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Invisible. Friday May 5, 2017

I wish depression had an obvious physical symptom - large bright blue blobs all over your face for instance. I am fed up with people assuming that I am introverted and lazy, with a negative attitude. The reality is the opposite - I am an extrovert, full of energy, very hard working and my glass isn't just half full, it is completely full!

However, I suffer from two illnesses, both of which are invisible and both of which mean that my real self is hidden behind what they impose on me (I have ME/CFS and depression). Unfortunately neither of them have obvious physical signs that everyone can see and therefore unless I tell people, they go unnoticed, with people presuming that what they see is me rather than the illness (we are NOT our illnesses!)

I think that depression would be much more easily accepted and people would see how widespread it is if there was a clear physical sign, hence my big blue blobs suggestion. The first time a child saw someone with these on their face they would say, "What's wrong with them?" and they would be told, "That poor person has depression, so be gentle and kind to them."

There are still so many misunderstandings about depression. I read with annoyance what a doctor called Ellie Cannon wrote in the Mail on Sunday in February. Fearne Cotton has gone public with her depression and this doctor wrote: "Considering her beauty, bubbly persona, huge success, gorgeous family and seemingly shatter-proof confidence, it was a surprise." Implying that good looks, a family and success mean that you won't get depression.

I hate to tell a doctor this, but depression is an illness - anybody can have it, no matter how beautiful! It is attitudes like this that make those of us who have this illness sometimes feel that we should hide it from the world ("What reason do I have to feel unhappy?") and it encourages us to feel guilty ("I must be really ungrateful because I have x, y and z and yet I still feel dreadful...") So not only is it an invisible illness but we try to hide it as well!

With most illnesses you get sympathy and support but I tend to get "What have YOU got to be depressed about?"! Obviously big blue blobs are not going to appear on my face, but I still can't help wishing that they would, along with something to show when the ME/CFS is bad (mind you, I tend to be house-bound by that and nobody sees me so the symptom would have to be that I start involuntarily emitting some weird noise that would make the neighbours come round - how about really ear-piercing whale sounds?!)

What do you think? Do you wish your mental health had a straightforward visible sign to it?

Whatever you think, I hope you are as well as you can be today.

Marmaladegirl
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


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Comments

Molly Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 1:50am

Blimey, just a bit and more. I hope I do not go on too much about this subject, but most people in my life tell me I have everything to live for, so what is wrong with me. My dad once told me, you have arms and legs, you should be grateful, it is all in your head.

Yes it is in my head!! A terrible disease in my head. My husband has a physical illness and he has been judged along the way by some, but that aside, everyone can relate to that, they ask him how he is etc, but they never ask how I am.

Well some do ask how I am, but they want me to say, "fine thanks" because if I say any different, they suddenly disappear.

You see from my experience, why would anyone want someone with depression in their life, and quite honestly, who can blame them ?

The thing that makes me a bit mad, is when something goes right, and then you get "you must be feeling much better now then".

Erm no actually......

Sorry for the rant but it makes my blood boil.

Thanks for the blog x



Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 7:55am

Hi Molly - my reply to you appeared below... MG x

Leah Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 7:17am

Marmalade girl
Thanks for blog. Maybe I am more sceptical than you, maybe after 40 years living with a mental health label I think more than big blue blobs would be needed.
I see people saying- you only have blue bobs why don't you just wipe them off. I have heard if you swim, stay in the sun, take a vitamin supplement you won't suffer from blue blobs.
I don't really think you have blue blobs you might just be cold.
I had blue blobs and I didn't sit on my couch all day.

I have seen many changes in attitudes over 40 years and on the whole attitudes are changing. I am not sure if it just about depression not being visible but about people not understanding how the brain works when it doesn't work.

I am sure other Moodscopers will agree with you and maybe I could try to be more positive but I think things are more complex.
Thanks again.

Leah

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 8:07am

You are so right Leah! Just blue blobs ain't gonna do it... And I hadn't thought as far as people giving their two penn'orth for how to deal with the blue blobs (again, you are right!) I was just pondering on how my illnesses being invisible makes it harder - I'm sure that if I simply had no legs, people would treat me differently - and yet my difficulties are as much as someone who has no legs... My rather simplistic response was to wonder what it would be like if there was something VISIBLE... It's good that you have seen some changes in attitudes over 40 years, but I'm sure we will all agree there is a long way to go. All the best, MG

Lesley Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 6:44pm

MG, well written. I have invisible illnesses and generally look well, although people recently told me how thin and awfully tired I looked. The dark circles had developed under my eyes and in a way that was a visible sign. Yes, I had lost weight from pain and fatigue and the awful darkness of the winter. I have fibromyalgia supposedly (had it for 25 years) but reckon it is a case of long term depression and anxiety (dysthmia) which has caused the daily pain. For my own case my depression has its roots in too much pressure, studying and not enough physical exercise and laughter and SUNSHINE in the teen years. Depression is such a physical illness - it causes major physical symptoms. I am seen as indomitable and joyous by many as well as creative. Times are changing though - Prince Harry and sports stars saying "I have had issues" - some clinical depression others not so severe. My family never mentioned the word "breakdown" or "depression" when I fell from grace and crashed in 1989. It was just not spoken about. I didnt get the treatment I deeply needed to fix the the smithereens I had shattered into. Now I am open. I sing and make sure I don't get too jubilant or the exhaustion sets in afterwards. You are so much more than ME/CFS, and depression. Funny how some of the most vibrant people develop these disabilities. Here's to the future or greater kindness and openness. With love.Lesley

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 9:58pm

Dearest Lesley - Yes, it does seem to be the most vibrant people. Do we burn ourselves out? If that is the case, why does nobody warn us? Cos once you've burst your bubble, it seems (in my experience) impossible to fully get it back. As I wrote my blog, saying that my illnesses were invisible, I was also thinking, "but if you know me well enough, it is written all over me - unhealthily thin, gaunt, sunken eyes, no sparkle in my eyes..." Who needs big blue blobs if it is written so clearly?! I think you and I come from similar families - mine are all stiff upper lip, you're nobody if you're not busy, your worth comes from how much you DO. Sadness is a sin. They step away from me as my pain disturbs them. I can be part of the family on THEIR terms. All alone if I want to do it on mine! How old are you Lesley? I was born in 1964 and I feel like we have lots in common! I wish you health and happiness in the future. Lots of love MG

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 7:20am

Hi Molly - Thank you SO much for your "rant" (don't say sorry - let it all out! Ranting is good!) You totally hit the nail on the head - I have experienced all the points you make (except for the partner with a physical illness) and totally identify with how it makes you feel! Thank you for expressing it so clearly. All the best,
MG xx

Molly Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 4:05pm

Thank you Marmaladegirl (that name is so hard to type!!) I appreciate your response and kind words xx

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 5:32pm

I know - why didn't I choose a sensible name like Molly?! (I was avoiding my real name and that's what I came up with...) That's what I like about Moodscope - full of kind people with lots of kind words! xx MG P.S. Just call me MG!

Molly Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 11:42pm

:-) :-)

Michael Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 7:21am

Thanks for the blog Marmaldegirl

I am a Dr with a special interest in mental health. I was not immune. Depression nobbled me, good and proper. Many years later I'm still in its grip. Dr Ellie Cannon obviously skipped a few lectures at med school. Either that or she is a surgeon. Very disappointing when people like that are let loose on the general public.
I've really struggled with the invisible nature of mental illness. (BTW Maramaldegirl, I have always thought ME was physical, (any chronic debilitating physical illness will then sooner or later impact on ones mental health).
What is so annoying is that when one has a good spell, everyone assumes you are better (lets wait and see.....its more than likely a cycle)....well if you could do that last week, why not this week?
I'm also fed up explaining that irritability is a SYMPTOM, (more often than not).

Good news from yesterday though. Lots of professional sportspeople have, or are at risk of getting depression, becoming suicidal. So despite their self discipline, goal setting, mental attitudes, self belief, positive thinking, visualisation and lets really SHOUT this one....they have been regularly EXERCISING...........they have still become depressed. This is useful ammo to use on the "what you need" brigade.

No need to apologise for ranting Marmalade girl, it makes my blood boil too.

Whenever I'm out and about and get into casual conversation whether its a coffee shop barista or a colleague from medical school......I tell them exactly how it is with me..it paradoxically helps with my self esteem, the thought that I am doing my little bit to destigmatise and educate.

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 8:16am

Hi Michael - LOADS of brilliant points. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I am going to come back to this, read it properly and add to my reply later when I have more time... I hope you are feeling OK today. MG

Michael Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 9:30am

MG. Thanks OKish. Its sunny and Rutland Water is just down the road. My lifelong passion is fly fishing. All my tackle is waiting ready in the car. So why is it such an immense struggle, mental and physical to go and do something that will tick so many boxes? (I've got the company of my trusty Westie, Huckleberry, I know the sunshine and fresh air will be a tonic, being by the water and woods (nature sounds recently shown to be deeply relaxing) and when I have anxiety...fishing at RW has been like taking a valium. I'll be walking the bank and flycasting thus exercising. BUT the reward circuits in my brain do not allow me to "enjoy" any of it (not totally there is a smidgeon left)...but if I'm going to get there today it will be the same willpower required as to do my tax returns. Also I'm aware of an increasing "stick in the spokes", that makes me wary. If I misjudge and even slightly overdo it I will have an energy debt for days afterwards...feeling flat, heavy, lethargic, lifeless. But I also know if I don't force myself I'll feel bad due to a whole other set of reasons. So maybe we should rename depression. "Catch 22" this scene from the comedy sketch show Portlandia encapsulates the dilemma of not knowing what to do for the best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbqQP3jPYeg

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 2:19pm

Hi Michael - to go back to your original reply above... You are right, ME affected me physically which then went on to have an impact on my mental health. Interestingly by getting better control of what goes on in my head, I have been able to improve my physical symptoms. I like the way that you tell people how it is with you and therefore are doing your bit to de-stigmatise and educate people. ME and depression seem to overlap, because when you describe in your second post what a struggle it is to get out, a physical struggle, that is what I experience with the ME. And if I DO manage to do something, it feels like I am then punished because it will knock me flat for days (plus increase the nausea, muscle & joint pain and dizziness that I experience) - which is what you seem to be describing with the "energy debt". Maybe you have ME too? I suffer from anhedonia a lot of the time ("anhedonia", as I understand it, being the inability to feel pleasure). The weather is fantastic, the colours are amazing, Nature is blooming in every way - but it feels like I am in a glass box, I can't actually SEE it or FEEL it. But that is how my depression is - and I suppose for a lot of other people too (along with a whole lot of other things). Anyway, I hope that going fishing was more of a help than a hindrance for you. I need to stop because looking at a screen exacerbates the ME symptoms. Best wishes, MG

Orangeblossom Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 7:22am

Thanks very much for your blog Mamaladegirl. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and found it thought-provoking. In the past I had a bout of depression & me. Don't know whether one was brought on by the other. I tend to joke about things but the ME seemed to have dissipated my sense of humour. My confidence in allopathic practioners also plummeted at this point. I am singularly unimpressed by a large number of them.

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 2:25pm

Hi Orangeblossom! Thanks for your comment. I don't know what allopathic means, but my experiences with the medical profession are nearly always negative, counterproductive and sometimes down right dangerous! Did you get over the ME? It takes a lot of people a very long time (if ever). I hope you did. And how about the depression? Are you on top of that now? I started with depression and it morphed into ME. Then I got on top of the ME and the depression reduced hugely. Recent life events have brought back the ME, which then brought on more depression... Hand in hand, like two good friends those two! However, I am better equipped to rid myself of both of them these days, given time and patience!

The painter Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 8:37am

Hi, I have had the same conditions for over 20 years (depression) and 16 years (CFS) and totally understand where you are coming from. Whenever I was tested at the GP I was extremely healthy on paper and there was no medical cause for my symptoms, but they were there. I too felt my illnesses were invisible and got frustrated because people couldn't see my disabilities. I started to go to energy field healing occasionally 4-5 years ago and it really helped. I don't know if it helps you but I believe my fatigue was caused by my energies being imbalanced and I have learnt to manage these myself now. I have also had to do lots of self healing and self loving to get to this point but I am the most well I have ever been and have been well for around a year.
I am not sharing this with you to gloat or preach but because I wish someone had shared it with me.
Thank you for sharing your story, I intend to do the same one day. I hope today is a good day for you.

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 3:06pm

Hello The painter! It's frustrating isn't it? To be told by the medical profession that there is nothing wrong with you, when you are living in a body which is bloody obviously ILL! I am very interested to read of your energy field healing. I was certainly all out of balance when the ME was at its worst. I found that calming my system down with lots and lots of meditation; finding a way of not experiencing any stress; sorting out psychological problems; having better nutrition and generally treating my mind and body with more respect has given me control of the ME and the depression. I have to limit what I do and sleep half way through the day (which is loads better than when I was really ill - then I had to rest nearly all day with maybe ten minute windows of trying to do things...). I am really happy to hear that you are the most well you have ever been - keep doing the right things. It's worth it! Thank you for sharing your info with me - I certainly didn't think you were gloating or preaching. I will investigate energy field healing. I am having a good day thanks and I hope you are too. Lots of love, MG

Salt Water Mum Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 8:46am

Marmaladegirl, I love the quirky idea of big blue blobs! I imagined the little girl asking mummy 'what are those?' and the mum's kind response but then, a bit like Leah, I imagined another lady coming up to Ms Blue Blob and adding in her opinion: '... Oh I had those but my blue blobs were only on my arm so I got rid of them completely by rubbing in cucumber juice four times a day... you should try it... '

We hide our sadness and don't want to be stigmatised by it and yet we also want it to be acknowledged and taken seriously... it's complicated...
must get working,
well wishes to all today,
SWM x

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 3:09pm

Hi Salt Water Mum - Thanks for this. First bit made me laugh, and nod in agreement. Second bit, yes, more nodding in agreement! Well wishes to you too. MG

LP Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 9:38am

Hi MG,
Yes, if people could see clearly it's take so much of the stress and worry away, which just compounds the illness. Work would be so much better, as the impact of stress would be visible. When we are not well enough to be at work, there'd be no question about having time off like anything else.

Most importantly, it would give us more clarity and help us not to be hard on ourselves.

I am all for trying to be positive and doing the things that help to feel better. I hope that by promoting what helps me some Moodscopers don't feel that I'm saying that they wouldn't be unwell if they did those things. I agree though that if people who haven't suffered from depression or anxiety think that these things will make it disappear, they do need to be educated.

It's great that the media are taking it on. I hope that funding for it in the NHS follows.
Sometimes I find it hard to believe that there's such a thing as being complely ok. I guess well being is maybe a continuum and it's just where you tend to be on the scale at any given point in your life.

These days for me, feeling lifted by a beautiful day such as this in London is a blessing! Even better on a Friday :) Thanks for a great blog MG, well wishes to you and all. LP xx

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 3:14pm

Hi LP - Thanks for your response. It's a beautiful day here too (and I'm in North Yorkshire)! AND it's a Friday... AND I have recently changed to a job where I no longer have to work alternate Sundays, so now I can really say TGIF! Wahoo! Lots of love, MG x

LP Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 8:13pm

Enjoy! :) xx

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 10:01pm

Thanks LP, and you! xx

Victoria Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 9:46am

Depression, anxiety and fibromyalgia over here and really loved your blog. Even people who try to understand the illnesses get it wrong, "you're back at work, you must feel better now". Nope, just slightly less bloody awful than yesterday. Or, more likely, exactly the same but I'm afraid of being off work too long so I've whacked up my meds intake and currently feel sick and lightheaded from too many painkillers.

It's extra hard having invisible illnesses because sometimes I feel better. I danced at the Christmas do, I had a laugh on a works night out. It's hard for people because they can't see the difference between well and not, or know that I knew in advance that dancing would hurt, that I took more pain meds that night in preparation, and mostly stayed in bed the next day. But loved the dancing so it was worth it. They just see a women who is supposedly ill, dancing and laughing. That's harder to explain. Especially when pain comes on so quickly sometimes.

The whale sound bit really made me laugh though! I was lying on the floor Wednesday evening, everything seized up and painful. I was trying not to cry because that hurt too and was making the strangest noises and ended up sounding like dolphin girl with a slightly hysterical cackle (you'll understand if you've seen Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip).

I've applied for one of the London Transport 'please offer me a seat' buttons, but I'm not sure I'll have the guts to use it. Anyone else used them?

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 3:26pm

Wow, Victoria - I totally identify with what you are saying! Sometimes I can override the ME - socialise, have a laugh. But then, BANG! I've hit a wall and I feel ghastly, with pain, nausea, dizziness, brain fog, and spend the next few days recovering. TBH I don't try to override the ME these days. If I can't do it, I can't do it. I don't want to suffer the consequences! They were talking about the "Please offer me a seat" badges the other day on Radio 4 (possibly Womans Hour). Basically, get one Victoria (because in London nobody is going to read it or take any notice of it anyway!) That was cynical of me. It's worth a try! Apparently fibromyalgia responds to the things that help with ME too, which for me was calming myself down, meditating A LOT, learning how to never stress, sorting out deep-seated psychological problems, getting better nutrition, respecting my body more, understanding the mind/body connection. It's a lot i know, but it's been worth working on it all to see improvements (obviously I am STILL working on it all!) I hope that you can find ways to help with the awful pain of fibromyalgia (and the depression and anxiety too...) All the best, MG x

Ian Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 10:21am

As a long term sufferer of Mental Health issues I find the daily dose of Moodscope really helpful, it's great to hear other people's stories and sometimes I can really relate to them. I am fed up with depression getting in the way of a happy life, I have many things to be grateful for and have amazing friends, however every time things start to look up and life appears to be going ok something happens in my life (losing my parents, having my house blown up while I was in it and losing everything and most recently a marriage that is only 9 months old going horribly wrong). Each of these circumstances are enough to test any person, however they just keep coming, was it something I did wrong in an earlier life that I am being punished for ? Depression is a disabling condition, and one that I truly wish I could put behind me, it's just always there, waiting and when it appears it's soul destroying. I often think of the pain it has caused me and the people I care about and wonder why can't I put this behind me. I have never replied or contributed to the Moodscope forum before, but where I am right now in this very moment I felt compelled to put down my thoughts. Finally a message to all the Moodscopers I hope and pray for every one of you and wish you all the happiness you deserve, in spite of the black dog

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 3:58pm

Dear Ian - I just wrote you a really lovely reply (if I say it myself!) but the internet has disappeared from laptop, along with my reply, and now I am struggling to re-write it on my phone. Firstly, fantastic to hear from you! Brilliant. Well done. Thank you so much for making the time and effort to write in. You should do it more often - writing down feelings is supposed to help and if you send it in you will find supportive people who are experiencing similar things. You are not alone! Keep searching for ways to get on top of your depression. You must never give up. You owe it to yourself - you deserve to feel good. I have found most books on depression helpful in some way, even if I only get one pointer that is useful. Eckhart Tolle's "the power of now", whilst not specifically about depression, was particularly helpful for me. And look around on the internet, there's loads of things to try. Listen to some of the Ted Talks, they are good on coping with mental health conditions. You have had it really tough Ian, but it won't necessarily always be that bad. You are due some good luck now, even just mathematically speaking, so look for the Good in life... I wish you all the very best. Stay strong Ian. It WILL get better; it DOES get better - it is just the depression that makes us feel so despairing. Hang on in there and try to find ways that help you cope and feel better. Look after yourself; be kind to yourself. All the best, MG x

The Gardener Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 11:19am

Molly - you've brought into sharp relief memories of when I was depressed - other people could say I'd 'never had it so good', in my own mind I knew it, whilst living in abject, black despair and unable to do anything but basic stuff for the kids. I think depression started (can any of us pin-point it?) when 3rd son was a week old - PND in fact, not realised half a century ago, I think, does anybody know? This child had been fought for, by rest, excellent medical treatment and drugs to prevent miscarriages. Two other lovely boys - yet I did not want to live. Now, it's like a replay, with roles reversed. Mr G, as you all know, is pretty far gone with Alzheimers. Yet for years before, he was incapable of being up-beat (except, curiously, for going to India - which he still recalls with affection). Behind the 'malady' is a real depression - can't face anything, won't accept help - drugs to fight depression (Mary Wednesday seems delighted with her new treatment, long may it last) cannot be used on dementia. This morning, although having a pretty successful time at the moment, I woke with the same feelings as 40 years ago - just did not want to go on. Living with a permanent misery saps physical as well as emotional energy. A statistic nobody wants to know - how many spouses/partners have not withstood the demands of the depressed, and cleared off?

Molly Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 4:30pm

Thank you for the mention Gardener, I am pleased you could relate to my comment, not pleased that you woke up feeling so bad today. You will know that sometimes there is a trigger, sometimes there is not. The least thing can push me over the edge. Every day my first thought when waking up, is "how is my head, how am I feeling, can I cope today etc". Never know how I am going to feel one day to the next. It is frustrating and restricting too. You have such a difficult time looking after Mr G. Be kind to yourself. Molly xx

Sally Sat, May 6th 2017 @ 5:09am

Hi Gardener. So sorry to hear you have hit the buffers/ didn't want to get up. I can remember feeling that way... you are going through a seemingly unending phase of putting everything you've got in, & getting precious little back. No credits left in your " physical and emotional bank". No wonder you're exhausted! Who wouldn't be! It is easy for me to say this, as for 13 years now, the burden of prime carer has been taken off me, but nevertheless I do know the abject feelings around waking up utterly depleted and wondering how to carry on, or if carrying on is worth it! But it is. You have an incredible spirit and such an attractive personality that jumps off the page, and it is a question of hanging on in there. Big virtual hugs. In spirit there for you, if unable to be so physically. I have a vision of dozens of Moodscopers turning up like Groundforce, and saying " Right, where do you want us to start?" ! Who knows, one day in the future, maybe the challenges of mental health will be treated as sympathetically as my brother was recently when he had his open heart surgery at a top hospital! We can only hope! Go easy on yourself and seek all available help and respite. Mr G is not fully / entirely your responsibility. You have a responsibity to yourself too. Who cares for the careers? As the saying goes.

The Gardener Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 11:20am

Just re-read Ian, above - question answered

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 10:07pm

Possibly so. I was depressed and had ME - and I am no longer with my ex-husband. Mind you, he was a big part of WHY I was depressed and drove myself until I was so exhausted that I developed ME/CFS (and I left him, in a last ditch attempt at survival). But generally, yes, it would be interesting to know how many relationships survive. It is a real test. You and Mr G have made it through though... Best wishes, Mrs G, from MG xx

Matt Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 12:02pm

Well Marmalade Girl, you have well and truly hit the nail on the head here! I will read the rest of the comments again and more thoroughly, but I wholeheartedly agree with what you have said.

Not only am I fed up of most people thinking that all is well and not at all grasping the fact that Mental Health issues can have profound and debilitating physical effects, I am also fed up of the Benefits System all but ignoring these physical effects, and in particular mobility issues that are a consequence of Mental Illness.

I suffer with Mixed Anxiety and Depressive Disorder and one of the effects that this has, is that I am Agoraphobic. When I am outside of 'my safe zone' I have severe dizziness, disorientation and panic attacks. In short, I am unsafe, when outside.

I have a medical diagnosis on this basis and have been fighting a long standing battle with the Department for Work and Pensions on this since January 2014. Despite ample and persuasive medical evidence to support this in my claim, in 6 subsequent Mandatory Reconsiderations, only a partial win at the First Tier Tribunal Level, I am now facing a 3rd tribunal, this time in the Upper Tier Tribunal.

It is quite frankly farcical, in that I could not attend the 2nd first tier because of my issues. I had, unwisely as it turns out, attended the first 1st Tier Tribunal against my GP's advice but encouraged to do by the DWP, and it had such a drastic effect on me, that my GP immediately referred me to the Crisis Resolution Team.

My issues started many moons ago, but throughout my dealings with DWP, they have consistently ignored my GP's evidence, the evidence of my Mental Healthcare professionals and other supporting evidence from my Carer, who has to accompany on my rare 'journeys to the outside world'. They have also not followed their own protocols in that evidence that has been has been provided has not been sent to an appropriate healthcare professional for comment. And on it goes!

Not only is this ridiculous, but the Judge in the 2nd First Tier Tribunal was aghast that the Capita Healthcare Assessment report was so wrong and questioned it's validity. The Judge also stated that the tribunal panel as a whole was not attended by any representative of the DWP.

I most certainly sympathise with your issues with regard to thoughts and comments that everyday people have and make with regard to your difficulties, but when the DWP effectively join in with this 'ignorance' it is doubly galling.

I would welcome any further comments regarding DWP issues and the difficulties that others may have with 'the system' as my healthcare team have taken a specific interest in the way that DWP deal with Mental Health difficulties and the physical effects that such difficulties cause.

Also, I must also thank all of the MoodScopers that post their blogs, thoughts and feelings...because of you all, I know that I am NOT alone!

All the best to everyone,

Matt.

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 7:48pm

Hi Matt - Great to hear from you! Thanks so much for telling us about your trials and tribulations. You have done incredibly well - I admire your tenacity and perseverance! When my ME was at its worst and I couldn't do a thing (literally - getting to the toilet was a challenge, although at times didn't have the strength to have a drink of water, so it became less important!) Anyway, my friend put me in his car and took me to the assessment for sickness benefit (ASOS? Have i got that right?!) and they, in their wisdom (and against all the medical evidence I had provided) declared that I was fit to work! I was too poorly to complete the Mandatory Reconsideration forms, so that was the end of it (simply entered a life of extreme poverty for a while). So you have done really well. Good luck for the future with that (let us know how you get on). I wish all the people with mental health issues could club together and tell the powers that be how wrong the system is (the assessment doesn't seem to work at all where mental health is concerned). However, the DWP is on to a winner as it is dealing with people who can find it hard to gather the motivation to make a piece of toast. Sustaining a political protest is likely to be beyond the capabilities of most of us Moodscopers (actually, I am speaking for myself here - maybe I'm wrong!) So, thanks for writing, keep up the fight and you are right, you are NOT alone! All the best, MG

Victoria Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 8:30pm

ASOS is clothes ? ATOS is the DWP medical ppl. I read through their assessment guidance for fibromyalgia the other day (available through FOI). They do accept that fibro exists but I'm cynical and have heard so many stories that I know they're just looking for ways to refuse ppl. One of the reasons I push myself to work is because I don't think they'd accept me as ill no matter how bad. Drives me nuts as surely if my company sack me for ill health I'm automatically covered? I'm not afraid of hard work but couldn't stand to do something like bar or shop work. It's a real fear for me so I sympathise with you having to go through that

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 10:18pm

Ha! Thanks Victoria - yes, ATOS (not ASOS). I would say, based on my experience, that they would say you are capable of work. Mind you, have ATOS been sacked and something else set up? Dunno. It might be different now. You say that you couldn't stand to do bar or shop work. Well, I am qualified to post graduate level but had to work as a cleaner and then went "up market" to work in a small newsagents! You'd be fine - every job has its pluses. Prioritising your health is priceless and if your job is keeping you in an unhealthy place, then it's worth making changes. Anyway, I wish you all the very best. MG

Millie Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 12:26pm

Hi, surprising to hear such an ignorant and less than helpful comment from a Doctor, but then again maybe not. I have a friend who is a GP and she simply does not understand depression, she has absolutely no comprehension of it whatsoever. All the more strange since her husband is a sufferer. If I see someone with their arm in a sling or leg in a plaster cast following a break on the ski slope, I don't need to have broken an arm of leg myself to understand how debilitating and frustrating it must be (albeit temporarily until the break heals), so why so hard for a GP who has never suffered herself to have at least some understanding of how paralyzing depression can be? At least accept it as an illness and recognize that it exists and in her case, hopefully refer the client on to someone who does have a more informed view.

As you say, maybe the equivalent of a bandage around the head may get a little more understanding and acknowledgement! People might cut a bit of slack and be more supportive and kind rather than wondering why you don't just snap out of it and be grateful for what you've got (what depression?). Come-on, an intelligent attractive girl like you, why so down, you have everything going for you? Cheer up! How many times have I heard that?

Flippancy aside, I've only started responding to blogs - so touching are they - this being only my second despite having been a moodscoper from its early days, but what we do all have is a kind supportive environment in which people are willing to share their heartfelt stories, so yes, I'll be grateful for that.

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 7:54pm

Hi Millie - Your second response to Moodscope was very much appreciated. Thank you! You should share your insight, stories and opinions with the Moodscope community more often. That is shocking about your GP friend! Best wishes, MG x

Kelly Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 12:53pm

I think I agree with you.

Kes Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 3:00pm

Such a great blog, thank you for sharing this, I totally agree with you on every point you make, well done for expressing it so well, and I have to say, you did make me laugh out loud with your 'blue blobs' and 'piercing whale noises', haha. Seriously though, you're a great blogger and I look forward to reading ? them ? So well done for all you're achieving ?

Marmaladegirl Fri, May 5th 2017 @ 10:24pm

Dearest Kes - I have only recently had the mental energy to write anything, let alone have the confidence to send it in as a potential blog (I have never written anything for public consumption before). So to read what you say about enjoying what I have written is a seriously massive boost - thank you! I think this may be my biggest achievement for many years and it is certainly the most rewarding - and YOU have been an important part of that! All the best, MG

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