*Please be aware that this post mentions things which some people might find triggering or upsetting.*
I have bipolar affective disorder. I self-harm when stressed and have attempted to commit suicide in the past. My Dissability Living Allowance enables me to pay my bills and buy healthy food. (I am unable to cook properly due to a knife phobia.) DLA allows me to get taxi's to my appointments when I am not in a fit state to take public transportation. It also enables me to afford things prescribed by my psychiatrist that are not available on the NHS, including expensive dietary supplements, and tai chi classes. I believe that these all provide significant benefits in terms of reducing the amount of time spent in dangerously deep depression.
Before I received my DLA award I was extremely stressed. I struggled to pay my bills. I sat alone in a freezing cold flat because I could not afford to run the central heating. I spent a lot of time in a confused state, which happens when my mental health deteriorates. I regularly missed doctors appointments. I ate the cheapest junk food I could buy, or sometimes didn't eat at all. I once starved myself for three weeks. Often I didn't leave the flat for several weeks. I self-harmed every couple days, sometimes badly enough to require stitches, and once badly enough to require plastic surgery. It was also during this period that I tried to commit suicide.
All of that changed when I received my DLA award. It made a drastic impact on my stress levels and mental health. I now self-harm infrequently and not badly enough to require stitches. I have not tried to commit suicide since receiving DLA. I have not starved myself. While I still have serious issues regarding my mental health, the risk of harm has reduced immensely due to my DLA award. I believe it may even have saved my life.
Originally posted as part of the One Month Before Heartbreak Campaign Jan, 2011