Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: ESA Interview, please help me...

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    4

    Unhappy ESA Interview, please help me...

    What happened at the ESA interview (earlier today)…

    I arrived. Pressed the intercom button. Stuttered and spluttered into the intercom inaudibly. Very angry receptionist eventually came to the door, making remarks about "I must not have *shouted* loud enough into the intercom for you to hear…" Muddled through the form filling wordlessly. Directed to a waiting room. Called by a guy who said he was a nurse. He told me he was going to ask me questions and that my responses would determine the outcome. Then he very abruptly said, “right, so, what is wrong with you?”

    I looked at him, opened my mouth, stuttered ‘IIIIIIIIII….IIIIIIIIIIII….IIIII…’ tried again. Same happened. And this went on until I was shaking so much my hands cramped and my face contorted until I physically couldn’t un-ruche my lips and my jaw was so tight it hurt. I couldn’t think anymore. Confused. Vision blurred, eyes and face burning…and he just kept repeating ‘I can’t conduct the interview if you won’t speak’, ‘are you going to even try?’ and ‘couldn’t you have just asked to bring someone if you won’t communicate yourself…’, over and over.

    I couldn’t think or speak to even explain that bringing someone would have made me even *more* anxious and unable to speak.

    Eventually, he lost his patience, lead me back to reception, told the receptionist I was ‘unfit to do the interview’, gave me another appointment and then physically steered me from the building. Outside, I turned to try one last time to say something, anything…stuttered again and as he shut the door in my face I tried to reach for him and everything just went completely black.

    Woke up on the concrete laid on the street, sat in someone's chewed gum, still shaking a lot. Stayed there on the floor for 20 minutes, trying to hide my face from passers-by, ashamed, until I could stand up without falling back down.

    In a nut shell – I can’t talk when I’m anxious. It gets so bad I can’t write either; my hands cramp to the point they’re knotted and I can’t manipulate or hold a pen and the shaking becomes full on jerking, my vision blurs…and sometimes (like today) I actually faint.

    It’s like when you need to pee so bad, but cant in case anyone hears you – you want to pee, you know how ridiculous it is,…but you physically cant pee and the more you try, the less you able you become. I know I failed, but I don’t know how I could have tried harder.

    I used to perform on stage in London. I had an amazing life. I’ve lost my home, my partner, my job, my savings, become so underweight (bmi 14) I am now medicated for Reynaud’s syndrome, my hair has fallen out and I can’t have kids, I am no longer trusted to make meals or even clean the house, don’t go out alone and live 300 miles away with my mum. Nobody would choose the existence I have now…I’m currently waiting on therapy to address this (and the rest of my ‘issues’) and try re-gain some semblance of my former-life.

    I’ve to go back in two weeks…I don’t know how this won’t just happen again. Anybody, please…how do I go there and make them see what I face day-to-day…all I keep returning to is that if I could *just tell them* then I’d be cured and not be dependent on ESA at all…

    Nobody wants to be able to return to my work (and life) more than I do…

    Please...can anyone offer any advice? I'm lost...

  2. #2
    New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by Anon View Post
    What happened at the ESA interview (earlier today)…

    I arrived. Pressed the intercom button. Stuttered and spluttered into the intercom inaudibly. Very angry receptionist eventually came to the door, making remarks about "I must not have *shouted* loud enough into the intercom for you to hear…" Muddled through the form filling wordlessly. Directed to a waiting room. Called by a guy who said he was a nurse. He told me he was going to ask me questions and that my responses would determine the outcome. Then he very abruptly said, “right, so, what is wrong with you?”

    I looked at him, opened my mouth, stuttered ‘IIIIIIIIII….IIIIIIIIIIII….IIIII…’ tried again. Same happened. And this went on until I was shaking so much my hands cramped and my face contorted until I physically couldn’t un-ruche my lips and my jaw was so tight it hurt. I couldn’t think anymore. Confused. Vision blurred, eyes and face burning…and he just kept repeating ‘I can’t conduct the interview if you won’t speak’, ‘are you going to even try?’ and ‘couldn’t you have just asked to bring someone if you won’t communicate yourself…’, over and over.

    I couldn’t think or speak to even explain that bringing someone would have made me even *more* anxious and unable to speak.

    Eventually, he lost his patience, lead me back to reception, told the receptionist I was ‘unfit to do the interview’, gave me another appointment and then physically steered me from the building. Outside, I turned to try one last time to say something, anything…stuttered again and as he shut the door in my face I tried to reach for him and everything just went completely black.

    Woke up on the concrete laid on the street, sat in someone's chewed gum, still shaking a lot. Stayed there on the floor for 20 minutes, trying to hide my face from passers-by, ashamed, until I could stand up without falling back down.

    In a nut shell – I can’t talk when I’m anxious. It gets so bad I can’t write either; my hands cramp to the point they’re knotted and I can’t manipulate or hold a pen and the shaking becomes full on jerking, my vision blurs…and sometimes (like today) I actually faint.

    It’s like when you need to pee so bad, but cant in case anyone hears you – you want to pee, you know how ridiculous it is,…but you physically cant pee and the more you try, the less you able you become. I know I failed, but I don’t know how I could have tried harder.

    I used to perform on stage in London. I had an amazing life. I’ve lost my home, my partner, my job, my savings, become so underweight (bmi 14) I am now medicated for Reynaud’s syndrome, my hair has fallen out and I can’t have kids, I am no longer trusted to make meals or even clean the house, don’t go out alone and live 300 miles away with my mum. Nobody would choose the existence I have now…I’m currently waiting on therapy to address this (and the rest of my ‘issues’) and try re-gain some semblance of my former-life.

    I’ve to go back in two weeks…I don’t know how this won’t just happen again. Anybody, please…how do I go there and make them see what I face day-to-day…all I keep returning to is that if I could *just tell them* then I’d be cured and not be dependent on ESA at all…

    Nobody wants to be able to return to my work (and life) more than I do…

    Please...can anyone offer any advice? I'm lost...

    Hi Anon - I joined up so I could reply and haven't posted before so not sure if I'm doing it right

    - what you went through is what I fear too - can you get in touch with your doctor asap and try to explain - put in in writing for him/her or show him this post that you have written and ask for help. If you can get to the CAB and again show someone there this post, they might help (I know that might be difficult/impossible on your own - Have you any friends that might be able to come with you? or maybe your Mum

    That's all I can suggest - it must have been a horrific experience - the frustration of not being able to explain/think and the harder you try the worse it gets.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    3,512
    Firstly, if it will help, I'll gladly offer a virtual hug. You've been through an awful experience and it sounds like you tried your best but were not met by the understanding you needed to participate in the interview.


    Understandably, you fear the same thing happening again in a fortnight, and could well be more anxious than you were on Monday. Should communication issues prevent you from participating in the assessment, it may well be reported back that you failed to comply with the assessment process, which will lead to your ESA case being closed. It's therefore a case of thinking of the best possible approach to prevent this from happening.

    You say that you live with your mum. Whilst you said that taking someone with you would make you more anxious, does that apply to your mum as well? The obvious answer, unless I'm missing something, is to take your mum with you. If you cannot answer for yourself, she can answer based on her observations of living with you. That doesn't stop you participating as and when you can.

    You say that you cannot write when you are unable to speak. Does the anxiety also prevent you from typing? If not, you could take along a laptop, type out your answers and turn the screen to the assessor.


    Whatever approach you decide on, it may be worth asking your mum to ring the ATOS helpline on your behalf to ask them to note down that you can get so acutely anxious that you are unable to communicate. I realise that being met with some understanding on Monday may have made a difference to that outcome, and hope a little more understanding is on offer in a fortnight.

    It may also be worth requesting via the helpline that the next assessment is audio recorded. A recording might help if there is any dispute about how hard you tried to participate in the assessment.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    2,782
    Hello Flymo, try rereading the post the poster say's 'they live 300 miles away from their Mother', I have been looking at this post for the last 40 minutes or so trying to think of the best way to advise, it is extremely deep.

  5. #5
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    4
    Foxylady - thank you for listening and replying. Have you got one of these interviews coming up? If so, my advice would be similar to yours - if you have someone then take them and try get the people there to give you time to calm down if you get stressed. That is what I needed, but couldnt say it to explain, unfortunately. I don't have a friend I could take as I had to leave my friends back in London (my home) when I moved here to my mother's. Also, my mother isn't someone I feel comfortable asking as she loves me and gets angry. I fear what she'd say and often, though I admire and love her, disagree with things she's says. She went once years ago to an appointment i had at school and I was horrified by what she said / how she acted because she got so irate at how I was spoken to / treated. The thought of her being there and seeing me like that / what she'd do / say is more than I can take, unfortunately.

    Flymo - Again, thank you for giving your time up to reply to me. I can't (literally -_-') explain what it means to be heard - esp' as I know what it is like to be invisible / go unheard much of the time. I am going to try see my doctor tomorrow - I missed her this morning, unfortunately. Also, like Foxy said (great idea, thanks!), I'm going to take what I've written to Welfare Rights and CAB. Scared, but I really am and will try do anything I can (and some things I'm not sure I can do...I will and always do still try).

    Jard - Thanks for giving up y'time for me. Sorry if my post wasn't too clear. I do now live with my mum. I live 300 miles from London now - where I call home. I couldnt afford to stay when I lost my home, partner and job. I had no one I could live with at the time, so ended up having to go 300 miles away, which has worsened my anxiety as this is not where I feel comfortable at all. Its a small village where everyone knows each other and their business and I cant go out without people approaching me to make 'small talk'...which is my worst nightmare.

    Thank you guys. Ironic perhaps, but such a relief to just be heard...

  6. #6
    New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    9
    I transferred over from Incapacity benefit on a paper assessment and placed in the WRAG - I appealed but had to go to several WFI's which were a nightmare - like you, taking someone with me would just make it worse - its another person in the room !! what is even worse is that I can say almost anything that may not even be true - my brain is not working and the pressure to speak is unbearable - I appealed (opted for paper hearing since no way could I go to a tribunal) and fortunately I was placed in the support group under the exceptional circumstances clause ie work related activity would pose a risk to my health. ie the stress could trigger a Bipolar relapse which could/would be a risk to me.

    That was why I suggested that you go to your doctor to see what could be done. Maybe he could write a letter saying the exceptional circumstance clause would apply to you but it may be hard to use that in time for your next interview but you could take it with you and give it to the examiner at the start. The only other thing to do is try and think what questions might be asked and write down your response to take with you then if you can't talk you might be able to read out the response or at least pass it over to the examiner. Sometimes if you can get over the first few questions it might get a bit easier. Perhaps people here who have had an interview could give you an idea of what questions might be asked at the beginning of the interview.


    Its so hard to access help when you are like this - I find phone calls hard and going to the CAB to try and explain stuff would be just as hard. Fortunately I really get on with my Psychatrist who is a lifeline and is happy for me to email him when I need, which bypasses phone calls and reduces meetings. Emails are so much easier since there is time to think and no pressure and no one staring at you waiting for an answer !!!!

    I have also recently been sent another ESA50 (unfortunately before the reassessments were stopped) which is with ATOS at the moment so am living in dread at the moment of being called for an assessment or being put back into the WRAG and having to appeal again and do more WFI's etc - wait for the post every day just now - its always on my mind morning noon and night !!

    I hope maybe people here can help and your doctor so that you can at least manage to get through the next interview.

  7. #7
    Senior Member flowerangelx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Nottingham
    Posts
    936
    The person conducting your assessment had no right to talk to you like that. He should have read the information and KNOW you have anxiety.

    What you have described sounds a lot like a non-epileptic seizure - which can be caused by anxiety. I'm not a doctor but I know somebody who has these.

    For your next assessment, it may be worth finding an advocate to attend with you. Even if you can not talk, write down in advance how you are affected.

    I really wish I could offer more advice

  8. #8
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    4
    Foxy – I’m glad you have a psychiatrist you feel able to communicate with. The difference it makes can be (literally) lifesaving, huh…

    I sincerely hope you hear back with the news you need so you can use what energy you have right now for your ‘recovery’ (whatever that word means for you)…it is the same hope I have for myself…

    Flower – thank you for the support.

    I wish I had an advocate too. Making friends or trying to reconnect with ‘old friends’ is just, well…I mean, even if I did manage it, to get in touch out of the blue or meet new people then ask them to attend something like this after not talking with them in years or only knowing them days is…well…unrealistic.

    Truth is, my ‘issues’ have lead me to become so isolated that there really is nobody left in my life. I haven’t ‘socialised’ (even via email) or had a friend in years now; nobody knows me to talk for (or with) me. I just sort of disappeared. My mum says its like living with a ghost - occasionally a cup has been moved or an apple is gone etc, but no one ever sees or hears me. That's what I feel like too. I just float around, unseen, unheard and for the most part unnoticed.

  9. #9
    New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    9
    Hi Anon

    I haven't got any more advise, but hear what you say - I hope you managed to see your doctor today and he/she was helpful. Perhaps he could speed up the promised therapy too.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    3,512
    As FoxyLady says, you're heard, Anon.

    It can be very hard trying to sally forth into a world that is so demanding when you have limited strength. My issues lie very much in the physical domain, but I remember once getting overwhelmed in a petrol station queue because of all the stimulation. I had been really ill and hadn't been out for several weeks, so it was very demanding. Fortunately, I survived.

    I realise that's a microcosm of what you are facing, but I hope you will find the strength to keep going.

Similar Threads

  1. Invitation to compliance officer interview, Why & will they allow me home interview?
    By Mrs_W in forum Benefits - help & advice on disability benefits, incapacity benefits, ESA and DLA
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 20-04-13, 00:30
  2. DEA Interview
    By jaicee58 in forum News and general discussion
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 23-01-13, 15:54
  3. Wfi interview
    By Derekq in forum Benefits - help & advice on disability benefits, incapacity benefits, ESA and DLA
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 17-01-13, 17:01
  4. Interview
    By Eleni in forum Surveys, research requests and TV programmes
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 31-10-12, 07:30
  5. Interview
    By Eleni in forum Work - help & advice on work, training, jobs for disabled people
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 21-10-12, 15:49

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •