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I’ve lived a reclusive life for over 20 years and been a loner from as far back as I can remember. I’ve tried to do all the things that we’re all supposed to do, school, job, meet someone, get somewhere to live, settle down, have kids, grow old, die and I’ve been crap at all of it, though, to be honest, the last two are a work in progress.

I don’t do guilt any more since I discovered how useless it is apart from making me feel bad, but I do have one abiding regret which is inescapable, letting my daughter down and betraying her when I abruptly brought my marriage to an end. I am not going to say much about it other than she was the innocent victim of adult circumstances. It’s enough to say Philip Larkin was right, ‘They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had and add some extra, just for you’. It is just true, and there’s no point making excuses for it or beating myself up, it happens. Nothing makes it right and it is pointless to call it wrong, unless it is done maliciously and with deliberate cruelty in mind.

It is hard (perhaps impossible) to forgive deliberate cruelty and yet it is a fact of life, from snubs and insults to the brutal horror of war. Wilful cruelty lies at the heart of much, if not most, campaigning, my own included, which brings me to my point here.

2008 was a watershed moment when the bankers crashed the global economy and have been richly rewarded for doing so ever since, at our expense. In Britain it led to another watershed moment in 2010 when the coalition government under David Cameron launched its attack on the lives of ordinary people, wilfully, brutally and with malice aforethought. But that wasn’t the worst of it, it was intolerable but the kicker was that they enjoyed it, it pleased them. No one knows the number of lives lost since, although they probably have a good idea, but they’re not letting on and they simply don’t care.

This is last gasp capitalism in which the bankers caused a crisis, if not deliberately, then wilfully through greed, which has been brutally exploited ever since. Since Thatcher destroyed Britain’s industrial base we now have an excess workforce which, despite all Cameron’s bogus claims about job creation and making work pay, sees millions of people doing bullshit jobs for bullshit pay. How they made this bullshit work was in the transformation of our system of social security into a secret penal system that has been depriving people of he means of survival and killing people off ever since. People are supposed to be pathetically grateful for a zero hours contract and an hours work a week, because that’s better than the treatment dished out by the DWP and Jobcentre Plus. I think the ‘Plus’ relates to the added anguish and torment which now comes as standard.

I joined an ever growing number of people who decided speak out and act to expose and challenge what was going on. For four and a half years I wrote a letter a day to number 10. I believe it is vitally important to challenge the official narrative which is just propaganda and based on deception and lies. When I began writing in 2012 it was not clear to me what their plans were, what emerged over the ensuing years was shocking. It wasn’t just a war on the poor, it was a demolition derby, a neoliberal feast of the state, with its eyes on the tax pot, public services, state assets and people’s lives, a massive transfer of wealth upwards to the already exceedingly rich; a new imperialism based on the economic conquest of the nation’s wealth for private gain. It was the same colonial mindset turned inwards, devouring the nation for profit.

I burned out after four and a half years. Nothing had changed for the better politically, but opposition to this obscenity had grown along with understanding.

For me, personally, the burning question was and is, ‘what am I going to do now?’ And therein lies a problem.

I have made a working peace with reclusiveness and social phobia, problems that seem intractable, but lately that peace has been shattered, they have now become a source of acute distress and discontent in which my home has changed from being a haven to a prison. I began to realise that I had to do something, but what? I found myself thinking round in circles, unable to remain in, nor yet finding any way to move out in a circular war of fear and frustration. So acute is the distress that I found myself just before Christmas 2016 wanting and hoping to die.

That is not a solution, that would be the end and I am not ready to give up on life, which I care passionately and deeply about, enough that I am not going to be driven to death either by those who are so abusing life, nor by my own fears. Which means I need help. It’s time for change and that means I must change and that means stepping out into the great big scary unknown.

The greatest effective changes in my life have been brought about through person centred therapy. With the aid of amazing therapists I have walked to the precipice of my fears and stepped out to discover that the abyss I feared was in reality, solid ground, but daring to go there means engaging with terror in a way that I do not believe can be or should be attempted alone, certainly not in my circumstances.

Tomorrow, 23 January 2017, I am taking my 65 year old bones to an initial meeting with a local therapist. If we find we are both comfortable working together then I will begin what I know will be a very scary and yet exciting journey of discovery. If either of us is not comfortable, then I shall seek another. Whatever happens now, I want to make the journey into the unknown, I am ready for change, enough that tears are falling down my face in the yearning for it.

At every level, I feel in my bones, it is time for change and whatever else follows, change begins in me.

KOG. 22 January 2017

https://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/resources/benefit-sanctions-britains-secret-penal-system

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