The Dreaded Envelope
The dreaded white envelope came through the post a couple of days ago. An ESA50 that I need to fill in and send back within a month. I had a feeling I'd be reassessed soon, but was hoping they would at least wait until my birthday and Christmas were out of the way first. Wishful thinking I guess! When I saw what it was, I became so panicky and tearful. I've been through it all before, and have horrible memories of the Work Capability Assessment and the Work Programme.
This is such a bad time for me to be reassessed. I don't know how I'm going to cope with it to be honest. If you've been following my vlogs, then you'll know that I'm having to talk about some very difficult things in the past, in therapy. This means that I'm struggling as it is. The pressure of being scrutinized and judged for daring to be too ill to work, and the possibility that I could either have my disabilities completely dismissed & found "fit for work" or I will be put in the work related activity group and possibly forced onto the work programme (or something similar), is likely to push me over the edge. I'm going to need a lot of support from my therapist and GP.
I hate the way the ESA letters are worded. They're covered in bold writing; telling you that you may be sanctioned/found fit for work if you don't do this or that. I struggle enough with letters like that, but I live with my parents, so they'd know if I was going into crisis. For a vulnerable person living on their own, the wording of those letters could have such a detrimental impact on their mental health. There is the focus on work being "good for your health" as well; implying that everyone should work, no matter how ill or disabled they are. So right from the start, you feel as if you will be found fit for work regardless.
I'm hoping I can get evidence from my physio, therapist/mental health nurse, and GP; to back up my claim. I know in some areas, GPs won't do supporting letters for ESA claims however. I've not been in this area very long, so have only been registered with this GP for less than a year. I do hope I can get some sort of evidence though.
I've been in more pain, much more exhausted, and more dizzy than usual this past week or so. I think the damper weather must be making me feel worse. I'm due to start my period soon as well, and find that I flare up more easily around this time. I've found it particularly frustrating this time round however. I'm finally having a type of therapy that might actually help, and physiotherapy with a physio who has one of my conditions. I had to cancel both of those appointments this week. I was getting motion sickness, bad dizziness, overheating and getting exhausted after simple things (such as brushing my teeth). I don't want to end up cancelling too many appointments, or I will be discharged. I need that extra support!
All I can do, I guess, is pace myself, rest when I need to (i.e. before I'm completely exhausted), and look after myself better. I wish I could control my illnesses, but I've tried and the best I can do is manage and work round them. Willpower does not cure chronic illnesses.