“And the score from Glasgow is… nil points.”

Yesterday I arrived home from a very difficult time away to find a Department for Work and Pensions decision letter following the painful and humiliating Atos Work Capability Assessment (WCA) I underwent in July.

Before I say any more, let’s just review how I’ve been during summer 2012. In the first half July, I was very anxious, and found myself battling for the first time with what I expect my Consultant will call “paranoid delusions” (although I am referring to them “untrue beliefs” for now). Throughout that month, I suffered with digestive problems that made me anxious about leaving the house. Initially I had one lot of problems (extremely slow digestion) caused by the antipsychotics I take, then subsequently opposite issue, caused by the meds prescribed to address the first problem. I continued to find it difficult to get up before about 10am due to the sedating effects of my medication.

By the start of August I was hypomanic, but as mid-August and our family holiday approached, my partner noticed that I was exercising increasingly poor decision-making and moving into mania. I increased my medication yet again, and tried to avoid any activities that might feed the high. However, once on holiday my mood shifted from elation into dysphoric (miserable, panicky, agitated) mania. There were many days when I felt trapped in my room, unable to face even my own children, let alone leave the villa. During my time away I frequently felt suicidal, and my partner had to confiscate my meds and monitor me frequently to ensure I didn’t act on my feelings.

With all that going on, it would be fair to say that over this summer I have had less, not more, faith in arriving at a period of recovery/remission. My symptoms have been so pronounced that is difficult for me to imagine how I could ever work for an employer again. Actually, I am technically am still employed. It’s just that on the advice of an Occupational Health Consultant that I am profoundly disabled by my condition, my employer is in the process of dissolving my contract. In my current state, I am no use to them.

Despite this, the Department for Work and Pensions has assessed me as being fit for work. Not only that, but after my WCA, an appointment through which I sobbed as I described how severely my life is limited by my condition, I scored zero points out of the 15 necessary to remain on Employment and Support Allowance (sickness benefit). Despite submitting a lengthy letter detailing how my condition and my meds affect me, letters from my Consultant showing ever-increasing levels of medication, and a medical certificate recording me as unfit for work until at least the end of September, my benefit has been stopped.

Here’s why.

All points are awarded (or not) based on the findings of the Atos HCP (Healthcare Professional) during the WCA, which the Decision Maker combines with any reports and the Employment and Support 50 (ESA50) form I filled out back when I first claimed. The ESA50, which I completed with the help of an advocate, explained how bipolar disorder affects my life and that the effects vary according to whether I am well, depressed, elated or experiencing dysphoric mania. Points are awarded across 7 “functional areas” which supposedly assess your ability to function in the world and therefore your ability to work.

Communicating with people and getting around safely

“Ms W,” says the decision letter, “advises being able to communicate with people and getting around safely varies. She advises when she is sedated she can’t find the word and when she is manic she speaks too fast and has pressure of speech. She advises she has tunnel vision when she is anxious. At the WCA, Ms W advised the HCP (healthcare professional) that she had no problems with vision or speech. I therefore awarded nil points for these descriptors.”

So if I can’t see to travel safely or communicate properly on any other day, but manage to attend WCA as a one off because my partner was able to take time off work to drive me there and support me, I’m fit for work. Well, I look forward to my partner’s employer releasing him to take me to work and sit with me on every bad day to make sure I can get to and remain at the office.

Awareness of hazard or danger and initiating actions

The Decision Maker notes my ESA50 explanation that I am not always aware of everyday hazards due to my sedating medication, that when I am manic I can do things without thinking, and that when I am depressed I can barely get out of bed. However, because I said at WCA that I was able to wash and dress unaided that week, had my own bank account and could meet a friend for coffee most weeks, and because in the HCP’s opinion my mental state examination “was within normal limits”, I was given nil points. What I find particularly disturbing is that I sobbed throughout most of the assessment, and was visibly anxious and distressed. This is evidently what Atos considers being in a “normal” mental state.

Either the HCP did not record a lot of information I supplied at the WCA, or the Decision Maker has ignored it. For example, I explicitly stated that when I am manic, M has to take over some of my financial affairs, and that if I make an appointment with a friend for a cup of coffee, a) it has to be someone who knows me and my condition well, and will understand if I cancel at very short notice, and b) it has to be somewhere very local to me, preferably my own street. I also stated that my medication is so sedating that I need to spend around 11 hours in bed each night (just as a point of interest, my current employer considers a 2 hours commute each way within London to be reasonable, so supposing I could leave the house by 11am, I should arrive at work about 1pm. Totally acceptable, right?). It seems that in the basis of me saying I can sometimes meet a friend for coffee in my own street around lunchtime, and can just about wash and dress myself, I have been judged as fit for a full day’s work, every day.

Coping with change and going out

The assessor notes I stated on the ESA50 that I have to “have routine to try and manage her condition… she advises she cannot do anything spontaneously and works to a very strict timetable and gets very anxious if it has to change. She advises that she gets far too anxious to go out alone. At the WCA, she advised the HCP that she walks to her friend for coffee once a week and can arrange and attend any appointments without difficulty and can deal with letters and bills without difficulty.”

This bit is breathtakingly mendacious. For a start, I stated I could that I could sometimes meet a friend for coffee if planned. Apparently the coffee I may or may not have according to my condition is BOTH spontaneous and planned, and is evidence both that I can keep appointments and cope with change to plans at the same time.

Here’s what I put in my letter about official letters and bills:

“My job involved me reading and processing large amounts of complex paperwork. I cannot do this anymore, whether due to the bipolar or the medication is unclear, but the effect is the same regardless. In order to fill in forms (e.g. DLA claim form) or understand letters from the DWP I now have to go to a Disability Rights Centre.”

The Decision Maker’s reasons continue, “She advised she spends time with her children at weekends. The HCP advised the mental examination was within normal limits.” This as I was choking and sobbing describing my inability to care for my children full time, causing the HCP to say at the end of the interview that she hoped my condition improved for me, especially due to the effect on my children. Presumably to score any points I have to be incapable of seeing my own children at all or have them in Care.

Coping with social situations and behaving appropriately

I have been awarded zero points here because:

-          I see my children at weekends

-          I can use a standard and mobile phone

-          I walk to my friend’s for coffee once a week (wow, a lot seems to be hanging on this coffee, the one I don’t always have).

-          I said on the ESA50 that I sometimes cannot cope with groups of people and am over-sensitive to noise, and can get panicky or irritable with people. However, the HCP advised that I “coped well during the interview”, so this information was negated. I coped well? I was distressed and traumatised. It took me significant time after we left for me to begin to calm down.  And we were three people in a quiet room, a totally different scenario to working with the public, attending a meeting or being in an office environment.

Throughout the WCA and Decision Making process, there has been a complete lack of understanding of the way the bipolar and other fluctuating mental health problems affect the very many people disabled by such conditions. I stressed very, very clearly to the HCP that it was not merely the symptoms of my bipolar (the hypomania, the dysphoric mania, the depression and the anxiety states) and the side effects of my meds that disable me, but the fluctuating and completely unpredictable nature of my condition. As I put in my accompanying letter, “although I am learning to manage my condition better through self-help and medication, my moods and symptoms remain unstable and I never known what each week will bring. Some symptoms I experience are completely new to me, so I lack the skills to deal with them.”

So, it seems that on the basis of being dressed and present at WCA, despite having to be brought there by a carer and crying continuously through most of the appointment, and on the basis of potentially meeting someone for coffee later that week, I am well enough to work. This means I am no longer eligible for ESA. The DWP suggests that I claim Jobseekers Allowance now – except you can only claim JSA if you are “available for work” and I’m not because, oh yeah, I am already employed but my employer is in the process of ending my contract they do not believe that will be well enough to return to work in the foreseeable future. There is also the small matter of the on-going medical certificates which state that I am not at present in a fit state to work.

So, I guess I could wait until my current contract is wrapped up and start looking for another job. Of course an employer would have to be happy with me working just a few hours a day and being slow and stupid in the mornings, and with me not being able to commit to actually turning up from one week to the next, and variably crying or bouncing around manically in the office. But I’m sure there are hundreds of employers out there who would be cool with that, especially in a recession, right?

Or I can appeal. The Government’s own figures show that that of the large number of appellants against WCA decisions, 40% are successful. For me, an appeal is not even about the money aspect; I am only entitled to ESA until October anyway, as I am on the “contribution-based” from which only lasts a year (because that’s obviously completely adequate for supporting people with life-long conditions). It’s about a system that refuses to tell its subjects who is assessing them and whether the HCPs or Decision Makers have any training in mental health issues. It’s about a system that requires a horribly distressed person to share the intimate details of how her condition disables her, and takes mere attendance as evidence that she is fit for work.

Damn straight I’ll be appealing.

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About purplepersuasion

30 something service user, activist, writer and mother living with bipolar disorder. Proud winner of the Mark Hanson Prize for Digital Media at the Mind Media Awards #VMGMindAwards 2013. Winner of the World in Mentalists Mood Disorder blog 2012. Regular guest blogger for the International Bipolar Foundation http://www.internationalbipolarfoundation.org/ Expert by Experience working with Mind training department. Working on The Incoming Tide, a bipolar memoir. Find me on Twitter @BipolarBlogger or at my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/BipolarBlogger
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46 Responses to “And the score from Glasgow is… nil points.”

  1. Sigh. Hope all goes well with the appeal!

    • geoff ward says:

      I was turned down with nil points on 14th september with bi polar plus spina bifida and spastic legs . Worked for 36yrs and can no longer . Had enough of life anyway ….Atos are paid £1500 for every scrounger they take off the books . HCP that assessed me had one leg and half a left hand . I new where it was going from then on . He even said ” If Stephen Hawkins can work , why can’t you ? “. …..You’re on you’re own now folks . Good luck to you all . Geoff

      • Hi Geoff, how awful :( This is on a par with the lady on the recent Panorama programme who was asked, after disclosing several overdose attempts, “Why aren’t you dead yet?”

  2. tigtigs says:

    Oh, I do feel so much for you, these people have no idea what they are doing………..but worse than that they are making some very irresponsible decisions and making so many people’s lives a misery. I have had severe depression for about 12 years and haven’t worked for the last 10. Every time I have to be assessed I just get worse and descend into a spiral of anxiety and deeper depression. I sent my form in in June……….and I’m still waiting. Every day I sigh with relief when that brown envelope doesn’t come through the door. Keep strong ( easier said then done) , get help if poss and appeal, you have a good chance of winning. Jenny

  3. Twaddle, complete twaddle. Stay strong, keep fighting, don’t despair. Just send them a polite letter asking them whether they actually bothered to listen and record what you told them. ;)

  4. i have my medical next friday! I know they are going to declare me fit for work and the stress of it has caused my IBS to go through the roof let alone the depression. Secretly I am hoping that on the way to the medical I have an IBS accident so I can show them the stains that the stress of all this has caused. Of course this wont matter to them because I can use my hands to show them my underwear!

  5. karlbarrett says:

    Hi there, love your blog and hang on in there! You must appeal it and not give them anything remotely positive to hang onto. My partner has distal spinal muscular athrophy and lost a claim for ESA but we appealed and won, he was simply too honest. The reasons they have changed to ESA is a government cost cutting exercise! I wish you the very best of luck with this. Just be very assertive on the appeal. Lots of best wishes Karl

    • Thanks Karl, that is it exactly, I am appealing not because the money I could receive is a great sum, but because I *will not* let this decision be seen as acceptable. Appreciate your good wishes, C x

      • karlbarrett says:

        Good on you. Lots of love karl x

        (ps I have depression and anxiety relapse and remissions ever since I can remember and have dyspraxia and occasional mania! Mood cycles…)

  6. So many aspects of this make it a cruel shambles. ATOS are obviously wilfully blind in their assessments, but also rely on such a clunky box-ticking apparatus that any nuance, complexity or real-world applicability has no chance of surviving.

    So glad you’re appealing, but to sorry you have to go through with it. Thoughts very much with you.

  7. Pingback: “And the score from Glasgow is… nil points” ~ Purple Persuasion Blog ~ Mental Health Blog by a Service-User with Bipolar Disorder | Black Triangle Campaign

  8. Vonny says:

    Hi – given your symptoms you should also be appealing to ask to be placed in the support group and then your money will continue – there is a thing called regulation 35 which means you can qualify for the support group if the pressure of being found capable of work related activity (attending interviews at the job centre, being placed on the ‘work programme’ and even asked to do work experience) would make your mental or physical health worse. The stress of these activities is likely to impact on your mental health. Ask your adviser who helped you with your forms about this and remember to ask the appeal Tribunal to consider this. Always attend your appeal in person.

    Good Luck – I hope this helps

    • Hi Vonny, I plan to appeal but as I stated my entitlement to ESA runs out anyway next month because I can only get Contribution Based. It’s really the principle not the money. Thanks for all your advice, I know *what* do (actually my job involved helping clients claim benefits and appeal decisions) it’s the fact that *doing it* is so distressing and difficult for me now. If I didn’t feel so strongly that I will NOT allow this WCA and decision to seem OK, I really wouldn’t bother. But I am too outraged not to add my voice to the chorus of appeals.

      • Vonny says:

        Hi – just to make it clear the time limiting of contribution based esa only applies if put in wrag if you get in the support group at your appeal you will start being paid again. Anyone who currently has a condition where they could get worse in the future and has been placed in wrag but at a future date could get into the support group and doesn’t qualify for income related esa should continue with their NI credits only claim (although this does mean continuing to have to attend medicals) and as long as still in the same period of limited capability for work can be paid their contribution based esa again once placed in the support group. Only wrag is time limited. Sorry i’m not being awkward – just a welfare rights adviser who trains people on the rules for benefits.
        I completly understand how distressing appeals are because i represent clients at them.
        keep fighting

  9. HHUK says:

    I’ve followed the work capability assessments a lot in the news and through experience of working for a charity that has had dealings with them. The figure in the press is 3/4 of applicants get rejected on the first time but 3/4 of those are successful in appeal if they bother to appeal after such an ordeal.

    It’s quite evident that the assessors aren’t trained in mental health. Bi Polar being one that stands out as cropping up a lot as the whole “average day” thing really can’t be applied due to the unpredictability of it all. There’s been cases of people with extreme anxiety, down to the point of agoraphobia being told they’re functioning fine socially because they chat with their friends online and can occasionally use a mobile phone.

    I’m really not a fan of how these assessments play out. If someone is off work because they are not fit to work at their current job, they shouldn’t be fit to work anywhere else.

    I know the system is there to weed out the people who are able to work but people suffering with mental health problems really get lost in the pack, especially as they may be too anxious or unmotivated to mount an appeal and set people straight.

    A simple tick box measurement system will not do. It would be much better written up like a risk assessment containing symptoms and why these symptoms stop this person being able to work effectively. Medication side effects included as nobody in their right mind would go to work sedated, you’d never be able to give 100% for the majority of the working day.

    I really hope your appeal puts them in their place.

    • Thanks a lot :) TBH I don’t think the descriptors are fit for ANYONE, but those of us with a fluctuating condition have it particularly bad. Bipolar is a case in point, but so is schizophrenia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, any auto-immune disorder where the disabled person experiences “flares” in their symptoms… probably the vast majority of sick and disabled people have conditions which do not have a “typical day”. I made sure to outline three scenarios for each question: 1) an “OK”, but still sedated and still with med-related digestive problems, day; 2) a hypo/manic day; 3) a day suffering acute anxiety and/or depression. ONLY answer 1 to each question has been recorded, and the fact that I included 2 and 3 in my ESA50 evidence has been disregarded in each case.

  10. Pingback: Purple Persuasion’s Blog: “And The Score From Glasgow is..Nil Points”. « downwithallthat

  11. bigleyma says:

    Hi, I linked to your post on my blog. Similarities with my own assessment, though the mental health was a secondary issue for me. But, yes, ‘Coped well with interview’ was used in my report, despite my obvious distress, which was not recorded at all. Before I started blogging about the WCA I saw a lot of references to this kind of comment, also the ‘absence of rocking, trembling etc’ trope they use frequently. I don’t know whether they used that one on you.

    Best of luck with your appeal. It seems advisable to have someone advocate for you, if simply to underscore how ‘helpless’ you are in fending for yourself. I think that’s how it works anyhow, since it seems to carry much more weight than any evidence /argument you produce on your own behalf.
    Take care :)

    • Haha, I just saw that and left a comment on your blog – we must have crossed! Appeal paperwork starts tomorrow, just to add my voice to the people wh are standing up and saying, no, your assessment and decision making are NOT fit for purpose! Thanks :)

  12. rowantree says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I am in the same position as you….The whole process has exhausted me, exacerbated all my BP symptoms and is horrific, humiliating and inhumane..Best of luck with your appeal.

  13. Roger Gibbons says:

    Hello, I follow you on twitter and have read your blog.. I read your posts and you describe almost to the letter experiences that my wife goes through. She has just filled in a DLA claim form and I read your post with horror. It all sounds very daunting. This is the first time she has ever claimed and she was very anxious filling it in. It sounds like this won’t be very straight forward..

    • Hi Roger, just to clarify this isn’t about DLA at all, but for Employment and Employment Allowance which is known as ESA and is a completely different benefit. Although I found providing personal information for the DLA claim distressing (I blogged about it here: http://purplepersuasion.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/intimate-details-claiming-disability-living-allowance/) the claim itself was straightforward and I was awarded both components of DLA straight away. ESA is completely different, DLA can be awarded whether you are in work or not, whereas everyone that applies for ESA must be unfit to work and have medical certificates to prove it. If your wife is only claiming DLA, she will not have to go through any of this for now (although in the future DLA is being phased out and replaced with “Personal Independence Payments” or PIPs). So please don’t worry right now unless she is claiming ESA!

      • Roger Gibbons says:

        Thank you for your reply.. *breath a sigh of relief*. Fingers crossed for a straight forward process!

      • It may be, however, that your wife is also entitled to ESA if she cannot work. It would be a good idea to meet with a benefits advisor at your local Citizen’s Advice or disability resource centre to check she’s not missing out on anything she’s entitled to.

  14. xXBrendaXx says:

    Hi, Charlotte. I`ve been reading your blog for some time now and just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear that things are so tough for you at the moment. To come home from such a horrible time away and find out that your ESA had been refused, must have been devastating. I hope things start to stabilise for you soon. I live in Scotland and was meant to have my ATOS assessment today. They rang my Mum, 20 mins before my appt, to tell me that they were running 90 mins late and they could reschedule it to another date. By that time, I was outside their door! Like yourself, no contact was made with my GP and when I queried this, I was told that the forms had been sent to her but were returned without having been filled in. I asked who they had been sent to and it`s quite obvious that my ESA50 hadn`t been looked at because they were addressed to a GP that I had 10 years ago and now doesn`t even work in that Practice! This is my first claim for ESA because I`ve been getting IB for the last 15 years. I have Avoidant Personality Disorder, Depression and Bulimia. I failed my medical 2 years ago but 6 months after that, with help from Welfare Rights, it was awarded to me again. I`m pretty sure that I`m going to fail it again and can only hope that the end result will be the same as the last time. I wish this for you too. Will you represent yourself at the tribunal or will someone from Welfare Rights or Advocacy act on your behalf? Take care. xXBrendaXx

    • Hi Brenda, thanks so much for your lovely supportive comment. My first task is to write out, at length and very clearly, why I think the decision is wrong. Someone I know did this in great detail and avoided even having to go to a tribunal. If I do have to do I will take M, my partner, who is a senior mental health professional and was at the WCA so can confirm that some of the decision is based on things I never said! Between us, we have experience of attending Magistrates’ and Crown Courts, Parole Board hearings, Mental Health Tribunals and Employment Tribunals so he knows how to speak to people and get our points across even if I am in no shape to do so. Good luck with your next assessment, I guess we are all coming to see them as pretty much an inevitable fail, it’s just ridiculous to make sick people jump through the hoop anyway and to waste all that money on appeals and tribunals. All the best, C xxx

  15. Anne Pearse says:

    I discovered you by accident on Twitter a few days ago and started reading your blog. I found your description of the Atos assessment extremely distressing. It adds to the weight of evidence of how “unfit for purpose ” (to use the fashionable jargon ) it is. It’s not only that the staff are so obviously untrained and unsuitable but because it is computer based it cannot differentiate between yes, no and sometimes or maybe. In your case ” the computer says no ” and that’s that. You are so obviously not well enough to hold down a job that if the decision was not so tragic you would have to laugh it off. People have described the process as Kafkaess but we need an even stronger adjective.

    I send you my best and warmest wishes and hope it will eventually work out for you. Rage at the world but don’t give up.

    Anne

  16. In sickness.... says:

    My wife was put on disability benefit many years ago after being prescribed industrial amounts of valium as a teenager. Of course it was politically convenient at that time to massage the unemployment figures by transferring people onto the benefit. The same doctors who arranged the medication also arranged her benefit and she was left to stew, until her first assessment about seven years ago just after our marriage, where she had to describe her depression, anxiety and associated physical problems. The appointment turned into a farce due to her confusion and emotional state. A new appointment had to be made. I wrote a letter of complaint about the assessment and asked her doctor to write to them describing the profoundly negative effect the appointments are having on her. She was then excused from attending. She has now been called in for a WCA as part of the transition to ESA. I had pointed out on the questionnaire how the process is aggravating her condition and I would rather she be excused. Silly me, I know! I am now trying in vain to speak with someone at the office which deals with her benefit to inform them that I am not prepared to allow my wife to suffer the distressing game of assessment and appeal and want her benefit stopped. I earn just enough, working 160 miles from home and sleeping in my car to keep costs down, to keep our heads above water and do without it, but I cannot get anyone to speak to. The telephone service is useless and has destroyed my admiration of Vivaldi for ever!!
    Thanks for your dedication to reporting these issues and maintaining a platform for others.

    • What a terrible story, and thank you for sharing. The human misery generated by sickness and disability alone is huge, to have the benefits system which is supposedly there to support the vulnerable adding to the burden of stress and misery is just dreadful. And the bureaucratic loops (which I often went through on behalf of clients when I was able to work) are just something that no-one outside the system would believe. My very best wishes to you and your wife.

    • Long Ben Avery says:

      I start losing the will to live every time I hear The Four Seasons!

      • Oh, don’t! In my working life I helped clients claim ESA, JSA and Crisis Loans. Dread to think how many hours of my life have gone by with tinny violins in my ear!

  17. its just one big farce where the sick and disabled treatment by atos gets worse but like you im fighting them not allowing them to win so keep fighting pp jeff3

  18. Rachael says:

    I read your original post and this follow up and was appalled by the treatment you received – which is why I was not surprised to read this article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/oct/10/atos-outsource-medical-assessments

  19. Dobster says:

    God help me then just got my ESA claim pack and don’t know rightly what to do? I have no diagnosis but suffer in much the same way as any MS patient does I was awarded high rate DLA care & mobility and HR SDA with added dis premium 20+ yrs ago and my partner was granted carers allowance about 5 yrs back I should point out all my benefits were either for life or indefinitely but apparently with the sheer amount of fails I read about suddenly folk far worse off than me suddenly get better and can suddenly work?? What a team ATOS are they can heal us all I truly fear this while assessment system

  20. Long Ben Avery says:

    I am treble qualified ODP/Psych/General Nurse, with a BSc in Computing and a Ba(Open)/ MA(Open) History . I find filling in the forms to claim any of the benefits, to which I am entitled, an absolute nightmare. The Pharmacopoeia I ingest shaves about 30/40 IQ points off my intelligence! I’ve endured 3 medicals at yearly intervals, and find them hideously stressful. The office is 5mins up one of the steepest hills in town from the bus stop. There is nowhere to park, and Atos have CCTV cameras covering all the approaches. Fortunately I do not have major psychiatric issues, apart from depression associated with the fact I can no longer work, and PTSD from working in war zones for MSF.
    I had my last Atos medical 2 weeks ago and I’m waiting for the brown envelope to pop through my door.
    My 1st medical was really funny, I recorded it on my MP3 player, much to the surprise of the doctor, when I told him at the end of the interview. I was so spaced on new drugs at the second one I really have very little recall of it. Something else I’ve lost through all this is eidetic memory, courtesy of Gabepentin, Valium and Bupenorphine patches. Falling off motorcycles is really not recommended. As I told the last Atos examiner, even the orthopaedic guys tell me to shut up when I get to 30 fractures and assorted soft tissue injuries to my various joints!
    I still get the feeling I’ve not passed the audition.
    I hope your appeal goes well and that you get to find a way to manage your various problems, you do seem to be getting some kind of handle on them. With the help of what sounds like an excellent and caring man.
    What I’d do without my wonderful partner I don’t know, well yes I do, I have enough heavy duty stuff to turn the world off!
    This is a great blog and I’m very glad I found it, you are articulate in the face of what, must, at times seem to be insurmountable odds. To quote some old friends “Stay Free”

    • Hi, and thank you for sharing your experiences. I must admit I read the latest Spartacus Report which was released this week http://wearespartacus.org.uk/wca-report/ and realised from reading stories of the kind of people who have been granted zero points, there was very little hope for me from the outset. The report is really worth reading – I just hope somebody somewhere in government eventually pays attention.

    • Dobster says:

      Ah Gabapentin and pain patches what a mixture was on them for 10+ yrs then it was Oxycontin and pain patches currently on Dulocatine, Lyrica and pain patches + ibrophrofen and Paracetamol all in copious amounts and all doing irreparable harm to my insides (bleed everyday) I know I will fail can’t even muster the enthusiasm to complete the form don’t know where to start truth be told ! But running out of time now so got to do it now !! Just wish I could find a good “how to” complete the ESA50 as so far I haven’t they are all just general no sort of real time answers, ideas of what they want to see etc mores the pity this on top of being I’ll worried sick not sleeping and everything else has to be the hardest I’ve ever had to do in a full 22 yrs on HR everything so so sad

  21. butterflywgs says:

    I’m so sorry. ATOS are heartless ^&*()rs. I DID the ‘varying from bouncing around the office being annoying to angry and irritable and restless energy to being unable to get out of bed to get in on time, very low and crying’ thing, resulted in my losing my job (turns out people don’t like it if you can’t reliably turn up and perform your job, who knew?). ATOS gave me 0 points. I appealed and won, just dreading when they’ll decide to haul me in again. *hugs* x

  22. Pingback: I appealed – and I won! | purplepersuasion

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