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Jumping and stumbling through hoops



Apr 2, 2009
London. UK
Hi everyone.

I've been under a lot of stress during the past week because I have to go for a medical assessment in order to justify my claim for incapacity benefit. It's not the first time I've had one of these. The last one was 5 years ago and it was a ludicrously embarrassing procedure.

I've managed to get a letter from my previous Consultant which may persuade the assessors (Medical Services) to conduct the interview at my home, like the previous one. I still have to 'phone the buggers though, to tell them I've sent the letter and explain why I can't keep the appointment.

I made a photocopy of the letter and posted the original yesterday afternoon.
Whilst the Consultant's comments have a few inaccuracies (I've had a change of medication since our final appointment for example), I find a lot of it so distressing that I cannot bring myself to read it properly.:(

All I can think of are the phrases like 'psychotic symptoms' and 'isolated'.
I've always envied those service users who seem to get a certain enjoyment or sense of wacky fun out of being regarded as 'mad', whereas I find the whole idea of being perceived as 'insane' or 'psychotic' within my community as a kind of living death-sentence.

Whilst I do agree about the isolation (I have ongoing Agoraphobia and live alone) and know that I need to try and make more social contacts, I have a long-standing fear of other people and what they may do to me if I should be perceived as being a danger to myself or others.

A lot of difficult and unpleasant feelings are arising in connection with a small group of service users who attend a Day Centre I occasionally frequent. I've become extremely angry and resentful towards one or two of them for certain things they have said in the past, and for ways in which they have behaved toward me. When I'm alone in my home these incidents can come up into consciousness and I find myself indulging in angry abusive arguments with these individuals - a kind of acting out which has become almost habitual. It's a bloody nuisance because it can interfere with any concentration I may need to apply to a task I may be doing.

It's reached the point where I want to distance myself from them for the sake of my own emotional balance and to avoid further hurt, but I'm finding it very hard to do so. This would mean totally avoiding the Day Centre which is a part of my support system and trying to find alternatives (not easy to do in my London Borough which is undergoing cutbacks in Mental Health Services).

Does anyone else have a problem with the need to be part of a group with the sense of comfort and belonging this may bring, set against the need to maintain individuality and self-respect within such a social unit?

Thanks for reading this. It's a bit long but I've tried to keep it controlled and coherent. Hope it hasn't caused any distress. Supportive comments would be most welcome.

"You cannot prevent the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from nesting in your hair"


Well-known member
Jul 16, 2009

I can relate as im in a similar situation.My doc wants me to go to a day group where they do cooking classes and go on day trips...a lot of the people that go are much more handicapped then i am and i find the whole thing humiliating but i spose you have to start some where.As for those people you are having trouble with...they probally have there own problems and you shouldnt take what they say and do to heart ...just do your own thing ...maybe later you can move on to attending some classes to further your education or something
best of luck


Well-known member
Founding Member
Feb 14, 2008
Birmingham UK
Sorry to hear of your problems Tortoise. The benefit situation is I'm afraid one that many of us are facing at the moment and you will find a great deal more about it elsewhere on the Forum (see Scared of new ESA http://www.mentalhealthforum.net/forum/showthread.php?t=2822 ).

The socialising is, if possible, an even more difficult problem. I don't know that I can fully respond or empathise as I suspect my own need to be part of a group may be less than yours - having said which I do now spend a lot more time with other people than I used to ; however the outcome of this in the longer or shorter run is nearly always an episode of some kind. Whether this is a price worth paying I don't know. Isolation is certainly easier for me but it is very difficult to maintain self-worth and isolation especially if you have - as I do and I suspect many of us - considerable problems with the former in the first place. The social groups I attend are not Day Centres but MH campaigning ones - so I am with other people with MH issues generally but in a less 'social' setting ; I think I find that easier. Would some such group help you or is it the social side which you want?

I am afraid this is not very helpful - I am just acknowledging some recognition of the problem and throwing out a couple of ideas.

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