Panic

Mar. 20th, 2016 05:04 pm
sareini: (doctor)
I'm sitting here this afternoon, inbetween lifting Cracker off the laptop keyboard every few minutes because she's gotten way too overexcited over some food I'm trying to eat, and panicking over the idea of leaving the house tomorrow.

I've suffered from panic attacks for several years now, but they really hit the fan after Nick's death, of course. They'd be easier to deal with if I could predict them in any way, but really just about anything can set them off. A few weeks ago I was having regular attacks over the idea that Lily might have some sort of hideous fatal mouth or jaw or tooth cancer because she was doing strange things with one side of her mouth and occasionally pawing at it. Turns out she was just losing a tooth, and she's now fine and it doesn't slow her down in the slightest (then again, Cracker has absolutely no teeth and I'm still not sure she's even noticed). So generally they tend to focus on worrying about the cats (Nick used to be included in that too...), my own health or doing regula everyday things that now terrify me.

A couple of weeks ago, my brother suggested to me that, if/when my PIP is finally sorted out, I should consider getting the card from the new local cinema that allows me to go see as many films as I want for only £16.90 a month. He figured it would be a good thing for me, as I like films, of course, it would get me out of the house and it's a pretty low-effort social activity. I could just sit in a dark corner of the cinema with my over-priced bottle of water and pack of Malteasers and enjoy films without having to resort to torrenting if I wanted to see them when they actually came out. I have to admit, he's probably right.

Anyway, this week I got my Hardship Fund cheque from the university, which was £300, and my brother informed me last night that he's managed to secure another £300 for me by selling my mother's old jewellry that he found in the attic recently (I don't wear jewellry very often, apart from sometimes earrings and very occasionally necklaces/pendents. Most of my mother's stuff was rings and stuff with coffee beans on that I used to buy her when I was young, because she was a coffee fiend and I figured she'd appreciate the connection). So I'm currently in a place where I can pay several upcoming bills and have some money left over, which is something of a rarity for me over the last few months. So, flush with success over yesterday's trip to Tesco's during the daytime, last night I had the idea of going to the cinema on Monday.

And then my brain started to think about that idea, and then everything went straight to hell.

Outside is scary. Talking to strangers is scary. Being around other people is scary, even if you might be going at a time when no-one else would likely be going to see the film you want to see. People will stare at me, laugh at me, talk about me behind my back. What if someone sees me and reports me to the DWP for daring to do something outside the house instead of sitting inside and being a penniless miserable crazy person? What if something goes wrong? What if the house catches fire while I'm out, or someone tries to break in, or something else happens to one of the cats? Too many variables, all of them out of my control, and they sink into my stomach and churn and churn until I'm practically frozen with fear over something that's still theoretical.

I have no-one to talk me down any more. Well, no-one close enough to do it immediately. Nick used to have that job, obviously. When they can the cats try to help too - well, Lily does, nuzzling and licking me (and occasionally nipping my nose) to try to take my mind off things. Cracker tries too, but her attention span isn't the best. Beyond that, the only people I talk to on a semi-regular basis are my brother who calls every evening, and a couple of people who I talk to sometimes over IMs. The social isolation makes the panic worse, and then makes it worse again by making it difficult to deal with it. Most of the people who said they would stay in touch with me after Nick's death have moved on, much as I feared, so that's out as well.

One of my hopes when I started writing here again was that putting all of this down would help me somehow. Putting my feelings down into words does help me to see things a little clearer, but not with the actual calming down from panic attacks. I've got no idea of how I'm going to deal with that.

So I'm just going to sit here on the sofa, watching YouTube and avoiding doing anything productive.
sareini: default (chocolate)
I went shopping in the daytime today.

That probably doesn't sound like too big an accomplishment; like it would be on par with "successfully posting a letter" or "having a telephone conversation with someone you vaguely know", but it's a pretty big one for me. Even before Nick's death and my complete breakdown and withdrawl from society, I was pretty socially avoidant and anxious about crowds, so now it's more like throwing myself willingly into a vat of acid with acid-proof sharks swimming around in it.

Normally, if I have to do any grocery shopping that can't be done at the corner shop 100m from my house, I do it in the middle of the night. After all, what's the point of having a 24-hour Tesco's in the area if you're not going to go shopping at 3am? Also it's quiet, there are very few other shoppers around, you don't have to get in a queue for perusing the Clearance shelves and the staff usually play classic rock or party tunes to keep themselves awake as they stock shelves. For someone like me, it's all in all a good time for shopping.

But at the weekends Tesco's closes at midnight on Saturdays because of the Sunday Trading Laws (bah) and so when I realised I needed to go shopping today I was faced with a decision - either wait until the early hours of Monday morning or go during the daytime today. In the end I decided I didn't want to wait. Also I needed batteries.

For me, going out at any time is fraught with anxiety, but daytime is the worst. There's too many people around, and I constantly feel that they're all looking at me, judging me, thinking and talking about me, mocking me. It doesn't help that I've currently got what would be several days' beard growth on a man adorning my face, of which I'm horribly self-conscious about but also too depressed to do anything about (it's a vicious circle) And supermarkets are always crowded in the daytime, especially at weekends. If I could I'd keep my eyes glued to the floor the entire time I was there so as not to make eye contact with anyone for even a second, but that way leads to being run over by a trolley. On the other hand, I'm probably one of the few shoppers who actually notices the people in the disability scooters. I'm not good in the taxi journeys there and back, either; too much traffic on the road for one, and any vehicle that comes too close (in my mind) to the car makes me flinch away from the side as though it's about to come through the door to punch me; and I live in constant fear that the taxi driver will try to start a conversation with me - especially if it's a driver who's picked us up in the past, because they inevitably ask where Nick is and then things get even more awkward.

But I made it through. I had to wait at the Clearance shelves for about five minutes because a woman with quite obvious OCD was there arranging everything on the shelves according to food type and size (not a shop worker, just a customer), but I can understand that urge and it seemed to be making her happy. I managed to not break down and buy a 12-box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts (even though they had new Cookie Dough-filled ones) and bought foods that, when combined with other foods, will make complete meals and will last me a good while before I need to buy more. I also bought foods to snack on while watching stuff on the TV. And I bought the cats a treat of Sheba Tuna with Prawns, which was well-received.

Forgot to buy the batteries though.
sareini: default (Good Omens - Witch)
Depression problem #23: random bouts of insomnia. Still, I can't complain too much; I've got a cat by my head, another lying purring on my boobs like they're a built-in cat shelf, and Iain Duncan Smith has resigned.

The way I found out went a little something like this: I was chatting on IMs with a friend, and the conversation went a little something like this:

Him: City of Titans will happen. I still have hope.
Me: I will sacrifice a Tory to make it happen.
Him: That's not saying much. I also don't think they're worth much.
Me: Yeah, but I'm not going to kill anything I actually *like*, am I?
Him: I imagine their worth is like the Zimbabwe dollar.
...
HOLY SHIT [KAT] YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO ACTUALLY DO IT
Me: [halfway through talking about something unconnected] Who did I-
Him: Literally this very moment Iain Duncan Smith just resigned.
Me: Holy crap I'm good.


The only bit of this that's causing confusion is that he's resigned because he disagrees with the proposed cuts to ESA and PIP that I was talking about yesterday. Which means that he's technically on our side - a concept my mind is having a few problems wrapping itself around right now, as Iain Duncan Smith has traditionally been the equivalent of a Penny Dreadful villain stalking the disabled with his his previous record. The fucking bastard Tory government is desperately trying to spin this back into something vaguely positive ("We totally don't understand all the fuss about this; it was all agreed in our weekly meetings over a glass of freshly squeezed baby's blood!") but it's looking increasingly likely that the cuts now aren't going to go through - at least not the way they are right now, at least. Oh, it's still very likely that the government will try to sneak them through somehow, but the sheer number of people in both Parliament and the House of Lords now who are opposing them are going to make that almost impossible.

And I've had requests to work my magic on George Osborne next. Watch this space...
sareini: default ("bad century")
Six years. It's been a while. Stuff's happened, obviously, since I was last here.

Nick died. November 17 2015 - so exactly 4 months ago. I got woken up at 4am by the cats biting my elbow (well, Lily was biting as Cracker has no teeth), heard the silence of the house and realised it was not a good silence, went to his room and found him dead in bed. Bronchopneumonia and sepsis, it turned out to be. He'd had a cough for several weeks but we'd thought nothing of it, mainly because of an advert that had been on TV a couple of years previously that went, "Had a cough for more than a few weeks? It could be CANCER!" and so whenever I mentioned the cough we'd laugh about that and he'd tell me it was nothing serious. All the other symptoms were masked by the ridiculous amount of painkillers Nick needed to take on a daily basis to do things like get out of bed and move about - he was on 40mg of morphine at the end because of the state of his knees and back. So neither of us knew anything until it was way too late for anything to be done.

It was very odd, telling his friends and family that he had died and then immediately following it up with, "He didn't kill himself." Because for the last few years, Nick's mental problems had been getting the better of him as well. I'd been his full-time carer for several years at that point, and it's pretty safe to say that looking after him was really the only thing that was keeping me going day-to-day. Because after his death I more or less had a complete mental breakdown myself and am now quite nearly as crazy as he was, albeit with my own spin on things. I don't leave the house very much any more, talk to anyone or do very much, because the outside world is really just too big and scary and overwhelming to deal with now. And it has far too many people.

So it's just me and the cats now. And it's two new cats too. Sandy sadly died in 2011 of stomach cancer, and Suki followed him 3 months later of old age and just being lonely. So now I have Lily, who's a ginger flump who barely makes a sound except when she's playing, but who loves to climb up onto the sofa or bed with me and snuggle and lick my nose (and occasionally nip it as a game). She's 12 now, but she neither looks it nor acts like it, which is a good thing as I don't think I could cope with losing anyone else for a good while. The other cat is Cracker, who we got about 6 months after Lily because she was getting a little bit too flump-y and we hoped that a playmate might help her lose some weight. Cracker is a skinny black cat with no teeth and inflammatory bowel disease, which means she uses the litter box a lot- hence her full title sometimes being Cracker the Amazing Pooping Cat. She came from a house with 21 other cats after being rescued from the streets, which made her the friendliest cat in the world, albeit with a lack of understanding about personal space that's remarkable, even for cats, and also one of the most anxious. She doesn't like being on her own - even more so now that it's just the three of us, and howls her displeasure if she finds herself alone in a room for more than 1o minutes.

I'm at university again, this time studying Creative Writing part-time. Well, that's the theory anyway, as I'm currently more or less on extenuating circumstances leave while I try to get myself back on my feet. My tutors are all very understanding, actually, as apparently I'm quite good at my course and they want to keep me on, but it's still difficult to get into classes when I can't face going out and I've got no money to do so anyway. Because of course, with being completely snooker loopy comes the fun of being unable to work and having to claim disability benefits... but we'll go into the fun and games of that in another post. Just rest assured that it's not really possible to live on £73 a week when £50 of that goes on heating and electricity, and that if it wasn't for the help of others I wouldn't have lasted this long.

I decided to start posting here again because I need somewhere to put my thoughts down, and because this is, in theory at least, a way in which I can reach out to other people in some semblance of socialisation. Because most days, other than the cats and my brother who calls every day, I don't talk to anyone at all, and that's probably not helping my mental state. I'm going to try to post something every day, even if it comes down to, "Still here, still not doing much but watching twitch.tv on the sofa." because at least I'm trying then.

Also, I can play with all my icons.
sareini: default (Angry Princess (one))
Today has brought good news and bad news.

I sat in all day waiting for someone from Reed to call me back (well, it's not like I have much else to do right now, is it?). By half three, however, I'd gotten paranoid (part of this was because NTHell have cut off our phone and I wasn't sure if it could take incoming calls - it can) and so I went out to call them. Got someone to say they'd ring me back as soon as they could.

Reed finally rang back about ten minutes ago. The good news is that I am going to get paid for the week's training I did - which should come out at about £195. This is apparently going to go into the bank account on Friday. The bad news is that they still can't tell me what exactly has gone on here. I got another promise of 'calling back' when they can actually find something out.

Actually, that's only part of the bad news. The rest of the bad news is that, despite the fact that I went through this damn New Deal for Disabled People' to make sure that my IB would be on hold for the first few months in case my health wasn't up to it, I am apparently going to have to put in a new claim for Incapacity Benefit. And I need to get a sick note from my doctor. This is not going to end well...

I just don't know whether to feel upset or angry at the moment. All I do know is that, until I'm proved wrong, I'm certainly feeling discriminated against...
sareini: default (Default)
Ok. Here's how things are/happened as far as I know them.

- back in January I gave myself 'Gamer's Bicep' after I played CoH for way too long during the Double XP weekend. This was pretty painful and awkward for a few days, but after about a week it got better, aside from occasional twinges when I unexpectedly bashed it or tried to move something that was too heavy for me. Generally what would happen was that my right arm would go numb with pain for about five seconds, which is really nothing much except if you're trying to lift something heavy, in which case it might be a problem. I pretty much put it out of my mind and went on with things.

- in early February I got my job interview and assessment for the Royal Mail job. During both I was totally upfront about the fact that I suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, that it had been bad in the past but that now I was much improved and, in fact, I wouldn't be trying to go back to work if I wasn't fully capable of doing the job. I got the job, but afterwards I was slightly disturbed to learn that the woman who had done my assessment was not happy that Reed (the agency who were sourcing the jobs for Royal Mail) hadn't told her that I had CFS. She in fact apparently stated to the Reed guy that if she'd known before the assessment she wouldn't have bothered with me. This did mildly perturb me, but I could also see why she might have been concerned and so didn't really get too bothered.

- second day of the training we get told that, later in the week, we'll be doing a Health and Safety thing where we have to show that we know the correct way to pick up heavy boxes. This is a compulsary part of the training even though we're all going to be call centre drones/desk jockeys. I was mildly worried that I might cause an accident if I had to lift a very heavy box and my arm numbed up, so I approached my trainer and asked her how heavy the boxes weere going to be, explaining my situation. At no point did I say I couldn't do anything, just that I didn't want to cause a problem. She told me that it would be fine, the boxes would be empty and it was just a test on technique. I thought nothing more of it.

- Friday comes along and we do the 'lifting boxes' test. I have no problems, no-one has any problems, we all pass (or at least are told we pass). No-one has mentioned my RSI except once in passing.

- throughout the week we are repeatedly told that we're all doing fine and that no-one has any problems with us. We (and I) believe them, especially as one guy was 86ed pretty quickly when they realised he wasn't suitable. Everything seems to be going fine.

- today we start getting training with the various databases and programs used to input customer data and all that stuff. We all - including myself - get passwords for the systems. Again, no-one mentions anything about any problems.

- at about half six I get a call from Reed. The guy in charge of my 'employment' with RM has just received a call from them, and they don't want me back. The only reason they give is something about an RSI I suffer from. Even he admits that what he's been told is very vague and he doesn't understand what's going on. He apologises for everything and tells me that he'll look into this closer tomorrow, but in the meantime there's nothing I can do. I'm left wondering just what the fuck is going on.

I can't help but be deeply paranoid at this point. I've already been told that my CFS was a sticking point during the assessment, but that due to the Disability Discrimination Act they couldn't not accept me just because of me. But throughout this whole thing there've been other little things that have seemed... odd, somehow. The 'suit' fiasco, which became even more pronounced when I came in on the first day and discovered the other two women there in smart trousers, plain tops (not blouses) and cardigans. Not a full-on formal suit like I'd been told to wear. And now there's this - I'm dismissed for a 'condition' I declared a week ago, that isn't in any way major and isn't going to affect my job in any way shape or form, and which nobody has said anything about for the entire week they were aware of it.

Something just isn't right here. Unfortunately, that's not going to do me much good right now, as I'm still stuck without a job, and with no money and no benefits for the forseeable future (we pretty much cleaned out everything when we had to buy that dammed second suit, to the point where I was having to walk three or four miles home from the place because I didn't have the bus fare) as I don't know what's going to happen next, how long it'll take to reinstate my IB and even if I'll be able to go back on it (one of the rules says that they'll hold your IB for a year or so in case you find that you can't cut it at work, but it's not been me who's walked here and I'm not sure the 'health reasons' will fly.

So, aside from reading up on the Disability Discrimination Act, the various pages on the CAB's website pertaining to potential unfair dismissal and waiting for Reed to call me back tomorrow, I'm still pretty much at a loss as to what to do.

And yeah, I spent pretty much the entire evening crying over the whole situation.
sareini: default (Default)
I just got fired. Supposedly because I still have that slight RSI in my right arm that only causes me problems when I try to list heavy objects. I mentioned this at the very beginning of last week and heard nothing about it until 20 minutes ago, when the employment agency rang to tell me the news.

I have no idea what's going on, or what I'm supposed to do now.
sareini: default (The Pilgrimess)
Well, for me Horny Werewolf Day (Thank you, Warren Ellis), turned out to be something of a Fat and Ugly Day.

Everything was fine till the afternoon, when I had to go down to the employment office that's brokering for my new Royal Mail job to give bank details and finalise a few things. There, they guy takes the details, asks how everything went, checks that I know what time to turn up on Monday (8.30am, which means I'm going to have to get up no later than 7am and probably go to sleep straight after Supernatural)... and then re-emphasises the 'wear a suit' point.

...Yeah. Apparently it was an issue, just not a big one. Even though it wasn't an issue with everyone else I checked with, including the woman from Maatwork who'd been working with me, who saw what I'd been wearing and pronounced it perfectly suitable. Apparently I have to look like a bloody pallbearer to work on the phones at the Royal Mail.

So, big fucking problem. I have no suit, and no viable means of getting a suit as we don't really have the money. Oh, plenty of money is coming out way, but not till next week or so. Cue stressful 'conversation' with Nick over the subject, who eventually agrees to juggle a few things financially till next week so that I can get the money to get a suit from M&S (they're doing a deal at the moment where you can get a suit for £50).

Off to town again, about half-an-hour before store closing. And there we have more fun, as I have to find a jacket that fits me - we eventually settled on a size 20, although I'll be dammed if I'm going to be able to close it any time soon - a pair of trousers in a size 20, and a blouse. In a size 24.

In related news, I can now conclusively say that Robert Kilroy-Silk is talking out of his overly-bronzed arse when it comes to the subject of M&S changing room mirrors (although Kilroy-Silk often talks out of his arse, it's true. I just can't prove it so easily with the other times). I've got terrible pale skin that blotches way too easily, I look like a half-deflated Mitchelin Man and the entire left side of my upper chest looks like I've been attacked by a particularly clumsy killer with an icepick (Jelli likes to climb me in the morning to give 'kisses' and the like, and she refuses point-blank to let us trim her claws. Really. She bit Nick the one and only time he was brave enough to try). And I need a size 24 in a blouse before my oversized cleavage isn't in any danger of bursting the buttons and revealing itself to the nation.

So I'm feeling rather self-conscious at this point.

Things haven't really been helped by finding out that, if the employment office had told the woman at the Royal Mail who'd been doing the assessments that I'd been off work for four years due to disability, she wouldn't have taken me on. Oh, it was all well and good the guy at the office saying that, in retrospect, she's glad she didn't know because it turns out I was really good (despite my lack of a suit), but yeah. Way to lift my self-esteem (although thank Eris for the Disability Discrimination Act which meant that the guy couldn't tell her by law). The idea that I would have been binned before even getting through the assessment for something out of my control isn't exactly doing anything for my mood.

And now, if no-one minds, I'm going to go off to bed and fret about things which are (mostly) out of my control.
sareini: default (chaos...)
Yesterday was my second meeting with Samantha, the lady from Maatwork who's helping me with this possible going back to work thing.

One of the problems I'd admitted to in the first meeting was that I had no idea how to write a good CV, since I came from the time of Records of Achievement which aren't used any more (and I don't think were ever used...). So she said she would write a CV for me, and when I turned up yesterday she had done just that.

I barely recognise the person on the CV. It's like that test I had to do for the Incap, where by the end of it I sounded like it would just be kinder to take me out back and shoot me. Except this time it's got things like "excellent interpersonal skills", "excellent customer service skills" and "works well on own initiative" (ok, that one sounds accurate).

We also went though some potential jobs that we'd picked out over the week that could be suitable for me. Right from the start it became clear that the "permitted work" hours just weren't going to happen; hardly any businesses want to employ someone who can only work a maximum of 15 hours a week, we had to face the prospect that I'm going to have to go into part-time work if I want to do this. Which might not be too bad, provided the hours aren't too long (20 hours per week seems to be about the norm so far).

I ended up applying for several jobs; a job working for customer enquiries for BT, a job working for customer enquiries for a "prestigious telecommunications company" (if it turns out to be NTHell I may have to have a moral debate with myself...) and a job as a charity worker of sorts, where my duties would be to ring up businesses and try to persuade them to support the charity with donations. (The charity is this one, if anyone is interested). This latter job ended up with me having something of an inpromptu telephone interview, getting asked what I knew of the charity, what I would like to get out of a job and, because I mentioned that I was trying to return to work after being on IB, what my disability was (which is a no-no, because you're not supposed to ask what a person's disability is because it can be seen as discrimination). That was mildly scary, but I bullshitted my way through it, and the guy said he'd send me an application form which I was to fill in and send back with my CV, and then we'd see how it went from there.

To be honest, I'm a bit worried about the apparent cold-calling aspect of this job, because I tend to get all sorts of tongue-tied on the phone sometimes (thank gods it didn't happen yesterday) which I'm pretty sure would get worse if I was cold-calling. At least the call centre jobs (yes, I know, shut up, we need the money) would have me receiving calls, which wouldn't be as bad.

But overall, my experiences with Maatwork are proving to be much better than I might have expected, and certainly more helpful and productive than the "Access to Employment" route I was trying which fell through. We'll see how things continue to go...
sareini: default (Default)
...well, that wasn't particularly useful.

Had to walk up three flights of stairs (well, I didn't have to as there was a lift, but I wasn't too sure about it's stability) which left me pretty shattered by the time I got to the offices. Got there stupidly early too, because I'm so paranoid about being late for things that I'd rather turn up ridiculously early than even risk being late (really. Ask Nick or Kerry about how I get when we go to the cinema sometime.).

So my appointment starts. First thing I get told is that the IT course more than likely isn't for me as it'll be for the computer illiterate or the computer genius, but probably the former. So there's really little need for me to do a course which teaches me how to open and write an e-mail. Ok, I think, and then begin to resign myself to the fact that the only other course that looks suitable for me is the Customer Service (ie. Call Centre) course.

Except that the only work placements one can get for the Customer Service course are in shops. IE. standing around at tills and putting stock on shelves, that sort of thing. I'd be dead in three days if I tried that (I have problems standing for more than fifteen minutes without something to lean on), so that's out too.

So Access to Employment can't help me in my quest to see if I'm employable, and so it's just up to Maatwork now. Which isn't too bad, as Maatwork seem to be pretty on-the-ball about things. I admit I'm slightly disappointed about things as I was hoping to do some sort of course that could maybe kick-start me back into learning, but there are still plenty of other routes I can take.

I have discovered one flaw, though, in the system (at least in this area) - people really seem to believe not only that people trying to get back to work from being too disabled to work or from being out of work for a while are as thick as a sausage sandwich, and that they all want to do manual or industrial work. I can't imagine that I'm going to be the only one in the situation I'm in (although with my past record I may be rather optimistic there - only 1,000 people in the UK collect Guardian's Allowance, for example, and out of them only about 10% of those having it claimed for go on to university, and I was one of them), so it seems rather dumb to restrict courses for disabled people looking to go back to work to things like Bricklaying, Painting and Decorating and Engineering, to name three of their bigger courses.

Have to go through job searches this week as 'homework' for Maatwork, and see which ones might be suitable/interesting for me. This should be fun...
sareini: default (Number 31)
Had a couple of interesting days.

Yesterday I met a drunk woman who was trying to do the splits in the newsagent's for the amusement of the staff there (and who called me "lady" and laughed uproarously every time she did). I also had a most bizarre phone call, which went something like this:

My strange phone call... )

Today I had an appointment with a woman from a company called Maatwork wgo do work with people who are wanting to try to get back to work through the New Deal for Disabled People (I'm now on that, by the way. At least now I can see how it works from the inside rather than just bitching about it from the outside). She's going to be helping me with my CV (I don't have one, since when I was at school the big thing was 'Records of Achievement', which were supposed to be replacing CVs but have died a death in the years since), helping me look and apply for jobs which might be suitable for me and stuff like that. If I get a job, it'll likely start off as 'Permitted work' (under 16 hours a week and/or £86 per week) and go from there - although that could change. If I get anywhere and find I can do the work, that is.

Also this afternoon I got a call from the local college, about the Access to Employment schemes I was looking into last week. They think they can get me on an IT/Customer Service course, so I'm going in tomorrow for an appointment with them about that.

I admit, things are moving along a lot quicker than I had expected. Aside from a few snags, there really do seem to be a good few systems set up to help disabled people who want to try to get back into work but who aren't sure about how to go about it. The limited range of work placement courses is a bit of a problem, but I suspect that that's either down to a regional thing or just that the college can only put on a certain number of courses and so put on their most popular.

Of course, things could still all go horribly wrong. We'll see how tomorrow's appointment goes...

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