Spartacus Stories

Here is a collection of Stories written by many different disabled people about the impact that DLA has on their lives. It also includes stories of fear about the proposed changes to personal independence payment.

Admin: benefitscroungingscum, Lucia and Lucy
to add your story email us at spartacusstories @ g mail . com (without the spaces) (your posts are there, just being scheduled throughout the day) (can you add how you want your 'name' to appear ta)

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Kirk's story #spartacusreport #spartacusstories

I am another one lucky enough not to be in a terribly bad way, yet bad enough that working is not possible or at  least very unlikely.  I had always been a competent and capable person in work and sport.  I was accustomed to succeeding in anything I chose to do and at work had risen to quite a high level.  Approaching the age of 50 though work stress started taking a toll and I became psychotic which led me to become suicidal.  A friend had recently started treatment for cancer but he drank himself to death before the cancer got him.  This seemed an easy way to go so I started drinking with a grim determination.  Within 2 years I was close to succeeding but was persuaded to visit some friends for a break who made me go to see a GP and was booked in to a hospital.

I had to temporarily stop drinking and found I was no longer committed to killing myself so I stopped drinking completely and started getting better.  6 months later I had an attack of encephalopathy which is when fluid builds up in the brain and puts pressure on  it.  This the brain does not appreciate and some brain damage is inevitable.

The problem with having a damaged brain is the person affected does not feel as if there is anything wrong.  I know that 1 year ago I was convinced I was thinking completely rationally yet when I look back at some of the plans I was making they were completely unattainable.  Now I think I am perfectly normal but how can I be sure when I thought I was normal 5 years ago and I now know I was as crazy as a very crazy man indeed.  Even when I was hearing voices I made what I thought at the time were perfectly rational explanations.

The encephalopathy resulted in short term amnesia and long term locomotor ataxia, poor attention span, poor sense of balance and chronically poor memory.  I also find it very difficult to deal with stressful situations and avoid speaking to strangers on the telephone if at all possible.  My friends all complain that I don't answer the phone and I normally manage to forget to take my mobile if I leave the house.

I used to be quite well off but when I got ill I spent all my savings.  It never occurred to me to claim unemployment benefit until I was discharged from hospital.  I was asked where I was going to live and I answered I did not know as I did not have any money.  The CAB and local council helped me out for which I am very grateful.  Now I live very simply and am quite happy.

My ESA and DLA claims were or course turned down after I had seen the ATOS doctor who scored me 0 and he thought I might get a job as a 'Red Driving School' instructor.  He was not in the slightest concerned that I could only get down onto and up from my knees with the use of a chair and had not yet relearned how to write with cursive script but could only use block capitals.  My CAB representative filled in the appeal forms ( I was incapable of doing it myself ) and luckily having been in hospital for 3 weeks I had no dignity left so didn't mind answering all those personal questions truthfully.  I won the ESA appeal and was awarded Lower Rate Mobility on the DLA appeal although my CAB representative was disappointed I was not given the Higher Rate Mobility.

I still fall over most days, sometimes several times a day but normally at home where I fall against a wall, chair or bed so do not hurt myself.  I have only had one bad fall outside when I had to go to the A&E.  Of course I am worried about 2013 when I am due for a review and I am still unsure what being in the work related group for ESA will actually mean for me.

I am, of course, Spartacus

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