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I don't know what to do, I cannot cope with all of this

(187 Posts)
SantasStrapOn Sun 11-Nov-12 01:51:33

S'me Stratters. I cba to name change and you'd all guess it was me anyway.

I have nobody but my DDs. No family. My family are v v toxic and I was the scapegoat. No friends. I cant bring myself to trust anyone enough. Apart from the DDs, and people like the dentist, my GP, the only people I 'talk' to are my XPILs and my XH. I don't leave the house, I am terrified of everyone and everything, and I have no trust. This time last year I wasn't quite so bad, but it's steadily got worse and worse.

ATOS, in their wisdom, decided that I was perfectly ok. They lied and said that I went on my own (I didn't), and put the opposite of what I said down. I was interviewed by a physiotherapist FGS. I appealed and was told I wouldn't get a tribunal for 18 months. That was in March.

I filled in the paperwork. Made it very clear that it was impossible for me to represent myself, told them i had noone who could attend for me, told them the real version of what happened in my interview. Told my GP what had happened. Went to see my old Psychiatrist, who I've seen on and off since having DD2. I'm having fortnightly counselling but have only just started. I know I need to sort this out, but it's so hard without any support. I have nobody to ask to represent me, and nobody has offered to.

I planned to get a letter from my psychiatrist and counsellor, and send it as supporting evidence. I spoke to the DWP, who said it was clearly a mistake and not to worry.

Today I got a letter from the tribunal service in Peterborough. The appeal was held on the 9th. I had no forewarning that it was going to take place then. Nobody told me.

My appeal has failed. I have no fucking idea what to do next, and I can't cope with even thinking about it. I have never felt so alone and helpless.

Selks Sun 11-Nov-12 01:54:16

Could you speak to someone at Mind for advice?

Selks Sun 11-Nov-12 01:55:09

Sorry brief answer as am on phone. So sorry you're going through this. sad

SantasStrapOn Sun 11-Nov-12 01:58:58

I don't know Selks. Nobody has given me any advice, even when I've asked. I wish I'd asked on here when I first found out, but I didn't want anyone knowing IYSWIM. Now it's too late, and I've realised I don't care if you all know anyway.

I simply have no idea what to do.

Selks Sun 11-Nov-12 02:28:58

Well I guess nothing's going to get sorted out tonight so hard as it is, best to try not to churn it over in your mind overnight. I'd suggest trying to sleep and bump the thread tomorrow for daytime folks who might be able to offer more advice than I can.
I'll check in here tomorrow - hope you can sleep x

MyUmbrageIsSafeInMyKnickers Sun 11-Nov-12 02:36:12

I also have absolutely no one Santa. I don't understand your acronyms ATOS et al. Woild you just give me a bit of background?

mumblechum1 Sun 11-Nov-12 02:43:54

ATOS is, I think, the organisation which disabled/unwell people have to convince that they're incapable of looking for work/working.

But I don't know the OP's background or the nature of her inability to work.

Hope you get everything sorted out OP, sounds like a nightmare.

SantasStrapOn Sun 11-Nov-12 02:50:33

Anxiety, panic attacks, and terrible, terrible depression. I basically don't go out, I'm not even comfortable in my front garden, unless I've got someone with me. The only place I feel safe is inside my house and my back garden. I can do the drs, dentists, etc because they are safe, known places and I don't have to talk to strangers. I take 40mg citalopram, just come down from 60 because they can't prescribe it any more, 100mg seroquel xl, thyroxine, and a shed load for asthma.

Thumbwitch Sun 11-Nov-12 02:59:10

Shit, Stratters! sad

I don't know anything useful sadly but surely they should have told you about the appeal date? There must be some way to "get" them for that but I wouldn't know what.

((((hugs)))) anyway lovely. thanks

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Sun 11-Nov-12 03:05:54

(((Hugs))) Stratters.

Fuck. I'll ponder for a bit and get back to you if anything pops into my head.

MyUmbrageIsSafeInMyKnickers Sun 11-Nov-12 03:06:14

Santa; many years ago I suffered similar; the whole world and his dog was against me.
I have outed you (I now realise , on the Mouldies thread). I am Tim but Dim.

WandaDoff Sun 11-Nov-12 03:12:43

Citizens Advice Bureau appt at the 1st opp you can get my love. Make sure that they know that you weren't informed of your referral date.

Ask for a mental health referral if need be. Name the psych that you have been dealing with for years.

& keep your chin up for God's sake because this is all transient meaningless shite.

Much love x

SantasStrapOn Sun 11-Nov-12 03:27:24

Thank you.

I have no idea what the Mouldiest thread is, but it really doesn't matter.

Trazzletoes Sun 11-Nov-12 03:33:04

Definitely have a chat with the CAB. Alternatively, can you get a free half hour with a Legal Aid Welfare Benefits solicitor? They may well be able to point you in the right direction.

WandaDoff Sun 11-Nov-12 03:38:20

Agree with Trazzletoes there.

Free legal advice is always worth it just for the opinion.

MyUmbrageIsSafeInMyKnickers Sun 11-Nov-12 03:38:30

First thing is to do nothing at the moment.
Tomorrow; gather all paperwork; the whole shit bundle.
Look at it; feel the fear;: let it sink in and then just walk away from the whole pile. Two hours minimum.
Then..Pick up a highlighter; highlight the dates only in the shit pile. Force yourself to not read the content.. and then walk away again.

I can't help again until late Tuesday night. But I will.

SantasStrapOn Sun 11-Nov-12 03:42:51

Thank you, I've necked some sleeping pills so hopefully they will kick in soon. Appreciate the hand holding, will be back for more in the morning.

WandaDoff Sun 11-Nov-12 03:50:08

<<handy holdy stratters>> x

McPhee Sun 11-Nov-12 03:50:44

I'm afraid I can't be of much use, other than to say have a look/post on here for some advice.

Hugs to you, this is really shit x

Selks Sun 11-Nov-12 06:10:49

Here to hold hands too.

Some CABs will do home visits, if you decide you need CAB help.

cannotseeaway Sun 11-Nov-12 06:35:40

Definitely get some legal help, i would suggest a local law centre or advice centre. CAB are great but you might end up seeing a volunteer to start with who is not a Welfare Rights specialist. Call CLS (community legal services) who are googlable and have a helpline to find out who can help in your area.

I work at an advice centre and although i am not a welfare rights specialist i know that the appeal success rate is really positive. Speed is of the essence though as there will be a tight deadline for you to respond. Good luck smile

HoneyDragon Sun 11-Nov-12 07:51:44

Can also recommend mind they are lovely. They will speak to you on the phone, Poppet.

Do you not have a sympathetic gp who can help you?

FancyPuffin Sun 11-Nov-12 08:12:59

((((((((Stratters)))))))) sad

Firstly this is worth a read

You should be able to appeal to the upper tribunal.

Will be back with more info asap. I'm also representing a family member at tribunal on 22nd so will know more about what happens there.

My Mum suffers much the same as you and receives ESA and DLA do you get DLA yet?

ArtVandelay Sun 11-Nov-12 08:17:14

That's terrible, but so unfair that it wont stand up - surely. I have zero experience of this but in official matters its usually a good idea to get some facts in writing. Dates, names etc. And send them recorded delivery ASAP. Can a DD run to the post office for you tomorrow? Get the process started while you gather support from GP etc. Good luck. Bloody ATOS want stringing up.

ettiketti Sun 11-Nov-12 08:19:29

Stratters, I can't offer legal advice, but we don't live too far apart iirc and I'd be more than happy to offer you support and friendship. Honestly mean that.

Anxiety and depression are crippling, I suffered for 16 years. Please please let me help if I can xx

So sorry Stratters, I have nothing to offer but a hand to hold and some empathy as ATOS moved me to the WRG and I have what sounds like a very similar illness. I am waiting the result of the tribunal. The DWP are supporting my appeal but the government just wants to get the figures down sad

MerlotforOne Sun 11-Nov-12 09:03:47

Sorry to hear you are going through this, bloody ATOS has a lot to answer for angry.

Your GP can still provide you with a sick note either a) for a different condition (eg if you were previously on the sick with 'depression' they could change it to 'anxiety and agoraphobia') or b) for a worsening of your original condition ('severe depression'). This is the case even if this appeal decision stands, and basically resets the whole process to the beginning - which is not as good as winning an appeal and having the whole thing go away, but would at least buy you some breathing space.

If your GP is on side, this should not be a problem. If they aren't, try seeing a different Dr at the practice - the receptionists should be able to tell you who to see if you want someone gentle and sympathetic.

CinnabarRed Sun 11-Nov-12 09:07:25

Have you tried posting in the Legal or Employment sections? Happy to repost for you if not.


I don't have any practical advice to add but am thinking if you.


JuliaScurr Sun 11-Nov-12 09:19:59

Keith Ordinary Guy

My sister has been Atos-ed and has sent the appeal forms off but has no access to advocacy or doesn't know of any in West London where she lives. CAB are down to handing out leaflets. Can anyone give offer any advice on where she can go or to whom? Thank you. Keith.

Like · · Follow post · Friday at 16:43 near Bath, England

Hermann St.John likes this..

View all 25 comments..

Commonly Known As Maglite

Disability & Benefits Support - Don't Go Alone. (Formerly Support & Escort)

Support & accompaniment to WCA appointments

557 members · Join Group

Friday at 18:21 · Like · 1..

Mark Giblin Keith, get her to speak to the law society in her area and seek out a solicitors that does welfare benefits claims and appeals. They should still qualify under the legal aid scheme.

Friday at 18:22 · Like · 1..

Commonly Known As Maglite that ^^^^^^^ group will go with someone so they dont have to go alone ,,, THIS group below has welfare advisors to fill forms in DO not fill forms in yourself


that's not copied at all well, but hopefully still helpful

JuliaScurr Sun 11-Nov-12 09:21:46

^ from fb Disabled People against the Cuts

So sorry to hear you're going through this. There's a Facebook page and possibly a website as well called 'atos miracles' (so named because they can seemingly 'cure' disabled people...).

Sorry, posted too early. Lots of advice on there about tribunals, complaining, etc. good luck x

Stratters, have sent PM. No need to respond, just wanted to say a couple of things smile

Pinot Sun 11-Nov-12 12:49:55

Oh my god, Stratters, darling. Darling, darling.

Come to FB lair xx

Just thought of something that may be of use!

DWP told me to contact my local MP, they have more power to intervene so maybe you could look into calling him/ her?

TobyLerone Sun 11-Nov-12 14:21:16

Just handholding from me. I know nothing about any of this. My mum is a psych nurse, though, and if there's anything I can ask her on your behalf, let me know.

BeerTricksPott3r Sun 11-Nov-12 14:30:57

Lovely, lovely Stratts, I'm so sorry things are this bad for you.

You know where I am if there is anything at all I can do. xx

ChooChooLaverne Sun 11-Nov-12 14:44:07

You poor thing. I know you don't know me from Adam, but I really feel for you.

I know nothing about ATOS which sounds absolutely shit so I can't give any advice on that.

But I do know about anxiety and I just wanted to let you know that you do have hope and you can get better, even if everything seems hopeless at the moment.

RudolphUcker Sun 11-Nov-12 14:51:25

Stratts, come and chat on the FA lovely. I have very little in the way of knowledge for this thread, but I can hold hands there.

Teabagtights Sun 11-Nov-12 14:51:35

Appeal again if you can.

When you go to these appointments insist on seeing a doctor only not a nurse practitioner. I refused to see one after they said I was fit to work with the same illness you have. I appealed though and won.

The points they listed you got no points for or low points list them write your account of how things actually are against them.

When you go for these appointments make it your worse day ever go in your pjs, fiddle with your keys, don't make eye contact, don't brush your hair, whatever they ask give worse case scenario even if its a good day.

I never went out other than to walk my dog for three years. It's partial agoraphobia.

Never admit you bath or brush your teeth. Say the kids eat out the microwave.

I know it's hard I've been there, I'm sorry this happened to you.

BetsyBlingtastic Sun 11-Nov-12 14:57:43

Does your household insurance offer free legal advice over the phone?

Hope you get this sorted out soon. xx

puds11 Sun 11-Nov-12 14:59:43

Hi stratters, i'm so sorry your going through this (((hugs)))

Have you thought of re posting this in mental health as well? Ive had some good advice there.

Remember you are not alone smile

RudolphUcker Sun 11-Nov-12 15:01:43

Strattpott, could you start here? Give them a call and see?

Teabagtights Sun 11-Nov-12 15:04:30

I'm sure stratters can now say her condition has worsened. It's been 18 months she can start again it might be the easiest option for her mental health.

SantasStrapOn Sun 11-Nov-12 16:21:05

Hi everyone, thank you for your help, and all your lovely messages, I really don't know what I'd do without Mumsnet.

I'm going to go to my GP tomorrow, I feel so let down, nobody has helped me at all even when I've asked for help. Nobody told me I could ask to be re-assessed by a doctor, nobody told me I could get a professional to represent me. I've just been left to flounder in the dark, and being me I've hidden my head in the sand and not coped with it at all.

The fucking idiot who assessed me actually told me I needed Lithium, or similar. And then proceeded to say I had nothing wrong with me. I did have points, I had 12 I think, and I think I need 16.

It's ridiculous, it's actually making me so much worse, I can cope day to day just fine provided I can stay in my little Strattersbubble and don't have shit like this flung at me. I wish there was a way to fight ATOS themselves, someone needs to start a campaign against them. sad

SantasStrapOn Sun 11-Nov-12 16:21:54

Oh and Umbridge, the Mouldies thread doesn't matter whatsoever. If I wanted to hide, my lovely, I wouldn't put photos on my profile. Please don't feel bad.

Pancakeflipper Sun 11-Nov-12 16:39:22

I am just another one holding my hand out. Cannot help but I know anxiety is mentally and physically crippling. Don't look at the full big picture. Just start chipping away at it daily. I know it's hard to be proactive but perhaps a plan of action might help you to focus so your mind doesn't get fuzzy with panic?

Pleased you are seeing the GP tomorrow. No more trying to put a brave face on it. They need to see how badly you are suffering.

Hand holding, butter dishes and matching aprons.

BeerTricksPott3r Sun 11-Nov-12 16:39:36

There were some protests earlier this year Stratters.

Mind have an ongoing campaign. If you don't feel up to joining in it helps to know that others are experiencing discrimination and fuck-ups and that people do care about what is going on.

BoffinMum Sun 11-Nov-12 17:16:21

One thing I did when the NHS messed up was to create a grid and list each date, contact name and error, along with each consequence. I them sent it to my MP as well as the hospital complaints people. Stuff happened behind the scenes very rapidly after that. Worth a try?

Concentrateonthegood Sun 11-Nov-12 17:33:11

Stratters, I can't believe what I read. I dip in and out of threads and always enjoyed reading your wit and commentary without realising that you have a personal hell. Like others, I've no practical advice for you but just wanted to send support and hope you get the real life support that you need. Best wishes to you.

TheEyesHaveIt Sun 11-Nov-12 17:38:08

Does your local Council have a Welfare Rights worker? If so contact them, they are highly successful in getting these decisions overturned on appeal. I really feel for you, I am awaiting a verdict on my assessment and feeling the pressure. Stress like this makes my medical condition worse. If this is the case for you too then don't forget to labour this point with your GP and any other health professional. I second contacting your MP.

rhondajean Sun 11-Nov-12 17:45:39

Jeez stratters I had no idea, you are one of the people I love to read posting on here, you cheer me up so much and I am so sorry you have been going through this alone.

I can't do much to help but...

One of my best friends is a welfare rights officer and if you need any questions answered about the system, how it works, what is the best thing to do etc, just say, she's brilliant at her job and knows it all back to front and she can advise on the best thing for you to do.

RandallPinkFloyd Sun 11-Nov-12 17:50:27

I'm so sorry Stratters.

Depression is totally, utterly shit.

I can't help unfortunately as I have no knowledge of the system at all.

Just wanted to add another voice of support and another hand to hold thanks

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Sun 11-Nov-12 18:02:47

Big hugs, Stratters. xxx

5madthings Sun 11-Nov-12 18:14:02

What a pile of shit! How can they hold your appeal without telling you?!!

I have no advice but am thinking of you, i do know that my friend was being sent to atos but his gp and consultant wrote to them saying he will never be fit for work (mh issues, broken back causing ongoing problems and cronnes disease) he then got a letter from atos saying case closed and he would continue to get his benefitd.

SantasStrapOn Sun 11-Nov-12 20:49:45

I need more help please. I need to make a plan of action of who to contact, and what questions to ask them/what to say to them.

Starting with my GP tomorrow. And I'll speak to my old psychiatrist, I saw him in the summer after the shit hit the fan with my bloody family.

rhondajean Sun 11-Nov-12 20:52:26

My friend is off work tomorrow stratters. I'll email her with as much info as I can and hopefully she will get back to me with some answers on Tuesday. I should say we are in Scotland so some of the landscape re support agencies will be different but the benefits stuff is obviously the same.

Chin up girl.

SantasStrapOn Sun 11-Nov-12 20:57:28

God thank you rhonda, you don't know just how grateful for you all I am.

formallyknownasloveydarling Sun 11-Nov-12 21:02:36

I am really sorry that I have nothing to say that will help you sort this situation out.

I feel I need to tell you this though:

When I read your posts on MN, you seem to be witty, perceptive, clever, caring and loved. You are at the top of the MN hierarchy.

There is no way this can be a false persona; you are really like this, I am certain of it.

Maybe you could remind yourself of this in RL.

Would you like to tell us where you live in case anyone can offer RL help?

How are your DCs coping?

I am shocked and sorry for what you are going through.

Love to you

SantasStrapOn Sun 11-Nov-12 21:09:47

No, that is me. I try and be nice, I get angry when I see someone trolling or being treated unfairly, I'm kind to small children and animals, and most of the time I seem relatively normal and ordinary.

I just have this hideous black cloud that lives above me. Probably stems from an utterly shit childhood, and being shat on from great heights rather a lot. I know I'm vulnerable, deep down I want everyone to be lovely and trustworthy, but I know it's impossible rubbish.

Thank you for the love, I can't stress how much you all mean to me, it's ridiculous but sometimes I feel like you're all I have apart from the DDs and the animals.

The DC cope well, they know I suffer from depression, but I never ever let them see how bad I hurt. I can't. I don't want their childhood to be anything like mine. Mine was ruined by selfish, uncaring parents who doted on my sister and used me as a mental punchbag. I want my DDs to know nothing like the sadness or despair I felt as a child. So I hide everything from them.

Selks Sun 11-Nov-12 21:13:01

I'd put on your plan to phone CAB as a start maybe?

SantasStrapOn Sun 11-Nov-12 21:14:59


Ring CAB. And my old psych. And make an appointment to see my GP. Should I ask him why he hasn't offered to help?

Selks Sun 11-Nov-12 21:15:04

Have messaged you Stratters

Kethryveris Sun 11-Nov-12 21:18:16

one point of contact might be your local mp.. write an email, explain everything and send it to him/her asking for some help!

Atos are arseholes.. my friend is ex-police, he's lost his leg to diabetes.. he lost his benefits because apparently despite a hip replacement and having a below the knee amputation he's not disabled enough to get benefits. confused

domesticgodless Sun 11-Nov-12 21:22:28

ATOS are taxpayer-funded bullies of the sick and disabled. The tactics of Stratters' 'health care professional' are typical. Outright lies, minimisation and obfuscation in order to shove as many people off the incapacity rolls as possible.

They have blood on their hands.There's a suicide list on several blogs of people driven to kill themselves by their shit.

It should be a national scandal. Not getting at anyone on here but people just don't know what is going on in the country. If they did there would have beena lot more people marching on Oct 20th.

Sorry Stratters for ranting. The advice re getting the CAB and Welfare Rigths officer involved is spot on. Procedurally the issue of the appeal going ahead in your absence (!!) is utter crap and must invalidate the whole thing. You need to lobby the job centre (and you will need to LOBBY and nag, make yourself a pain in the ass or they will just ignore you and hope you go away) regarding this clear error.

I am researcher in this area and I can tell you that what has just happened to you is illegal- but lack knowledge of actually how to navigate the appeals process right now to get your benefits reinstated- so a bit useless sorry :/ however there are multiple blogs and sites out there for fellow sufferers which will support you and point you in the right direction.

Try googling Black Triangle Campaign, ATOS miracles on FB, DWP examination. Write to your local paper and other victims in your area will get in touch with you.

Are you in my area (London?) Can I help you with anything? Please do PM. I suffer from bipolar and premenstrual dysphoric disorder myself and I know how shit it gets. I manage to work but I am well aware that this may not last.


domesticgodless Sun 11-Nov-12 21:23:33

Also next time you must take a representative in to the assessment with you and record it. you have a legal right to this, which they will try to bully you out of.

SantasStrapOn Sun 11-Nov-12 21:28:42

No, I'm in Lincolnshire, but thank you.

I did wonder how they could go ahead with the appeal thing without even telling me it was happening. I was told it wouldn't be for another year, so I was expecting to see my counsellor a lot prior to asking her to write a letter of support. Same for my old psych, I'd already seen him in the summer, told him about it, and was going to see him a couple more times and then get a letter.

I can't afford to seem him more often, he's private only and I simply don't have £375 spare every month. Otherwise I'd practically live there, he's a fantastic person and one of the few I trust.

CinnabarRed Mon 12-Nov-12 08:17:42

Thing is. You may have depression. You may have cruel anxiety. You may have a toxic family.

But you also have the best Christmas name ever.

And you have us.

Thumbwitch Mon 12-Nov-12 09:06:30

<likes> Cinnabar's post.

hildebrandisgettinghappier Mon 12-Nov-12 10:26:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 12-Nov-12 11:49:41

Stratters sad

If I can help in any way, say the word.

BumpInTheNightFuglies Mon 12-Nov-12 11:58:52

Stratters, I think I may live near you. I'll PM you.

Thistledew Mon 12-Nov-12 12:04:43

Contact the Free Representation Unit. They can advise and represent you about benefit appeals for free.

flyoverthegoldenhill Mon 12-Nov-12 12:20:46

Stratters my heart is breaking for you, I am another person that you yes you darling make smile. You had me laughing with your staple gun thread. My relative had to go through ATOS - it is shitty shite crap bollocks. I think maybe we should all look at the Mind campaign. Good luck with appealing, you are in my thoughts thanks

DreamingofSummer Mon 12-Nov-12 12:31:09


First of all - Cyber hugs
Second - write to your MP
Third - write to the tribunal saying you weren't informed. They won't do anything but this gets it on record
Fourth - there's plenty of excellent advice on this thread. Get stuck into them
Fifth - get angry!

rhondajean Mon 12-Nov-12 14:19:27

Grr last post didn't work . I'm about to email friend. Could you confirm what appeal was for. I'm assuming dla? But could be wrong.

No rush stratters she's not in office to collect email til tomorrow and pm me if you want x

SantasStrapOn Mon 12-Nov-12 14:45:20

Hi rhonda, I really appreciate this, it was for old style Incapacity Benefit, I got the higher level, if that's relevant.

GP appointment on Thursday morning <gulp>

NicholasTeakozy Mon 12-Nov-12 15:53:25

Hello luffly Stratters, I echo those that say look up Black Triangle and DPAC. Also, if you're on the Twitters follow @suey2y to get advice from her (the wonderful Sue Marsh).

Sorry I can't help more. sad

rhondajean Mon 12-Nov-12 16:27:45

Email sent. I should be able to let you know her advice tomorrow.

Be careful with that staple gun. I once stapled my thumbs together, and that was just with a stapler grin

Pancakeflipper Mon 12-Nov-12 17:06:32

You will be fine on Thurs Stratters, might be worth writing down ( use this thread) what you want to cover with the GP. So if you get there, sit down and get mind blank then you can hand over a sheet of paper for them to read.

SantasStrapOn Mon 12-Nov-12 17:29:13

Thank you again. I can't believe how fantastic you are all, and so helpful. I feel a lot better today, found a tiny bit of my fight hiding under the sofa. smile

flyoverthegoldenhill Mon 12-Nov-12 17:52:30

right Stratters now staple it to your arse smile

SantasStrapOn Mon 12-Nov-12 18:26:30

Stapled it to my forehead.

<bumps into wall>

flyoverthegoldenhill Mon 12-Nov-12 18:39:00

there was a reason I said arse grin

rhondajean Mon 12-Nov-12 19:54:59

Stratters my lovely pal has got right back to me even though she's not in the office.

She hays you need to write straight away to the tribunal firstly and request a set aside. She has offered to email me a draft letter tomorrow and if you won't to give me an email address I will send it on to you.

She also says if your GP says your condition has worsened and gives you a sick note you can reapply now for ESA which is the replacement for IB.

Is that any help?

SantasStrapOn Mon 12-Nov-12 20:46:28

Masses! Masses of help, thank you so much, and thank you to your friend too.

When I've won this fight, I'm going to get campaigning, this needs stopping and I might not have had any help prior, but I feel so enabled with Mumsnet behind me.

Will pm you now.

ettiketti Mon 12-Nov-12 21:02:43

I'm so glad some more helpful people could offer proper help smile I'm totally up for real life offer of company/physical help tho. I'm just a bit further up north on the coast(quite literally brrrrrrr) just shout!

SantasStrapOn Mon 12-Nov-12 21:07:43

Thank you etti.

S'cold tonight, and misty. I hate this time of year here, the fog rolls in and it's really creepy.

BumpInTheNightFuglies Mon 12-Nov-12 21:21:36

Not nice, Santa, know what you mean.
<hand> x

ettiketti Mon 12-Nov-12 21:28:27

It is creepy when you can see it creeping across the beach and down the street! I love hearing the fog horns tho!

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Mon 12-Nov-12 21:46:43

I don't have any relevant knowledge but just wanted to offer a manly pat on the back and some wine.

duende Mon 12-Nov-12 22:10:10

Stratters, i love reading your posts, you're funny and clever.. I'm sorry you're going through this shit but it's great to see the power of MN again, you'll get through it!

Thumbwitch Mon 12-Nov-12 22:32:45

Just wanted to offer Rhonda thanks for being such a superstar with help for Stratters. And wine.

rhondajean Mon 12-Nov-12 22:45:37

Aww thank you - thoroughly undeserved though! It's all my lovely friend - I'm just passing on info.

Thumbwitch Mon 12-Nov-12 22:49:44

Not at all, Rhonda - you have taken the trouble to contact your friend and do the necessary info passing - well deserved, I'd say. smile Have another one! thanks

Teabagtights Mon 12-Nov-12 22:54:45

Glad you are feeling more up beat today. I did pm you and tell you you could reapply as it was 18 months since you went to atos.

perfumedlife Mon 12-Nov-12 22:58:26

Stratters I can't help with the ATOSers situation but I want you to have a read of some of the links below. If you are on thyroxine, there's a massive chance your aggrophobia, anxiety and depression are a result of how shitty that medicine really is. I'm sure your GP will tell you your levels are normal but that means diddly I'm afraid. I've been where you are. If you are seeing your GP tomorrow, do me a favour and get a print out of your most recent blood results (thyroid) with the reference ranges. You are entitled to a copy, or to jot them down off the screen. x

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 12-Nov-12 23:01:08

stratters i had no idea. best of luck with the appeal etc and also giving you a gentle punch on the arm and proffers wine

you will get through this.

BelleDameSousMistletoe Mon 12-Nov-12 23:09:46

Lots of hugs, Stratters...

Also, re the Citalopram, may be worth considering Cipralex as it has fewer side effects.

BastardSpiders Mon 12-Nov-12 23:18:15

I fucking hate ATOS. angry I honestly believe that their aim is to try and ensure that as few people as possible receive incapacity benefits.

I know someone who has very severe and complex mental illnesses, and who therefore struggles even to get through the day without harming herself or worse. She has been sectioned several times and is on some pretty heavy meds, but was initially deemed fit for work!! She won on appeal but had a real fight on her hands to do so. angry

How DARE they hold your appeal without even informing you!! Is that even legal?

I am going to fire off another letter to my MP about my disgust over all of this.

Good luck OP.

flyoverthegoldenhill Mon 12-Nov-12 23:34:28

Bastard yy to ATOS are shit - how is this for ironic I know one person who is falsely claiming one of these benefits, and they said he was too ill to work what the fuck ?

Teabagtights Mon 12-Nov-12 23:34:45

Thyroxine makes your levels normal if you take it. If you need it you have to take it it's not a choice drug, hence the reason you take it you pay no prescription charges as its a life saving drug.

What's the option? Death

Giglet Mon 12-Nov-12 23:45:18

Just to say, as has been said so many times already on this thread,, Stratters, you are a light on MN.

Keep hold of the love and affection for you here. I truly hope it helps.

maras2 Mon 12-Nov-12 23:54:07

All the best from me Stratters.ATOS are a bunch of bastards.You have been such help to many people,now let the Mnetters in the know help you.Good luck.

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Mon 12-Nov-12 23:59:28

Hello lovely
I hope you've had a better day today. Big hugs xxx

perfumedlife Tue 13-Nov-12 00:57:57

Hi Teabagtights I don't mean don't take it, I mean, just because it makes your levels normal, doesn't mean it makes you well. The problem is with the levels set, the 'normal' range is too wide, so when the GP says your bloods are normal, it's not your thyroid, it's usually wrong. Either loads of people with thyroid disease just co-incidentally have fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue/me with depression, anxiety etc or there is a link. The fibro/CFS illnesses didn't exist until after the new thyroid TSH test was introduced as the gold standard. Loads of thyroid patients either need much higher doses of it or an active form of the drug called T3.

Chubfuddler Tue 13-Nov-12 01:29:15

Massive hugs for you stratters. You are one of MN's diamonds. There has clearly been a massive fuck up here, it will get sorted. I second contacting your MP.

ThePlEWhoLovedMe Tue 13-Nov-12 08:11:56

Have you ever used the site No more Panic? It has a chat room and good threads about ATOS.
It is shit isn't it


BoffinMum Tue 13-Nov-12 08:31:20

An aside - I had dealings with the Job Centre Plus Access to Work people recently and they are the polar opposite to ATOS. Plenty of money and TLC there. It was like having a kind auntie sort out all my work related issues at once. So if you are tempted to try out balancing any kind of disability with a bit of work, even home based stuff for half a day a week, then make sure you talk to them, as you might find doors opening on that front where beforehand they seemed firmly slammed shut.

knittedslippersx3 Tue 13-Nov-12 08:55:56

Hey, I'm more of a lurker than a poster! When I have posted the support has been amazing. I can't offer any help as I am clueless about this stuff. But I can get angry on your behalf and just wanted to post my support.

BOFingSanta Tue 13-Nov-12 12:16:28

Good luck with it, my lovely. I don't know much about it, but I want to join everyone else to say how brave and wonderful you are, and you know where I am if you ever need to offload. Big love.

SantasStrapOn Tue 13-Nov-12 16:02:36

Thank you everyone for your kind words, you have no idea how much they mean to me right now.

I have checked the timeline, my assessment was made by a Registered Physiotherapist on 1st April 2012 (you couldn't make that one up) sad

I received notice of their decision on 17th May 2012 and immediately responded.

I then got a copy of the appeal papers on 7th September 2012, shortly followed by a letter from the Tribunal Service on 13th September 2012 asking me if I still wanted to go ahead with the appeal. I was given 14 days to respond. I responded within a week. The letter states that I will be given 14 days notice of the hearing.

I received NO further communication from the whatsoever. The tribunal was heard on the 9th November, and I was informed of the decision in a letter dated the same day.

I spoke to my therapist this morning. She was about as much use as a chocolate teapot, and tried to carry on with the session despite me being very distressed.

Chubfuddler Tue 13-Nov-12 16:20:34

Oh stratters. Email your mp if you don't feel up to a phone call. It's probably better to put it in writing anyway - create a paper trail.

ThatVikRinA22 Tue 13-Nov-12 16:21:08

so have you asked what happens now given the fact you did not get notification of the date of appeal stratters?

you need to find an advocate who knows what they are doing, there must be some recourse given that you did not even know about the appeal.

i would say the CAB could point you in the right direction. You could phone them if you can get through, where abouts are you in the country?

SantasStrapOn Tue 13-Nov-12 16:42:23

<hollow laugh>

My MP is Sir Peter Tapsall. He's all in favour of this bloody shambles. sad

I've just spoken to my old divorce solicitor, who was v helpful. She's told me that I will qualify for legal aid, and she's going to dig around for a specialist solicitor and pass their details on to me. I've tried CAB, there's a number on the website given for my area, when I ring it it simply says that the service is not available in my area.

ThatVikRinA22 Tue 13-Nov-12 16:49:42

oh sodding great. I wouldnt bother with the MP then, go straight for the legal advice.

havent needed the CAB for a while but i know here its got very restricted opening times due to lack of funding angry

hope you get somewhere with some decent legal advice stratters.
Has the letter from the appeals process explained what happens next?

SantasStrapOn Tue 13-Nov-12 16:56:39

Yep, I have to challenge them on a point of law, ie that they've not followed the guidelines. Which they haven't.

The MP thing is laughable. Almost as laughable as realising the sodding assessment was held on April Fools Day.

Thistledew Tue 13-Nov-12 16:58:19

Please do try the Free Representation Unit I linked to earlier if you cannot get a solicitor local to you. They really do know their stuff, and will take on and carry out all the work on your case.

SantasStrapOn Tue 13-Nov-12 17:02:45

Thanks Thistle, that would be helpful, I'll give them a ring in the morning smile

beachyhead Tue 13-Nov-12 17:04:18

Hand holding here from me.... I think I would follow up with a paper trail, if you feel able, or have someone draft a letter citing a failure in their procedures, as you weren't notified correctly. Ask them for written evidence of their notification...

I guess the first thing is to get that decision put to one side, so then you can concentrate on getting relevant gp reports, psychologist reports etc to support your new assessment of a worsening condition.

And stay here and talk to us...we luff you wink

ThatVikRinA22 Tue 13-Nov-12 17:04:24

i cannot believe that you cant get advice from CAB! ive just spent 10 minutes on the MIND website following link to link to link to find a local one to you stratters - phoned the number to get a recorded message with fuck all useful information.

how the hell are people meant to find any help with anything!??!

BoffinMum Tue 13-Nov-12 17:07:39

I'd contact the MP anyway, as he is there to represent you, not himself and his own views.

It's clear from the ATOS timeline that they forgot to send you a letter about the appeal and as such it was an error on their part, so hopefully that will work in your favour.

SantasStrapOn Tue 13-Nov-12 17:11:43

Ridiculous isn't it Vicar. Like chasing your own tail.

I am starting to feel vengeful, and I'm not liking the feeling, I'm not like that and I want it to go away.

ike1 Tue 13-Nov-12 17:14:11

It would probs be worth giving CAB a call anyway to let them know about your experience. I am pretty sure they would be interested from a social policy angle.

ike1 Tue 13-Nov-12 17:15:46

I may be wrong but I think the ATOS assessors are given financial incentives to fail people.

BastardSpiders Tue 13-Nov-12 17:35:49

The solicitor sounds like a good, positive step to getting this all sorted out.

I would contact the MP too. It is his duty to do what he can to help you, whether he likes it or not.

My MP is also a fusty old Tory, and has tried to fob me off with the party line. I pointed out to him that he was there for the benefit of his constituants - not to be a puppet of Cameron and Co. I also told him that if he continued to refuse to help his constituants than I would be left with no option but to write to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

I am probably his least favourite constituant, but he does at least write more helpful replies these days and then fobs you off.

Can you talk to your GP about all of this?

There is also Open Minds in Grimsby which might be worth contacting.

NicholasTeakozy Tue 13-Nov-12 18:09:46

This any use to you Stratters?. I'll have another dig to see if there's something more relevant to your situation.

ike1 Tue 13-Nov-12 18:21:16

Just read Vicars post. Try 08444 772020. That is the CAB advice gateway service for Wales but they will be able to give you a good signpost service or get you an app with bureau close to you in England if needed.x

NicholasTeakozy Tue 13-Nov-12 18:30:21

Short video on appealing failed WCA.

SantasStrapOn Tue 13-Nov-12 18:38:21

Thank you all. I think I'm going to be busy tomorrow!

queenrollo Tue 13-Nov-12 19:04:26

Stick the kettle on Stratters i'm going to knock on every door in your town until I find where you live....

have pm'd you to see if I can help.

SantasStrapOn Tue 13-Nov-12 19:13:12

R&R queen.

Can I just say, I'm overwhelmed at the amount of help, support, and just sheer bloody kindness and love that has poured into my inbox. I can't believe how wonderful you all are, you've made me feel so much better, honestly you really have.

After this is all over, my life's mission is to re-educate anyone who thinks Mumsnetters are a vipers in a nest/the work of the devil/other such rubbish. They're not, you're all amazing, and I love you all very, very much.

PixieHot Tue 13-Nov-12 19:15:14


PixieHot Tue 13-Nov-12 19:28:47

Sorry Stratters, that was DS. His advice is rubbish grin (he's only 2).

I wasn't going to post as I think lots of people are already giving you great advice. But now that DS has forced my hand, I just wanted to say that I'm really sorry that you're going through all of this. Good luck with everything, don't be afraid to keep asking for help here and in RL smile.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Tue 13-Nov-12 19:38:47

Are you calling the Adviceline number for cab? 08444 111 444?
It's not available in every area yet, but they claim to be operational in Lincs - I think that's where you are?
If this is the number where you're drawing a blank, I suggest calling any reasonably local bureau and briefly telling them your problem - ask for the right number if they say you're out of area. If you get an answer machine, leave a message - someone listens several times a day and people are allocated to do callbacks.

If you want to pm me your location, I'll dig around and try and find a number to call.

queenrollo Tue 13-Nov-12 19:42:19

shotgun I'm local to stratters and have pm'd her the relevant info because I know how to get it <<taps side of nose>>

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Tue 13-Nov-12 19:54:29

Excellent work Watson grin.

ThatVikRinA22 Tue 13-Nov-12 21:28:52

im glad someone could cos i was drawing a big fat blank.....disgusted with the CAB useless bloody info on the glad people are finding more constructive ways to help because mine consisted of moaning alot! (as is the theme with me lately!)

rhondajean Tue 13-Nov-12 22:35:14

Stratters I have pmed you tonight and will email from work at some point tomorrow grin

SantasStrapOn Tue 13-Nov-12 22:44:43

Got it now, thank you rhonda thanks

rhondajean Tue 13-Nov-12 22:50:28

Sorry about the delay.

ThePathanKhansWitch Tue 13-Nov-12 22:53:06

Oh Sarah, just a big love to you.

I wish i had practical help with your appeal.
Keep going with it, if your in midlands/bham, I know a great Welfare rights guy.

So the barn burned down, now we can the moon.
I have no doubt you'll fight, i love your
posts, made me laugh so many times when there wasn't a laugh in me.


ThePathanKhansWitch Tue 13-Nov-12 22:56:57

SEE, see the moon.
<sorry stratters can,t do the wise and sage one without fluffing it grin.>

flyoverthegoldenhill Tue 13-Nov-12 23:20:15

<waves to stratters> just letting you know I'm still thinking of you x

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Wed 14-Nov-12 01:45:00

Sarah, you touch people's hearts. You have a very comforting way about you. And now they want to comfort you and look after your heart.
If this outpouring of help from mumnetters has surprised you, I hope it has the effect that, when all these practicalities are sorted, you feel able to allow people to be your friends.
In real life, face to face.
I know you've been treated hideously by people who should have treasured you.
But look at the love and loyalty and concern that you have inspired here.
It's so much better with eye contact and warm squidgy flesh. x

SantasStrapOn Wed 14-Nov-12 01:52:44

Thank you smile Again. I honestly don't feel like I can possibly tell you all just how much it means to me. And yes, you're right Bewitched, it does make me feel like there could be a way out. I so desperately want to get back to how I used to feel, I look at myself in the mirror sometimes and wonder where the fun, gregarious person went, the one that was always up for a party and having fun. I've never been good at having close friends, but I do still harbour a want for friends, company, being able to at least trust people a bit.

I hope I do feel a lot better once the stress of this is over, I know that I've gone downhill massively since this all started, the strain it places on you is simply awful.

I do love you all, and your help, cyberhugs and stuff are helping an awful lot. thanks

PS sorry for the mush.

Fiderer Wed 14-Nov-12 08:29:02

Oh Stratters, you lovely mush, have just seen this. Am rubbish with practical advice here in ForrinLand but am sending you hugs and more mushy squeezy things than you ever thought possible.

You will look in that mirror again and see yourself because the person you are is still there. Weighed down now but not out for the count. Loveliness always wins™

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Wed 14-Nov-12 09:03:18

Mush is good grin.

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Wed 14-Nov-12 20:00:27

We luffs you too Stratters. You are awesome. xxx

rhondajean Wed 14-Nov-12 20:25:39

Stratters just let me know if you want to take my friend up on her other offer, any time. Xx

SantasStrapOn Wed 14-Nov-12 21:04:49

Will do, thank you rhonda.

I think I've replied to everyone, I hope I have I appreciate each and every message so much. You've all been great, and it has helped me so much.

Off to the GP in the morning. smile

flyoverthegoldenhill Wed 14-Nov-12 22:44:07

Stratters - good luck for tomorrow darling wine thanks

RandallPinkFloyd Wed 14-Nov-12 23:04:15

Just wanted to pop back on as I remembered you saying you had an appointment tomorrow.

Glad the ol' vipers have been able to give you so much good advice.

Good luck for tomorrow, I'll be thinking of you. thanks

(hope your DD is enjoying being back in school)

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Wed 14-Nov-12 23:15:20

Stratters, I am going to see if I can think of anywhere that may be able to help with the failed WCA shite, but I'm inundated myself right now, so it'll be at least tomorrow afternoon before I get a chance to post anything I find out on the thread.

Just wanted to let you know that I will have a pootle around, I might have some names and stuff in a notebook somewhere <<vague>> that might be helpful.

I am here listening, and if you need to rant about the crappity crappness of the WCA for MH issues and variable conditions, I'm willing to join you! grin

SantasStrapOn Thu 15-Nov-12 10:41:36

Thank you everyone for the positive thoughts, etc.

I have had some fantastic help on here, been given a draft letter to the Tribunal Service, and have been given help sorting out with the CAB. I can't tell you how much I appreciate and how thankful I am to you all for your love, kindness, and help.

THose of you who've supplied practical help - I couldn't do this without you, and I thank you SO much for everything you've done.

I have a home visit booked for the 29th, with the CAB specialist. I am feeling so much more positive about this now.

Thank you, love you thanks

SantasStrapOn Thu 15-Nov-12 10:42:22

Oh and Couthy, they are a bunch of atrocious cunts, I shall never vote Tory again as long as I live.

flyoverthegoldenhill Thu 15-Nov-12 15:20:42

Stratters my dear you know they are not cunts .......they do not have the warmth or depth grin
<I know, I stole it from the boards>

SantasStrapOn Thu 15-Nov-12 17:02:21

This is very true. grin

flyoverthegoldenhill Thu 15-Nov-12 21:31:18

I hope today went well thanks

Selks Thu 15-Nov-12 21:41:16

So glad to hear your update Stratters, that you got to the docs today (hope that went well) and that you have a home visit booked from CAB. Very well done for those things. One footstep forwards after the next, etc, then before long you will have walked a mile. x

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 23:34:52

Sorry I haven't had a chance to look at my notebooks today, I will get to it tomorrow, I've just had a shitty day of mega proportions myself today. I'm sure that I have two names that might be helpful wrt the WCA appeal though.

amillionyears Thu 15-Nov-12 23:43:36

Only just seen this thread.
Glad you are getting some help and support.
Best wishes Stratters.

Selks Sat 17-Nov-12 19:06:52

Hi Stratters, how're you doing?

I saw this link and thought of you. I can't fathom the detail but possibly it may be of some help - how to gaqin exemption from Atos decisions

Selks Sat 17-Nov-12 19:07:10

agh - GAIN

ccarpenton Sat 17-Nov-12 22:06:11

Hopefully your Psychiatrist will be able to help. The information in your original post wasn't nearly as shocking as what was glaringly missing.

Listen very carefully to your Psychiatrist and be open to their suggestions. Try to ask him/her what you can be doing to improve your situation.

Please, please listen.

SantasStrapOn Sat 17-Nov-12 23:25:17

Thanks everyone.

What do you mean ccarp? What is missing?

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Sat 17-Nov-12 23:38:41

Hello lovely Stratters

Glad things are moving on and you're feeling a bit better smile


amillionyears Sun 18-Nov-12 15:55:00

SantasStrapOn, I possibly wouldnt take much notice of ccarp. He/she popped up in the middle of another thread in relationships, with a lot less than helpful advice to the op on that thread.

SantasStrapOn Sun 18-Nov-12 16:22:06

Thank amillion, I did PM them, but didn't get a response. That helps a lot, I've been worrying about what they meant, and appreciate your post ;)

SantasStrapOn Sun 18-Nov-12 16:22:38

That was supposed to be a smile

ccarpenton Mon 19-Nov-12 20:48:06

"SantasStrapOn, I possibly wouldnt take much notice of ccarp. He/she popped up in the middle of another thread in relationships, with a lot less than helpful advice to the op on that thread."

It's "she". I think I know the other thread to which you are referring, because it was the only one where I wasn't trying to help. That woman was being a martyr. SantasStrapOn is not.

Got your PM S.S.O. and have responded - all the best.

Claire X

SantasStrapOn Mon 19-Nov-12 21:39:18

Thank you cc. Can I just say that cc's PM was very helpful, and very thought provoking, and I really appreciate her taking the time to PM me with a response.

amillionyears Mon 19-Nov-12 22:13:17

Fair enough.

MmeLinDude Thu 29-Nov-12 10:55:25

I missed this, but can see that you have been given excellent advice, so I will just add my best wishes and send you all lots of delicious <virtual choc>

SantasStrapOn Thu 29-Nov-12 21:14:36

Thanks Mme.

Saw the CAB specialist today. She confirmed what a lot of you have said, that they have contravened rules by not informing me of the tribunal date, and depriving me of my right to give additional information, etc.

She's writing to them to get the decision overturned. And she's going to help me sort everything out. I feel so much better.

queenrollo Fri 30-Nov-12 10:38:18

I was thinking about you yesterday and wondering how you got on. So pleased that you have someone fighting your side now who knows how to stick it to them smile

SantasStrapOn Fri 30-Nov-12 17:14:49

I know. I felt happy today. Plus a lovely, lovely Mumsnetter sent DD2 a proper crochet hook to use, and 2 balls of gorgeous wool.


School rang. They are arranging home tutoring for her, to tide her over until she's completely well.

Flyagaric Sat 01-Dec-12 21:42:57

Oh I am so glad to read the positive update! Excellent that you have got CAB behind you now and they feel that there is a good chance of things getting sorted out.

Don't know what the situation is re your DD but sounds good about the home tutoring, and lovely that she received some fab wool and a hook grin

ParsingFancy Sat 01-Dec-12 22:05:26

Stratters, little known fact: you can tell ATOS to record the interview and give you one of the tapes. Just request it in the "any other info" box at the end of the long bloody form.

They don't publicise this, and often try to wheedle out of it. If they do refuse, tell Benefits and Work who are trying to compile statistics about ATOS's behaviour.

It's so common to include bits clearly from other people's assessments I think it's actually a software bug. And that's before their outright lies.

Good luck.

ParsingFancy Sat 01-Dec-12 22:10:36

Sorry, should have said, that's if you end up going for another ATOS interview, not for the appeal panel.

DD's making more crochet sperm? shock

SantasStrapOn Sat 01-Dec-12 23:13:15

Not crochet sperm, she's branched out, so to speak. Now she's got a proper crochet hook (thank you so much woollyback), she's going great guns, and the sitting room is covered in purple crochet squares. grin

SarahStratton Thu 13-Dec-12 15:56:45

The judge has ruled that he will not overturn the tribunal's decisioned. Got to ring the CAB specialist tomorrow, but it's really shit.

snowqueenrollo Thu 13-Dec-12 16:14:54

I'm sorry to hear that sarah sad Hopefully the CAB specialist will be able to give some reassurance and a plan of action to move forward with this.

CashmereHoodlum Thu 13-Dec-12 18:07:25

Sorry to hear that. Hope things will be more positive after speaking to the CAB.

TheLightPassenger Thu 13-Dec-12 21:06:05

sorry about the judge stratters.

Selks Thu 13-Dec-12 21:49:22

Oh lord, really sorry to hear that. I hope CAB will be of use tomorrow sad angry

Hassled Thu 13-Dec-12 22:05:49

Stratters - this whole thread had passed me by and I had no idea you were going through such hideous shit. I'm very sorry - you just have to find whatever it takes to keep fighting the good fight.

I worked out that ATOS were fuckers when they ruled that a fomer colleague with bowel cancer was fit for work. They really are the lowest of the low.

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