Friday, October 03, 2008

The Wibble

My Disability Living Allowance (DLA) appeal is next week.

In an organisational sense, I'm well prepared for it. Steve has managed to get a day off work in order to take me to and from the building where the appeal is being held. A person from the local Welfare Rights Advice Service is going to be there to represent me. The evidence I submitted is pretty substantial. I've reserved an accessible parking space at the venue, I've even decided roughly what I'm going to wear.

In a more personal sense, I'm not doing so badly either. I mean, I know my claim is genuine. I know that everything I have said on my forms is accurate. The absolute worst possible case scenario is that they turn me down and I have to continue living on exactly the same amount of money I am living on at the moment. Okay, it's not ideal, as it means I'm dependent on Steve's goodwill to continue to make up the shortfall between my wages and "survival" due to my disability-related expenses (which is what DLA is meant to cover and is why it is not means-tested), but at least I'm not currently likely to end up in a situation where I can't afford to eat because of benefit difficulties. This DLA appeal is not the end of the world.

But then there's the wibble. You know. The bit in each and every one of us that nags away at confidence, that says your date will be put off by that horrendous spot on your nose, or that reminds you in the night of that stupid thing you said at the interview...

The wibble, for me, is bypassing everything I academically know and understand about models of disability, everything I believe about how I am a useful member of society, doing a job, paying tax, helping and supporting my friends and loved ones and generally being just fine as a person. To prepare for the appeal I have to spend a lot of time concentrating on all the things I can't do, and this feeds the wibble.

The Wibble says to me,
"You're useless, you can't even walk around the block or work full-time or manage this or that or the other on your own.

If you win, well done! You've proved that you're useless! What a thing to prove! Wow, I bet you're proud.

But if you lose, you're still useless, in fact you're so useless, you've failed to prove you're useless! And you're going to have to carry on struggling without financial support to cover the additional expenses caused by your inability to do things..."

Yeah, I know, emo crap, call the waaaahmbulance, etc. I'm just stressed out to hell and can't wait for this to just be over, one way or the other.


Anonymous said...

Good luck with your appeal next week! I'm not surprised you're wibbling a bit - it's hard not to when you have to face an appeal.

The Goldfish said...

A wibble is to be expected really, but the very best of luck. This is just an administrative process, not a reflection on who you are.

May I suggest that you plan something fun for afterwards. Not a celebration, something you plan to do whatever it happens, which you can look forward to and focus on. A trip out or a movie at home with your favourite food, something like that.

Won't take the wibble away, but it may offer some distraction between now and then. Will be thinking of you.

Mary said...

Thanks, ladies.

I do have something fun planned for near the end of October - we're going to try and do that "hire a car for Pip and have me spend a week with him and the Boy back in Lowestoft" thing. Even if the organisational details don't work out, I've got the full week booked off work and a holiday budget.

Anonymous said...

Good luck. Are you aware of the website ?

Probably too late to be of help now. But they have a lot of info. on IB, DLA and so on. Though there is a small annual fee (about £19 a year) to join.


P.S., For some reason I couldn't sign in when commenting using my open ID.

Mary said...

Hi Porillion - yes, I used to be a member of B&W, which is a wonderful resource. I don't think I could have faced filling in the form without it. My membership has expired in the months between getting the turned-down-DLA letter and going to appeal, but I'd already downloaded their useful guide for DLA appeals, and the local Welfare Rights service seem pretty on the ball.

Anonymous said...

Good luck! I was wading through the DWP website last week at work (trying to understand housing benefit) and I thought of you. Getting DLA certainly doesn't prove that you're useless either. Bet Steve doesn't think you are!

Carie @ Space for the Butterflies said...

If you think you're having a wobble then take a deep breath and visualise something you are really proud of doing - finishing your first pair of socks for example - and remind yourself that you could do that. It sounds hocus pocus but it's what I do before job interviews or tense meetings and it gives you confidence without you really knowing

Pandora Caitiff said...

Good luck from me too.

The wibble is a horrible place to be mentally, it feeds off itself! I hope you manage to shake it, or just keep it in check, for as long as you need.

And you're not "proving you are useless", you're "proving you need a bit more help to continue being a valuable member of society"

Or somesuch motivational phrasing :)

Mary said...

Thanks Jo. Good luck with the housing benefit stuff. It's convoluted to say the least, plus of course it is administered by local authority rather than central and therefore different places have different resources and goalposts, so it's hard to find definitive all-round applicable information online.

Carie - yes, absolutely, this is why I always wear handknit socks to interviews! :D

I know I'm not actually useless - it's just upsetting to have to focus right in on the negatives. Due to this context, I am going to refrain on this occasion from slapping Pandora about the head with a wet haddock for using motivation-speak outside of work hours. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Mercifully I don't have to understand it on my own behalf, only in so far as I am auditing Housing Benefit Performance Indicators at the moment (fascinating, I promise), so I only need to understand New Claims and Changes of Circumstance enough to check that LAs are applying the correct definitions ...

Mary said...

Oh is that ALL?!?

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Mary, I totally understand that wibble feeling. All I can say is that you have support from all of us and I hope the board make the right decision. Good luck, BG x