I wrote in my other blog of my new role as an unpaid carer for my son, who struggles with depression.
I have been unable to update my old a-n blog here since it was featured, so I figured it’s time for a fresh start and am trying to work out how to keep going forward.
Am I or am I not an artist? Other artists will tell me I am, but I haven’t considered myself an artist for over a year, as I’ve been forced out of the profession by lack of properly paid opportunities and pointless bureaucracy.
You may have seen the Dispatches documentary on Channel 4 with Ade Adepitan highlighting how the benefit system abuses disabled people, including those with mental illness.
I no longer know which role I’m doing at any given time. I haven’t applied for Carer’s Allowance, because I still cite that I’m an artist by profession, which feels like a lie.
I still keep applying for funding without success, and I mostly withdraw my labour unless I’m offered proper remuneration, which is rare.
My son was diagnosed with depression back in 2013. It’s been a long journey full of great distress, and not something I felt had any relevance to my practice, I wanted to keep it separate. I still do.
I never aspired to this role, I never asked for it, and now that I have had no choice but to take it on, I now have another unpaid job to add to my non-CV of apparent “scrounging”.
Most of my time is spent reminding my son that he needs to make a doctor’s appointment, for a while I would go with him to the doctor’s, checking and re-checking dates and that he’s doing what he needs to do against all manner of pointless bureaucracy.
Keen to avoid the abuses of the DWP, he was clearly not prepared to seek work, so we applied for ESA instead, which was a process as shown in the Dispatches episode – we were told we weren’t allowed to know what criteria they based their Nurse Ratched assessment on, an assessment that completely ignored the doctor’s diagnosis that he is unfit for work. So we had to go through the appeal process, and our appeal was upheld at the end of March.
The very same week that Work And Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith resigned.
Portrait Of Ian Duncan Smith With Bandaged Nose was painted in the style of Van Gogh, after Self Portrait With Bandaged Ear, has been selected to be exhibited at the Institute for Mental Health via City Arts in Nottingham coming up in May 2016.