Monday, 23 April 2012

ATOS and who am I to you?

This is what I have just enclosed with the lengthy forms to ATOS in the hope they will agree I am worthy of ESA. I am blogging this in the hope some of you who didn't previously know what we have to go through will get an insight into the process and what it does to us on a personal level...........benefit scroungers?

As you are already aware I have severe Palmer planter Psoriasis (pustular) and pustular Psoriasis in my ears, under my breasts and patches on my legs, I have enclosed pictures of my hands and a letter from a dermatologist who confirms this diagnosis.
I did have this condition when I saw the ATOS assessor two and a half years ago and would like to draw your attention to her summary and prognosis where she states returning to work in the long term is most unlikely.
I also have Psoriatic arthritis which as you can see from the picture of my left hand in particular has now attacked my hands, my left hand is virtually unusable due to the stiffness and swelling and the condition of my skin aggravates that, my right hand whilst not as badly affected yet is already showing signs of going the same way with the knuckles swelling and painful.
Unfortunately this has meant that I am no longer able to use my walking stick to assist me to walk/balance and have to have someone with me at all times to help with even the most basic of needs now like washing, dressing, eating etc.
My husband is now my full time carer.
The arthritis has progressed at a frightening rate and I am taking 8 Tramadol a day just to keep the pain at a manageable level, among my other medications.
My mobility is very poor but I am also unable to remain seated for any length of time as the pain becomes unbearable. It has also just been suggested I may also have temporal arthritis which has led to blurred vision and crippling headaches.
As this disease has now reached this level my GP has judged the severity on a scale of 1-4 to be 4.
My GP is happy to answer any questions you may have or to write a statement regarding my condition.

Coming to terms with this disease has been and continues to be the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
My life has changed beyond recognition from the self assured, independent, professional woman I was up to a few years ago. I studied, qualified and worked as a Dr of Psychology for many years, firstly within organisations and then when I could no longer work out of the home I ran my own private practice from home. My work was a very big part of my life but since this condition has progressed these last few years my concentration has been affected and I am no longer able to be reliable for clients, I also find it impossible to sit for the hourly sessions that are required.
I have had to adapt each time another part of my independence has been eroded, I can no longer drive, I am no longer capable or safe to go out of the home alone. This has caused isolation and depression recently and I have had many discussions with my GP about my emotional well being.
As well as socially my life has changed beyond recognition personally, I am no longer able to cook or prepare food for myself or even a simple cup of tea when I want one, I can not bathe or keep myself clean and need physical help to do this and so my dignity has suffered.
I can not simply decide I wish to do something and be able to do it so have had to come to terms with my daily limitations.
Stress is one thing that aggravates the Psoriasis and the arthritis but life as me is very stressful much of the time as asking for and accepting the constant help of another person/people is very hard, also the constant forms and need to continually prove to yourselves and others that I have actually got what is a recognised medical condition brings the whole sorry process to the front of my mind again and again.
I get very upset very easily, partly due to frustration with myself I suspect and wanted to write this statement to show you that a physical condition also impacts on a persons mental health.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Jane said...

I find it very hard to believe that anyone reading your statement would think for a second you could work.

Indeed you leave nothing to the imagination about just how catastrophic an effect your condition have already had on your life and unfortunately will continue to do so as time goes on.

I wish I could tell you not to worry and that they will place you in the support group of ESA. Sadly the way the criteria have been set up means the obvious becomes clouded.

i truly hope that they make the correct decision. Regardless I will be here to support you as best I can. Take care...

feline9 said...

Well I fail to see how anyone reading your letter could fail to see and understand your situation. But this is ATOS who appear to be more like mechanical folk, unless what you say is on their computer, they do not understand.... Fingers crossed there will be sense and understanding prevailing and you dont have to go through any more of this nightmare xxx