Heather: On Disability

As a disabled woman, I have not only suffered from illness for most of my life, but from discrimination and stigma. I live in the cosy schizophrenic ghetto, where people are kind to each other, and help each other. But events outside the ghetto are moving on apace. We are demonised by the press and the Tories for being lazy scroungers, which is easy for them because there is nothing ostensibly wrong with us. Yet some of us – erroneously, like a friend of mine – fear for their life every day, and others of us – like another friend of mine – hear voices telling them that their friends are dead, or otherwise insulting them. This friend is afraid to go out because of what he might hear. Can you imagine living life like that?

Yet we get no sympathy from the Tories. We are an easy target, a small minority who due to our disabilities find it impossible to fight back. How can you fight the Tories when you feel that the very hounds of hell are stalking you? Medication sometimes works, but sometimes does little to alleviate the mental pain we go through.

Not only this. But we have to live in poverty. When we got our DLA, it was like manna from heaven. I was able to buy – shock horror –a microwave. A cd player. A telly. Things that other people take for granted as a right.

Now our DLA is going to be abolished, and we will be getting PIP. You can bet your bottom dollar that we will find our benefits reduced, premiums taken away etc. Added to this, it was on the radio recently that some benefits will be linked to contributions – because of Bulgarians and Romanians coming here. Racist nonsense. If this includes ESA we will have to fight, because no-one can live on £30 a week, and most schizophrenics have not been able to pay contributions.

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