The Feel of a Target on our Backs

Target PracticeIt is easy to gauge via social media and the various blogs and commentaries being posted at the moment that people who are sick, disabled, and unemployed are feeling targeted by the new Government. While there are rich businesses and people avoiding millions or more in tax payments the poorest in this country are being pushed to the limits for pennies, unfortunately these are pennies which make a huge difference when you have very few.

This week there was an announcement that another benefit reform was coming, this time to cut the benefits of those people who didn’t accept treatment offered to them when they had what was perceived to be a “treatable illness”. Obesity and Addiction were the posterchildren for this announcement but the full list of “treatable illnesses” weren’t disclosed.

This idea of forcing people to receive treatment in return for basic survival frightens me, there is no concept of understanding the reasons behind people’s illness, the underlying causes, why people may be refusing treatment in the first place.

There doesn’t seem to be any consideration that treatments are unlikely to work at all if somebody feels forced into taking them. Shouldn’t somebody be a willing participant in their treatment, especially if the end goal is weight loss or sobriety?

As someone who kicked addiction solo with no help it is not easy, it takes a lot of self-discipline and more than anything else you have to want to do it, and even then it is the hardest thing I have ever encountered.

I also need to lose weight, but I have a medical condition which I am working with a dietician to turn around. My bowel doesn’t absorb nutrients, as a result I am in a constant state of medical starvation so my body stores fat to survive. On the most part I eat a healthy diet with the odd treat here and there. I go walking several times a week but am still putting weight on. I started at the gym on a GP referred programme but because of my bipolar related anxiety had severe panic attacks so I stopped going.

I’m currently waiting on a referral from my mental health team to start on a new programme run by them with other mental health patients and trainers specifically trained in mental health issues so that I can get more active.

Mine is a fairly simple case, but proof that someone sat in a desk with no medical knowledge or understanding of mental health issues can make decisions about these things deciding if people can or can’t receive their ESA and/or Disability because they are obese or have addiction.

As with everything there are exceptions to the rule but they are the minority, the problem is we have a Government who are trying to target all of us with the same arrow. They have put us all in the same pot as the minority saying everyone is faking, putting it on, playing the system.

Isn’t it enough people are sick? Do people have to be made to feel guilty for being sick aswell? Everyone sitting in judgement needs to remember we are all only one step away from needing support from the welfare system. It doesn’t take much for our lives to turn on their head:

  • Job loss
  • Bankruptcy
  • Medical diagnosis
  • Relationship breakdown
  • Loss of a child / spouse / loved one
  • Accident

and on and on… nobody should be complacent, and nobody should want the welfare system to crumble the way the Government are trying to make it crumble. Any one of those people in parliament could have something awful happen and be at the mercy of the system that they are tearing apart. They should think about that.

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