wE'Re AlL mAd HeRe

Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Panic… and the rest!

Define ‘Really Disabled’ George

Dear George, (or Mr Freeman if you prefer),

Senior Advisor to The Prime Minister herself, and Head of the Number Ten policy unit.
My oh my, where to even begin? Well I suppose we could start by addressing the giant elephant in room, the one with a mental illness and currently showing you the bird.
Did you really mean what you said on BBC Five Live? You know.. the part about how disability benefits should only go to “really disabled people”, and not those “taking pills at home, who suffer from anxiety.” I trust the government PR team aren’t best pleased George? In one mindless comment you’ve basically just confirmed the single greatest fear of EVERY mental health advocate, – that Ms May’s Government doesn’t really give a sh** about mental health, and doesn’t accept mental illness as being a genuine disability. (Hello further £3.7 billion cut to Personal Independence Payments).

Have you ever been suicidal George? Sinking into a darkness so thick and deep that you can’t seem to climb out, no matter how hard you try. Have you ever woken up at night without reason, unable to breathe and desperately trying to sooth your pounding heart? Have you ever felt so frightened, that the thought of leaving your house is like walking through the gates of Hell? What about PTSD? No? Well I hope that you never do, because it’s debilitating. Nobody should have to live that way. Worst still, nobody should have to live that way AND be told that it isn’t legitimate.

Oh and for the record, the reason that we simply “take pills” is because options are fairly limited on the NHS, and because well….. THERE’S NO F**KING MONEY!

You say you don’t “need lectures” about anxiety or depression, but I disagree. Perhaps a quick recap might be useful. So allow me to summarise with a few handy bullet points:

  • Mental illness IS a disability and there’s a whole spectrum. So for example, a person with anxiety is indeed, “really disabled” because it affects their quality of life.
  • People with mental illnesses are desperate to get better. A lack of recovery isn’t down to laziness, it’s mainly down to an absence of resources… or to echo my earlier point, THERE’S NO F**KING MONEY.
  • According to current research, anti-depressant medication only benefits 40% of patients. Oh and the side effects can be horrific, for a less than a 50% success rate.
  • Current waiting lists for therapy in the UK are a lotto depending on your postcode, with the average being between four to six weeks. (I was quoted ten btw). Not great, is it?
  • There is still a great deal of stigma attached to mental health. For example, an employee wouldn’t be expected to carry on with a job if their arm fell off, (quite rightly). Yet, if their compulsive thoughts were so distressing that they could hardly think straight, let alone complete a task, apparently that’s fine. Carry on as normal. (I’m talking about OCD btw, another ‘real’ disability).
    This tragic mentality is still present in many organisations.

I hope that you’ve found this useful George, and if you need any further information then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Either myself, or one of the other sixteen million sufferers in the UK will be happy to help.

Yours Sincerely,

Claire – (living with social anxiety, panic disorder and sporadic insomnia since 1995).

george-freeman

Categories: Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety

10 replies

  1. Well said Claire. It beggars belief.

  2. Apologies in advance for my potty mouth but…what a f***in’ twat! How dare he?!
    So he’s gonna tell the thousands of military personnel that suffer with PTSD, anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses that it’s not ‘real’? Along with the millions of other sufferers in the country. Good luck with that George, can’t imagine you’ll be welcome many places!! Wipe that smug-ass smile off your face and make an effort to find out what mental illness is really like for people, instead of making sweeping statements and judgements on national radio!!

    Great blog Claire, as always! 😀

  3. So well put, Claire. This is a problem in the U.S. as well. When will mental illness be given the attention, legitimacy, and funding that it deserves?

  4. Thank you Claire for standing up for everyone who suffers from anxiety so severe that it prevents them from functioning. It’s so true what you said about many anxiety sufferers having no choice other than “taking pills”, due to cuts to mental health funding that were made by the Conservatives themselves. It angers me so much that he thinks people who are suicidal on a daily basis are not deserving of help, and that war veterans who have served the country and now suffer PTSD are apparently also not entitled to help. Thank you for putting it so much more eloquently and succinctly than I could have.

  5. Sorry, but no use of asterisks here, although I will avoid the C bomb (just) but….TWAT

  6. I’m speechless! I can’t believe he can get away with saying it!

  7. Very nice letter. Did you get any response back?

    I have experienced really bad waiting time in my area. I think it was about 12 weeks. Then when I finally got into the system they gave me appointments which were really impractical and difficult to make. I lived in the NW London but worked in central. They couldn’t move it around for me at all and in the end they couldn’t offer me much support.
    So I found a counselling service in central which had reduced costs for people of lower income.

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