luckylove: (Nirrti - Dead)
[personal profile] luckylove
David Cameron wants to stop benefits for obese, mentally ill and addicts who "refuse" treatment. (The mental health bit was brought up last year.)
BBC article

The BBC wanted to hear from people who may be affected by this so I sent them my story.

Dear Sir/Madam,

15 years ago, whilst at medical school, I was diagnosed with depression. This was later amended to bipolar disorder in 2001 and then borderline personality disorder (BPD) in 2011. It can and would be considered treatable by the DWP but this only works if treatment is available on the NHS. I live in Edinburgh and treatment specific to BPD, dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT), is only available to four specific groups.
1. BPD, homeless and substance abuse problem.
2. BPD and an eating disorder.
3. BPD and a history of trauma.
4. BPD, female and at risk of reoffending.

The only way for me to get treatment is to make myself homeless and develop a drug problem or lie about eating habits or trauma or commit a crime.

I'm so desperate for treatment that I've spent a lot of time thinking about what crime I could commit that wouldn't be too bad. Nobody should be in this situation but I am. I spend more than half my waking hours feeling suicidal. I don't know how much longer I can carry on. I'm luckier than most. I know several other people with BPD who are in a much worse place. I at least have a really good support network.
I'm terrified the DWP will accuse me of refusing treatment because I don't take psychiatric medication. I don't take it because the benefit is negligible and the cost in terms of side effects is too great. The antipsychotics increase my appetite and the last time I was on them I ended up obese but still unable to work, due to mental illness not obesity but the weight certainly didn't help. I'm not refusing treatment because I want to stay on benefits. Besides, treatment should work. I've been every single class of psychiatric medication bar one which I can't safely take. None of them do anything and the other side effects are horrific. The DWP could easily accuse me of refusing treatment and stop my benefits. I'd be completely screwed then. I would end my life if that happened.

I'm part of a collective advocacy group who are campaigning to get more BPD-specific treatments available in NHS Lothian but it's taking forever. I attend strategic planning meetings when I'm well enough but they cost a lot in terms of mental stress.

Punitive measures like these are counterproductive unless the outcome is then death of the claimant so you no longer have to support them. If that's the intended outcome then it's perfect.

Part of me wants to take my own life now because the stress of knowing this is coming is unbearable. I can't carry on living like this.

Yours faithfully,


Date: 2015-02-15 01:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*many hugs* That's an excellent and brave letter. I hope they publish it.

I won't because it'd stress me out too much, but I suppose I could write to them about when I ended up obese due to severe ME. In particular, inability to exercise, fairly severe sleep disorders and fatigue combining to make it impossible for me to stick to a routine, and memory loss severe enough that I had no idea how much or when I'd eaten. Although frankly no one should have to give a reason for their weight. How the hell is additional poverty going to make people change any of this? Those of us with ME are also terrified that we could be forced onto very dangerous exercise programmes.

Anyway, this is a topic I can sometimes deal with but mostly find extremely stressful, though it absolutely does need to be talked about. Any chance you could put it behind an LJ-cut?

Date: 2015-02-15 01:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I did try but couldn't remember how at the timetime so I gave up in frustration. I'll try again now.

Date: 2015-02-15 02:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yep, that works. Thanks so much!

Incidentally, do you happen to know anything about prazosin or alpha blockers in general? I'm asking my GP about trying it for PTSD nightmares. It might not be the best thing for the dysautonomia, though.


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