My name is Branwyn. Everyone else knows me as @welshwallace on twitter. We hide behind monikers on social network sites for all reasons but tonight I want to be known by my name, Branwyn. You see I am a person, a human being. Yet we have become entrench with living lives online that sometimes we forget we are really interacting with other human beings and this is seeping into real life where we judge people, we demean people and we disrespect people every day that to some it is becoming second nature. So as I said my name is Branwyn.
I have had everything you could think have thrown at me in life at some point along the way. Yet, until now I never gave up. I never quit. My life changed when I lost my sight through head injuries. I lost the use of an arm and my internal organs are a mess limiting my abilities greatly but I still believed in myself, I still wanted to be someone and something. But over the past 3 months I have been chipped away by so many things I have nothing left except maybe this very honest piece.
I want to work so badly yet I am rejected as a waste of time and effort. I applied for hundreds of jobs I could do. The first 100 CVs that went out, not a single reply. The second hundred that went out I received 73 replies for interviews. All because the second set I removed [the fact that] I was blind, yet once they knew any interview offer was withdrawn. I tried to enter work programs but was told by the DWP I was not a viable person to invest in as my employment prospects were nil. I tried to access the Disability Advisor for the DWP but told I would have to make an 80 mile journey as they do not speak to people like me on the phone. I needed to fill in DWP forms yet they do not supply them in Braille or audio and do not offer help to fill in forms. Everywhere I turned the door was closed in my face one way or another.
I set up a crowd funding appeal to set up a business and in return was bombarded with vile abuse to kill myself. Attacking the fact I was blind. Attacking how I drained tax payer’s resources as I had nothing to offer. Being judged as someone who is lazy, who is a scrounger. Who does not want to work? Through brilliant people who did believe in me I set up an online shop. I did everything by the book and now the subject of a witch hunt by the DWP. Now I am being reviewed, having to provide proof they already have about my sight loss etc. This in itself is not a problem but the way you are spoken to over the phone is nothing short of inhumane. The staffs are rude and short with you no matter how polite you are. They rebuff sarcastically how I do things like read my bills if I need help filling out forms. Explaining I get everything in Braille or audio it only makes the attitude of the staff worse. This is not a sole employer but a general attitude of many. Even my own MP has publicly stated disabled people should work for less than the minimum wage because we are less productive. Any requests I have made to him asking for help fall on deaf ears. If those who are meant to represent us, resent us, what chance have we got?
I cannot go outside without being accused as a fake or scrounger. Never once does it occur to people I am trying hard to make a living because they have been bombarded with rhetoric by Iain Duncan Smith, Lord Freud and David Cameron; that if you have a disability you’re worthless, you’re nothing except a dishonest scrounger. I am anything but a human being. And it passes down into the street. Disability hate crime increases yet this is acceptable and requires no investigations into why this has happened. I myself have been targeted in my home with people outside throwing abuse and making my life hell so bad that the rest of the street also complained. My complaints were not enough for action until others complained. But they didn’t complain because they were fearful of my safety but because it became so bad it disturbed their peaceful nights.
I have put my heart and soul into this shop. I ignore the constant bombardment of abuse. I ignore being isolated more and more each day. I ignore being treated with contempt – but something needs to be done. Something needs to change with the way people behave and act. Something needs to be done to bring the current rhetoric of this government to account. People are being destroyed everyday dealing with the above. I am being destroyed by the above.
What happened to a society where people cared and supported each other? Treated each other with respect. The past 2 weeks my health has seriously declined. I have constant heart pain and shortness of breath yet being self-employed I cannot afford to stay in hospital.
After everything I have gone through I have never felt so defeated, so lonely and so resigned to the impossible mountain of hate towards me that stands in front of me for having a disability. People say stick with it, things will change yet they do not live my life. They do not walk in my shoes so have no idea how empty those words feel. Living with hope does not pay the bills I cannot pay or buy food I cannot afford.
What kind of country celebrates opening a food bank for people who are unable, like me, to eat every day? Who cannot afford food or a decent meal? Having a Grand opening with a gourmet buffet for MPs? Since when has celebrating the need for a food bank become part of our society? To me, there should not be the need of food banks. I cannot access one because I am unable to make the journey because of my disabilities so I go without. They are not for people pulling a scam either as you have to go through vigorous checks to even get a voucher. When will people live in the real world of what is happening out there, happening to people like me who try so damn hard and yet made to feel so excluded, so sub-human you just give up.
What kind of country allows newspapers to constantly feed the hatred of those with disabilities? Everyday papers like the Daily Mail or Daily Telegraph who are just two of many, feed false statistics – just like IDS does in parliament to fit in with their own agenda. Doesn’t matter how untrue or false or manipulated the story is as long as it makes a good juicy headline. They then act shocked when something appalling happens which in essence they created with their bad sensational journalism.
We used to be known as Great Britain, now we are just known as Britain because we have nothing to be proud of anymore judging by the way we treat others in society.
I tried so hard. I gave it everything I got but I have nothing left in me to keep fighting a society that has turned so ugly. Mr Cameron, Mr Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud if my heart gives out very soon my blood will solely be on your hands, nobody else’s. You have created this society that hates disabled people, you alone are responsible for all the damage that has been done in this society towards disabled people. Do what you want to me because there is nothing left inside except an empty numb shell that is just exhausted in trying to be accepted as a human being.
Guest Post By @welshwallace (Branwyn)