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In A State

February 15, 2013

The other day, a good friend of mine was describing his adventures on the S&M scene and talking about how he loves adopting a totally submissive role, completely under the control of his mistress. This was quite a surprise as, he would be the first to admit, he is such a control freak in every aspect of his life. He will actively avoid situations if it means he won’t be completely in control.

I’m very much like that myself (minus the whips and handcuffs) and yet nearly every aspect of my life is under some sort of control by the State. I can make the minor, everyday decisions (liver or chops for tea?) but the State involvement in the major areas of my life has been, and is still, immense. It made me realise again how much the consequences of being a carer, go against my natural psychological instinct – it’s no wonder that I find things unbearable at times. This isn’t a moan post; more an account of how life is when you’re caring for an adult full time. Let’s look at the main areas of my (or any human’s) life:

Marriage
The State effectively ended my marriage (or at least put it on hold whilst I remain Steven’s carer). To be told that if I remain in my marriage, our son would be removed from our care is a terrible choice to have to make. Wife or son? It really was as stark as that.

Family:
Needless to say, there was the massive interference to my family life in 2010 when Steven was kept away from his home for the whole of 2010. Furthermore, the State’s plan was to move him further away from home on a permanent basis and the care plan was that we could have webcam contact. If they had got their way, that would have been the end of my family life.

Relationships:
I’m not particularly in the market for a relationship at the moment but even if I was, it would be impossible to build one. I get every other Monday evening off from my caring role. I also get 2 hours on Tuesday mornings (which is housework time) and 1 1/2 hours on Friday evening (which is paperwork time). I can’t see a potential partner being too chuffed about such limited, controlled contact. The same applies with my friends; if I want to meet up with them it has to be within the schedule determined by the State.

Work:
At present, I can work between 21 and 24 hours per week. I wouldn’t be able to hold down a 9 to 5 job because I don’t have the support package to enable it. I’d like to work more hours than I do and there have been quite a few occasions over the past four years where I have been offered work opportunities but had to pass them over as I couldn’t give them the time committment necessary. So, my opportunities to develop a meaningful career are in the hands of Panel; that vague bunch of people who decide on support packages.

Finance:
Obviously, the restrictions on the time I can work has a big impact on my finances and most days my main meal is something on toast. The only state benefit I claim is housing benefit and that is so stressful, I’d love to work more, earn more and not be reliant on it. Now that I have been appointed Steven’s court deputy, the court want full records of how I spend his money, and likewise, because Hillingdon want to keep an eye out that I don’t spend his money in order to contrive him getting social housing for Steven, they want to see detailed accounts of his expenditure too. It’s the same with direct payments. I don’t know where the idea of choice and flexibility comes from; Steven’s direct payments are meticulously calculated and can only be used to cover the wages of the support workers. I’m not allowed to use the direct payments for anything else and have to produce masses of paperwork to prove that.

Home:
As I’ve documented many times, where we live and even if we have a home to live in at all is controlled by the Local Authority. The State will shortly hear my housing benefit appeal and if that goes against us, the LA have stated they won’t rehouse Steven because of his damages award. That will mean, the State will have to move Steven into residential care and I will be homeless. This is not the choice I would make if I had the choice.

Marriage, family, relationships, home, work, finances – basically the foundations stones to anyone’s life. One thing I am pleased about is that I was able to find the balls and stand up to the LA and stop doing all those endless logs they were so insistent on. To have every action of Steven’s life (and by default, mine) scrutinised and judged was one control too many.

Perhaps I should pop along to Miss Kinky’s Dildo Emporium and treat myself to some handcuffs and a whip. They might come in handy for my next carer’s assessment review.

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From → Social Care

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