I read an article in The Guardian today (link), and honestly, I’m just sick and tired of government officials treating this as new information.
Anyone in the UK who has lived or continues to live in poverty knows that mental health is massively impacted by a lack of resources. You can’t buy things that make you happy. You can’t go on holidays. You sometimes can’t even pay rent. You drag yourself out of bed and sit on a bus for an hour and a half every morning to get yourself to that dead-end job where you work to live, and not because you enjoy what you do or gain a sense of fulfilment from doing so. You get home after your 9-hour shift, and you stick a ready meal in the microwave or make yourself a sandwich because you’re too exhausted to cook anything substantial. You sit down in front of the television and watch as people who have no idea about the consequences of poverty continue to enact policies that strip you of life necessities – financial support for the essentials, sufficient medical assistance, even your disability benefits. You turn off the television in despair and hide away in your bed until the morning comes and you wake up to yet another day of hardship ahead, and on and on it goes until you get so sick that you can’t leave the warmth of your bed, even if it means that you suffer further difficulties later on. This is the vicious cycle that a person in poverty is stuck in. This is the consequence of austerity and inequality. It should be obvious, but apparently it isn’t.
The article is well written, and Dr Dainius Pūras (UN health envoy) is right on the mark. However, once again the struggles of those in poverty are ignored until someone wealthy and powerful says something. We shouldn’t need to be told that “people feel insecure, they feel anxious, they do not enjoy good emotional wellbeing because of this insecurity situation”. We shouldn’t need to have the issue of “excessive use of psychotropic medication” highlighted to us. These things are glaringly evident. Any person who has in the past taken or currently takes any form of medication to treat mental health issues knows that they do not solve your problems. They can alleviate symptoms, but they don’t change your financial situation (in fact they can make it worse) and they come with some awful side effects. It’s patently clear that an over-reliance on pharmaceutics will not solve the current mental health crisis, and I’m completely sick of people saying otherwise.
I guess the whole point of this post was just to vent. My mental health situation at the moment is pretty bad. I have had to defer my studies at university, I am currently receiving a pitiful sick pay due to my inability to leave the house. I am nearly £2000 into my overdraft and have no means of getting out of it. I have isolated myself to the point where I am terrified of interaction with anyone other than my partner. I’m not eating properly, my hygiene sucks, I sleep all day and all night, I have awful nightmares, and wake up with crippling migraines. But I can walk. I can talk. I can get into the shower and wash myself without supervision. I can navigate the world with some kind of effectiveness. So, I don’t need help, right?