Years ago I applied for benefits. There was a raft of questions one of which was regarding how easy it is for you to socialise. I put I find socialising hard. After filling out this questionnaire I got the social security and haven’t thought much about it since.
Anyway 8 years later it is now. I have only one friend - a 74 year old retired pensioner. He goes to the pub directly opposite my house. I meet him there some afternoons and drink lemonade.
I find it hard to enjoy myself because since I put on the benefits form I find it hard to socialise I strongly believe I am being fraudulent setting foot in the pub.
I only go to the pub because it is literally the only public place in my tiny village. We have no shop, cafe or community centre - literally only a pub.
I go in the minute it opens at midday because 99% of the time me and my friend are garunteed to be the only people there. I can’t handle it when its busy. Say going in on a lively Saturday night is an impossibility.
I enjoy spending time with my friend. He is the only real friend I have.
But I get so worried I am going to be reported to the government for being seen in a pub. People assume, I believe, that I am in getting drunk and wasting tax payers money when in reality I buy the cheapest soft drink on the menu and stretch it out for an hour.
This worry that the benefits people have me under surveillance is SO strong in me. Take today for example - there was an old guy parked across the street and I was certain he had hidden cameras in his licence plate. When I came out this thought was so strong I pretended to drop my hat so I could bend down to examine the car closely.
This isn’t healthy.
So why don’t I just stop going in the pub you ask!?
Well my psychiatrist leans on me to go out. He said if I didn’t make efforts to leave the house he would stop my community support workers because the resources would be more deserved elsewhere. He thinks I am not trying to improve my situation and he said patients that don’t engage with treatment lose their social security.
So I am a hopeless situation.
On one hand if I don’t comply with my doctors orders they will stop my social security. On the other if I do what my doctor says I will be fraudulent and go to jail.
In complete honesty it seems my only two choices are homelessness or jail.