When the volcano on the island of Krakatoa exploded in 1883 it killed approx. 36,000 people via Tsunamis and made what is considered the loudest sound in modern history, being heard 3,000 miles away. When I opened my post this afternoon (we don’t seem to get it in the morning any more) my brain tried to give me a similar experience (but with fewer deaths). I’ve been fighting my way through the ESA process for months. Most recently working my way, very slowly and with much anxiety,through the ESA50 form. I’ve sought outside advice, I’ve found an Advocate, I’ve written to my GP, I’ve called the DWP to tell them my ESA50 is going to be late (because it took so much time to find someone to give me advice face-to-face). In consequence of this I’ve had Migraines, Headaches, Chest Pains (Costocondritis, Palpitations…), IBS, Acid Reflux, Seizures and Nose Bleeds. I’ve begun Hurting myself – cutting, Over-eating, Under-eating, Sleeping for days, not Sleeping at all. I’ve been Depressed and Hyper and Tearful and Suicidal. The only things I’ve not been are Pregnant or Dead*.
Today I got a letter reminding me that I need to get another Fit-Note, as mine runs out on Tuesday August 2nd. The letter is dated July 27th, I got it today the 29th, a Friday in the Afternoon. My GP is not open until Monday, which is the 1st. I don’t think I need to explain why my Brain went a little Krakatoa on me. I phoned my GP and tried to talk to the Surgery Manager who organised my Fit-Note last time. I’ve left him a message. I really hope that on Monday I’ll call the Surgery and they have my Fit-Note or can make one really quickly so I can get it to the DWP in time. They’ve sent me a pre-paid envelope, but it’s Second Class and I know from experience that it won’t get to them for 3 days at the earliest, so I shall have to pay for it to get there sooner. I know it’s my fault that I’ve not got a new Fit-Note. I’ve noted on my Calender all the days I have to do things in advance – so 5 days before I have a deadline, I write a note saying ‘X has to be posted’ etc. But I’ve not done it for the Fit-Note. I was frantic at the time I got it – trying to get it in time. And I relaxed after I’d sent it off, so I must have forgotten to make a note. So now I’m frantic again. Dealing with the DWP keeps me in a constant state of Frantic. If constantly worrying about Forms, or Doctor’s letters or Advocates and Proof, proof, proof. Proof I’m Wonky. Ill. Wrong. The Abject**. Rather than living or trying to plan on living a life, a different, useful, Future-life, I’m constantly trying to prove the basic sad facts of Now-life ~ the brittle, badly formed, stale biscuit base on which I want to build a delicious, Happy Cheesecake. But if I’m always concentrating on the stale stuff, always concerned with the bottom, how will I ever develop the top layer?
‘Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View’ mixed media, 1991, Tate. By Cornelia Parker (b.1956)
The above is how my head feels at the moment. How my heart and life feel at the moment.
More information about ‘Cold Dark Matter’ – which is a shed Parker blew up with explosives: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/parker-cold-dark-matter-an-exploded-view-t06949 – Sheds play a big part in my life. At one time we had 3. Now we have 2. A vast storage shed, and a smallish one that Dad set up for doing work in. But they’re both just full of stuff. You can’t get away from sheds in my life.
*I’ve dreamt of being Dead before. I’ve never dreamt of being Pregnant. I think of killing myself a lot. I really mean a lot. But I’ve not thought of having Babies.
** When I was at University we had to study the Abject in Art. In this case it involved blood, dead animals and shit – things that repel and repulse us (but are ‘of’ us). My Tutor told us that in the future people with Genetic abnormalities that could not be cured with stem cells or genetic manipulation would be considered Abject, because they would be the rejected of society – something humans would be repulsed by because of their similarity and difference to them, and because that difference could not be ‘fixed’ by human endeavour. He said a lot of other stuff. Of course he didn’t know that I had just been diagnosed with EDS and that he was basically calling me a reject of humanity/society. He also could not know how it would affect me – it contributed to my having a breakdown.