These are another four days on which I could have listed the problems and difficulties of being me. Even the day I mark down as a "very good mental capabilities day" was still a lot of effort. I was so proud of myself and very grateful too. I can cook. It's just that most of the time I can't cook. I have the ability and practical knowledge to be able to knock together a few ingredients and whack up the flavour with harissa and paprika and whatever else is to hand. But the day below was a rarity. The DWP guidelines for assessment talk about whether a person is able to prepare a meal from fresh ingredients. For the guidelines, heating up a ready meal or a tin of beans does not count. But when I was assessed and even as my application for PIP has gone through the mandatory reconsideration, it seems that they haven't followed the rules. And because I'm not emaciated they judge that I have no food problems. Yeah, I'm not emaciated. Because I eat a whole load of crap. Ready meals and junk food and a shit load of sugar and fat. I'm not emaciated. It's true. But that's not because I don't have any problems with food. It's because I DO have problems with food.
I was so pleased this day. I cooked a meal. I managed to buy ingredients. And those ingredients didn't all go in the bin having gone mouldy.
Unfortunately I bought quite a lot of ingredients that day. Good quality ingredients - including really good organic produce from the farmers' market that happened to be in progress when I was retreating to the Metro to get home. And I haven't managed to cook a meal from fresh ingredients in the six days since that one. I suspect that the excellent food will end up in the bin.
That makes me sad. The way I have been with food for a long time makes me sad. Sometimes I have phases when I can cook regularly and while the food isn't going to get me through an audition for Masterchef, it tastes good. It's simple. It's not very varied. But it tastes good. I have those phases. But the last one was two years ago.
Things are worse at the moment than they were. I am now on stronger medication to deal with my anxiety - the daily panic attacks, meltdowns and shut downs were getting far too much and sometimes were getting to be a danger to my well being and safety. So I have the medication and it's really helping a lot. It has side effects though. One of those listed is weight gain - one in ten people who use it experience significant weight gain through treatment. I seem to be one of those people which doesn't surprise me because I'm good at side effects.
Now, if I had no food issues that would be fine. I'd just cut down and sort out different things to cook and I'd be able to adjust and not put on the weight. But I do have food issues.
Pretty much there is this:
On a bad day I don't have the mental energy or wellbeing to deal with much at all and I still do my best and try to do as much as I can.
On a good day I have more mental energy but it all goes on dealing with life and I haven't got anything left to be able to sort out my eating or my cooking.
On August 5th, one day in six months, I had even more mental energy and could cook a decent meal, one that was very healthy indeed and which tasted better than any of the ready meals and any of the junk that I usually have to eat.
That's my life with food.
The DWP say that I don't have problems. Well fuck the DWP. I have problems. Every single sodding day. Every single day.
August 5th was also an amazingly good day in another respect. I found the mental energy to get the form filled out to officially appeal their judgement about PIP. Yay! I did it. On time. Yay! Now I have to wait until that's all processed and then I'll be called to a tribunal. The thought is not an easy one. The initial assessment sent me a bit crazy for weeks. It affected me very badly. And now there is a tribunal to look forward to.
Here's an idea of just how screwed the DWP assessment for PIP is. The woman informed me directly that you can live on two biscuits a day. Did she really believe that? If she did she is an idiot, totally unqualified to make a judgment on anybody. If she didn't then she should be sacked for dishonesty.
Anyway. Four days of gratitude. Starting with the best mental wellbeing day I've had in a LONG while.
A food post.
Grateful that I cooked a proper meal.
I. Cooked. A. Meal.
That is a very big thing for me. It's the first time I have managed to combine actual ingredients into a meal in quite a lot of months.
Yes. It's been a very very good mental capabilities day.
After doing so well on Friday, the day was a massive contrast. I could do very little at all during the day. All plans scrapped. But:
Grateful to have started reading a book and to be enjoying it. And grateful to discover that there are three more in the series. They will probably cost more than the first which was in a shop selling seven paperbacks for a pound.
And we watched as the sky grew darker and the stars began to appear. And then a much brighter light appeared at 9.51 and crossed the sky.
Grateful because last night was the first time I have ever randomly seen the International Space Station. I don't think I've ever intentionally seen it. This, of course, is not a photo taken that night.
Grateful for Blob Thing and the way he encourages me to write at least something each day. I think his blog post was probably his strangest yet!
Grateful that I forced myself to go out for at least a while, to the not-church. An activity involved drawing round our hands while praying. Or not praying - instead thinking love of people or consciously letting go of situations and burdens, part of the walk into freedom. (Okay, so I did that even if it wasn't officially the activity.) Here's my hand scribble thing.
Grateful to have been encouraged before bed to try to art the thing in my head. Terrifying! A totally different thing happened, more suited to my zero art skills. With a few words. I can word a bit!
Dragged myself into town!
Grateful for buying too many books I don't need from Oxfam.
Grateful for a drink in the cathedral cafe. At one point a Viking was there.
And grateful for the friendly faces I found in the building. I am posting too many here. There are many more and a blog will happen eventually.