Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Personal Poverty Notes

Why I've Been Absent From Blogging

There are times I feel like my blogging is just like farting in the wind - no one notices and it makes no difference. This has been one of those times. The news is almost always bad: cutbacks, unhappiness, etc.

I've been distracted by my illness: chronic depression and an anxiety disorder. My prescribed pharmaceuticals no longer work and I am given to long periods of depression and almost suffocating sadness while I am awake. I have nightmares and wake seemingly more tired than when I went to sleep. I am acutely aware of the increasing pain of arthritis and that I can no longer do the things I used to. I have aged beyond my years and my physical health is not good. The health system sucks: I go to a family clinic with a rotating crew of learning ("baby") doctors who can't seem to help me with the most basic health issues. Yet - I am soldiering on.

Poverty is pummeling me too. For the first time in a long time, I've had to visit the food bank, where I saw lots more discouraged and depressed people. It seems public donations are significantly down, probably because everyone else is having a harder time and food costs appear to be soaring. The food they provide is mostly chocolates and weird sauces, and a few other things that will last about 2 days at most. When I was on the board at Daily Bread, I costed out what a single person gets each visit: $13-17 worth of 'cast-off- foods. Yet - at least there is some minimal help out there.

The other side of poverty is isolation = not having the funds to attend or get to events in the city. Yet, I am on ODSP (disability) which pays at the high end of social assistance (about $12,000/year) and I really wonder how people on general welfare (Ontario Works) could get by (under $7,000/year). Our society really punishes the poor. The more isolated I become, the more I want to stay isolated.

.... I didn't mean for this post to be so negative, but it is what it is...

The one thought I wanted to communicate is that taking the packed TTC buses to the food bank this morning, I saw not a single happy face. Everyone was glum and looking like they didn't want to be where they were. Likely from the snazzy dressers, they were probably going off to slave at some job to make three, four or five times what I live on.; but they didn't look any happier.

Maybe all of Toronto is suffering from chronic depression. Maybe all this is a cycle of self punishment of society when they vote to elect the hardnosed conservatives like Rob Ford to have power over them.