Thursday 21 December 2017

sit down, be humble

We're lucky enough to live down the road from some great heritage locations. So ever since Little Ms D was born we've always taken her to see the Chatsworth Christmas decorations.

We should've gone yesterday, with my Mum and Mother in Law, but my legs weren't playing ball. I was really pissed off and my frustrations manifested themselves in a display of olympic-standard  ARSEHOLISM, primarily directed at my Dad. I'm not proud of it.

Thankfully he ended up taking Mrs D, The Child and the Mums so at least they didn't have to miss out but I ended up feeling down on myself for the rest of the day. I've not been my best recently - a combination of my recent job disappointment added to Christmas stress and the inevitable feeling that I'm bound to get another PIP knock back from the DWP in the post just before Christmas.

I started writing this on my phone while Tysabri infusion number four was being pumped into my vein. It was bloody chaos in the hospital today. Lots of people dealing with worse situations than mine, it's pretty humbling and puts yesterday's mardiness into some kind of perspective. It shouldn't take that to give me some clarity but there we are.

One thing that has been confirmed today is a sneaking suspicion I've had, that the effect of Tysabri "wears off" - prompted by my dodgy day yesterday and vague things that I've noticed previously. I felt pretty daft when I asked the nurse about it earlier, convinced it was all psychosomatic. But apparently a number of people come in for their treatment saying they're ready for it.

Now we might all be guilty of reading too much in to stuff but maybe yesterday's issues were understandable. I must remember not to arrange anything for the day before my infusions in the future!

And also to be less of a mardy bum hole.

I can't imagine I'll have chance to write much more here over the festive period so thanks for reading the blog this year. It has personally been helpful to get all this stuff out of my head but I really didn't intend for 2017 to be so interesting!

Here's to a much less traumatic time in 2018 for us all (health wise).

The bass on this track (one of my favourites of the year) took me well and truly by surprise when it popped up during today's infusion.

Friday 15 December 2017

which way now

With wearying predictability I didn't get that job.

I'm disappointed but in a way not that surprised. The jobs I've gone for recently have all been Arts Marketing jobs and my entire work experience has been in this area.

Truth be told I kind of fell into this sort of work when I left university - after applying for a handful of jobs, a local theatre was the only place to get in touch, offering me a work experience placement. Since then I've worked my way through the ranks to end up... in the job which I was forced out of this time last year.

I'm ok but wondering what's going to happen next. I'm not fishing but I genuinely think there's a strong possibility I've been bluffing all these years!

I think I need to take stock and maybe look at working in a different area. Little Ms D has offered me a job telling stories but we haven't discussed terms yet.

Offer the last year a handful of people have told me I should write something. I know the cliche is that everyone has a book inside them. But I struggle having something to tweet about most days - and that's even at the old 140-character rate, let alone the enhanced War-and-Peace 280-character behemoth.

Ah well. Pick yrself up again, Steve.
maybe I should've studied this book a bit closer?

Thursday 14 December 2017

i can hear music

At my last session my therapist gave me one task which I've been throwing myself into with some gusto.

She told me that I needed to listen to more music. I know, what a slavedriver. But I am nothing if not a good student.

One of my favourite bands has always been They Might Be Giants, who often get tarred with the wacky brush. However, they suffer from the opposite problem to The Smiths, who are mostly hilarious but who people assume are miserable. Conversely, TMBG write quirky, funny songs that have a sheen of cleverness and fun but frequently touch on dark issues such as death, depression and social anxiety.

One of my favourite songs of theirs is called - bluntly - Dead. Call me a simpleton, but I’ve always just read the lyrics as being an original look at the concept of death and reincarnation
I came back as a bag of groceries
as well as fears about the legacy we leave behind
Did a large procession wave their torches as my head fell in the basket?
And was everybody dancing on the casket?
as well as daft regrets and the wrongs we never corrected
I will never say the word "procrastinate" again
I'll nevers see myself in the mirror with my eyes closed
I didn't apologise
For when I was eight and I made my younger
Brother have to be my personal slave
So far so clever (but since when did we see cleverness and expertise as a bad thing?).

But the day after I got my second PIP refusal letter I spent a lot of time playing TMBG songs. I was in a bad way and quite frankly just about ready to give up. And in my heightened state I realised that this song is actually about depression:
Now it's over, I'm dead, and I haven't done anything that I want
Or, I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do
It seems so bleeding obvious now but a quick look at the TMBG wiki shows that not one person has tagged it with depression or pulled out that theme.

But that line ("I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do") summed up how hopeless and pointless it felt that day. And weirdly made me feel better.

But it’s not all highfalutin concepts and heavyweight lyrical concerns. Sometimes pop smarts just come at you out of left field and you find yourself playing the same song over and over again.

A quick reccy of YouTube plays and recent Last.FM stats shows that I’ve played this song by Alvvays around 12 times within the last couple of days.

I know nothing about them, they're not doing anything remotely original. It's a song about love gone bad through thoughtlessness or laziness, and musically it’s treading some well worn paths.

All I know is, the way she slurs downwards on the word "psychology" at 1.28 (on the video above) makes my heart go all squiffy.

That one moment makes my day every time I play it, in a way that hasn't happened since the off-beat ride cymbal which kicks in at the end of Uptown Funk (from 3.54). Yes the song is the very definition of ubiquitous but by god that's a Grade A piece of pop arrangement.

So what has all of this navel-gazing got to do with anything?

Yesterday I went for another bloody job interview. I’m waiting for feedback and clinging to the fact that one of the people who interviewed me isn't at work today. But being realistic it's not looking good is it?

However, at the very least this will be (surely?) the last job interview I have this year. So that's something, right?

Play it again, Stevey.

Monday 4 December 2017

PIP denial 2: this time it’s personal

the DWP's new PIP assessor, yesterday
I feel like I need to start putting SPOILER ALERT on my Twitter feed. But last week I got an early Christmas present from the DWP.

Not really.

I actually got a letter from them saying that I've been refused PIP for the second time.

I should've seen it coming. The day before I felt the best I have done in ages. It was actually my last Therapy session but I felt like I'd turned a corner - still stuff to work on but I only had eight sessions. I'd already planned to have another eight sessions in the new year - I guess I'll need to book them in sooner than I planned.

As I said, this was the perfect end to a perfectly shitty year. A year of endless forms and pointless bureaucratic knock backs and double-speak which has prevented me from taking better care of myself and my family.

I've not had loads of time to fully digest their (il)logic but a cursory reading seems to imply that they're purposefully misreading my form and misrepresenting the content of my assessment (of which, as I mentioned previously, I certainly didn't make a recording).

I'm not on the scrounge, I just want what I'm entitled to, a replacement for my previous DLA award. This helped pay for the extra expenses - medication, prescriptions, petrol, parking, etc. etc. - which naturally arise because someone has a chronic health condition.

Being disabled is expensive.

We're going to chat with our local Unemployed Workers Centre contact. I'll also try to get the strength up to listen to the recording of my assessment (even though it doesn't exist) to double check if this is a simple misunderstanding or if it really is as personal and deliberately malicious as it feels at the moment.