Friday, 7 June 2013

Time to hibernate, I think

I am so tired.

It's not just the tiredness that comes as a side effect of my medication but the tiredness of life in general...and, perhaps, a kind of reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder.

SAD is supposed to be a tiredness brought on by the longer nights and shorter days of winter but mine seems to be brought on by the longer days and shorter nights.  This effect is made worse by the side effects of the anti-depressants I'm taking so I find myself sleeping for more hours than I care to think about. 

I can barely keep my eyes open at the moment and it's getting to be a real pain.

Something else that makes me drowsy is stress and my regular depression. My depression is never absent from my life but stress comes and goes in my life as it does in everyone's life; however, today, I have received a letter that has both depressed and stressed me.

The letter is from the Courts and Tribunal Service and regards my DLA appeal.  I had my appeal rejected earlier in the year so I took the first steps towards a re-appeal, which is asking for the CTS to send a Statement of Reasons.

The initial letter I received from the CTS made a big deal of my physical health problem but made no mention of my greater mental health issue so I am surprised that the new letter even mentions it.  However, it seems as though my efforts to cope with my depression and try to keep some kind of connection to the rest of the human race have scuppered my chance of getting Disability Living Allowance.

The Tribunal ignored the letter from my wife on the basis that, even though she filed for divorce (although lack of money or help from the Housing Department have meant we still live together), they don't believe we are truly separated and can't imagine how people who were once married and remain on relatively good terms can care about what happens to each other.

They also ignored the letter from and testimony of my advocate, who happened to be a friend too.  They made a great deal of the fact that his testimony about the severity of my depression was not clinical but the evidence of someone who is nothing but a friend.  The fact that he is an expert trainer of NHS staff in Clinical Risk Assessment and Management and we used the Sainsbury Risk Assessment Tool to assess the risk I was under of suicide and self-harm due to my depression showed me to have been at high risk at the time of my initial claim for DLA, which is the only relevant time with respect of the claim I was appealing about.

It seems as though I am going to be forever denied my claim to DLA because I try to cope with my condition by helping others and going out as much as possible to try to acclimatise myself to being around people; because my consultant psychiatrist doesn't see me often enough to catch me during one of my extremely dark periods and therefore considers my condition mild.

The Tribunal also seemed to ignore the three suicide attempts in the preceding year or two to the date of my initial claim - two overdoses and an attempted hanging.

The extra income would have come in very handy, especially as I'm struggling financially.  I am, however, not likely to win a re-appeal as I'm never going to have evidence that any tribunal would find convincing enough to uphold my claim so I will have to remain without the extra financial assistance and with the extra stress and depression that the financial hardship and rejection bring with them.

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