My Last Chance Saloon (twitter blog post)
(I no longer have a blog so have just posted this here - feel free to re-blog if you want to)
It’s 2am. I cannot sleep because I cannot breathe. My chest is tight because I am scared. I am under so much pressure it is hard to describe to anyone just how I am feeling right now. How I have felt for the past year. I am on the verge of the biggest risk of my life of starting up my own business and if it goes wrong I will lose everything. The roof over my head, all my belongings and my cats. Yes I know your rolling your eyes at the cats but they are important to me more than you could imagine. They are important because for the past year I have been made to feel sub-human. Made to feel I am not part of society or accepted as honest or a decent human being. I have never broken the law or hurt anyone yet I am made to feel I am lower than this. The lowest part of society.
Because I am disabled and on benefits. Just a couple of days ago someone I respected said people who use food banks are mostly scammers until I said I have had to use them. She quickly said she didn’t mean me but for that moment I was classed just that and made to feel that this is how even those I respect view me. The government has done such a great job portraying people like me as skivers, scroungers and fakers it becomes the normal view of the general public that this is what and who you are. Week by week I have been stripped of self respect and decency. Stripped of self worth to the point you ask what is the point of carrying on when you’re despised so much by the country you live in? The constant stress of the threat of having your benefits stopped without warning or the risk of losing the house I was given so I could have a guide dog to now be told I must be penalised and forced into debt because i do not deserve it. Either way I will lose my home. Either through enforced debt or when a smaller property, that currently does not exist, becomes available miles away from everything i know.
I’m fully blind. I just have the one arm that works and unable to walk. Bad lungs and heart and all caused by injuries. Yet despite everything I still want to work. I tried numerous times to join a work program to be told I would be wasting my time as my employment prospects were zero. I was unable to speak to a DWP disability advisor as they don’t talk to people on the phone. On one hand you’re told to stop being lazy and stop scrounging and get a job yet the people who are meant to help you get a job only see you as a waste of their time, a waste of their resources. The support for disabled people to get into work is zero. I don’t care what the government says because the reality is you’re a waste of resources and a waste of money to invest in and yes, that was directly said to me by someone from the DWP. The schemes the government advertise and champion do not exist. But send me to ATOS and they will declare me fit for work in a heartbeat. Damned no matter what. Whatever you do, you’re despised.
I set up a crowd funding to set up my own business and the abuse I got for that was so bad I had to get help to deal with it. The abuse was aimed solely because I was disabled so I must be conning people or running a scam because I would not be capable of achieving my goal to run my own business. Or pretending to be disabled to con people out of money. Either way I couldn’t possibly be genuine and honest.
This Saturday, the BBC 1 program The Voice was won by Andrea Begley. Yet within minutes, social media like Twitter was full of tweets not congratulating her but attacking her for only winning because .......she is visually impaired. That she only won because of the sympathy vote and not because she could sing. The constant stream of comments was cruel and heartless yet seen as fully acceptable. It has become so normal to attack people openly about their disability, it makes me asks what has happened to society. What has happened to treating people with respect anymore?
I genuinely feel I am in my last chance saloon. If this shop of mine fails then I feel that’s it for me. I live in a society that does not want people like me in it and I feel I will never be accepted like I was when I could see. The pressure I feel is from the fear of letting those who have supported me down in one corner and those just wanting me to fail and say “they told me so” that I would not achieve anything, in the other corner.
Newspapers like the Daily Mail constantly vilifying disabled people and reporting inaccurate statistics and “facts” and MPs like Iain Duncan Smith lying opening in Parliament with no recourse for their lies then feign innocence to why disability hate crime has increased 60% in the past two years. Any other crime increasing by that amount, there would be an inquiry but it is only disabled people so why bother.
The constant abuse I get I have learnt to take but to have those around you to also look down upon you eats away at you inside. People who have no idea what it is like because they are lucky to have secure lives so rely on what they read in the papers with no guarantee of accuracy or truth and not what really happens in reality because it is something they have not experience but judge from hearsay.
I don’t have a family to turn to support, just my cats. They stop me giving up. Stop me throwing in the towel but the past couple of months the thought of not waking up and facing another day of being classed as a scrounger has seemed the only option left for me. I am a strong person but even my strength has a limit and I am near the end of mine. I am tired. Physically and mentally tired of trying to be seen as a human being and not as scum.
Is this the kind of society you want to live in where disabled people are made to feel like this? The ironic thing is disability can hit everyone at any age at anytime but nobody thinks of that when they are on top of life. If it happens to you, you will find out what it is to walk in my shoes but I hope that day never comes for you like it did for me.