Another ‘voice’ comes from the blog written by Barely Surviving. The blog’s aim is ‘to let people know just how hard life on benefits is’
‘My blog tells the truth about the brutal reality that is life on universal credit (and most benefits).
‘I had to leave my job due to personal and health related issues, it wasn’t an easy choice to make but as my anxiety and physical health issues deteriorated I had no other choice. During my time on universal credit so far I have been sanctioned for being unwell, insulted by my work coach and punished for being unfit to work.
I didn’t ask for my illnesses, no one does, and we shouldn’t be judged and punished for it by strangers behind a desk who don’t know how to be supportive or sympathetic. Every time I go to the job centre I am made to feel ashamed, guilty and worthless by the staff, they just don’t seem to care what happens to us at all.
‘That brings me to the reason I am writing this post today. I want to tell you my truth, the things you don’t see on TV. Firstly I don’t live in a palace or a mansion I live in a one bedroom flat, I have a living room, a kitchen a bathroom and a bedroom. In the living room, I don’t have any furniture, no sofa or TV nothing just a lightbulb hanging from a ceiling.
The kitchen has only the things that it had when I moved in a washing machine, a small fridge, an oven and a microwave all things that I rarely use to save electric. The bathroom is a shower, a toilet and a sink all squeezed in to the tiny room and finally the bedroom, a mattress on the floor and a wardrobe to hang up the few clothes that I have. I spend most of my time in the bedroom because sitting on a mattress on the floor is better than sitting on the floor.
Most days I don’t go out so it could be days before I have a conversation with anyone, it’s boring and lonely. I don’t see any of my friends because we live too far apart so I often miss out on a lot of stuff, because I’m not around a lot me and my friends have started to become very distant, hardly even talking now.
I could go to a coffee shop just for a change of scenery but I don’t have the money to buy anthing and all though a few places may not mind if you buy something or not, I feel uncomfortable and embarrassed just sitting there. I don’t have a TV so I entertain myself sometimes with Netflix on my phone, but how many episodes of ‘The vampire diaries’ can you watch before your eyes hurt and you need a break?
When I do go out it’s either for appointments at the hospital/doctors, which I’ve started to look forward too because it gives me the chance to go outside and be out of the house for an hour or two, or to the jobcentre were I’m made to feel uncomfortable and ashamed and punished because I only applied for 1 job that week.
I’m starting to feel isolated from the world. I feel like I’m missing out on life, I’m not doing the things other people my age are doing. I’m not enjoying life. My flat, the one place I spend a lot of my time, the one place I should be comfortable and be able to call home, feels like a prison. A place where I am trapped from the outside world and completely forgotten about.
On top of all that there’s the health issues caused by being on benefits, issues I’ve only started to have problems with in this one year of claiming universal credit. To start with the problems I previously had, the reason why I’m out of work in the first place, are being made worse due to having to walk 40 mins to the job centre and 40 mins back at least once every two weeks because I don’t drive and don’t even have the £4 bus fare to get me there.
Then there’s the depression, being locked in my flat alone for hours and days at a time has caused me to become severely depressed to the point that I have considered suicide. The depression also makes my anxiety unnecessarily worse which limits me even more. Sometimes I do feel I’d be better dead than suffering the long, slow death that my life has become.
The final health issues I have are caused by not eating and lack of nutrition. I have developed many deficiencies because I can’t afford to buy good, healthy food. My blood pressure and cholesterol have also risen so much since being on benefits. My health is so bad, it’s having a big impact on my day to day life but it’s all okay as long as I do my 40 hours per week jobsearch, right?’
You can read the entire post here and you can also read other articles by Barely Surviving here