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To be terrified of being mentally ill under Tory Government

(62 Posts)
NightTerrier Sat 07-Jan-17 19:22:17

I've been increasingly anxious about the future of people with disabilities under this government.

Mental illness can be one of those invisible disabilities, although not always as I am clearly batshit crazy when manic. I have Bipolar 1.

I probably have a serious depressive and manic episode once every 18 months to 2 years despite being medicated and then have to go through the recovery process, get stabilised again and rebuild my life and sort out the mess left behind. This and the time for rehabilitation basically fucks up a whole year in terms of occupation and employment.

My partner was made redundant and now works in a minimum wage job and I'm in recovery and it's been a long slog for me. I don't think many people understand the devastation that a serious full blown manic episode can cause.

My DLA is due to move to PIP in Sept and I'm terrified, as it helps top up my income so I can afford to work part time when well enough. Now I hear that people are being turned down for PIP even if they are well enough to work part time. DLA was meant to be an in work benefit.

Employers don't want someone who's unable to work for months at a time and could randomly become ill. I don't think it's even a matter of the government not being aware. I think it's more a case of them not caring, or even some kind of idealism involved and they think it's a moral failing and your own fault if you can't be a 'productive' member of society. The fact that some people might begrudge me getting a disability benefit makes me angry too. It really isn't a cushty option by any means. In fact, I think the way the government is handling things is making matters worse for a lot of mentally ill people and they are getting more ill as a result.

The local CMHT has been really supportive. Unfortunately, this only seems to be the case when people have bipolar 1 and schizophrenia. Getting good treatment is an indication that you are pretty much fucked, but I'm very grateful for it and they've really helped me after the last manic episode and my life is getting back on track again. The most worrying part is that I'm highly likely to find myself back in the same situation in a year or two and stress, sleep disruptions and other things could perhaps trigger mania or depression sooner that.

A lot of people are in a similar situation and it's just really grim, worrying and quite depressing.

Anyway, sorry for the long post, but AIBU to be terrified for the future of people who are debilitated by serious mental illnesses?

Katy07 Sat 07-Jan-17 19:57:27

A Labour govt would be just as bad, don't kid yourself otherwise. And the same for any other party.

NightTerrier Sat 07-Jan-17 20:18:08

The sad thing is that you're probably right. I do think that it has got worse over the last few years under the Tories though. I think it's a great idea to get more mentally ill people working, but how many employers can realistically accomodate their needs?

helpimitchy Sat 07-Jan-17 20:21:10

Mental illness? They can't even manage to provide care for urgent physical illness. I don't even think that mental illness is on their radar now.

NightTerrier Sat 07-Jan-17 20:29:19

Yeah, the state of the NHS is very worrying. I honestly think there's an agenda to run it into the ground so they can privatise it.

helpimitchy Sat 07-Jan-17 20:31:51

Personally, I think they're trying to cull the population, particularly the frail and elderly.

NightTerrier Sat 07-Jan-17 20:33:33

Personally, I think they're trying to cull the population, particularly the frail and elderly.

Careful now, some people might call you a conspiracy theorist. grin

I'm inclined to agree with you though!

DJBaggySmalls Sat 07-Jan-17 20:39:04

Our local mental health wards are all closing. they are being moved to one big unit that isnt easy to get to without a car. If I end up back in, my family wont be able to visit very often.

IDK why anyone would think that a thread service getting worse deserves the response ''A Labour govt would be just as bad''. But its posted every time like a knee jerk response.

SofiaAmes Sat 07-Jan-17 20:42:12

And it was so great with Labour? I do have to say that here in the USA I am finding that mental health treatment and support is light years ahead of what's available in the UK and that's in large part due to our litigious society where people are suing to get their needs and rights met.
My ds (16) has bipolar and the support that I am getting for him from the state run health insurance and from his state school and from the people around us is phenomenal. I am not saying that it's perfect or that there isn't lots more to be done. The changes that have taken place have not come from the government, right or left, but rather from our legal system and society and the media just saying NO, this isn't how we want to treat our fellow human beings.
My dd's High School English teacher announced to his class on the first day of class last semester that he had bipolar and thought that he was entering a manic phase and might be out for a few weeks. My dd was so impressed and so much more willing to put up with the substitutes (he ended up missing almost 5 weeks of school) because she was so in awe of this teacher who could be honest and up front with his students (and his employers). It also gave her hope for her brother's future. (He's also a fantastic teacher and so much better to have him part time than not at all, as far as I'm concerned.)
NightTerrier I am so sorry that you are having such a bad experience. I do think things are getting better even in the UK. If you don't mind my offering unsolicited advice....have you checked your Vitamin D levels and looked into taking Omega 3's and Krill Oil and L-Carnitine and CoQ10 and please google mitochondrial dysfunction and it's relationship to the mood disorders. Coincidentally to my son's bipolar, my family are all rather famous scientists doing research on the relationship between nutrition and mood and mitochondria.

NightTerrier Sat 07-Jan-17 20:49:11

DJBaggySmalls, it's not so much the health service, I can't fault the support I get. All the people I've seen have also been really kind and compassionate in their approach.

Yes, getting a bed round here is virtually impossible, although hospital isn't a nice place to be and I'd much rather be on heavy doses of Olanzapine in my own home!

SofiaAmes, that's very interesting. I haven't heard of the relationship between mood and mitochondria and I'll definitely research that one. I take cod liver oil right now.

GeorgeHerbert Sat 07-Jan-17 21:01:59

In the 1990's Labour poured money into improving mental health, setting out the National Service Framework and spearheading the development of specialist teams.
The current (dire) situation is due to constant reorganisation, underfunding, staff shortages and cutting of beds.
I've been a mental health professional for 30 years and I can't remember things ever feeling so hopeless.

bertiesgal Sat 07-Jan-17 21:10:51

When Labour left satisfaction with NHS was at an all time high. I disagreed with the Iraq war and I wish things hadn't been so underfunded by the Tories prior to Labour getting in that PFI wouldn't have been necessary.

Things were definitely better under Labour and it will take a long time to undo what the Tories have done.

I'm so sorry op but yanbu. Thinking of you and I hope that you get al if the help you need flowers

bertiesgal Sat 07-Jan-17 21:14:12

Apologies! My iPhone makes me looks hopelessly illiterate. Will proof read from now on.

NightTerrier Sat 07-Jan-17 21:17:12

The situation with the NHS is dire, but it's also the benefit cuts. From what I've read, PIP isn't geared towards mental health issues, but these can be just as debilitating as physical conditions.

I had a lifetime award with DLA as bipolar is a lifelong condition.

Tanith Sat 07-Jan-17 21:17:46

I've lived under 2 Conservative governments, 2 Labour governments and a Coalition of Conservative and Liberal.

GeorgeHerbert is right. People complain that "Labour spent all the money" - they spent it making up for the chronic underfunding of the previous Conservative Thatcher and Major governments.
Now we have Austerity - another name for cuts and starving of services - while they privatise the NHS by the back door.

Like Hell would it ever have been as bad under Labour or the Liberals angry

Raggydolly3 Sat 07-Jan-17 21:18:41

Hiya I work for a disability charity that helps people to fill in PIP forms and also support people during appeals.
Please get help to fill it in as it can make all the difference. our advisors know what to include and are really good at getting the right information out of people. Obvously we don't make things up but we can ask you the right questions to make sure your disability is fully represented. If you live in the north west PM me if you want more details or if you live elsewhere I can ask one of our advisors about services in your area that could help x x x

BabychamSocialist Sat 07-Jan-17 21:20:40

I agree, I'm terrified of having to get treatment under this government. When I had my breakdown I hated it, and that was under Labour. I have no idea how much worse it'll be under the Tories, but I can imagine.

Our local MH team is being shut down and some of them are being merged into another one 40 miles away. It's really not on.

Believeitornot Sat 07-Jan-17 21:21:08


The Tories don't give a shit about anyone who's ill unless they're rich.

They don't care unless you've got money and loads of it.

At least Labour try and care. They're just in a bit of a fucking shambles at the moment.

2025 is the year of change in government. It can't come soon enough

SofiaAmes Sat 07-Jan-17 21:26:16

I think there has also been a major (positive imo) shift in the approach to mental health care. Instead of just drugging and/or therapizing everyone into "normality" there is now an emphasis on getting at the underlying biochemistry AND living with being different. In the case of my ds, this means that instead of taking so many drugs that he can cope with a full time school schedule, he takes very low doses and modifies his lifestyle to fit his needs. He takes a bevy of supplements every day, eats and lives a very healthy lifestyle, goes to school part time and doesn't take the same intensive courses that the other bright students take. This is a routine that he can sustain long term into adulthood. (Like a diabetic might change their lifestyle permanently once they get the diagnosis.)
The medical community infrastructure has not caught up in any way, shape, or form to these changes and that's causing a bumpy road. I have met very few mental health professionals who have been trained in assisting with nutrition or lifestyle change as part of their mental health education. That too is changing, but it's going to be a long time before it reaches the public, unfortunately.
A little analogy (not a great one, sorry)....I am an architect and our firm does a lot of animal shelters and rescues. The philosophy of animal rescue has changed enormously in the last decade. Most shelter are (or aspire to be) no kill, which means that the animals stay for weeks or months or even years. However the majority of animals shelters were designed to keep animals for a maximum of 3 days and then to kill them. This change means huge rethinks in terms of architecture (circulation, contact, proximity to medical services, air circulation, outdoor space etc.). But there is little money to make the changes that need to be done, so the process is slow. This means that the animals are not being given the care that the staff wish to give them, because they don't have the physical infrastructure to do so, not because they don't care or have the desire to do it differently. Here in Los Angeles a bond project was put together to rebuild ALL the City animal shelters over the last 15 years. They are now all no kill, but it took a lot of money and effort getting there. And it's just one city (albeit a large and influential one).

Raggydolly3 Sat 07-Jan-17 21:29:50

Just a few tips for those going for PIP face to face assessments-
If you are asked to go for a PIP assessment and it is out of the area you live in please ring them and say it has to be in your area or take someone with you. We are finding that some people that have put on a PIP form that they have trouble traveling are then told "you got here ok so you must be able to travel"
Remember if you take someone with you to support you they are allowed to help you and can speak and help you remember things. If the advisor says they can't this is a total lie
You will be being assessed from the minute you walk in the building so be aware.
Horrible stuff angry

NightTerrier Sat 07-Jan-17 21:30:34

I've noticed a change in the way I've been medicated over the last few years. I up my medication when necessary, but I'm not on a cocktail all the time. Being on large doses of things like antipsychotics is fine for emergencies, but the side effects are horrible and can be a real hinderance.

BIgBagofJelly Sat 07-Jan-17 21:48:11

I honestly think it's incredibly cynical on the part of the Government. People with mental illness are more vulnerable to becoming isolated from friends and family and so less visible to society. They therefore feel unabashed about removing already inadequate support available.

helpimitchy Sat 07-Jan-17 22:25:19

Society belongs to the strong and the wicked. The disabled, elderly, mentally ill and autistic are now universally hated and punished through lack of services and PIP. Out of sight, out of mind.

NightTerrier Sat 07-Jan-17 22:38:07

I have to agree with the two of you, BIgBagofJelly and helpimitchy.

Rixera Sat 07-Jan-17 22:41:28

OP, I agree with you, but I do get PIP for my mh issues so try not to stress too much! Just write how much it can incapacitate you, MH issues do cause masses of trouble so you will have stuff to write. Even the little details can help- when manic you are too swept up to remember to make food for yourself means you need help/prompting to prepare meals for eg.
A bit grim as you have to reflect on just how awkward it makes your life but still. It will be okay.

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