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TOPIC: ESA questions part 2 - Exceptional Circumstances R

ESA questions part 2 - Exceptional Circumstances R 3 months 3 weeks ago #235833

Post 2:
I'm being reassessed for ESA, and my ESA50 is due next Monday. My partners are doing it as my MH is crashing. They're using the guides, but have questions:

Background (possibly distressing: self-harm + suicidal things), long and very personal, skip if not necessary, but I think it's probably germane to the question (at the end).
A protracted battle for PIP in 2017-2018 (won at Tribunal in Sept. 2018!) severely exacerbated my mental illnesses (refractory major depressive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder, and (not yet diagnosed, but I'm working on it) C-PTSD. My anxiety had never been so bad. I developed agoraphobia, stopped being able to talk to people, even my housemates, and shut myself in my room 95% of the time. I spent most of that time in bed. I became completely paralysed by my anxiety, and would sit in bed with my computer, staring at my tribunal submission for hours, doing nothing, or perhaps making a tiny change to the formatting. I could think of little else.
My depression got very severe. For long periods I didn't wash or change my clothes (~10 days at a time - gross), or even eat unless someone brought food and prompted me (often for several days at a time). I lost 28lbs, and I was thin to begin with. I also developed a variety of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. I self-harmed, largely by pulling out hair in various places and biting myself, but also by cutting. I was suicidal for weeks, and made plans to do it. My partners and friends set up a rota so I was regularly accompanied/checked on. (I'm terrified of going into the hospital, so they did everything they could to prevent that). My moods were all over the place at times, and I drank enormous amounts of alcohol (not normal for me). I had insomnia which would last for up to 60 hours, and then I'd collapse and be extremely difficult to wake for 12-18 hours. This happened once or twice a week. I began having dissociative episodes, although I don't know how long they lasted. I also began thinking about past traumatic events obsessively, and became hypervigilant. My counsellor thinks the whole thing re-triggered my C-PTSD. I stopped doing my physio and other treatments, and so much time in bed led to loss of a lot of muscle mass. My chronic pain got much worse.
Very occasionally I'd improve for a bit, and manage a quick trip to the nearby shop, but only rarely. I made it down to London to escape to my partner's house a couple times, but only by taking a lot of diazepam and pain meds, taxiing to the train station, huddling in a seat the whole trip, and taxiing to my partner's house. I simply couldn't make it several other times. I missed 2 pain clinic appointments, several GP appointments, so many group therapy appointments that I was kicked out, and about a third of my counselling appointments, even though I was taxiing there and back. I had some counselling appointments by Skype, although she doesn't usually do that. I basically spent 95% of my time in my room, and about 90% of that time in bed, from November 2017 to May 2019. I was making some progress in May and June - I went to a friend's house and to a restaurant with 4 close friends/partners for my birthday - first social things in 1.5 years. I had a couple of weeks without the 60-hr insomnia attacks. Then the ESA questionnaire arrived.

When I opened the envelope my first thought was, "Do I OD today or wait until I see my partner again to do it?" I hadn't been suicidal for 4 months, so that was a shock. I'm getting worse again. I'm really scared.

Having to go onto UC and go to JC meetings, courses, etc. is my nightmare, and I can't afford to lose the disability premiums. WRAG would be just as bad. A high anxiety day, a severe depressive episode, or a muscle spasm (due to chronic pain/failed spinal surgery; largely-completely immobilise me, extremely painful, last hrs to days, basically take tramadol or oramorph and diazipine, apply heat and TENS, stretch if possible, and wait for it to end) would mean missing a meeting or a course, and I'd get sanctioned. I think the chances of killing myself would be extremely high.

The question, finally: Exceptional Circumstances rule (32, I think). Does it apply to this situation? The threat of UC/WRAG conditionality, and the near-certainty of being sanctioned, as well as the process of ESA, make me a danger to myself, and would definitely worsen my mental and physical health. (Working! Hah! Not even on the cards after the PIP debacle.) Does this make sense? Would I be likely to be put in the SG via Exc. Circs? Any chance of avoiding an assessment?

As you can tell, I'm extremely anxious (seeing counsellor later).

Thanks.

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ESA questions part 2 - Exceptional Circumstances R 3 months 3 weeks ago #235845

Waylay

There are two Exceptional circumstances for ESA, Regulations 29 and 35.

Based on your post I think you would meet 29 as this is about whether you would be at risk of harm if asked to work.

Regulation 35 is about whether you would be at risk of harm if asked to perform Work Related Activity and it is less clear whether you meet the criteria for this. There is information about this in the ESA Claim guide for Mental Health Issues in the section labelled Substantial Risk, there's a list of the WRA that you might be asked to do.

Gordon

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ESA questions part 2 - Exceptional Circumstances R 3 months 3 weeks ago #235846

Hi Gordon,

Thanks for answering! So worsening of mental illnesses and possible suicide if put into the WRAG doesn't get one into the SG? I thought that might be the case. Sigh.

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ESA questions part 2 - Exceptional Circumstances R 3 months 3 weeks ago #235853

Waylay wrote: Hi Gordon,

Thanks for answering! So worsening of mental illnesses and possible suicide if put into the WRAG doesn't get one into the SG? I thought that might be the case. Sigh.


That's not what I said! You need to present your issues in regard to Work Related Activity, at the moment there is no obvious connection.

Gordon
The following user(s) said Thank You: Waylay

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