! website.
Most everyone who is disabled will have times when they feel less of a person, like they are too much trouble to other people, like they wish there could magically be some way where they did not get made to feel a burden.
Right now I feel so overwhelmed by what the Cuts the tories announced are going to do to disabled people like myself and those worse off than me that it makes me feel like I am drowning, so I have been trying to distract myself and do other things. But it is not working so I decided to register here and make a post.
In making the cuts they have the tories have devalued the lives of ever sick and disabled person in the country including those who work. They have set a wrecking ball ready to crash into the lives of all the people who had there lives sorted, who had a place to live, a way of feeding and clothing themselves, of getting washed, of brushing their teeth, of being alive instead of just living, having a car to travel in, keeping pets, being able to afford books, a computer connection to see the world from their living room, to have a feeling of independence and being themselves and not a burden to be put in its small place.
Maybe if we tell our brief stories it will help (somehow).
I had to give up work because my employer could not accomodate me as a wheelchair user, I would find the disabled parking bays at work taken by able bodied people, the wheelchair access into the building became designated as the main access to everyone and for several months the electronic door opener was switched off and I could no longer get into the building without asking for another persons help, the disabled toilet was often occupied by people who went in there for various reasons including: being to lazy to walk to the men’s toilets, needing to blow their nose, talk to a girlfriend on the phone, change into motorcycle gear, the list goes on. In term of the actual work it was a call centre and I did both call work and email support. I would find my phone log ins randomly changed, I would lose email access and my computer system would be up and down. The coffee machine I used was moved to 5 minutes wheeling away to the other end of the buildling. IAccess To Work had given the compnay I worked for over £10 000 to install electronic door openers to the internal doors so i could get around the building but other people turned them off by way of a switch on the top of the door. they did this because they did not like the doors being a bit heavier for them to push. This list goes on too.
The stress, the feeling of worthlessness and humilation, together with the physical distress meant I had to leave. I did bring a grievance which was settled (poorly) but the whole process nearly killed me and I went to counselling to sort my head out.
My ability to work was always very limited but even that has not returned and so I went the ESA route. More humiliation and feeling like crap because its all about trying to tell them what I can’t do and why. When I went to the medical the fact there was a two way mirror in the waiting room so they could watch you waiting was a bit freaky.
I was given ESA only of the lucky 5% (est) and put in the work related group. More worry about what was going to happen, but it went okay 6 interviews at the Job Centre over about 7 months and then I was told that is it until 2013 phew.
Then the budget comes and I realise I might lose out later when I am reassessed for DLA. Lose out because the assessment process of being seen by a doc for a brief amount of time tells them little about me except yes I can just about pick up a coin.
I was upset about it but then said to myself okay think about it you have over two years before anything else is going to happen.
I tried to settle in to my life with my partner who has bipolar and barely hanging onto his job, which means my small income from ESA and DLA goes towards our mortgage. My sister also pays a third of the mortgage because she loves me enough to do so and she and I (when I was working) managed to keep the house by getting a joint mortgage.
Lsst year after a three year wait a very large disabled facilities grant was finally sorted and the building work was done. No more using a comode and not getting washed properly because they put in wider doorways downstairs, made all the floors level, no more stepsand put in a shower room toilet. There is even a wheelchair ramp into the garden I felt so lucky but also broken because all that work meant I was not getting better. I would never be able to walk my dog in the local woods – pathetic a want I know.
I worked for what I have, with my effort, my sister, my partner and a wonderful Occupational Therapist I finally had some breathing space and my life was set for at least two years.
No comes the news of the cuts, I will probably lose my contribution based ESA which has propped up my partner’s earnings which are often less than £700 a month because of sickness. My income form DLA has a big question mark over it. Since getting on ESA I tried to find voluntery work that would keep me in the habit of ‘working’ but no one around here wants someone as physically limited as I am, so what hope of finding a few hours of actual work.
My sister will continue to pay a third of the mortgage as long as she has a job, but she can’t do more and I would not expect it either. This house is not just home it is a disabled access and adapted home, but if my loss of ESA results in arrears to the mortgage and we will lose the house. If we lose the house there will be other consequences because we are expected to pay part of the housing grant back if the house is ‘sold’ within ten years.
I will never be able to get the life I have now Back once it is gone. It took 7 long years to achieve after I left my family moved away to be alive and not just live.
I already said it’s like a wrecking ball is posed to smash everything to bits and even in all this I will be one of the lucky ones because I already know there are a lot of disabled people who are worse off than me.
Sorry this turned out to be so long I hope people still read it and at least some reply.
SunshineMeadows has given permission for her post to be reposted, as long as the original on BBC Ouch! is linked back to.
Please go to the original post to read further comments on her post by SunshineMeadows (no registration required) and to comment yourself.