I had a CPA meeting last week. It was a surprise to me as I didn’t even know one was due, and as I found out neither did my CPN. How we laughed.

Now I am just about getting used to the set up where CPA reviews are concerned I sit there for 30 minutes answering every question trying to be as amiable as possible and give them all of the information they ask for. With the exception of the issue over my diagnosis evolving (see here and here) I pretty much go with the flow and try not to stress out much about these things. Well the diagnosis issue came up again in this meeting. Seeing as I have taken part in the Recovery group and the Creative Arts group they want to move me on to the next step (the name escapes for the moment). Continue reading

The Next Step

So, where to begin. There is a post that is sat in my drafts section that I just cannot bring myself to post. Even by my standards it’s a whiny pile of crap. Yes I guess if you read it you could feel a modicum of sympathy for my current situation but in the long run I really should just take the ball and start running my flabby arse off to get to the next part of my life.

As with everyone who is reliant on Benefits there comes a time when you realise that things cannot go on they way they are and you have top make a choice about where to go next.

In short, my family doesn’t have enough money to get through the month. It is no ones fault. We are a medically crocked family. E.S.A. is what it is and as I have mentioned before I have gotten away with more than my fair share of luck in the whole process. I have been in the past so wrapped up in my own claim I let matters that effect others in my family slip by. So whilst I was defending myself I was letting down others and not fighting their corner. I can’t change this situation now, but I can alter how things are ahead of us.

On Monday of this week I had a CPN meeting and I spent pretty much 50% of the meeting explaining about our situation and my CPN asked me outright if I was willing to go and meet with some people who MAY be able to help me out in search for work. Put on the spot I had to think quick. Of course ever since October 2008 I have thought about the prospect of going back to work at some point. At 38 I am to young to be on the scrap heap of life. I know I have more to offer, more to give someone who could be willing to give me a chance. I agreed to meet with these people (hoping that they weren’t some kind of slave traders who sold the disabled too unscrupulous employers for peanuts.)

That night was the night Panorama and Channel 4 broadcast their programmes about ATOS and the Work Capability Assessments (WCA) I have only seen the Panorama show so far but one line of narration in that programme pricked my ears up on stalks, it went something like:

Employment Support Allowance recipients in the Support Group are the group who are not expected to ever work again!

Other things in that programme gave me conflicting thoughts and gut reactions. There were people who quite plainly had more (different) healthcare issues to myself and in my eyes most were worse off than I personally feel at this time. Without getting into the debate of who is more entitled, I had to think more on the subject of the question of could I work again if given a chance?

I spent the rest of this week up until today (Thursday) thinking about how I could go into a meeting and explain my situation. I did what I always do.. I winged it. I just answered the questions as I was asked them in the most truthful way I could. The lady I spoke to listened and wasn’t at all pushy and has left it up to me to decide if I want to go forward with joining them in my efforts to find paid work. She was adamant about a couple of things though. She insisted that I sign up to Do-It and at least apply for one volunteering position. This is an easy thing to do as I had been on this site before (albeit at 3am one morning where I didn’t sign up to anything for fear of it coming back in the cold light of day and biting me on the arse).

So she sends me off with an information pack about their organisation and an agreement to get in touch in a week and let her know what I had decided. I headed home with so many more questions in my head than I had before I had gone in there but with one firm resolve…

I had to start somewhere to get somewhere.

As the title suggests, there IS a next step and I have started that ball rolling. I have signed up to Do-It and I have applied to the local branch of Rethink. I had met one of the people who run that branch during my Recovery Group sessions and bad health had stopped me from getting in touch before hand but I have now made the leap and I now just have to wait and see if they get back in touch. I am formulating a plan in my head that will help me help myself with help from others. It’s not going to be a quick over night transformation, but I have a goal now and I have the startings of a purpose again.

Until Next Time…

Spontaneous Brain Fart

Yeah, not the best title for a post I have ever come up with.. but my mind is racing. It knows what it wants to say it’s just getting it down in some semblance of readability.

This past Tuesday was the last of my Creative Arts Group. In one respect I am glad it’s over. I enjoyed the process of playing with pains and the like but the end result always left me feeling like a child of Four or Five at Nursery School. I think the only thing that could have improved my output at these groups was if I had just gone in and drawn stick men for two hours every Tuesday morning. At least I would have been consistent.

This last group was a wrap up session. At the end of every group I have EVER taken we have to assess the group how we have felt during the time we attended and what do we think could be done to improve the group for the next bunch of people who come in. I always hate this bit as I know the person who has put this group together has spent a lot of time and effort into getting everything in place to make the group happen. The only thing I could really fault with the group is that it was done in the morning. I have a hard time being creative in my own time but having to be so earlier in the day was an extra stress on me. I don’t usually feel the effect of taking Seroquel as I can usually sleep it out naturally by 10am, but on Tuesdays I’d have to be up before 8am to get my shit together and get to the group for 10am. It wasn’t pretty most weeks.

So after filling out the forms that were needed we completed a project we started a few weeks back. In short we had a rather long piece of very thin muslin type material and we were asked to draw buildings that had meaning to us. The end product is to be used in an exhibition in Canterbury later in the year. There are other groups doing similar projects. The first week, I have no idea where it came from but I drew a Hobbit hole house. It was a fair representation to my eyes.. it was no Dutch masterpiece but I think if you look at it for a moment or two you may get what it is without having to be told. The following session we had planned on finishing off the project.. but one thing led to another and we had to devote a third week to it. That second week we had filled out more of the materials edges but we still had large areas of undecorated space. A member of the group made a comment about a wall, which sprung my mind back to a play I had had been involved with at college many many years ago. If the piece is about building why don’t we make the rest of it a brick wall and the graffiti the hell out of the wall. The idea went down well and that’s what we did.

The rest of the time in the group flew by, for some reason the creativity of coming up with ideas had made me feel so much better than actually doing the physical act of creating something. I guess it’s a case of being able to see an idea but not realise it that has frustrated me for the whole of the course. The only thing that I had any success at was the drawing session (which is unusual for me). I had actually drawn something that resembled what it was supposed to.

After the group was over I came home and was feeling kind good about myself and in a silly minute took a picture of myself making a stupid face. I have no idea now a few day later why I did it, but I knew I could have some fun with the picture. This is what I ended up with:

A digitally altered version of me

Feeling good about oneself usually ends up in an embarrassing photo ending up on the Internet.

So that’s it.. my group is over and I am onto the next part of the journey of Recovery. What comes next is anyone’s guess. There has been talk of some Talking Therapy, but I will need to assessed first to see what THEY think is suitable for me. Could be CBT (ackk didn’t work last time) could be one to one sessions with a Therapist (dunno, never spoken to an actual Therapist before.. the closest I got was with a support worker back up in Corby).. or it could be a multitude of other ideas that I don’t know about yet. I do know that they are changing the way the handle each “Service User”. They are rearranging their teams in line with a new set of Government guidelines. The lottery continues.

Until Next Time…

Back On The Horse

After taking the second half of March off from pretty much everything, I am back trying to wrestle some kind of creativity back into my life. The only thing that has been a constant for me is my daily postings to my photoblog www.spnak.com. I have, without fail, posted one post/image a day since late December. I have found something that I can focus on and improve at without needing to get external validation. It doesn’t matter to me what others think. I am taking the pictures everyday to see how much better today’s image is compared to yesterdays, what apps work for that style of shot.

I have been bitten by the photography bug. I spend more time during the day looking at other photographers websites. I spend quite a bit of time going through the Instagram iPhone app looking at neat images that defy the realms of what I thought a phone could do.

As I had mentioned before I spent about 3 months locked in the house hiding away from the invisible eyes spying on me. A side effect of coming out of the other side of that is that I now feel the urge to go out so much more than I ever did before. Unfortunately I still can’t manage this on my own and I try and make plans that means I can get out with either Linda or Mum. Things happen though and sometimes it’s not possible and I get my knickers in a twist and end up feeling pent up and frustrated that I can’t go out. At this point in time I don’t see what’s stopping me from going solo. The rational side of my brain is saying “Go For It.. what’s the worst that can happen?” the irrational side of my head is screaming “Don’t Go Out.. they will see”. I think I need to take baby steps again. Maybe take a walk around the corner and see what I can see. You see all this impetus to go out is to go out and get more pictures for the photoblog. (I’m hooked.. I told you as much).

I mentioned in my mini update that I had been referred to a Creative Arts Group. Well the first session was last Tuesday and feeling rather apprehensive I showed up and decided to give it my best shot. Now I have NEVER EVER proclaimed to be an artist (maybe a piss artist in my youth.) I don’t create art, I do STUFF. It’s the way I have always been. You need to have a set of skills to create art. If I create anything that resembles good, “it’s a fluke, I got lucky that time.” I don’t count my leanings to photography as Art yet.. I see that as a stepping stone to finding something I can finally learn to be good at. So attending a Creative Arts group would help in seeing the things around me in a different way.

The group is small which is great for me, it’s not overwhelming and I don’t feel as conspicuous by being there. It has a great feeling, a feeling that eventually we will spend most of the two hours relaxing and hanging doing something creative together. We were sent an itinerary of what will happen over the 12 weeks of the group and there doesn’t seem to be anything geared towards a group project, but from the way the first session went, a session or two could quite easily morph into something group orientated, we’ll see.

The first session was Still Life Drawing. There was a 3D collage of items set up in the middle of a few tables pushed together. We were asked to draw what we saw. Be it the whole collage or just one section of it. I knew, for the life of me, I wouldn’t be able to draw the whole thing so I chose a Jar. It was kind of like a Pasta jar without a lid. I spent the first 45 minutes fumbling around trying to get it right, but basically came out with a bunch of stick figures that tried to look like a jar. I think the facilitators of the group could see my frustrations as I spent more time with an eraser in my hand than a pencil. It just so happened that on the whiteboard in the room the resident artist had drawn a diagram of how to draw the jar I was attempting. He explained to me the principle of blocking out the Jar and drawing it in sections. Slowly I started again following his instructions. Over the next 40 minutes my stick figure jar actually transformed into something that actually resembled what I wanted it to. I even got cocky and drew in some detail and shaded the jar. At the end of the session both group leaders commented on how good it looked, and you know what, I was actually pleased that I had improved over the 2 hour period. It felt good.. an instant boost to my self esteem.

Next week it’s collage.

Well that’s it for me for now. I hope no one was April Fooled to badly today. I stayed in bed until 11 so I only had to manage an hour without getting humiliated.

Until Next Time…



Happy Leap day folks. I just had to post today so my archives would show a post from today.. sad aren’t I?

A fair bit has happened in the past week or so since I last post. My paranoia has started to subside. I still don’t look forward to going out in public, but I am making steps to force myself to face my fears within reason. I have never improved in my illness without an element of Gung Ho spirit being involved. My head space gets all bogged down with the fact that I can’t do something and I fulfil that attitude by listening to myself.. and god only knows I am my worst source of advice at the best of times. Continue reading


I have been sat at my computer for what seems like¬† months (in fact it’s been five weeks or so.) I have sat here with my blog open and willing myself to write, hoping that something would come to me that would make sense outside of the crazy ramblings going on inside my head. It never came. As the days went on I started to feel obligated to write, to have some kind of thing out in the ether. I followed Facebook and Twitter looking for something I could knowledgeably latch on to and maybe have something to say on a news story of the day. Philip Davies – member of parliament for Shipley… well he is just a dick, I could think of anything more to say about him and…well that just didn’t seem like a substantial blog post to write.

Continue reading