Friday, 16 September 2016

Friday, I'm in love... with pizza. The lesser known Cure song.

Well, I didn't get to the gym. I dressed for the occasion after peeling myself off the bed, and that's as far as I got. Fail.

Feeling quite flat, unmotivated, numb, and yet still a bit tearful. I'm also tired, so tired.

Just waiting on two professionals out of three, to respond with letters of evidence to help overturn the ESA decision made by the DWP. I spend my life waiting... for what, I'm not always sure, but I do. Mind you, I always expect the worse, so am trying to prepare myself for going to tribunal to appeal. A less appealing scenario, but I guess like so many others battling the DWP, the chances are high.

In cases like this I do wonder why time, money, and effort is wasted to refute what medical persons have already presented. If both doctors and professional counsellors find a person to be too ill to work, or the process of returning to work having a detrimental affect on that person, then why do they clearly dispute that and mark that same person fit for work?

Not only does it highlight the flaws in this very crazy system, it also spotlights the ineptness of the assessment, the assessors, and to some extent the decision makers. True, decision makers are swayed by the generalised, summary report – but there's no heed of the ongoing sick note certificates from the doctors, or any recommendations by the trained counsellors. The people who know the claimant the best.

The lack of detail in the report omitted key elements of my illness, that even though I'm 'able' on the few good days I have, it can still cause me distress and anxiety. • The report omitted that this anxiety results in physical symptoms which include a combination of: palpitations, chest pains, flushes, headaches, diarrhoea, nausea. • The report omitted that on bad days, I'm not as capable: I can't travel or go out, I can't/won't talk to 'anyone', I can't dress, I don't wash, the last thing I want to do is socialise, I can't cope with change, I can't keep to a routine, I don't answer the phone. • It also omitted was the fact that I cried through the first part of the interview, and was described as behaving and looking normal. • The report omitted the fact that I did need some prompting in the interview, as I didn't understand some of the questions that I was being raced through. • The report omitted the fact that my history does include suicidal thoughts, with an incident in my teenage years. • The report failed to pick up on the fact that 'change' at work in April/May 2015 created stress and displacement - triggering this depression episode, where I suffered continual emotional breakdowns at work, lengthy periods off sick, and ultimately leaving the full time job in April 2016 due to ill health.

• The report has no mention or clue of how many bad days I might have in seven. Typically to date, life permitting, I'm able to get about 3 good days in a week, it all depends on what happens day to day. This week from and including Monday, I've had 4 bad days so far – this includes an emotional breakdown trying to cope with the news that I failed the ESA assessment, resulting in thoughts of self harm, and making a call to the Samaritans at 1.30am.

If I remember anything else the report failed to include – I shall let you know...

One can only surmise that the huge lack of detail in the report is due to the disinterested assessor failed to gather the correct, accurate, or any real relevant information. Her main focus was on the computer screen, rushing through the obligatory questions, not wanting elaboration, not interacting, no interest or care for the whole picture.

The rest of the week/end won't be good or bad, but spent numb, merely hibernating in my flat, keeping myself safe from any further turmoil. This is not only isolating, it is lonely, and generally not great for my overall health and well being – mentally or physically. And the only support that I'll have over the weekend is either the Samaritans, 999, or my local A&E. I have no friends or family nearby, and my parents fail to comprehend mental health issues. During these times I do spend a lot of time on the computer, as this is a connection, in my control, to the outside world.

Depression is often tied to intelligent people, who tend to over think, which leads to worry and stress. Rinse, repeat, slide down one level. Alongside complex mixes of genes, background history, environment, oh so many other factors that I can't think of right now, or am too daft to know of. What gets forgotten is the individual personality of that person, and their level of capabilitiness (yes, made up word) before they're taken over by this all consuming concept of depression. While your senses and mind are overloaded with the unruly beast, the core of you remains the same, so even while suffering sometimes you're still able to articulate, laugh, joke – wash, clean, travel, socialise, etc.

And the longer you've suffered from the illness the more masterful you are in disguising the bad, and present a picture of normality – the mask of okayness. Its an easier route, when someone asks how you are to reply with fine, or plodding on. Especially if you want to hang on to the few friends you have left, after cutting yourself off during bad days. How often are we shocked to learn that behind a tragic death of a celeb, there lies a history of depression, tucked away in the darkness?

It takes great energy, effort, and know-how to leave the place of safety, and appear 'normal'. So often when you return home, you're exhausted. It is a good day, to be able to muster this strength, motivation, and capability to venture out. To be brave.

Today is not one of those days. Tomorrow may be though, as I'm running out of pizza. Please send pizza.

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