This autumn I spent a number of sessions recording interviews about my social situation with a reporter from nationwide radio. It aired this morning so I got up early to listen to it and then went back to bed. Unfortunately I have become tolerant to the medicines so the situation with these has gotten totally out of hand. I take too much of that stuff and my body is not happy. Anyway, the program was "nice". I mean that it was a well constructed package. I didn't sound terribly whiney or sad. But that's just it. All the really critical things I had said were cut off and so the general impression was that I don't have enough to eat but otherwise everything is fine in affluence country. Something that could have been poignant was typically watered down to a sorry affair of not making ends meet, when the fact that I don't have enough to eat because I buy clothes on credit is only part of the story. I also need electronics, homeappliances, artmaterials, telephone service, internet connection and so on and so on... No matter how I turn I still don't have enough for food. I also have special food requirements due to an irritable bowel, but I obviously also don't eat the cheap food such as meat and crap foods. As many of us know, eating healthy is not cheap but it's an important part of keeping your immune system healthy. Preventive measures are not something that the social services take into account. Financially, my situation is slowly but surely escalating into a blasting catastrophy.
When I got up I had recieved a mail from a kind woman who was hoping to help me motivate to work so that I could improve my situation. Oh the frustration when that particular part in the radio show which explained how I am NOT ALLOWED to work even if I could, had been deleted! This is because my pension is too small so I have to go to the social for my heating and the medicines, and they promptly prohibit working. This again is due to the fact that the aid they grant is designed for temporary crises only. I also am truly way too tired, unfocused, lacking in initiative and stressed to handle any committments whatsoever. The only committment that I feel I could manage is doing illustration work with a lot of freedom and a decent deadline (read being allowed months to get the job done). This lady suggested doing translations since I'm good at English and Swedish especially, but I've done it in the past and I find it pretty arduous. Writing from your own head is a totally different kind of thing since I can get around the hard bits. By no means do I feel proficient enough to match up with high standards of translation. Dunno. It's not impossible but the way she explained all the networking and stuff that has to take place made me feel really overwhelmed. I am already overwhelmed as it IS, having to make it from day to day on an emotional level... What I need is not necessarily work but a miracle that would help generate money from what I already have in terms of artwork and my possible book. The book needs to be written but even that is just too much for me right now. Going through old journals about past trials trying to dechiffer them is not the greatest of treats! I also need to add that in order for me to be allowed to keep the maximum sum of 150 € (about 200 dollars) I would have to keep in touch with the social ombudsman. Which is fine, it's just that things are truly not straightforward and all this is stressing me additionally.
It's very hard for people to realize what it's like to be on disability. Especially when you try and explain it through the filter of a second party. In my case, I'm not in a wheel chair or dying from some sordid disease. So I stand up for injustice and make art, write blogs and do radio talks... all of which probably makes me appear perfectly able to do work. I guess most of the time I do things I know to do so it's okay, but having to learn new things are pretty tough for me. For instance networking on the internet is already half killing me at times!
Thus, my state of mind right now is one of they typical stress slash frustration. How to ever get across to "normal" people about the reality of people like me who are caught in a social trap of sorts? (See a previous article about the Social Trap.) Add to this my spiritual sensitivity or whatever it is... Sorry to be complaining, I just need to get stuff off my chest sometimes. I was so hoping the radio documentary would make a difference, but now I wonder.
The reporter who did the radio show with me has now said that there will be a follow up with more facts about the social differences between the counties and how people are not always treated with the respect they are entitled to. For instance, the fact that I wasn't even aware that the lady who's been asking questions about my life and making decisions for me wasn't a real social worker is truly shocking! I also never received an extra cent from them though I'm entitled to some extra money occasionally. Anyway, it seems that some of my comments will be in the following program.
Artwork: "Rusty Growth", digital photograph by author, all rights reserved 2008