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.
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.
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.
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
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