Sandra Gives The Game Away: Jobcentres Given Sheriff’s Stars For Hitting Benefit Sanction Targets

the void

sanction-sheriffSandra Lambert, manager of 149 Jobcentres and self-styled lifestyle guru, has spent much of the last few days frantically blocking people on twitter who have been taking the piss out of the cringemaking motivational advice she inflicts on the poor bastards who work for her.

She wasn’t fast enough however to hide the tweet in which she awarded a Texas style sherriff’s badge to Jobcentres in the midlands for upholding their DMA decision rate – as spotted by @refuted.  A DMA means a referral to a Jobcentre ‘decision maker’ to process a benefit sanction.  It is the second time this month a DWP manager has been exposed praising their staff for hitting benefit sanction targets – targets that Iain Duncan Smith’s department have repeatedly claimed do not exist.

It is not just that the DWP are lying which is so contempible, all government departments lie after all.  It…

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By MentalHealthProfessional_CombatingFibromyalgia Posted in Fibro

Brain Abnormalities Discovered in Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Fighting Fibromyalgia

cfs brain The red, blue, and green spheres correspond to size and locations of increased cortical thickness in the right occipital, precentral, and middle temporal regions, respectively. The green arrows also point to the middle temporal region of increased thickness. Credit: Radiological Society of North America


A new study by Michael Zeineh of the Stanford University School of Medicine now proves that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is not hypochondria or our imagination, it is a real disease. Zeineh and his team discovered brain abnormalities in CFS patients that will hopefully help doctors to better treat this debilitating disease. There is a lot of cross over between CFS and fibromyalgia, as anyone who suffers from one or both of these devastating diseases will tell you. Patients with one of these diseases (or both) battle chronic disease, chronic pain, micro-inflammation, environmental sensitivities (such as light, smells, foods, weather, etc.) and much more every…

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By MentalHealthProfessional_CombatingFibromyalgia Posted in Fibro

Schizophrenia and then Alzheimer’s

Jill's Experiences with Mental Health , Stigma, Alzheimer's Disease, Grief & Grieving & serenade2seniors

Although schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s are very different, the

While living through schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s, I had to learn that it was not what happened to me that counted, but, how I dealt with each one of them.

i learned that my anger at schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s were destroying me, so, i learned to do something about it. There were times when I felt as if my heart had turned to stone and it was a long time before I gained the ability to laugh, to feel even the tiniest emotion or to be open to loving again.

I had to learn that although pain is inevitable, extended suffering is optional. As there was no way that I could change the  cards that my family had been dealt, I had to learn to change the way I played each hand.

All this took a long time, but eventually, I  learned to…

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By MentalHealthProfessional_CombatingFibromyalgia Posted in Fibro

When your head doesn’t live with you anymore | #fibro #MEcfs #spoonie

I_think_I_mightI’ve had a shit of a week so far….struggling to get up in the mornings, cotton wool clogging my head, forgetting everything, headaches, eye pain, lymphedema pain, poor concentration etc.  For us Fibro sufferers symptoms often come in clusters, no rhyme or reason, it just kicks off.  The unpredictable nature of it is extremely frustrating.  It can be quiet at work and you’re on a level, then it can be busy at work and it kicks off and vice versa.  I start to fear planning things because I just don’t know how I’m going to be.  My memory systems that I use, while generally great for Fibro become difficult because you forget how you’ve been using them in the first place.

Having different thoughts, reminders and ideas in folders becomes impossible to manage because you can’t remember where you filed things in the first place and you can’t remember the names of things to search for the things you filed.  So you end up looking in everything and trying to focus on names which look nothing like the ones you typed when your head was clear.

Reading is hard unless it’s double spaced lines and font size 14!  Phone numbers that I’ve written down I read/dial back to front and reading from laptop/pc monitors just exacerbates my headache and sore eyes (even with increasing the font size).  People’s names in diaries for meetings mean nothing because I can’t remember who they are, what they look like and whether I’ve already met them.  So I trawl through notes and diaries to try to familiarise myself with where I’m at.   It’s all hard work, takes 200% of your energy and makes you feel that what you’re doing is really not worthwhile anymore.   I’m a perfectionist and I like to do things well and I admit I do get myself in a tiz when I don’t always need to.  In some ways being a perfectionist makes managing Fibro worse because I can’t let go of little mistakes and I guess that’s what I need to be doing.  I also can’t take my time at work because I’m in a job that’s very busy so I do end up making mistakes.

That’s all I can write for now……’s taken enough of my energy to write this.

Night x

By MentalHealthProfessional_CombatingFibromyalgia Posted in Fibro

Alt + Del + Ctrl

I feel like I’ve emerged from some bottomless pit filled with thick impenetrable fog. It intruded at a time when work was so busy that my frustration was evident. Generally I don’t engage in whatever mind games that Fibro likes to throw at me. What made it worse was the immense fatigue that came with it.

I manage my condition around my work as I take responsibility for working my hours flexibly, working from home, using Access to Work etc. I’m not obligated to justify it, but I am aware that many people don’t get it. These management techniques get me through periods like this, that’s what they are there for. What I did have to do though is cancel a few work related activities which didn’t do me any favours for my self-esteem. It makes you doubt your abilities, it makes you wonder what the future is going to be like. It brings about challenges for me while setting up my business and working at the same time. Everything takes that bit longer, networking events are usually evenings or need to be fitted in elsewhere around work. I sometimes wonder what I’m doing, but know that working for myself being my ultimate goal is going to benefit my health in the long run.

In many respects I never envisaged I’d be in the position I’m in any way, so having come this far is an achievement in itself. Having been institutionalised in the psychiatric system in my teens and twenties I never thought I’d be able to function at all. I feel that this is what has given me the resilience to battle Fibro. One condition nearly beat me, so I’m damned if another is going to do the same. For the two weeks or so in this horrible fog negativity surrounded me. The zip pulling ever tighter, but perseverance prevailed and the zip broke and clarity broke through. It’ll repeat itself again soon, it’s never the same experience twice and as many other people know who have Fibro there are all the other symptoms to contend with. It would probably take me another hour to write about them all, so I’ll leave it at that, but you get the jist below!

At the moment my fog lights are off……..

All things Fibro

Clause 99, Catch 22 and Penning is telling lies.

People are too sick, unwell, bullied and treated like shit to even fight to the tribunal stage. Do they have any idea how hard it is to even get to that stage and how much of a battle it takes. Disgusting.

Politics and Insights

The Government are claiming victory because of a fall in the number of benefit tribunal hearings. Today, the Express boasts:
A HUGE drop in the number of people appealing against benefit decisions at tribunal hearings was yesterday hailed as a victory for the Government’s reforms.”
Actually, it’s a victory for the Government’s tyranny.
There were 32,546 tribunal cases between January and March this year, compared to 155,000 in the same period of 2013.
“Official figures” reveal an 89 per cent fall in people contesting the decisions to cut, deny or restrict Employment Support Allowance (ESA), long-term sickness and disability benefits.
Tribunals contesting Jobseeker’s Allowance decisions also fell 70 per cent this year.
Disability minister Mike Penning said: “Fewer appeals going to tribunal is welcome. Getting more decisions right first time avoids the need for protracted tribunal appeals.”
Under the Department for Work and Pensions reforms officials look…

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By MentalHealthProfessional_CombatingFibromyalgia Posted in Fibro


Excellent news!


Just got word from Twitter that the American Association of Suicidology just approved, unanimously, a new division for suicide attempt survivors and people with lived experiences. This is so exciting, I just had to blog about it. People who have attempted or who have seriously thought about suicide now have a voice. I am so excited and proud to be a member and contributor of their blog and organization!!

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By MentalHealthProfessional_CombatingFibromyalgia Posted in Fibro

How doctors respond to chronic pain

A Better NHS

6a00d8341bfb1653ef0192aace21ed970d-500wiFrida Kahlo, The Broken Column, 1944

That [Kahlo] became a world legend is in part due to the fact that … under the new world order, the sharing of pain is one of the essential preconditions for a redefining of dignity and hope. John Berger

 Please don’t come back!

My forehead thumped down on my desk after a ten minute appointment that had stretched out to over half an hour, I felt completely exhausted and still I had another 17 patients to see and I was now running 25 minutes late. It wasn’t just that I felt exhausted, I felt useless and demoralized and more than that, I felt angry, really pissed off.

I had spent the last 30 minutes listening to Sharon describe her pains, which shifted from the somatic – how they feel, to despair – how she feels, and anger – how she feels about me…

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By MentalHealthProfessional_CombatingFibromyalgia Posted in Fibro

Independent Living, Psychiatric System Survivors and ‘Mad Matters’

A ‘must’ read…..

Authors of our lives

By Peter Beresford

As a mental health service user/survivor, I have always valued the idea and philosophy of independent living developed by the disabled people’s movement. But I have also regretted that it has largely passed the survivor movement by because this has left us vulnerable and exposed. Let me explain.

The philosophy of independent living has gained international significance and had international impact. Building on the social model of disability it has challenged traditional free market views that all of us should ‘stand on our own two feet’ as isolated individuals.  Instead it has highlighted that we are all interdependent and for anyone to be independent, particularly as a disabled person, then they need the support that makes it possible for them to live on as equal terms as possible as non-disabled people. They also need equal access to the mainstream world through the removal of disabling barriers.

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By MentalHealthProfessional_CombatingFibromyalgia Posted in Fibro

A Long Time in the Making…

A very open first blog; paramedic, stress and in need of care.

The Life and Times of an Ordinary Paramedic

Hi there, and welcome to my Blog. Thanks for taking the time to check it out. First off, I guess I’d better say that everything contained in my blog, represents my opinions only. Names and story details might have been changed to maintain some sort of privacy.

There, now that that’s out of the way, I can tell you what the purpose of this blog is. It is to get a glimpse in the life of an Emergency Responder in Southern Ontario. A Paramedic to be exact. But the things I have gone through can be applied to anyone in the Emergency Services field. Police. Firefighters. Nurses and Dr.’s in the ER. It is not a place where I will be sharing my gory stories, or grim details of calls I have done. The purpose of this particular blog is to show the effects that these calls have on us…

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By MentalHealthProfessional_CombatingFibromyalgia Posted in Fibro

#flareup #spoonie #ChronicPain #Fibro #Fibromyalgia And so it goes on…..

You just know it don’t you, when life is busy, there’s not a chance to breathe and you’re not managing to give yourself a moments attention. Fibro decides when it’s going to give you a break, but it also decides to whack you on the head completely unexpectedly.  I always know when I’m nearing my Annual Leave from work.  Fibro seems to predict and wants to wind down before I’m actually ready to.  As always, the last few weeks before I go are very hectic for me, so if FlareUp Fibro would just give me a bit of a break that would be nice!

Flare Up’s remind you of the worst that Fibro has to throw at you.  My eyeballs feel like huge rusted ball bearings with eyelids turned inside out.  Thump, thump, thump of pulsing headaches which radiate from my neck, into my shoulders and once again the notion of wanting to do away with my left arm rise above.  The worst part is when the brain and mouth are not connected and don’t talk to each other resulting in lost language, thought and concentration  It’s crazy to think that the body/mind can be so fu*ked up with mixed messages, neurons and referred pain.  No rhyme or reason, but that’s Fibro for you.

I have been fortunate to have got involved in project called Work4Me


The Base Project supports self-employment using on-line tools.  I use a huge amount of technology, apps and widgets to help me do what I do anyway.  Everything I use on-line very much makes life easier for me, from reminders, diary dates, notebooks, combined email accounts, finance, business, training and specific apps that help with all aspect of my working life.  As my ultimate goal is to be based at home, working in a much healthier way, with a routine I can control, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for.   

So, it’s times like this that remind me what my ultimate goal is and how much I need to get on get myself ready for it. I’m not doing myself any favours carrying on the way I am but I know I have to take it one step at a time. 


Researchers find main source of chronic fibromyalgia pain in blood vessels

The “get more sleep and exercise regularly.” is the worst advice you could ever give to someone with Fibro. Will be great to see what becomes of this.

Fighting Fibromyalgia

I just came across this article and had to share it immediately! Finally! Some real hope for a cure for this awful, invisible disease! Finally, some real proof that this is not all in our heads that surely will convince everyone in the medical community what we’ve all be shouting at them for ages. This made my week and it’s only Monday! Things can only go better from here!


Fibromyalgia Mystery Finally Solved!

Researchers Find Main Source of Pain in Blood Vessels

Researchers have found the main source of pain in Fibromyalgia patients, and contrary to what many believe, it does not stem from the brain. The findings mark the end of a decades-old mystery about the disease, which many doctors believed was conjured in patients’ imaginations. The mystery of Fibromyalgia has left millions of sufferers searching for hope in pain medications. Up until recently, many physicians thought that…

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By MentalHealthProfessional_CombatingFibromyalgia Posted in Fibro

Carers and Stress and Depression

Such an important issue…………………

Carers Speaking Out

We are told that the CEO s of the Big Banks get paid the big money as they have to make the big decisions. We we know from experience that they didn’t always get them right.

This isn’t a rant about the bankers it’s about the tough decisions we as carers make every day.  The stress of looking after someone 24/7 figures show that Carers are twice as likely to suffer from Depression. I myself suffer from Clinical  Depression I have to take Anti Depressants and still have days when I am very down. I find these days are more likely to happen when I feel I am getting nowhere particularly in relation to  Claire s health and battling the powers that be to get help, where is am labelled a bully for speaking up for my wife or indeed on days where I know that Claire’s pain is bad…

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By MentalHealthProfessional_CombatingFibromyalgia Posted in Fibro

Fibro + Alpha-Stim @AlphaStimEurope

Alpha StimAfter much searching, reading and analysing, I decided at the beginning of January to purchase an Alpha-Stim device.  I had heard many people saying that a lot of the research was not in large enough studies for it to be conclusive.  But, for me, there was one important influence that made me decide to give it a go.  In fact there were really a few….the first one was that I was not going to purchase it for a solution to Fibromyalgia as there isn’t one.  Secondly I’ve spent a small fortune on complimentary treatments and scans and for me over time this potentially could be something that I could fall back on should I not have the added fortune of a decent income.

Ok, so the site does look like a marketing persuasion, the device looks gimmicky and there are some sceptics out there.  What I will say is that I have already felt the benefit from using this device and I know I probably won’t ever gain 100% relief.  What it is giving me is something I can use on a daily basis, something that’s portable, easy to use and does have some very positive feedback and recommendations.

As I’ve said in previous posts, I’m not a ‘acceptance’ person, I’m not the Chronic Pain Services’ model patient where I vow to manage and tolerate my condition.  That just won’t happen, I have too much drive and ambition to settle for that. I don’t actually believe in pacing, I don’t mentally think it does you any favours.  So, this is my best friend at the moment and that’s ok 🙂

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but things have been very busy and life is toddling along even if I do still struggle to get up in the morning.  2013 seems to be flying by at a faster rate of knots than I can keep up with and at times I do wish it would slow down!

Till next time….



By MentalHealthProfessional_CombatingFibromyalgia Posted in Fibro