Hi I have only very recently joined this forum and want to introduce myself

I am female. 58 and am currently an unemployed admin worker. I have suffered from depression for most of my life. Fortunately I have had a few periods where it has been in abeyance for years at a time (apart from minor spells)

What brought this on for me again is my last job working for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in the Contact Centre. I spent 8 hours a day chained to a desk with a headset on reading mandatory text from a computer! There were targets everywhere ie we had only 22 minutes for a call when some can last 40 minitues. Every 2 weeks we had a meeting with our line manager and some of the stats they produced were unbelieveable - how many seconds we were on the phone to if we managed to take our breaks on time.

It was always a no win situation and no one could meet all the targets. I hated every day I was there.....but did it for 5 and a half years.

I was bullied by a manager and went off sick with depression and stress, followed by another absence a couple of years later for the same reason. I got official warnings and was eventually sacked. I was suicidal some of the time and did try a couple of times. This totally destroyed my self-esteem and I have no confidence at all now. I have been out of work for nearly 3 years now and don't think I will ever be able to work again.

I did claim ESA when I lost my job but they wanted me to go to ATOS within 6 weeks and I couldn't get my head around the interview and the long journey - 2 buses a train and long walk. I was suffering from depression for Gods sake....how did they expect me to cope with that? So I signed on JSA instead. Now trying to prove I am looking for work is difficult too. I live in fear my benefits will be stopped as I live alone.

Depression has come back full force and I live with it daily now. Most of the time I am able to cope but very recently had a 3 week spell where I felt especially awful and couldn't do anything. Nothing seemed to bring it on it just happened. I had no self worth and was unable to function but I still have to look for work.

I knew my job was killing me but I had no choice I have to work and there is little work round here that I can do. I also have some health problems apart from depression - COPD (chronic obstructive pulmunory disease) (lung problems) and a chronic back problem.

OMG! sorry to have ranted on for so long...just wanted to say hi to everyone.

Bev x

23 Replies

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  • Hi Bev,

    A good rant does you good, so don't be sorry about it. I know I go on a bit in my blogs, but I find it helps to get the stuff out of my head and onto a page.

    Sounds like you are in a very difficult position. I understand totally having periods when doing absolutely anything seems to hard and all you want to do is lie in bed, and hide from the world.. it happens to me too.

    Have you spoken to your Doctor about how you are feeling at the moment? Maybe you need a little more support than usual.

    Look after yourself,

    Jonny

  • Hi Jonny many thanks for your reply. If I get another spell of bad depression like the last one I will go back to my doctor and tell her. Trouble is I can't do it when I am like it but only when I start to come back. But thats definately something on my agenda. Thanks again.

    Bev x

  • Hi Bev

    Your work situation sounds as if it was really awful. Hold onto the fact that the problem wasn't you but was in the madness you had to put up with, we do live in a society that has gone mad in some ways. Now I can see how being unemployed is difficult for you as well, having to prove you are looking for work at 59 and with ill health! It must feel like you are constantly having to jump through hoops. It's crazy but as we know there is no way to change reality, we simply have to get on with it.

    Don't apologise for ranting! That's what the website's for, in part at least, to let off steam and have people at least try to understand your situation and how you are feeling.

    It's not easy for anyone to find work in the recession and even harder as we get older and have ill health. I agree with Jonny that you need support around you, and wonder whether you have friends locally? Like you I worked but then found that once I stopped working I found that I had no friends or social network near home because I'd travelled to work. I wonder whether there are any hobbies or interests you can develop at a local college or similar so that you have something each week that you enjoy and where you will meet people? I know that's easier said than done and I'm good at procrastinating about getting out and about more, but it is important to have contact with people and as you live alone it is even more important to make some connections if you don't already have friends locally. I don't enjoy keeping fit, although I do like the feeling of being active, but I've decided to join the local gym just because it is cheap and will provide a structure if I can find the self-discipline needed to go. I also find doing some artwork like painting helps, anything self-expressive. You are over 50 and I'm wondering whether there are any Age Concern classes near you? We have a centre not too far away and although most people who use it are older than me I found the art classes were enjoyable nonetheless and enabled me to discover that I wanted to paint and then I was able to go to the local college and take a course, we had to pay as my husband earns but on benefits you would be entitled to fees paid. Just a thought, anything that gives you something enjoyable that is just for you and not a way of proving something to other people.

    Do keep ranting! We all support one another at different times.

    Suex

  • Thanks for your helpful advice Sue - much appreciated. There is not much here in way of classes - or not much I can get to not having a car and a lousy bus service but I would love the art classes. Not that I am any good but would love to do card crafting and learning to paint. Will have to look again.

    I do have a number of friends locally thank goodness. I play darts twice a week and cards and dominoes once a week. I go to bingo with a friend most weeks too. I also walk my sisters dog every day and we go to some great places ie down the beach. Most of my friends work so I don't see them as much as I would like. And weekends they spend it with their families. I don't have partner or kids only sisters. One is a hermit, one is a thief and the other has her own family but we are not close and she doesn't want me even at christmas!

    I find it very hard to go out of my comfort zone though I must try. My best friend moved away 4 years ago and since then have not really got anyone to really talk to. We used to spend hours together putting the world to rights and whinging to each other about our sad lives - but most of the time laughing.....sigh.

    We do live in a mad world don't we Sue? Its all very depressing sometimes and, like everyone I guess, i get sick of all the c...and wonder if its all worth it.

    Bev x

  • Hi Bev

    Just wanted to say hello I'm new to this too xx

  • Hi new Nesy :)

  • Keep applying for your dla your entitled if you have copd and I know its stressfull to go to atos but you only go once have a friend go with you for support you will win we are all behind you good luck

  • Hi Bev.I feel I know you from your rant.Do fight ATOS for what is rightfully yours.Always take a friend with you for support

  • Ha ha ha Hector. Will change my name to rantingbev :)

  • hi bev i am 60 and suffer from anxiety depression and osteoarthritis in my back and knees and pernicious anaemia.i also live on my own and know how hard it an be with no support i get very little just one friend i have. i am also a carer for my sister who has a terminal illness. if i was you i would try welfare rights to claim esa they are very good and won my dla for me. welcome to the forum you will like it here.

  • Thanks redroseart I do already like it here. You all sound like a great bunch and have made me feel really welcome.

    I really feel for you love. It kind of puts things into perspective hearing about what others have to put up with. It can't be easy for you and I do hope things improve for you soon. Hugs and kisses

    Bev xxxx

  • Thanks for all your replies everyone. Its great to receive such support and understanding. It makes me feel like chocolate cake - all soft and gooey inside :)

    I find it easier at the moment to sign on JSA rather than ESA and cope with ATOS. But if things get worse or my benefits are threatened I am straight down to doctors for sick note.

    Bev x

  • hi bev thanks for your reply will share your hugs and kisses with everyone on the site.my mum has just gone in a nursing home so my depression has got a bit worse. seeing my psychiatrist soon will ask him about some psychotherapy.

  • Hi

    If you think you'd love painting why not stick an advert in a local shop window or newspaper for someone to paint with once a week, you may evern get several replies, and then you could share the cost of the paints and paper, you can start with cheapies and gradually buy one better paint at a time, online because if you get them when there are offers on it's much cheaper than from a local shop. Have a go, at least you'll enjoy playing with colour, try different kinds of paints, etc as not everyone likes the same kinds.

    Suex

  • Mmmm sue thanks for your reply. I can't begin to get my head together enough to organise something like that. Would much rather join a ready made group. Going to do web search now.

    Bev x

  • Hi

    Yes, I can understand that, Sometimes it's as much as I can do to get through the day without even thinking of something new, whilst other times I can be more positive. Do see if you can find something locally, is there a local college?

    Suex

  • Yeah there is will check it out. I have actually applied for an admin job there. Fingers crossed

    Bev x

  • hi i do art work at a local mental health charity called start.where do you live i know there is one in manchester.

  • Hi, yes I've come across Start too although not as a user but just through seeing the details when researching something else. The whole project looks great, but it's really hard to find enlightened services like that outside of a big city. I like in a small town where there is very little and what there is is very small-minded and old fashioned in feel. I LONG to get back to Manchester! Unfortunately with the recession we can't sell our house...

    Suex

  • I'm from Manchester way myself and am not sure about moving back. Maybe when my mum goes (she 89) I might consider it. For what I could get for my flat I could buy a house there.

    But all my family apart from cousins and oldest friend live in Torquay. I have a number of friends here and good social life. Not sure I can or want to start again. But who knows. More facilities there for sure than here.

    If I do it would be lovely to meet up with all the manchester folk!

    Bev x

  • Wow - I live in Torquay Devon there might be one here will have to check. Ta.

    Bev x

  • hi sue i am lucky startis only about 10 mins away from me in salford there is one in manchester.i have been a member for 8 years they have lots going on but have been hit by the recession.we used to havelots of functions.i do life drawing and gardening. i do hope your experience in manchester hasnt put you off. you seem to be doing well. best wishes to you.

  • I've just come across your reply - it's great that you are able to use Start! I'm about to join Mind in Salford, all part of the plan to try to get my life back into Manchester rather than here in St Helens where there's nothing for me that I identify with. I love gardening too, wish I was better at life drawing, I did a Fine Art degree at John Moores and loved the bit where we drew with ink on a long cane, everyone else found that threatening but I loved the freedom of drawing loosely like that, give me a pencil to draw with and I freeze, I try too hard and my drawings look lifeless. Manchester is where my heart is, I go there every week to see friends and love the place, I only wish we could sell our house so I can be back there! Suex

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