And so it begins..... the world of I Daniel Blake has landed on my doormat. a long dreaded letter from the Seventh Circle Of Acronym Hell has been sitting on my desk for the past fortnight curdling the milk and causing an epidemic of two headed calf births at every farm for a twenty mile radius. thirty six A4 pages of D.W.P. D.L.A. to P.I.P forms to be precise, little five inch wide boxes in which to explain the effects of sixty four years of bodily devastation. dozens of tiny tick boxes to persuade a bureaucrat relying on an algorithm that i'm sufficiently broken to need support.
Perhaps it's pedantic but could there have been an underlying motive when Disability Living Allowance was re-named Personal Independence Payment. does removing the D word make it easier to justify removing the support? Does "independence" imply our dependencies are miraculously negated?
It's hard not to be panic stricken when even the responsible press regales us with tales of woe from severely disabled people who have lost their financial support or mobility cars.
Living with a lifelong disability or illness is a test of ingenuity, an unskeining of normal protocols in order to achieve the basics of existence, finding shortcuts and gizmos in order to retain self determination, hiding the burns and bruises of misjudged activities and exerting super human energy to appear equal to the rest of humanity. those who refuse to melt into a puddle of miserableness live in a form of conscious denial of their limitations, always pushing just a little bit further to keep up with a world that wont slow down to accommodate the broken.
It's a human trait to assume that everybody else lives according to our normality, so i spent a large part of my life assuming i was a wimp because i was always left behind. at school in the 60's running a lap of a full size track was expected of all pupils. legs a mess of scar tissue? no matter. broken bones set wrongly? no matter. paralysis? no matter and no lunch until you've run that track. a couple of years later a holiday job in a busy seaside coffee shop ended in a hail of grubby cups and saucers raining down on the customers, gateau festooned in my hair. 1970's mini skirts were a curse for displaying cut and scabbed knees, the result of falling off kerbs or walking into walls, so i embraced the hippy style of long patchwork and velvet. the employment universe became a possibility by working voluntarily or being self employed so the normal rules of decorum could be circumvented and shoes discarded for safety's sake.
So yes.... i'm apprehensive as i prepare to post my application, aware that for me it's second nature to understate how hard life can be and knowing that when i sit across from their "medical professional", not a doctor you notice it could be a physiotherapist or a healthcare assistant ticking boxes on a computer, i will automatically smile and be engaging, dress well and brush my hair, shake hands and sit up straight, be my usual vivacious self..... AND LOSE VALUABLE POINTS !!!