YET ANOTHER ATTACK ON PEOPLE WITH INVISIBLE DISABILITIES
YET ANOTHER ATTACK ON PEOPLE WITH INVISIBALE DISABILITES
Once more I find myself writing about the insidious and offensive prejudice towards people with invisible disabilities. Three recent criticisms have again raised my ire.
The first was a couple of weeks ago. During a casual conversation with a health care professional who has treated me for the past decade, I had mentioned my online writing and commented how it would be wonderful if one day I could be paid for my work. This person then responded with, “Oh, you could work in a nursing home as a carer. You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
I was perplexed: what did a conversation about writing have to do with working in a nursing home? I mean, WTF? It was not until later I realized what this right-wing, LNP-worshipping twit had meant. Hadn’t the Abbott Government recently announced it was launching a programme to move welfare recipients of Newstart and the Disability Support Pension (DSP) back into the workforce by placing them at aged care facilities? Didn’t they say that, “The best welfare is having a job”?
I was incensed! Firstly, how dare she or anyone else tell me to get job! Notwithstanding how unrelated aged care is to my qualifications, experience and interests, it is absolutely none of her bloody business how or from where I receive my financial support. Secondly, while I as much as anyone else wouldn’t mind having a few more dollars in the bank, theoretically speaking, I am fortunate enough to not need paid work in order to survive. Not at this point, anyway.
To suggest that I take a job in a totally unsuitable and frankly in my opinion, unpleasant occupation, smacks of a whole range of nasty judgements upon me. It assumes I am a useless, lazy bludger who contributes nothing to society, and – dare I say it – her jealousy of my seemingly “fortunate” financial situation.
My blogs, 30th July, 2013 and 13th Jan, 2014 have already dealt with the philosophies and attitudes of how conservatives believe that people who are not working have no place in society. A recent article on the ABC (Network) Health & Wellbeing Newsletter website looks at the mental health issues that emerge from employees faced with the prospect of losing their jobs. The ABC article quotes Therese Fitzpatrick from the mental health organization, Beyond Blue, saying, “Because we are so focused on work in our society, there’s a sense if you’re not employed, you’re somehow a failure as a human being.”
The second incident debasing welfare recipients was a sign recently erected by Young Liberals at Edith Cowan University: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=665741003467286&set=a.653683968006323.1073741828.653679618006758&type=1&relevant_count=1
Let me tell you how my invisible disability would have affected my ability to work in the last 5 months.
To explain the background: a serious motor vehicle accident 10 years ago left me with moderate organic brain syndrome, psychological, neuro-psychological, neurological, psychiatric and extensive soft tissue injuries. As it was a Work Cover case, it was heard at the QComp (state compensation) Medical Tribunals. The bench ruled that I was “permanently impaired for work”, also known as a “PI” case.
The impact of these injuries, caused by my vehicle being criminally sabotaged, cause periodic flare-ups of excruciating neck, shoulder, back and pelvic pain which cannot be relieved by pain-killers, including heavy-duty prescription ones. It causes serious sleep disturbances which leave me experiencing the usual depressive and anxious episodes associated with prolonged sleep deprivation. In the last 5 months, there have been 3 incidences lasting a total of 14 weeks. Had I been an employee expected to attend work, I would have been on sick leave for more than 3 of the last 5 months. To my knowledge, few employers would be able to sustain the employment of a person whose mental and physical health so profoundly impacted on their ability to work. Hence, the Medical Tribunals’ findings and subsequent compensation pay out. Not that this is anyone’s business.
How can these cold, hard, uncompassionate, right-wing morons justify forcing someone like me back into employment? Not only that, but how dare they vilify my inability to work as nothing more than a shameful sham?
On the other hand my wonderful mental health therapist believes, contrary to what right-wing LNP supporters think, that we are human BEINGS, not human DOINGS. We need to be able to define ourselves by who we ARE, not WHAT we DO. Our self-esteem, should not be defined by our jobs but by our humanity. When dickheads like the other health care professional who believe that the work ethic is what defines us by shaming us into working, it can be quite soul destroying for those who cannot work.
Shame is an insidious thing. Those who attempt to shame us believe they have power over us. If we allow that shame to haunt us, we can spiral downwards into a mire of depression, self-loathing and anxiety. Large “L” Liberalism, as I have already explained in my previous blog, is a political philosophy of tyranny over the weak. Name it: it is ABUSE. It is BULLYING. These mongrels are TROLLS. It keeps those who are not as strong in a position of fear and shame so they become victims of manipulation.
The third incident making me see red is the Abbott Government’s recent announcement that it wants to reduce the allowance of the Disability Support Pension to a similar amount paid to unemployed Newstart recipients at $501 per fortnight.
I cannot see how I could survive on such a puny amount of money. Rents where I live are at least $280 per week and the mean is around $350. The average weekly grocery bill for 1 person is approximately $60 per week. Public transport costs per week are around $6, electricity $25, and phone and internet (plan) also about $25. That’s $396 per week, $792 a fortnight. Given that the full DSP is $751 per fortnight plus $124 for rent assistance, totalling $875, this leaves only $83 per fortnight to cater for emergencies, extra health costs, contents insurance, clothing, appliance breakdowns, etc. How can the Abbott Government justify reducing the DSP to $501 per fortnight?
People with a disability are already in a position of weakness in society. If I were in a wheelchair with tubes coming out of me, few people would pressure me to “get a job”. That would be heartless. But as a person with an invisible disability, I am subjected to this abuse by those who consider themselves to be my moral superiors.
Well, I have news for those of you who preach the LNP philosophy: you are not my moral superiors and you have no right to tell me to get a bloody job! And moreover, in my day-to-day battle to maintain my mental health, manage my pain, support local businesses, do my best to not pollute the environment, live a life of integrity where I do the best I can to be a good and kind family member, friend and neighbour, I am so much further along the scale of evolution in BEING a person of integrity.