Sunday, 11 February 2018

CHAIRMAN, DAVE TAWS: HOW HIS LIFE AND LIVING ON STATE BENEFITS HAS SPURRED ON HIS NEED TO HELP OTHERS



My childhood mostly consisted of lots of physical and mental abuse, so by the time I was in my early twenties, I was struggling with life, and how to cope with all of the obstacles being thrown at me.

I then spent the next fifteen years trying to fit in with people, I had absolutely nothing in common with; and, whose personalities contributed to my current mental state.

Moving on, in my mid-thirties, by some miracle, I found myself in a relationship, and that’s when the problems started because I had built so many systems to protect myself, it was near impossible feel affection; I had blocked so much of ‘me’ out that I felt I was undeserving of affection. When you have been told you’re worthless for over a quarter of your life, you start to believe it, and then it’s just a matter of criticising yourself and punishing yourself if anything remotely pleasant happens.  
So there I was in a relationship without understanding the rule ‘it takes two.’ We were together for nine years and the one thing my partner taught me is that I am not some hideous monster underserving of love and affection. But old habits die hard; and our relationship ended.

I have now come to a stage in my life where I associate with people whose company I enjoy but after years of been unemployed and suffering financially and mentally through state benefits and politics, I found myself slipping back into old patterns. The last few years have been a real roller coaster ride, with sanctions, food banks, tribunals, endless job rejections, becoming a fully qualified teacher, ditching old associates, and making new friends.

On the 31st of December, I was sat in Arden House waiting for my name to be called out, and you could not find a more depressing place to be on New Year’s Eve. The one thing I have always hated is feeling like I am not in control of my life, and I feel like state benefits do this. As though in any minute your whole life could be turned upside down.


It is this fear of the unknown that makes people unwell. I am not a religious man but by sheer luck, karma or whatever you want to call it, I passed my assessment, and the shock did not end there(!) because they put me into the support ESA group. Even Karen (the lady who came with me) was gobsmacked.

So I am looking at the next two years with great joy and guilt; struggling with having pleasant things happening to me

It will take a while to get used to being on benefits but I shall try to use the time productively and not be too hard on myself. I remember what my counsellor said:
“What does David want?”

I want to be happy and help others.

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