Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Gross incompetance - the government norm.

Date: 29 March, 2005
Dear Miss Stringer

we need to check that the details we hold for your benefits claim are still right. We sent you a form two weeks ago to fill in and return. We have not had your form back. This means you need to fill in the attatched form straightaway. If you don't the benefits you get from us will stop.
This is regarding the form I handed in on the 19/03/05 in person and was given a receipt detailing said form and all accompanying evidence..
This is not the first time this has happened.

It's just so frustrating. Every time I think I have something sorted so I can move on to worry about something else, it jumps back up and does a 'you're screwed' dance whilst laughing maniacally in my dismayed face.
I mean C'mon - when you have information signed for and a receipt issued - that should be it. I should not need to go through the hassle of re-submitting, they should just accept that its been seen, otherwise, why bother issuing a receipt? It's a waste of time and paper.
But hey, I guess they need to justify their existence somehow - how else can they say they are overworked, understaffed and in need of a budget increase? Waiting lists and backlogs are the best way of putting this image across - and how else to create a backlog than through incompetence?
I have NO income besides housing benefit - they have had a letter from my GP explaining it could take anything from 1-3 years to recover and that stress exacerbates my condition. Are they trying to make me have a relapse? Do they want me to remain unable to work and living off the pitiful sum allotted by an out of touch government for even longer?
Apparently so.

And there is still no news on the incap/ income support front and I still cannot get through to the crisis loan people.
Joy. *tightens belt further*
Ok.

Had my first hospital visit today, it may also be my last unless I can borrow some money for next week since it costs me £9.30 to get a taxi there and a bus back (the only bus that would get me there in time for my appointment just went screaming past packed to the rafters with kids hence taxi)

*gets off phone*
Arrrrrrrrrrrrgh!!!!
Just managed to get through to the housing benefits unit (yup - woohoo, me's multi-tasking today, s'a good day) The guy I spoke to has told me to forget about this form, it was a request sent out automatically by the computer because the form no. had been input incorrectly by the lad at the service desk (please refer to my above comments regarding incompetence please) I just got all stressed out and worked up because some twat cannot do a simple thing like copy a number down. Great.
These days I hate talking to people I don't know on the phone (which doesn't bode well to me going back to work in a call centre anytime soon does it?!) I get stressed and wound up too easily instead of handling the call calmly and quickly. I trip over my words, muddle my sentences and generally end up trying not to cry because of the frustration.
It's embarrassing.

Definitely a good idea to start computer training asap.

Ok - back to the hospital visit.

It was both good and bad - definitely interesting though.
I came away feeling both fortunate and worried after speaking to the other women in there, Bernie especially.
Most of them have had this for years, Eileen since '95, Bernie forever - it was the look of pity on Bernie's face that did it for me when I told her I'd only had it for 6 months, when she very kindly said "Well you may be lucky and get over it if you've only had it such a short time" the inference being she didn't really believe that.

Yup, it was comforting to know that other people have these symptoms, it was refreshing for me to look at it in a new way - instead of always thinking of the things I couldn't do, to realise all the things I could.
Without exception, everyone else in that room was far worse off with this than me. Even the other ladies also able to move without the aid of a stick or wheel chair had more day to day difficulties than I have. It was very humbling - sadly it didn't do me any favours with regard the nasty little voice in my head that tells me I'm a hypochondriac, that I've taken on these symptoms through too much reading into it, through being lazy etc etc. It's my own self doubt that makes me hyper-sensitive to throw away remarks or criticism about how I cope with it.
Too much self doubt... Must work on that.

I also realised just how hard this program is going to be for me.
I am not a patient person. I am crap at knowing my own limits and even worse at sticking to a routine, both things I'm going to have to learn and adhere to.
Whilst doing the circuit training I felt fine, plenty of energy left no problems. Nothing unusual in that when you consider that it was only 12 minutes (1 minute per exercise with a minute of rest in between) but when I was walking out to the bus stop I could feel the post-exercise burn kicking in - the same sort of burn I used to feel after a 20 minute warm up, 1hr30min work out and another 20min cool down.
It just really brought home to me that I need to be more careful, when I feel as I did today - 'normal' I tend to just keep at it till I drop - then I suffer for it, the same routine all these ladies had been following for years. The fact that instead I did what I considered to be 'nothing' whilst around me these ladies were struggling to do even half that...
To me that spoke volumes.

I refuse to deteriorate to that stage.

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