I was expecting a bumpy ride when my DLA award came to an end in December this year. I wasn’t expecting it to happen early. Luckily I was expecting to be fucked over and I have been.
I have been on DLA and Income Support for seven years, after suffering a catastrophic breakdown. I’ve had many interactions with the NHS and private practice in that time but I am still severely unwell. I have a host of mental health conditions which include PTSD and chronic insomnia. However, I knew having piles of letters from that entire time wouldn’t be good enough for an Atos assessor who met me for 35 minutes.
I got a letter in July telling me I was being transferred to PIP. I filled in the form and waited, knowing I’d be called for a WCA meeting. The first letter I got told me to go to London. I rang and said that was impossible and they “found” me an appointment in my home town. Dutifully I went, with my mother, and saw a very smiley woman. However nice she was, I still expected to be stabbed in the back. It’s a horrible feeling knowing someone is two faced but having to speak to them anyway.
I got my award letter yesterday. I scored 9 points for care and 4 points for mobility. I was on high rate care and low rate mobility for DLA and these points just give me standard rate care and no mobility. That means my award is about £50 a week less. It’s affected my Income Support by £16 a week. Also the rate at which mortgage interest payments were calculated has gone down. All added together, I am down about £350 a month. I’ve had more panic attacks in two days than the whole of last month and the suicidal thoughts are back.
I am grateful that I at least scored some points. Many people in my situation score nothing at all. I will appeal. To do so, I will have to get a copy of my report, which is something I really can’t face. I can’t bear to see what the assessor wrote about me. I don’t like thinking that someone has lied about me. My integrity is something the DWP have never taken from me and that’s something that will never change. I can’t bear that it’s been questioned like this.
Chris and I had a little chat tonight. These happen from time to time. He tends to change the subject fairly quickly and, depending on my mood, I either let him or not. I didn’t have to drag him back to topic though, which was unexpected.
I said I was concerned about another woman. That makes three in as many months. He said he wasn’t interested in her but they talk everyday and he flirts constantly with her. She knows I exist but that’s nearly always the case. It all sounds far too familiar to me. I said that the hardest thing for me was that it showed how unwell he was at this point in time. He tried to brush it off but I persisted. I also said that another woman, so soon after the last two, makes me feel rubbish. He said “but I come home to you.”
I’ll give him that. He’s right.
It’s a fairly regular occurrence when Chris punishes me for something. This time my crime was to say that having sex with someone I know is unacceptable.
He’s just finished an amdram thing. I’ve been desperately waiting for it to be over as he has been horrendous. I’ve had to put up with so much, including moods, women, violent temper, screaming at me, being rude and aggressive and his excessive tiredness. I encouraged him to keep at it, despite the toll it was taking on both of us. Ultimately I felt it was good for his self esteem. I just grit my teeth and thought about when it was over.
We went to the after show party last night with a couple of our friends. As usual he kept vanishing. I told one of his mates about how we were together and that I was fed up of fielding all these women. He said Chris hadn’t told the group about me but I reminded his friend that I had. Chris came back eventually and said this girl had asked him out and that he’d said he was single and could go out with her. I told him to go and tell her he wasn’t single and tried to make a joke out of it. His friends were shocked he’d say such a lie to someone. Hopefully one of them will set her straight in the near future.
I drove us all home and dropped two of his mates at their place and carried on to Chris’s with me, him and a friend of mine who was staying at mine. Got to Chris’s house and he asked if we were coming in. I didn’t fancy it because of his earlier behaviour and I thought we’d end up in another fight. I was due to go to the last performance today and he declared he didn’t want me going. He went on to say that he didn’t want me to pick him up either, despite arranging that over a week ago. He became abusive and said “this isn’t working.” He got out of the car and went in. He always continues the abuse by text and I got a text within ten minutes of getting home. It told me he was fond of me but didn’t think it was going to work. I replied with that we should talk about it when we both weren’t so tired and stressed.
I haven’t heard from him at all today. He is punishing me for last night. I dared to say he couldn’t sleep with this girl (she is a girl and almost half his age). He does have sex sometimes with other women but the agreement is that I don’t know them and they are random strangers. This is someone who knows who I am and that makes me extremely uncomfortable. We spent the night together a few days ago, which was the first time in nearly two years. As soon as we start moving forward again, he has to treat me like shit again.
I’m at the point where I don’t know how much I can take. I’m not very well at the moment and I need a bit more consideration than usual. I am expecting this nightmare to be over soon because the show is finally over. I’m worried that as we’ve got closer he’s gone back to his old tricks. He used to be abusive when were together before. He used to try and control me and tell me who I could be friends with. He is trying to force me to be civil to the woman I’ve mentioned before. I told him I could choose my friends and she would never be one.
His behaviour is getting worse. I’m hoping it’s a symptom. If it isn’t or it doesn’t improve soon, we will have to part company. I can’t cope with it anymore. You’d think after nearly six years, he’d have finally learned that I’m not going anywhere. I’m tired of the constant tests.
I mention in my bio that I suffer from my own mental health problems. Today I had an Atos assessment for PIP.
I got a PIP letter through in July. My DLA award was due to run out in December so I was sort of expecting it but perhaps not quite as soon as it came. I filled in the subsequent form that arrived and got a letter on Saturday informing me that my assessment was to be in London. Living on the south coast, as I do, I thought this was ridiculous. There are centres where I live so why send me to London? It’s basically inaccessible for me. I rang them, terrified, on Monday. The woman on the phone said they were within their rights to send me anywhere within 60 miles! After her “looking” for me, she “found” an appointment in my home town today, just two days later.
So I went today. I took my mum. Chris is shit at this type of stuff and Mum remains calm, which I needed. The woman seemed ok. Asked me loads of questions and appeared to be trying to categorise me, even coaching me with replies a bit. I was there for about 35 minutes I guess. I didn’t cry. She didn’t ask me why I hadn’t yet killed myself. My mum spoke for me a few times. The most bizarre thing was asking me to remember three words. I have memory problems but asking me to repeat them and then recall them a minute later has nothing much to do with memory.
Obviously she could have been nice and smiley to me and will write a horrendous report later. I don’t know. I mean, how do you know? How can you tell? I’ve been fairly lucky up until this point. I haven’t had to appeal and I haven’t been to a tribunal but I know many people who have. I have a friend with a terminal brain tumour that was declared fit for work and he had just lost his driving licence as he was having 10-15 fits every day. I have another friend who pretty much can’t walk due to strokes and seizures. He was declared fit to work only in May. Both appealed and both won.
What will be my fate? I guess I will find out in 6-8 weeks when the brown envelope of doom arrives. It’s enough to send a girl mad, if I wasn’t already.