There, I’ve said it. And fuck, that’s a whole weight off my mind. Imagine the guilt, day in and day out to find I haven’t recovered.
I know I have a bunch of symptoms that, when clustered together, attract the label of Borderline Personality Disorder. A label that, to the vast majority of the population, is completely meaningless.
It’s a condition that’s been with me all my adult life, with 2 major epicentres – one in my teens (hey but I thought you said…?) and one in my forties.
These days my symptoms are mainly dissociation – derealisation where the world becomes unreal where I have periods between an hour and 3 weeks where I don’t believe I’m real/ or something omnipotent in equal measures; hallucinations – mainly visual of ridiculous things – the last one was of an astronaut silently climbing through the ceiling above our bed – that are nonetheless surprising and occasionally shocking; invasive thoughts of extravagant and violent self harm with suicidal ideation mixed in at times; paranoia where…well, I’m sure you know what paranoia means…
Roughly translated it means I effectively lose 4 months a year.
I’ve had a variety of psychological and psychiatric inputs over the years including cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness, a fascinating mixture of medications and wonderful group psychotherapy.
I don’t believe any flavours of further psychological wizardry will improve or change my symptoms in any way.
Well that’s not a very positive message! What about hope? What about recovery?
Well, there’s the thing…
I HAVE RECOVERED
This is what it looks like.
This is what MY recovery looks like. Don’t let the word ‘Recovery’ be hijacked by the powers that be. As soon as someone else defines your your recovery, it stops being recovery.
We’ve learned how to manage it.
When it happens, it’s still shit, I still need a lot of help…but we manage it very well.
More meds, darkened room, loud cop shows, gentle inner mantra ‘it will pass – it always does’
The rest of the time my life is great.
I’m not the problem. Sure, I have a problem, but I’m not it.
Today, as on most of my good days, I’m not thinking, ‘Why can’t I just fit in?’
I’m not saying I have nothing to offer myself and society. I know, like millions of others, I want to contribute to the world in a way that has some meaning to me.
I’m not the problem.
You’re not the problem.
The problem is government policy, laws, regulations and rules that openly discriminate against me and a bazillion others like me.
The problem is ignorance surrounding the ‘PC gone mad’ laws we do have, and their general lack of teeth.
Strivers – Skivers.
Work capability assessments that aren’t fit for purpose – that run roughshod over people with mental health problems.
Witch hunts, where 85% of people reported for benefit fraud by their fellow citizens were committing no fraud at all. The remaining 15% had insufficient evidence.Well, you don’t LOOK disabled!
Is this seen as a hate crime?
People with mental health problems are hugely over represented by a draconian sanctioning system. A system where people’s benefits are stopped for being late for a meeting, attending a funeral, being in hospital, or simply making a mistake.
Losing their benefits for anything between 3 weeks and 3 years.
Where it’s a postcode lottery whether or not someone gets discretionary ’emergency’ payments.
A justice system that doesn’t see this abject poverty as mitigating circumstances for theft of…a sandwich, where people receive custodial sentences for theft of food in Britain today.
A system where as many as 75% of the prison population have mental health problems.
A housing system where the massively growing private sector has landlords who are able to say they won’t let to people on benefits.
This is flagrant discrimination against people with mental health problems and/ or disabilities.
We hear that many buy to let mortgages have a clause that excludes letting to people on benefits. And yet that goes unchallenged.
Despite promises over the years, people with mental health problems still frequently receive a poor service from the NHS. People with long term mental health problems are dying 15-20 years earlier than the rest of the population.
In the workplace people with disabilities are promised ‘reasonable adjustments’ to enable them to work, or continue working.
But what does a mental health ramp look like? Apart from endless work capability assessments and benefit witch hunts, what’s really being done for people with mental health problems who want to get back into work?
There’s more…there’s always more.
Under this Dickensian system of sanctions and state sponsored discrimination, 1000 more people are taking their own lives every year.
Action is needed for any change.
We need to take action.
This needs to stop.
We need to work together to end this.
I’m not going to get any better.
It’s huge parts of the system that need to change.
Where do we start?
Walk a mile