"I hadn't a clue what to do then and that was a really bad experience."
I had no income coming in and I'm dependent on the state. I found it extremely embarrassing to have to be on income support and some of the benefits... especially when I began to get better. I then suffered terrible guilt that I had been designated DLA (Disability Living Allowance) for life and things like that.
Being on income support was something that had a terrible stigma attached to it in my mind... You know, I just thought I'm one of those people who sits and wastes his time, whereas I should be out there getting a job because that is what you're programmed to do. But the social services sorted all that out. During the period of diagnosis, basically I was told that I mustn't work full time; that I could only work part-time. I'd just landed a really prestigious job too, but they didn't want me part time ... and so the money that was coming in was going to be from the state.
Particularly in those early days, Social Services got everything for you that was available... all those sort of incapacity benefits, anything you qualified for... they worked out your finances and they looked at the whole thing and said that your going to be entitled to this and I'll fill out the form for you and all those... it was so daunting... I just couldn't cope with it. I just blocked it out, and just had to trust that they were doing something for my good...
Then when the Department of Work and Pensions decided to review people who were on DLA, that panicked a lot of people—myself included! I talked about it with the consultant and he said, "Well you're going to be 60 next year and you're going be the last one they want to save money on, so don't worry." But in actual fact, I was one of the first ones. I filled out two forms and suddenly it was all taken away from me. And the knock-on effect of that was that I lost the income support as well. Also I had no other form of income coming in... and I hadn't a clue what to do then and that was a really bad experience.