I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice. — Scope | Disability forum
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I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice.

JustJem
JustJem Community member Posts: 46 Courageous
Hello, I'm rather nervous about posting this but I don't really have anyone i can really talk to about this.

I have autism and complex mental health issues, hence why I'm in receipt of benefits.. 

I'm 28 years old, and have only ever been able to sustain volunteer roles and two paid jobs with permitted work, which only lasted one month and two months at best.

Feeling really invisible and stuck within society due to my situation, being in paid employment or even voluntary roles is a big thing for me anyway due to my anxiety and autism.. I end up quitting.

Really wish that I could be like everyone else, and have a job, a routine and not feel like a drain on society.

Am I alone in this?
Thanks.

Comments

  • anisty
    anisty Community member Posts: 354 Pioneering
    No, you are certainly not alone and please don't feel you are a drain on society. You are rightfully awarded that money to support you in a society where you are disadvantaged in competing alongside non-disabled people for employment and that is really tough!

    I am not disabled myself but mum to a 24 yr old autistic son with a learning difficulty. He is in supported voluntary work and also in receipt of benefits.

    The way i am looking at this is that it's an opportunity for him to try things out and see what he can do.


    Just to give one example though of where he was unfairly disadvantaged was when he went for an interview for a job in the mail room at the council. He could have done that.

    But he did not interview well because he struggles with communication. It was a guaranteed interview with the council - because he has a disability but they made no concession whatsoever for him.

    Infuriatingly, they did not select anyone for the role and put it out to re-interview (previous applicants need not apply)


    They never even offered him a trial.


    Because many employers are not supporting those with autism/mental health/learning difficulties well enough - that is why you end up quitting.


    Don't blame yourself! Keep trying out different things (maybe on very limited hours) and never feel that you are any drain on society.

    Claim your benefits with a clear conscience and keep the pressure off yourself.
  • Starlingbird
    Starlingbird Community member Posts: 169 Pioneering
    anisty said:
    No, you are certainly not alone and please don't feel you are a drain on society. You are rightfully awarded that money to support you in a society where you are disadvantaged in competing alongside non-disabled people for employment and that is really tough!

    I am not disabled myself but mum to a 24 yr old autistic son with a learning difficulty. He is in supported voluntary work and also in receipt of benefits.

    The way i am looking at this is that it's an opportunity for him to try things out and see what he can do.


    Just to give one example though of where he was unfairly disadvantaged was when he went for an interview for a job in the mail room at the council. He could have done that.

    But he did not interview well because he struggles with communication. It was a guaranteed interview with the council - because he has a disability but they made no concession whatsoever for him.

    Infuriatingly, they did not select anyone for the role and put it out to re-interview (previous applicants need not apply)


    They never even offered him a trial.


    Because many employers are not supporting those with autism/mental health/learning difficulties well enough - that is why you end up quitting.


    Don't blame yourself! Keep trying out different things (maybe on very limited hours) and never feel that you are any drain on society.

    Claim your benefits with a clear conscience and keep the pressure off yourself.
    I fully agree with this, @anisty.

    @justjem, maybe it is more about trying to find something that suits you better. Less co-workers? A generally calmer environment? Sometimes we need time and experience before we suss out our needs, and we can only do that by finding out what does and doesn't suit us by trial and error. If something doesn't suit you, please don't be hard on yourself. You are not a drain on society, you are just someone who needs support.
  • bg844
    bg844 Community member Posts: 3,887 Disability Gamechanger
    @anisty is 100% correct, you are awarded that money because you struggle with day to day life. I too wonder the same as you with life problems and sometimes it really can get you down. Keep your head held high and try not to worry about other people’s uneducated and unnecessary opinions.

    I guarantee if they had to swap lives for one day, they couldn’t wait to be back.
  • Louisa_88
    Louisa_88 Community Volunteer Adviser Posts: 3 Listener
    Hi @JustJem.

    Just wanted to reply to this to say I am wishing you the best. How are you feeling now?

    Unfortunately, your situation is pretty common in autistic people, and disabled people more broadly. The statistics regarding unemployment in the disabled community (especially autism) is quite alarming. It is really sad as the vast majority of people are entirely able to work and contribute, but just need more adjustments which many employers are simply not educated in giving.

    I also can relate to you a lot. I am a couple of years older than you but I've also only really been able to sustain three "proper" jobs in addition to some volunteer roles and I haven't been able to do them for long. My sensory overwhelm and/or executive functioning is usually what makes it hard for me in the long-term.

    It is a really horrible situation, to feel like you are not able to contribute even though you know that you can and you would like to. Thankfully there are small changes within society and the move for disability rights is definitely increasing. There are organisations I've been involved with in the past such as Genius Within, Lexxic or Employment Autism (among others) that are working to help fix this discrimination, as there is a growing awareness among employers that disabled people are just as likely to be good at working so long as there is some flexibility and adjustments, and actually the increase in diversity makes the organisation more effective. So it feels like slow progress, but it is definitely moving forward towards a more inclusive society.

    Anyway, sorry for rambling, JustJem. I just wanted to express that while your situation is unfortunately common, it is not your fault and it is not hopeless. You are certainly not alone in this, nor are you a drain on society - benefits exist exactly for that reason, though I know that logically knowing that doesn't always help. It is hard, to be in a society built for neurotypical and able-bodied people when you are not one (or both).

    Anyway, I am wishing you all the best. Take care of yourself.
    Community Volunteer Adviser with professional knowledge of neurodiversity.
  • Autism_at_40
    Autism_at_40 Community member Posts: 723 Pioneering
    @JustJem
    I can completely relate to this.
    I am 40, got diagnosed in 2021, so I tried to work, I have had 20 jobs because I get so stressed out in them that I end up having to leave.
    Last year, I told myself that I just wouldn't do that any more.  Since then, I have had a lot of other health issues that have prevented me from going into work.
    I have decided that I will only work if I feel I can do it and I won't put my health before anything else in future.  
    Thankfully, I received the enhanced rate of PIP and don't pay any council tax, or rent, and am on LCW with job centre so currently I don't feel under pressure to get a job.

    I have spent a lot of time around people (particularly last year living with my sister), who seem to think that it's normal and ok to put yourself on the back burner and go to work.  My sister was always telling me that I should be an adult and go get a job.  It's not helpful.

    I have literally just moved into my own place, completely responsible for everything myself and have pushed myself so much to get it all sorted that I am currently feeling like I am in burnout/shutdown.  I refuse to feel bad for looking after myself in this time where all i want to do is sleep.

    Don't feel like you are a drain on society, it's not your 'fault' and like I think other people have said (sorry, didn't have the energy to fully read other people's responses), this is what the money is there for, to help people in need.

    I think the only reason people claiming benefits get a bad rap is because of those that are doing it when they don't actually need to.

    I hope you feel a bit better and try not to be so hard on yourself, take care of yourself first.

Brightness

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