Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Benefits and me

Its time to get something off my chest.

Something that has been causing me stress and anxiety, and a whole lot of anger over the past month.

I try not to think about it, try not to get wound up about it, but its still lingering. So, I'm thinking the best way to rid myself of it, is to write about it....

The subject of benefits is one of great controversy among the public and the media. We are constantly bombarded with stories of 'benefit scroungers' etc etc. The media and the government have generated a negative image of people on benefits, but now its time for me to show you the negative effect the government has had on me.

I have been receiving ESA (employment and support allowance) for the majority of my time off work. In order to receive this benefit, you have to fill in a beastly medical form, something that I could never do without help from my support worker. It is because of my ongoing depression and anxiety that I qualify for this benefit.

On ESA I got approx £115 per week. Considering I live at home and don't have to worry about bills, this payment allowed me to go about my business without having to get too anxious about finances.

In August this year, my support worker suggested that I start doing some part time work. The benefit guidelines (which I researched online and had the relevant paperwork) would allow me to work 16 hours a week, and still receive ESA. After being offered a job, and explaining my circumstances, I began working 16 hours a week.

And I was a happy little banana.

For the first time in 2 years I bought myself a new pair of jeans.

I went out for a meal with my friends, and didn't worry about the price of the food.

I was even able to save some money each week, again, something I haven't been able to do for the past 2 or 3 years.

However, on the 30th October, I received a letter saying that my ESA had been stopped due to the fact that I had been working more than 16 hours a week.

My heart sank, my mind panicked and I quickly rang the department and said there had been a mistake.

The conversation went something like this,

Me: Hello, there has been a mistake, my ESA has stopped but I haven't worked more than 16 hours.

Robot on the phone: You should have been working 15 and a half hours.


Robot: bored silence

Me: Are you serious? Nowhere on any of the guidelines does it say 15 and a half, it says 16!! Can I get a reconsideration? Theres obviously been a mistake.

Robot: Your claim has now ended. If you want to claim ESA you need to apply from the beginning.

Me: WHAT! Can you help?

Robot: I'm not permitted to advise you.

I then hung up the phone and cursed the robot.

The thought of starting a claim again filled me with dread. The thought of appealing against the decision made my stomach tighten and my brain panic. I began to worry that I would have to start working more hours, but knew that I couldn't manage to do that. Oh it was like a panic mine field.

Luckily, my support worker suggested that I should be entitled to working tax credits, and that's what I'm in the middle of applying for at the moment. But of course, it took 3 weeks for the form to arrive and it takes another 3 weeks for me to hear the result.

I'm also lucky that I do live at home, and don't have any large outgoings. But this whole situation has really effected me. I cant help but take the whole thing personally, although I know that sounds silly.

I'm now back to scrimping, saving, and missing out on things I might like to do because of money. Silly old money.

Just when I was starting to get myself together, then the government come along and mess it all up for me. And I'm not mentally well enough to fight them on it. I just don't have the strength.

The irony is, although I am now working, I have less money than I did when I was just on ESA.

So, the government is trying to get people back to work, but they are taking away the vital support that they need along the way! It just doesn't make sense.

I know that there are far worse off people than me, and that's what worries me too. How are they coping if the same thing has happened to them?

I'm not asking for sympathy, I simply want to make people aware of the way in which this government treats people who are just trying to survive.

Ok. Rant over.

Oh I do feel better.

Monday, 25 November 2013


Hello, hello, and good day to you all.

I'm sat here in my very fetching pink dressing gown, pondering what exactly to do with my day.

Tidy my room?

Clean my sink?

Rearrange my sock draw?

Oh the possibilities are endless.

However, staring into space achieving nothing seems to be a lot more appealing.

Its been a strange few weeks, all things considered, and time seems to be racing past me. Where has November disappeared to I wonder?

There are so many thoughts and feelings running through my mind at the moment, that I don't even know where to start...

So perhaps, I shall spend some more time staring into the infinite abyss, and try to write them down later...


Good plan Susie.


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Snuffle cough yuk

Another day with my stinky cold, and I'm feeling pretty fed up now. Would like to just feel normal now (well, as normal as I ever feel...)

Attempted to do a few little jobs around the house, but even the smallest task saps me of energy, and I end up collapsed on the sofa again.

On the plus side, I did beat my Tetris record.

And I do get to drink copious amounts of Lucozade without feeling guilty about all the calories.

 I've also eaten my weight in clementine's, in the hope that they will magically make me feel better. Worth a try I think.

Brain hurts too much to write anymore.

Laters potatoes


Monday, 18 November 2013

Easy does it

After a lovely but exhausting weekend in Wales, I'm back in Saltford, and coughing and spluttering all over the place.

 Well, first all over the bed, and now I have transferred to the sofa, wrapped up in approximately 100 blankets.

Aberdovy is one of my favourite places in the world, and so it was a real treat to be able to share it with Mr B.

Just look at those mountains.
Absolutely stunning.
 I am a little obsessed with mountains, they make me feel so safe and protected, I cant really explain why, but I do wish there were a few more round here. I just want to gobble them all up and bring them back home with me. Perhaps put one at the bottom of the garden or something.
Naturally I'm feeling guilty for not doing anything productive today, but every time I attempt something I collapse in a heap of mucus. A sure sign that my body and mind need to rest I think. Just need to let this nasty cold run its course, and give myself time to recover.
I have been slightly over doing things recently....hmmm....need to be careful and look out for those warning signs that the black dog is on the prowl...

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A tiny bit of wisdom

"Its not about thinking about what you haven't got, but instead remembering what you have got."

Wise words hey.

And yes they are a little cheesy.

But they came out of my mouth.

Yes that's right.

My own words of wisdom.

It would appear that there is more than just fluff in that brain of mine.


Monday, 11 November 2013

Grumbles and mumbles

Yet again its been too long between blogs.

Apologies dear friends.

I've been rushed off my feet these past few days, its been a little bit mad...

Now I'm shattered and have a headache.

Yawn. Ouch.

Moaning again....sorry....

Trying to relax but feeling restless and my brain is struggling to switch off completely...

Probably because it knows that I've got another busy week on the horizon. Bleuurgh.

I could tell you all some amusing anecdotes from my Mums party on Saturday night...But I feel like it could be a breach of confidentiality.  So my lips are sealed...(well until I can be bothered to write some of it down anyway.)

I will say this though, I'm glad Mama Pig is only 60 once. Although she is having another shindig this weekend...and another one after that...

Whilst I'm in a little bit of a moaning mood, I may as well go full throttle and grumble about Christmas. Well,Christmas adverts anyway. They have infiltrated my television, and I'm not happy. Its not even December.

Its too much. Too soon.

I can almost feel a strongly worded complaint letter coming on and sending it off to Points of View. But that would be stupid and silly, because the BBC don't even have adverts. Curses.

Christmas in my mind is a 7 day period. Maximum.

Not a three month hullabaloo. Its just not called for.

No one else gets such a long birthday, and I don't think Jesus is bothered about it lasting for so long. Everyone else just gets a one day birthday celebration. Well, apart from maybe the Queen. Oh and my Mum.

Right, that's enough of my whining. I'm going to resume my place on the sofa and close my eyes...


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Another step. Another breath.

Apologies if you've already been bombarded with my new website, 'cuz I'm gonna mention it again.... 

If you have a chance, do take a look at http://susannapiggott.weebly.com and enjoy a little bit of creative fun.

Its NOT replacing this blog, so don't worry folks. Don't want you crying into your cups of tea or anything.

Instead, its a small online space for my paintings to be displayed.

And I must say a big thank you to Miss Connon, for her recommendation of Weebly.

I've been pondering the idea of making a website for all my artwork for a while now, and after several tricky attempts, I must say I'm pretty pleased with the result.

It would seem that I am finally making friends with technology.


I've also managed to get to the end of this blog without mentioning the fact that I'm feeling rather stressed and overwhelmed about the forthcoming weekend.

Whoa. That was a rather long sentence wasn't it?!

Breathe Susie.



Monday, 4 November 2013

Thoughts and things

Tried my best to relax and unwind today. And a walk in the sunshine with a good friend definitely helped.

However, I have a crazy busy weekend coming up, which is already making me feel overwhelmed.

Bit silly really. But there we go.

My mind just feels so full up of things, its taking all my energy just to keep one foot in front of the other.

'Things' sounds rather unspecific, so lets try and name a couple of them....

  • I'm being a bad friend because I haven't spoken to .... for ages.
  • I need to meet up with/ text / phone / email ..... because I love them, worry about them, and I'm a bad friend if I don't.
(Multiply these thoughts by about 20.)

  • I need to organise this, and sort out that, because this is happening soon and I need to be ready.
  •  So don't forget this, or that.
  • And remember this, because its really important. If you forget it, you are a moron.
That's just a small selection for you.

Cant be bothered to name the rest.

But I guess the other 'thing' that's been floating around in my head is what I write down in this here blog.

I had a huge response to an entry I wrote last week, which kind of knocked me for six really. I didn't expect people to react with so much understanding, which was super lovely.

It got me thinking though, (oh I do think too much) and then worrying (naturally). I guess that I just want to make it clear that I know I'm not the only person out there struggling. And I really do know how lucky I am. Honestly.

Its just the black dog makes my brain wonky and gets things out of perspective. I really don't want people to think that I'm this self involved, spoilt person who takes things for granted. Because I really don't.

Okaies, I feel a little better now.

Hurrah for blogging.


Sunday, 3 November 2013

No hair of the dog for me.

You would think now that I'm 27 and a half, a fairly sensible(ish) age, I would be able to handle my alcohol.

But no.

I woke up this Sunday morning with a banging headache, and an unquenchable thirst. And once again wondering why I would ever want to drink alcohol again.


Ah well, maybe when I'm 27 and three quarters I will be able to behave myself...

For now though, I praise the Lord for inventing fried chicken, chips and diet coke.