Mental Health Support
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Tribunal Representative

Hi Everyone

As I said yesterday I had an appointment with a guy who is going to represent me at my Tribunal. All I can say is I felt like a criminal. He was shouting at me because my ESA Papers which I filled in on 2011 was all about my aches & pains & nothing much about what I originally claimed ESA for which was Depression/Anxiety & Panick Attacks. He said the other things about my back/hips & diagnoses of Fibromyalgia did'nt count as they should have been made as new claims. He said he will do his best with the information I have provided him with which were reports from a Physciatric Unit I attended and reports which say I have been treated and found to have Fibromyalgia.

He told me the Fibromyalgia wont wash with the Tribunal as it is not a proven illness.

He said he will do his best with my Physciatric Reports as that was what I first claimed sickness benefit & was awarded ESA. All of this stuff is completely double dutch to me.

I worked 30 years of my life & have been claiming ESA for almost 4 years. This is the first time I have been told I was awarded zero points & was deemed fit for work & to appeal which is what I did.

I have been feeling very down as it is & after my meeting today with this man, who I cannot say was very pleasant with me. He had me in tears & I am now at home feeling very distressed.

He told me it is his job to proved the people who found me fit for work are wrong. He read their report & nowhere in it does it mention my mental health so he has to prove they did not do their job properly.

I now feel frightened, he reckons we will get a date for the tribunal very soon. He told me if I loose I will not recieve benefits for 26 weeks & how am I going to live if I dont.

I really dont understand the system. All I know & I feel like a child is that if I loose my benefits & home I can go back & live with my parents. They wanted me to stay with them tonight because of the state I am in. I just wanted to come home. I am going to ring my cousin & tell her exactly what I thought of her barrister friend. He was very abrupt & treated me like a criminal & thats how I have been left feeling.

I have been feeling very down these past few weeks but after this afternoon I feel totally devestated, I know thats not the right word but I am in bits. He gave off to me for putting my telephone number on the form I filled in. He told me they can ring or come & call at my door anytime & if I'm not there, they will say I was out enjoying myself. I have caller display on my phone & if its a witheld number I wont answer because if they dont want me to know who they are I'm not going to speak to them. Thats just me. When I get really depressed I dont answer my phone to anyone or open my door. My family all have keys & if they call they can let themselves in. I just want to get into my bed & stay there. I feel terrified.

Thats all I can say. I am hurting & feeling as low as can be. It was the most unpleasant experience. In my eyes I have committed no offence but have been left feeling like I have.

As for the Tribunal itself I do not know what to expect & feel like not turning up & going to live with my parents.

I have just turned 50 & now feel like a 15 yr old. They probably know more about the system than I do.

Good luck to you all & I hope you never have to experience anything like I did today.



23 Replies

Oh I have, apparently one more migraine and I'm sacked.. on the scrap heap...

I've been told by Drs i'm making it up, having a laugh at their expense, a drain on the nhs.

I'm jekel and hyde ... completely normal until i have a migraine and then i am a blubbering mess who cannot hold a conversation or even walk properly.

Life is shit and then you become an adult and it gets worse!

I'm sorry you've been treated like this, you a loving living human, treated like a dawg! In fact pampered pooches are the way to go! ;)

I'm sorry I'm fucked off... as they cliche goes... the only way is up! :)


Find a Dr who understands if you can.After 50 years of migraine,I am on Imigran when I have the aura and Diclofenic suppositories for the pain if the former doesn't work.This helps me to function and go to work.I am interested in the link between migraine ,depression and low serotonin levels.Since being on 'Abilify' I have too much energy but no migraine..just cant win.Hang in there...and find a decent Dr.I had to shop around but found a sympathetic one .It makes such a difference to be listened to.You wouldn't be treated like this if you had epilepsy or asthma and migraine is an illness x


Thank you RockSteadyEddy

I'm sorry to hear that you may get the sack. I no where your comming from with your migranes. I would get them a lot with Fibro but can say that since I was put on medication for nerve pain I have'nt had one.

I hope you dont get sacked & yes I agree with you being an adult does suck big time!

Best Wishes



This is horrifying. Just because mental health problems and chronic pain are invisible, and often variable, does not make them any less real and disabling. The ESA arrangements are horrendous.

Thinking of you



Hi Ann

I'm really sorry but I did not see your comment on my post. I have only just noticed it now.

I have had time to calm down & reeived a phone call to apologise for his behaviour.

I just hope & pray that come the day he will help do me justice in their wrong findings of zero points.

He told me it is his job to prove them wrong by addressing that in no way did they focus on my mental health & that because I was concious & not lying in my on pee & sh1t I was deemed fit for work.

However, I am still very down & just wish the whole experience was over me.

There is no point in complaining more to my Dr about my depression/anxiety as I am o. the highest dose of my medication I can take & for that to be changed to a new med I'd have to see a Physciatrist & thats another road I dont want to go down.

One day at a time is all I am thinking at the moment.

Thank you.




Thank you Anne & Rocksteadyeddie I totally agree with you.

I have a phone call from the gentleman concerned apologising & promises me it will not happen again. He has told me not to worry that that is his job from now on in. I wont stop worrying intil the whole thing is over & done with.

Thank you all for your support.




I feel so sad for you just reading your blog.Life should not be like that but we are vulnerable and the powers that be know that.I am glad you got an appology.Lets hope that things get better for you.Keep in touch


Thanks Hector I hope so too.

Yes I will keep you posted.




Hi Jackie,

I have read your post and cant believe what i am reading??? i know what you are going through as i have been off work for a little over a year now (not with my depression but with my back, but my depression is bad at the mo because of all the stress im under) and they have said i am ok to go back to work but there are days i cannot move from the pain in my back i mean a 27year old that cant wash her own hair because it hurts, does that sound like someone who can return to work?? anyway i have appealed and i was just wondering do they give you a sol or do i have to go out and get one? i thought i could just go myself, but from what you are saying it sounds very messy??? i dont think i could cope with all that at the mo im already feeling very low. any advice you could give me would be really helpful.

thank you



Hi luv

If you dont feel ready & sounds to me like your not you should go & explain to your Doctor.

Yes by all means appeal it. You can get someome to represent you ar your hearing which is what I have done. Although you would'nt think it by reading my blog.

Make an appointment with CAB & one of them could represent you. So many people out there can help you. A Welfare Rights Officer or if you can afford it a Solicitor. A member of your family can also accompany you. I have heard that you can request if you can have an Advocate - someone to go in & speak on your behalf. Unfortunately I have left it all a bit late. I shoild get a date for the hearing in the next week or two.

Another important thing you need to get is evidence, as much as you can. ie letter from your Doctor stating your illnesses & a note from anyone he may have referred you too for treatment. Like a counselor for your depression or a report from physio if you've been. You may not be able to get these if you have not been referred but it does'nt matter. All evidence you can get is a plus in your appeal but I feel if your neck was hanging on by a thread these people will find us fit for work.

I hope I have been of some assistance to you. When it comes to filling i forms you are sent from them get someone from CAB to fill them in as they are questions desgned to trip you up. All the same ones asked in a different way & you reply by saying how you feel on your worst day, not on how you feel at the time.. We really are made to feel like we've comitted a crime.

Good luck hun & if I can help you in any other way dont be affraid to message me. Sometimes when feeling depresses you feel better speaking to a stranger who has the same illness & will not judge you.

Wishing you the best of luck.


Jackie xx


Hi Jackie

thank you so much for getting back to me what you have said is a big help, i know what you mean about them making you feel like a criminal! i just dont get it though its so so wrong! i have got lots of letters from all different specialists and i am now waiting to see the surgeon but your right they will probably come up with something else to say im ok and can go back to work.

thanks again you have been a big help!!!



Thanks hun, no problem at all.

Get copies of your report & put them in with your appeal for them to review on the da before they make their decision.

Wishing you pots of luck.


Jackie xx



I am sorry that you have had to go through this it is shocking what is going on with ESA at the moment and I really hope you get things resolved in your favor. I was thinking of applying for ESA but was told it would be very unlikely that I would get it.

I agree with what has been said about invisible illness and that just because you cant see something that does not mean that person has a disability. My employer managed me out of my job after I disclosed my mental health I took them to an employment tribunal with a good outcome. I had to prove that I was disabled as set out under the equality act 2010 as they did not believe me.

It gets me annoyed when I hear stories like this so I hope it works out for you and let us know the outcome we are here to support you.



Hi Getting By

Thank you for your comments.

I first applied for sickness benefit in 2009 & got it no problem. Since getting it I was called in on 2 seperate occassions & assessed & passed both. However this one I had back in January was totally different & a week after it I got a letter to say I had zero points. The assessor (Doc) looked at & entered all my medication onto a computer. He did not once ask me any questions with regard to my mental health. I have since then also been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

My Representative is putting together a report about my mental health & how the strong daily medication affects me. He also want to prove that they did not do their job right by asking me about my depression/anxiety & panic attacks. I have got letters from my GP supporting depression etc & another with regard to the Fibro. I also have reports from Physciatrist I was under & a CPN who I attended weekly for a full year. My Physciatrist has told me that I will be on Anti Depressants the rest of my life.

I have been suffering depression 19 years & in that time my mariage broke up because of it. I lost a job I was in for 22 yrs & loved, my severe lapses where occurring & lasting longer & longer each time. Due to loosing my job I therefore had to sell my home at the time when the bottom fell out of the housing market so I did'nt make much.

Its a horrible illness & has turned my life upside down. Only for my son & parents I dont think I would be here today.

You feel like your trudging along quite well then out of the blue the darkness can descend on you.

I am very low at the momeny. I put it down to this government & ATOS system. I dont know what to expect during the Tribunal. I feel like a criminal & I've done nothing wrong. I am dreading the day it takes place, I have not yet got a date? I know I will be a bundle of nerves.

It also makes me angry that I have worked for 30 years & paid my taxes & National Insurance & for what? To fight for help to keep you going when I am unfit for work.

Jeez that turned into a bit of a rant but its constantly on my mind & I am continually hearing more & more bad cases about these ATOS people.

Thank you for your support & I will let you know how it goes when I get my date. I've even now fot nerves in my tummy thinking about it!!



hi jusjac i hope all goes well for you. it is terrible the way we have to fight for what is rightfully must be making your illness worse. i have a friend who is going through the esa process.i am sure you will get it in the end. keep fighting


Hi & thank you Redroseart

It is shocking & I think they want people to give up but when your on your own with no other income we must fight for whats rightfully ours.

Thank you so much for your support.



Hi JustJac,

Just wanted to say that I hope it works out for you. As hard as it is to keep fighting we need to do it, dont we?

I know the Benefits system is undergoing a big shake up at the moment, but they penalise the wrong people. I, like yourself , have worked all my life and know if it comes to claiming any benefit I will have a fight on.

I know its difficult for people to understand an "invisible illness" but it is very debilitating and worse than a physical one as I feel you have to explain and justify it more.

Good Luck, let us know how you get on.



Hi Nicky & thank you.

I nearly have a panic attack everytime the postman puts somethin through the letter box incase its a date.

Really though I would like to get it over & done with.

Yes I will let you all know how it goes.

Many thanks.



Hello. Just wanted to say that fibromyalgia is a proven condition and very painful. I hope you get the help you need. Also many of the mental health disorders cannot be scientifically proven. They are just labels which seem to be justification for psychiatrists to drug the whole planet. It annoys me that people are being labelled and drugged for life for disorders which cannot be proven by any test in the first place!. Be careful if you have a psychiatrist involved. Remain skeptical. YOU know yourself better than anyone else!!


Thank you for your response. Firstly I cannot find anywhere it says is a proven condition/illness.If I could I would like to show it to the Drs at mt GPs Surgery as I do not feel I'm being treated with the right medication. I am having a very bad time at the moment with my back & the only thing they will prescribe me is Co-Codamol 8/500mgs & 35mgs of Amytriptaline to reduce pain & help sleep. At the moment the pain relief is only taking the edge of the edge.

As for my Depresdion & Mental Health Problems I feel very angry about the medication I am currently on. The Drs wont give me pain relief which they say is addictive. Why is thete if its addictive& cannot be used because itscaddictive? Yet no-one care that I am on a very high dosage of Venflaxine which I am addicted to & cannot get off, even with the GP's help as the withdrawal effectsvare so severe!

The medical profession has me going round in circles.

I am in so much pain & they will do nothing to listen to me &'help me when I am having a bad time like I am. I have'nt slept in a week & this afternoon I thought to myself when I am well enough I am going to write a letter about the treatment for I am recieving for both conditions & ask them how they can justify it?

I would'nt let an animal be treated like I have been. I am only a Jane Doe in the public. I do not have a degree to really know what I am talking about? but I do know my own body.

I would like to be off Venlafaxine. I feel that in years to come there will be a docmenartary about them bein a more addictive medication than Diazipam.

I would like to know why my GP will not treat me at such times when I am in Chronic Pain. I am made to feel like a junky trying to score drugs.

I dont know who to turn to for help?

Many thanks



I think its terrible that doctors prescribe addictive drugs to vunerable people and do not realise the consequences. . Have you tried any alternative therapy for your pain? Swimming in a heated pool is really good, also glucosamine . Amytriptaline is an old antidepressant which has a lot of side effects . Some antidepressants can even cause suicidal thoughts. I disagree with people being left on drugs like this for years. It seems that this is all doctors can do and its not good enough. . I think acupunture may be available on the nhs. Tell them you want some better treatment or you will go to your community health council


Hi Optomistic9

Thank you for your reply.

Yes I have been to a Hydrotherapy Pool for classes which was good but unless your going all th time its not really benificial. I was sent as part of my Physio treatment. There are no other heated pools in my area where the public can use. I have heard of people gettin accupuncture on NHS but it has'nt been offered to me. I have been thinking about trying it out after xmas privately. The pains I am having at the moment are bad & the only thing that helps is heat. I really feel the cold is through to my bones but I cant keep the heat on continually.

Yes I think your right about the health service, they just prescribed to the vulnerable & leave it at that! I also think with the country being in the state it is the health service are really stretched to the limit & cannot give people the care & attention they need.

I will enquire about the accupuncture. Thank you.



Hi. Do you have the number of this man you were using, i cant find anyone to talk to or help me with my case which is same as yours? Plz


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