Saturday, 26 May 2018

What a filing system looks like when you have memory difficulties

I moved into this flat in 2010, during a period when I was dubiously placed under Social Services care. I had no clue how to decorate, organise bill payments, cook, shop for food, apply for benefits or even do my job. Throughout the following 12 months I had meetings with Supported Employment Advisors, a Social Worker, her manager, a Housing Support Officer and had a few difficult appointments with my GP.

After all of this, I went back into neurospychology in mid 2011, and I focussed on career, organising the flat, cooking and social life. Most of this did help to move me forward, and to learn how to do all of the things that I, at the time, couldn't. The learning process produced, along with my own development, mountains of paperwork. It seemed the more chaotic my life was, the more mail I received. I was filling a lever-arch file every month.

Once my life started to settle, and I applied for paperless billing, the mail seemed to reduce. There wasn't as much NHS correspondence, or other extraneous updates, as I wasn't involved with as many support professionals. The files didn't fill anywhere near as quickly, and I didn't have to keep going to Ryman's to buy another. I had a quick flip through the files some years ago and recycled a fair chunk of the paperwork, but I wasn't risking it with the vast majority.

In recent years, though, things have changed again. DLA ending at the end of 2016 and the subsequent PIP application process produced swathes of information, including doctors notes (that I had to source myself) and various application forms for the different stages of applying.

You'd think that, at this point, most government departments and other services would be happy to email me instead of spewing my hallway with mail every morning, but it's 2018 and I'm still organising piles of paperwork a few times a week. A lot of this should not be destroyed. As a result, the cupboard I was storing all of this has very nearly collapsed. The shelf it was stored on has bent beyond repair, so I've moved everything to the floor of my wardrobe. There's a little more space and it's always easily accessible, as opposed to drowning under a pile of ironing. The floor of the cupboard isn't going to fall through, despite it being Ikea and the sliding doors steadily (and inexplicably) bending as the years go by.

I'm expecting more stacks of paper over the next 12 months. HMRC are still not bending on the £416 they think I owe them, I'm on a wait list for therapy and I'm receiving some support from Get Oldham Working. Question is, what happens when the new storage place is full...?

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