Updated: In the interests of clarity, with one or two edits to remove swear words etc, this was the actual answer I provided on Page 18, other information of my IB50 form. The form had to be returned today, so I will have no idea throughout all of the Christmas and New Year period whether or not this review will mean my claim will be denied.
I would give anything really I would, for things to be different. You see, if things were different I wouldn't have to fill out this form telling you in minute and trivial detail how I walk, how I lift, how I sit, how I stand, how I think, how I feel, and even how I piss and shit, or, more precisely how I don’t. As, after all, that's all you're really interested in.
In the past few years I’ve learnt to live with my condition, an inherited genetic disorder that for reasons I’ll never know, whilst I was still just a child was said to be ‘seeking attention’ and turned usually clear sighted doctors blind. I’ve had to, there’s been no alternative. No choice. No cure for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), not even a treatment in sight. Just stronger and stronger pain relief, that in an ironic twist of fate doesn’t work as well as it should, and if you happen to be lucky enough to live in an area that provides it, expert physio.
Despite all that, despite the mislabelling, the trauma, their insanity and very nearly mine, somehow I’ve found a way.
I accept it now. It’s just a part of who I am. Like the brown eyes and curly hair, or being 4’8, my need to be nice to everyone, to always put myself down, or my irrational fear of spiders. It’s just another part of all the many things that go to make up me.
Except now, forced once again into filling out these forms, it’s not just one part, it’s an all consuming everything. Nothing secret, nothing sacred. Every minute detail of my life must be revealed, recorded, repeated, repeated, and repeated. And then some more, endlessly made to fit into these boxes. Humiliation at a level never quite complete. All that effort, all those things that go to make up me, a person, a life, they are not relevant here. So, really, I would give anything for things to be different.
I would give anything not to have to fill out this or any other benefit form, give anything not to have to tell you, a faceless, nameless stranger details of my life so intimate that day to day I try not to think of them myself. How from one day to the next I never know the level of disability that will greet me. Will I fall as soon as I try to get up, or will it be a little later? Will it be in public or private? If I dislocate both hip and SI joint all in one go will I lose control of my bladder, or worse my bowels? Will I have to rely on a complete stranger for assistance? If that stranger is a man, will he, like so many, take advantage of the situation to grope my tits or arse? Will he like so many think I don't realise? Worse still, will he think it doesn't matter because I'm 'just' a cripple? I never know. But now you do. In triplicate.
So really, I would give anything for things to be different. To be able to earn my own living, not to have to ask, not to have to beg. Not to be forced to tell you everything yet again.