Middle Class Solutions To Working Class Problems Is Why Charities Like MIND Keep Getting It So Wrong

Excellent blog on how charities don’t fight back against cuts affecting disabled people, for fear of pissing government off. To the extent where they won’t even push vaguely politicised content from their bloggers. If only we could all switch off how government policy affects us like that…

the void

didnt-go-to-work-todayIain Duncan Smith must be pissing himself.  A report released at the end of last year by mental health charity MIND could not have gone further in endorsing the core ideas that lie behind his bungled and brutal welfare reforms.

The report is titled “We’ve Got Work To Do” and claims to demand ‘fundamental reform’ of the workplace and social security system to better support people with a mental health condition.  Sadly it is calling for nothing of the sort and is underpinned by the exact same lies and toxic assumptions that have driven both Tory and Labour welfare reforms.

Just like the DWP, MIND have adopted the flawed medical consensus that work is good for your health. The charity does acknowledge that this isn’t actually always true, but falls short of saying that work can be bad for your health, instead arguing that “inappropriate or poor quality work…

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I’ve just written my resignation letter…

I’m off sick again today. I spent two weeks over Christmas (mostly) relaxing in my hometown, taking it easy, repairing the damage to my mental health from the last few months.

My first day back, I worked from home. I planned to ease myself back in, before coming back into the office the next week. I took Mon – Wed as annual leave. I have an interim arrangement in place of working Thursday and Friday from home (after much challenging of my organisation, and having to educate them about what reasonable adjustments are and how I’m eligible for them… which has been super stressful in the midst of one of the worse bouts of mental illness I’ve had in a long time).

Morning of the first day back, I’m asked if I’m coming into the office. I respond that these are my working from home days, and then it’s bought up I had annual leave the last three days so it’s presumed I may be coming in. Cue my explaining I was very sick at the end of 2015, and need to ease myself in, and these are my agreed days – followed by a lot of backtracking the other end.

Point is, after fighting for getting reasonable adjustments made – in order for me to be able to continue to do my job – a stressful and ableist Occupational Health Assessment I was made to endure before my reasonable adjustments would be accommodated (until I challenged this, explaining an interim arrangement is a reasonable adjustment, and I shouldn’t be made to wait until afterwards when my health was declining) – I don’t then expect to have them questioned, again.

Seriously, the arbitrary insistence on my arse being on a seat in a specific geographical location is NOT more important than preserving my sanity. Soz.

So that had me nearly having a panic attack on Thursday, before I’d even got back into the office.

Monday, first day back, was full of a load of ableist BS, that whilst wasn’t directly about my issues, serves to further alienate and undermine my being there. Basically, it makes you not feel welcome there as a disabled person – it’s like saying ‘this work place is for the able only’. It feels so excluding.

Tuesday, second day back, I feel excluded again, get unrealistic requests made, start feeling really low, go out on lunch and get really panicky, end up in tears on a bus. (Super embarrassing). I went back to work and hid in meeting rooms the rest of the day, avoiding a meeting I didn’t have the energy to attend.

Last night I slept awfully, as my anxiety was at super high levels. So instead of dragging myself in, I’ve called in sick. Because, self-care. I’d only end up feeling shitter again for being there.

And now I’ve written a resignation letter. I’m printing it, putting it in my bag, and hoping knowing it’s there will make me feel better next time I have another awful day.

My fiancée made a good point about me seeming happier over the break, then first day back I’m in floods of tears when he gets home. We discussed it, and worked out we’d be able to just about cope financially if I quit, as long as I get something down in my hometown ASAP that just covers my bills, and I’d have to not be fussy.

Is there a job where I get to look after/play with animals all day? I think I prefer them to humans.

I’m hoping I don’t have to hand it in before I find another job, but right now every bit of energy is being sapped by having to constantly deal with some shitty thing at work to do with my mental health. (I.e. I’m currently writing a big document of things for colleagues not to do because they exclude me. A lot of which are common sense/courtesy – but because of our work culture no one has time or energy to bother thinking about being sensitive to or respecting all of their colleagues.) So there’s no spoons (energy) left to deal with job searching.

It feels like the only option may be to quit, and as I have a surge of energy (fantasising here!) and when the anxiety is somewhat dissipated – begin to job search then. I’ll just have to take it each day at a time, and see how it goes. But staying there is making me sicker, and I have to put my health first.

Exciting new Minister for Mental Health post created!

Well this has been a massively exciting week for politics… just indulge me whilst I geek out here 😉 This’ll be quick and dirty as wanted to get something out whilst it’s still relevant news.

Amongst other things happening, Corbyn just won the Labour leadership contest and seems to be shaking things up. I’m not a Labour voter – but – it is really refreshing to see someone take Labour back to some of their old values… i.e. caring about people over profit. And with this comes the announcement of the new Shadow Mental Health Minister – which doesn’t exist in the Conservative party. Pretty Progressive.

Why does this matter? Why should you care? Well Mental health services have seen massive funding slashes (granted, along with other health services) in recent years, and all three parties have made vague, wishy washy promises about their commitment to it before now. This has on the whole has been just words – and no action. So to see a new leader make it such a priority, that they create a new post for it, actually creates hope. And Corbyn’s views on it as far as I’ve read seem to reach much deeper than some non-committal statements a PR person might have spoon fed him before a TV appearance.

There’s a potential problem – that this new leadership, and all the new positions he’s appointing, will split Labour in two, and they’ll crumble. I’m still sceptical about the idea that a few good seeds can stop can preserve a rotting apple… but that’s a different story. Right now it’s an exciting prospect, so let’s follow it closely and hope positive policies for mental health will stem from this move.

~ MCL