Thursday, 15 January 2015

Face to face assesment...and ATOS!

To anyone who hasn't experienced applying for health benefits you will not know about the assessments held by ATOS.They are an independent company employed by the government. From what I gather they get paid a commission of how many people they can clear off their list.
Anyway, going to a health assessment can be one of the most anxious and humiliating experiences. I had to go to one the other day and I was so stressed in there that I thought I would pop! At certain points I thought I would just scream and run out. They always ask me the usual questions about 'can I wipe my own bum' and 'can I read' but it's when they get onto the questions like 'can I cook alone'. Well I do, but there's always a chance I'll throw the pan of boiling water down myself. This is why I usually have one of my parents with me. I can get easily confused by the questions, and stressed about how to answer properly (as with form filling, blah!).
The bit I hate most is when they start asking intrusive questions about self harm and suicide. These are things that took long enough to talk to a doctor about, let alone in a room with your dad and a complete stranger who is writing down every WORD YOU SAY.
I do understand why they have to ask the questions, and the people at the assessments are usually nice, but they don't make the decision. I've been through this stressful time and then it is all sent off to The Decision Maker. Yes, that's genuinely the title.
The Decision Maker. A faceless stranger in a room who sits in a big chair and has 2 piles of folders labelled YES and NO. A person who has never met me.

Todays new meds part 2

After weeks of taking my new medication I started to realise that where that little room in my head where the people were talking about me, was boarded up! I was still a little sceptical, thinking maybe it was just a coincidence and not the medication, but either way it's a pretty good result.
Then the problems started. I slowly realised how much time I was spending in bed. I was sooo tired and couldn't see the point in getting up when I had nothing to do. I would stay in bed for days at a time. If I did get up it wouldn't be long before I went back to bed again. I also started to feel anxious and lonely when I was alone so would stay at my mums occasionally but then would be panicky about being away from my flat. It was a feeling that was all to familiar.
I started to think that this was probably side effects of my medication so I proceeded to make the mistake of self medicating (silly me!). I called my GP and told her the problem. She's a wonderful GP but obviously not a specialist in those medications. She reduced my dose for me which I have been taking for about 2-3 weeks. The same lethargy came back. Withdrawal from a medication can be just as nasty.
Luckily, I had a surprise phone consultation with my Psychiatrist (ok, he was calling because I'd forgotten to go to a meeting). I told him the problem and after and quick, kind telling off for self medicating, he arranged a different plan. I'm going back on all my meds. Whereas before I took half in the morning and half in the evening I will now be taking all in the evening. I guess that kind of makes sense. Hopefully, I'll be sleepy at the right time now.
Starting that next week so I'll follow up with how that goes.