Lets start with the obvious one BPD we all know that one, three little letters that have a massive impact on many lives, then theres JSA and ESA which again have a huge impact but we dont have any control over the use of them, then theres the OU who have just pee’d me off royally with one of their free course content, I also have to deal with PTSD and DLA and god knows how many more of these things can there be in one persons life?

I have been thinking about my benefits recently, a few friends have been sent for medical for assessment of their claims and swapping them over to ESA, they have been freaked out and scared shitless and every other reaction you can imagine but I am possibly foolishly awaiting my turn because I’m 100% certain I am a valid claimant and ESA has some benefits that IB doesnt have. my back up to this is if they decide I am fit to work, scary but it happens then I will have great fun applying for work, the application form will be a professional suicide note with details of my mental and physical health along with my sickness record at my last job, to be fair my time off is only excessive when I have been going through an episode but it stills makes for bad reading to any prospective employed, I’m savvy to all these things as an ex employer and know whats worth the effort and whats not, and believe me when I say I’m not.Part of me would be disappointed by a not fit to work notice as its a bit like being written off but I’m honest enough to know the truth and I am actively working hard towards the day I can be a useful employee, how I get around the negatives on my CV will still be interesting but the field I’d like to work in may see my past as an advantage.

So the ESA/JSA things is a moot point for me, its win win and while it may seem defeatist I feel empowered by the fact its not affecting me in a bad way, not so long ago it would have been all consuming and now its a minor after thought at worst. the OU thing is more of an issue today as I did an Openlearn course on mental health diagnosis which dealt mainly Depression and anxiety but did touch on most of the other areas as it went on. The upshot of the course was how diagnosis and therefore labels are counterproductive to the patient and mental health professional and how we should move away from the dependence on DSM IV etc and start to use less generic descriptions of patients, this is all well and good but without a diagnosis there would be no definitive treatments and drugs and the patient would just be left trying to explain to employers the social and everyone else that they felt a bit miserable and negative and had a few problems doing things, say depressed and most of them have a clue what is going on and doctors know what to prescribe, rightly or wrongly it is useful. My ire was raised by a passage which talked about ways of describing other disorders and it used Nuisance and incorrigible to define personality disorders, I mean the words them self are almost funny, archaic in the current world but to be used on such a broad area of suffering it is tantamount to slander and gave me a good few minutes of anger management exercises to allow me to continue with the reading.

the definition of a true mental health problem disturbed me as it was so narrow and although it did explain itself to a degree it was already too far gone by the point I got to the nitty gritty to make any difference, I agree that labels can be a problem, they cause stigma and pigeon hole us into loose fitting categories but they also help us to identify whats wrong, why and how we might be treated, my entire therapy was based on a diagnosis I hated, the traits they said I had were terrible to read and the term severe was frightening but it got me the best possible treatment and this has to be a good thing right? The idea that depression can be a natural thing and fear is also expected at some points in anyones life are valid but the difference between melancholy due to a sad situation and the unexplained whole in your life which sucks the joy from anything and everything just dont compute, as does the fear of an event which may be daunting compare to an all encompassing terror of events that most likely never happen and would never be as bad if they did, its just nothing to compare against. there may be people out there who are mildly depressed or anxious and sure they dont need the label, it may even be unhelpful but I dont imagine the majority of people would even attend the physicians office for such mediocre levels of the problem so its not a problem in general, the odd case may come to light of course but its not a generalisation to say most sufferers are a little worse than just a bit sad or frightened.

The problem I have is really quite simple I dont like the pretext of why this stuff is getting airplay, who does it benefit and why would they bother to push this forward as an idea? the nay sayers who claim that PD of any sort is just poor behaviour and therefore  not a mental health issue must have an agenda, are we using funds theyd rather use elsewhere or does the idea of a swathe of the population who have been damaged without the assistance of any social services involvement frighten them that we may all one day realise we were let down and may want to claim against the errant services set up to prevent this problem, I dont know why or if they really do have an agenda at all, the paranoia is kicking in though. I want the world to acknowledge the struggle we have along with everyone else with a mental health issue and offer us the balm we need to get better not stigmatize us and make things harder which whether by design or accident they are doing right now. Maybe I want too much and maybe I dont, we will hopefully see changes in our time and maybe we can be the first to benefit from a more enlightened populace but if not we should keep fighting for the benefit of the next generation surely.


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