Saturday, 4 August 2012

Every breath you take....

My friend got a Brown Envelope from the DWP yesterday (they deserve the capitals).

DWP envelopes are terrifying: they contain our futures. Another friend spends most of her time in bed, barely able even to sit up. The letter in her envelope demanded that she attend a medical to decide whether she can get ESA. She was given two alternative locations: the nearer is on the third floor with no lift (she uses a wheelchair) and the other is 2 hours journey away, on inaccessible public transport.

The first person I mentioned got good news: following an appeal, she's in the support group for ESA (as she should be). But she's still uneasy. She can't help worrying that the DWP are filming her on "good" (read: less bad) days.

I confessed that I worry I'm being filmed through the windows of my house, if I do something like lift the kettle. She felt the same.

Others joined in the conversation. It began to seem that this was quite common.

Certainly, it's good to know I'm not alone in my paranoia. But isn't it dreadful that so many people are being made to feel this way?

Constant media coverage of benefit scroungers, and misleading use of statistics. Politicians with anecdotes of someone they met once who was really quite fit for work, honest guv. Dob-your-neighbour-in hotlines.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.


  1. I always feel like this too. Not inside, as I live on the first floor so cameras couldn't reach, but when I go outside. I worry that people are filming me walking relatively normally and using it against me, even though they can't see inside how much pain it causes. Life isn't supposed to be like this.

  2. yep I worry that on a good day when I may be able to do something as exciting as make a brew - that Im being watched through me windows - Im a mainly horizontal in bed person too as sitting n standing equally challenging for me - so its horrible to think that something which I should be able to celebrate as an achievement is taken away from me by fear of being snooped on if I do it successfully

  3. Arthur: All my life I've had this strange feeling that there's something big and sinister going on in the world.
    Slartibartfast: No, that's perfectly normal paranoia. Everyone in the universe gets that.

    I personally think Arthur Dent might be right...
    Every time I heave myself out of the car & stagger to my scooter I panic that, if someone took a photo at just the right moment, I might look like I'm ABLE. I smile & laugh in public & worry I should look depressed & bereft of any joy instead. I've gone on holiday & worry that a photo might appear in the Daily Mail of me in a swimming pool ENJOYING MYSELF.
    Paranoia should never be a normal state of mind.

  4. if I venture into my garden passers by emerge from nowhere and ask mr about my health! If I go to church the questions begin. I don't know if I'm imagining it all. the DWP recently rang and said they knew my son was living with me and removed my severe disability premium. How did they know? It was recent too. Be afraid

  5. You are certainly not alone, I wrote about this a little while back at Penny's points blogspot called the psychological effects of being branded a scrounger and the comments I got were shocking, so many of us are living our lives in fear, fear of being branded scrounger, fraud etc and it is all so unjust. Life shouldn't be so stressful should it? When did society become so cruel and uncaring?

  6. It's been uncaring for a long time: In the days when I could sign on regularly, I was once hauled in and interrogated by a thug who tried to make me sign off or be prosecuted. The reason? They had spies in the queue outside who had reported that there was a hammer in the back of my estate car! (I always had a few tools there because I could not afford to pay for repairs I couldn't do myself.)

    Years later when health had declined to where I needed IB, the medical was held on the top floor of a block of offices with no parking outside. I had a hard time even working out how to get into the building, and once in the waiting room there was a large queue who had all been booked at the same time, and fights were almost breaking out. It had me in tears, and fearing for my life. When I asked how long would be the wait, it was suggested I go for a walk round the shops and come back later: no doubt in my mind these were all deliberate ploys, both to put people off attending, and to catch out those who did. And now we have Atos and ESA, which would appear to take the torture to even higher levels.

  7. Spot on with the paranoia!

    I'm so paranoid I've even written a disclaimer on my blog: 'Disclaimer for DWP, Atos & Other Malicious Readers'.

    I even feel guilty for being disabled. Thanks to the media lackeys of the ConDems we're being blamed for the state of the UK's financial mess.

    Great post. We shouldn't be in this situation but, unfortunately, we are.

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


  9. I started on COPD Herbal treatment from Ultimate Health Home, the treatment worked incredibly for my lungs condition. I used the herbal treatment for almost 4 months, it reversed my COPD. My severe shortness of breath, dry cough, chest tightness gradually disappeared. Reach Ultimate Health Home via their website . I can breath much better and It feels comfortable!