Family Magazine

ESA Needs To Change Before It Claims More Lives

By Therealsupermum @TheRealSupermum

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Another night and I am unable to sleep, my mind is in overdrive despite my medication being doubled in strength last week. At my last appointment with my shrink, he made a note that I need to claim DLA.

I explained I had claimed it it last year, was refused so accepted that. I did not appeal. Did not have any fight left too. I took their word for it, that I was not entitled to it.

I am lost

I am afraid

The last benefit I claimed was ESA and this was sheer hell.

In April the benefit changes will hit me hard. I am too scared to claim another benefit.

The experience of claiming ESA has left its emotional scaring. I was made to feel like a fraud, a criminal.

I was ill, very ill. Yet each month had to ensure I supplied a doctors sick note to the job centre, yes many of them were lost in the post, many times my benefit was stopped. I had to claim a crisis loan at least 3 times during this process. I had 5 young children and was pregnant at this time.

As my health deteriorated so did my inner fight, I gave up. My husband was left fighting my corner and trying to make sure sick notes were handed in on time. Then I was called in for an assessment. I could not go alone. Some service arranged for a taxi to take me and return me.

I wasn’t right that day, looking back I should never have been there. I saw people, people spoke to me yet I was alone in the waiting room. The poor receptionist handed me a glass of water., shaking that much I spilled most of it.

I was kept waiting for 45 minutes before being asked to go into a room with a women. I froze, the sheer terror was written across my face.

I envisioned smashing her face off her keyboard

She annoyed me, frustrated me and I fought desperately to sit still. I wanted to run, I was terrified.

I was putting this innocent women in danger because I was being forced to sit in a room with her. The room was small, the walls were closing in and when she spoke I heard it twice, like an echo that followed every word she said.

I laughed. I was quite manic and I danced in my seat, she did ask at one point if I was OK. Clearly not.

I was asked a series of questions, I can’t remember what they were, but they held no meaning to me.

“Could I bath alone” was one question I clearly remember, as it was around this time I was suffering badly with being able to take a bath, my daughter aged 11 even knew this and came and sat in the bathroom with me.

Did I want to tell this women I was afraid to bath alone because I saw him, heard him, creeping towards me, placing his hand against my face and pushing me under the water?

I had yet to speak to my shrink about it, how could I tell this strange women who scared me?

I answered her questions and darted as soon as the door was open. I was filled with fear and dread.

Weeks later I was deemed perfectly fit for work.

I with the help and recommendations of the mental health team appealed.

I felt like a criminal and a fraud having to wait 9 months for a date. It arrived. A friend came with me. Someone from CAB came too.

I shook. I cried. I sat in that room across a huge solid oak table as three people listened to the CAB advisor speak on my behalf. My mental health team had provided evidence, this was ignored throughout the process.

I won the appeal but there was no relief. I was too badly damaged. This process had made my illness worse.

Each day I live in fear of another assessment. I am on some work programme but have yet to receive an appointment, the last was in October but my CPN phoned and cancelled it, in his views I was not able to attend at that time. I have yet to hear from them.

If I do not attend when asked I will be sanctioned, loose a % of my benefit money. This scares me as some days I do not leave the confides of my own home. I am a danger to others when placed in a situation that frightens me. I loose all sense of reality at times and I react.

Looking back what annoys me most is that women who first interviewed me had no idea about mental health. The questions themselves had nothing to do with mental health. She deemed me fit for work at a time I didn’t even know what my own name was. That’s scary.

I don’t want to speak with a complete stranger about my past or my illness. ESA needs to change before it claims any more lives. I don’t want to claim DLA as I am afraid.

 ESA Needs To Change Before It Claims More Lives

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