Thursday, 21 April 2011

What should we do with all the fat alcoholics?

According to David Cameron on the local election campaign trail today, most people don't think that is fair to pay Incapacity Benefit to people that are obese, on drugs, or alcoholic. According his quotes it is unfair to pay benefit to people that are not working due to circumstances which are their own fault

This attitude is typical of his various comments which are designed to play to the gallery or the populist vote regardless of whether the comment is valid or properly thought through. It almost seems that he will find things that a lot of people think, which appear to be superficially logical, but.when examined closely are ill thought out twaddle.

So why are these comments so lacking in compassion, empathy, and entirely unfeeling? Simply, people do not choose to be fat alcoholic drug takers. In most cases overeating, drinking or drug addiction are a reaction by a very unhappy individual to a life of self loathing. Comfort eating, or getting drunk or getting high on illegal drugs are acts of escapism. 

There may be some individuals who try recreational drugs for the feel good factor. Because they take drugs for kicks they usually do not become so dependent on them, simply because they do not need a kick to escape from an unhappy existence. So the individuals that choose drugs, drink or food are not those who are likely to become dependent on them such that they are unable to work and need incapacity benefit.

My child abuse clients typically are abused sexually by a male care worker in childhood, then take drugs in order to anaesthetise themselves from the constant bad memories of being abused, which take the form, often of daytime flashbacks. They stay hooked on usually heroin because it completely numbs all feeling, and places the individual in state of unfeeling, insulated from the mental effects of abuse. Life can become so difficult that attempts at suicide are not uncommon.

Inevitably the victims of abuse do not choose to become addicted. They arguably do not have a choice. Even if they attempt to go back to work, and many do so, their employment usually does not last long due to lack of trust, and arguments with anyone in a position of authority. After all the first authority figure they trusted abused them.

So why attack the most vulnerable members of society and invite people to pillory them? I suppose that because they are the oppressed who have been abused before they are an easy target, and less likely to fight back.

So what does Cameron with his half baked thinking consider that we ought to do with these dreadful individuals? I suppose that if they don't deserve benefit we ought to starve them to death. At least the overweight would shed a few pounds before the worst happened to them. Alcoholics do not eat anyway. If one took away their benefit, I suppose we would be encouraging them to turn to crime instead. Then one would have to put them in prison or mental health care, which costs even more than benefit.

Yes.....I am beginning to see Mr Cameron's logic.....

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Stress relief is so important in the world of an abuse lawyer

Don't ask me who said it but what goes in must come out eventually. So it is with stress. Abuse in childhood is usually a private event that is sold to the victim as "our little secret". What happens if the child tells? Well the abuser says that, they will go to prison or an approved school, or never see their parents again, and even if they do say something, no one will believe them. So what happens? All the guilty thought, and bad feelings of guilt get turned inwards. They eat into the soul and burn it away from the inside causing all sorts of mental health problems.

Males particularly have problems showing their feelings. Even in the enlightened new millennium it is not cool for a man to cry. Mates don't share their emotions. They are more likely to make up top 10 favourite films over many pints of beer. After 10 they may get a bit maudling, but the chances of a confessional about how an older male "fiddled with them at camp in the trees" is highly unlikely. So what happens next? Well, when the victim next has a flashback, he won't tell his mate, but will probably have twelve pints followed by a few whiskeys, and then maybe some Class A controlled drugs. The habit then spirals out of control until it reaches severe depression, anxiety and mental breakdown, if not thoughts of suicide.

If the abuse victim is lucky, some event in later life will trigger them into a proper confessional with someone who can do something about it. In women that event may be child birth. For the male victims of care home abuse, it is frequently a friendly policeman knocking on the door to ask them about their abusive past instead of arresting them for yet another crime.

Sometimes my firm, Abney Garsden McDonald solicitors are the first person they have ever told in 30 to 50 years. That sometimes brings a lump to your throat. It is an immense privilege, and at the same time a huge responsibility. So what happens when someone offloads a lifetime of misery and abuse on an experienced child abuse lawyer? All the client's negative emotions are transferred to us, and all our positive emotions are transferred to them. They feel better and we feel worse. So what do we so? There is a right way and a wrong way.

The wrong way is to pretend it doesn't bother you, because you are just too cool and macho for emotions to affect you, because they do, and we are all human beings. A grown man more commonly used to serious violent crime, in floods of tears in front of will affect the hardest of hearts.

The right way is to get rid of all that negative energy. But how?

1. Do some physical activity that takes the heart rate over 120 beats a minute. I do spinning at the gym once a week. Some people like jogging. I hate it. Just a vigorous power walk will do the trick.

2. Immerse yourself in plant life. That is why a good walk in the countryside always makes you feel better. Green leafy plants or flowers are a natural absorber of negative energy. It is no coincidence that hospital rooms or actors dressing rooms are full of flowers. They absorb the negative energy that the patient or performer is full of.

3. Tell someone as soon as possible how you feel, and how upsetting what you have just heard was. This is the theory of what goes in must come out. The degree of internal harm can be measured by the period of time between upsetting event and disclosure.

So what has inspired me to write this piece? I am on holiday for a weeks skiing in the French Alps. What a perfect way to de-stress. Vigorous exercise, acres of leafy trees, lots of healing sleep and a sauna in the chalet. Heaven on earth. I never want to come home. But there again all play and no work never helped Jack pay for his daughter's private education did it?