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Overwhelmed at December + ESA form

I've just had an unusually low moment. It's December and my second job to looking after my health is making christmas gifts. Nothing extravagant, just bath salts. My social calendar is full, with one modest social occasion a week (think a quick mocktail with my cousin in a bar up my street, or one friend coming over for NYE for a film). On top of that I've got a dr appt and a therapy appt. This is pushing it. I'm feeling less well than usual and I was wondering if I could manage all this.

DWP write saying I need to send in a form by Jan 2nd. I've called them, been put through to the service that makes the assessments happen, and got talked to in a slightly hostile way because the service don't like DWP. I've also called citizens advice, and they don't have an appt til Jan 10th. They want me to call somewhere else to check if they can help me. I called them, I need to call back tomorrow before 2pm. Citizens Advice called back and put me on hold 3 times with random questions, I think the person was not very experienced. Tomorrow I need to call the other possibly helpful service, and then call Citizens Advice back again.

I've been on the phone for 1h20 mins today, with about 1h of that on hold. I find music stressful... having to hear 1h of it that I don't need was hard.

I also called the GP because of a physio letter I've been chasing for weeks. They still haven't got through to the physio dept to find out where the letter is. The junior receptionist called me back after we'd spoken, telling me information that we've already established 3 times before.

I've got my period and my energy is worse than usual anywhere. Something is going on with my liver, it's showing up bad results in blood tests, getting worse. I had a horrible cold, I'm still recovering. I feel overwhelmed. For a moment I felt inconsolable, like nothing was going to take me away from the despair. The things I want to do are so simple, but these phone calls are so difficult for me. I don't speak the language they need me to speak in to tick their boxes.

I'm being asked to do something I can't do. I can't fill out this form on time. Citizens Advice don't have the appointments, there's a backlog. I can't be the only one in this situation if there is this backlog. DWP ought to make the notice period 6 weeks, or whatever will fit with the backlog that Citizens Advice have. Or at least not penalise me for my limitations. I hate not being able to meet a demand.

I've made the maximum amount of demands on myself for the month ahead, I can't meet the demands of the benefits system too.

I have to find a way through it - I don't want to cancel seeing my cousin, I haven't seen her since before she got married in the summer - I wasn't well enough to go to her wedding. I can't cancel Christmas, and if I cancelled NYE that would be super depressing. Not giving gifts would also make me so, so sad. I can't bear it.

It's possible that my energy will get a little better in the coming weeks and I'd be able to handle these things. Sometimes that does happen.

There are more demands I was making of myself, like getting a PA, which should be a helpful, supportive thing but is actually too difficult for me to get started with. I've got an alright candidate but I don't have the energy to have her come to help me this month. It would be easier once I know her, but I need energy set aside to direct her and set things up the first couple of times she comes. I'm going to have to ask her if she'd like to start in Jan.

It surprises me how low I feel and how despairing and overwhelmed. It's probably my hormones. Also I am just overdoing it. I had caffeine yesterday when I saw my aunt - I made chai tea for us. The caffeine made me productive which I LOVED. I made 4 rose hibiscus pink bath salt gifts, and did my online grocery shop. That was way too much to do in one day. It's depressing that this level of activity - about 2 hours worth, including seeing my aunt - makes me so exhausted the next day. I shouldn't have attempted making those phone calls today, but I was anxious to get it sorted.

I had a bath and it should have been comforting, but I just cried. And now I'm venting, spending this energy. I don't feel I can go to my friends because I think it would make them feel helpless, they can't help me. I think the depths of this despair are a lot to handle too. I don't want to put this on anyone else. Well, maybe I'll feel better now for having got this all out...

Comments

Oh dear @PracticingAcceptance it is a hard time for you. I am sorry you have all this to cope with. :(

I know....about those forms, phone calls, dealing with DWP. I've had to deal with DWP myself a couple of times@ in the past and it was not easy.
(But concerning my own old age pension, dealing with them couldn't be easier. They have been kind, helpful, efficient from the word go....)

They make it so hard for sick people.

I am NOT great with forms, but am definitely willing to help if I possibly can (?)
If there are issues you feel completely stuck on, I will do my best to help untangle....if I can....if you pm me. Can't absolutely promise to be able to do it but will have a go.

As it has to be in by 2nd January and Citizens Advice can't help with it until Jan 10th.

I really hate those long phone calls. Find them so stressful and very tiring. Sorry you've had all that as well. The on-hold music is awful, repetitive, mechanical, and too loud. :bang-head:

I am not surprised you have been feeling despair recently. And not feeling too well also....plus Christmas obligations. I love Christmas, but it puts such strain on people.

No, don't cancel New Year's Eve. Go for it. And see if there are gentle options on the other social arrangements?

There's no harm in having a jolly good cry just to let all the stress out. I am a great cryer ! I always think it's like something inside which gets a good wash-down

Kind thoughts. Hope things smooth out very soon. Hugs :hug::hug:
 
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Oh, my goodness, I have intense form-phobia. I ended cancelling an appointment with a specialist recently because of the 20 plus pages she requires be filled out 2-3 months in advance of the appointment documenting all my symptoms without using vague terms like "daily, often" or "once in a while." If I used those terms the forms would be rejected and the appointment cancelled per the paperwork. Arrggg. :bang-head:

This didn't work for me on those forms but the nurse did give me the suggestion to fill out one page a day. Can you make it a mini goal and just fill out one question per day? Sometimes that helps me get going on paperwork. Sometimes not. :meh:

Just one more thought because I get overwhelmed too. You do seem to have too much on your plate right now and some of it not easy to be rescheduled. Maybe just chip away at the easiest things, break the tasks down into smaller "digestible" pieces and when you are able to get those done with pacing, you'll feel better about yourself and less defeated by life's immovable responsibilities.

Also (oops-2 more thoughts) sometimes as you do this, you'll get ideas on how to do something differently (I call them good gifts from above because they usually follow a begging plea sent heavenward).

For instance, I had to take my mom for some blood tests during a crash and the clinic 3 minutes away is huge but I had an appointment this summer at the clinic 10 minutes away and that one is tiny so I got the idea to go to take her to that one instead. (Relief because it meant a lot less walking!!!)

I would not have know about that one but this past summer when my eye doctor was not available for an ER visit, they scheduled me with a doctor there.

Since then we've gone to that clinic three times and it is a relief not to use the closer mall-sized clinic for her testing.

Anyway, I'm glad you could vent to us. Do it anytime you need to. We understand.

Judee
 
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It surprises me how low I feel and how despairing and overwhelmed. It's probably my hormones.
It could be, true, and yet I wonder if this sounds like discounting yourself and your state of being; from how your account reads there is a legit cause and effect relationship with plenty of cause to feel an amount of frustration, despair, and overwhelm.

I had caffeine yesterday when I saw my aunt - I made chai tea for us. The caffeine made me productive which I LOVED.
:) Yes, it is interesting how productivity has now become a legendary lost and hidden treasure.
 
Thank you all so much for your kind words and support. @Wolfcub you're such a sweetie to offer to help. It's lovely to have your genuine support.

I have to get Citizen's Advice to help with this form, or it won't be written in a way that the service approves of. It has to use the words on their tick boxes. I have a 2 hour session booked with Citizen's Advice, after the deadline for the form. I am still trying to get an earlier appointment, but I suspect I will just have to accept the possibility of them stopping my benefits.

I know people who are very sick who didn't get the benefits because they tried to fill out the form without help from someone that has done it many times before.

The 2-hour appointment will be overwhelming - and it's way too early in the day for me, and involves travel - but it's my best chance at getting the benefits to continue. A setback is inevitable. The system, for me, will cause further sickness.

@southwestforests thank you, that's astute of you to point out I might be discounting myself. I was reacting very deeply - it was either an over-reaction, or a wider reaction to the whole fact of being unwell was triggered. My reaction was disproportionate to the trigger. Today I feel much better. It's still a rubbish situation to be in, but I'm not feeling so low.

@Judee I'm pretty expert at making bite-sized chunks... yesterday what I thought would be bite-sized turned out to be more than I could chew on! I thought it would be 2 phone calls but it opened a pandora's box of loads of phone calls to do.

'Daily' is a specific word... sounds like you were dealing with someone a little difficult there!
 
I was reacting very deeply - it was either an over-reaction, or a wider reaction to the whole fact of being unwell was triggered.
You've got value, I'm not going to let you get away with believing you don't have vale.

and then in a bit of perhaps ironic timing ...

A bit more than an hour ago we had a public demonstration of what can take place when some forum member who shall remain nameless has both autism and PTSD, with mocking and ridicule being a component of the package of PTSD causes ...
 
@southwestforests thanks but I think you've got the wrong end of the stick :) I do believe I have value. I cried way more than necessary yesterday, it wasn't necessary or useful to feel the despair I felt.

Not sure what you're referring to about the other forum member, I hope all who were involved are ok.
 
I have to get Citizen's Advice to help with this form, or it won't be written in a way that the service approves of. It has to use the words on their tick boxes. I have a 2 hour session booked with Citizen's Advice, after the deadline for the form. I am still trying to get an earlier appointment, but I suspect I will just have to accept the possibility of them stopping my benefits.

I know people who are very sick who didn't get the benefits because they tried to fill out the form without help from someone that has done it many times before.
Oh right @PracticingAcceptance I totally get that, and Judee's comment above helped enlighten me too !
Oh my gosh, they do make it hard for people. Unknowingly -to use the wrong phrase could cause benefits to be stopped ! :eek:

Well, now I know that, I'm afraid I probably would be no help though I would have liked to have eased the burden in some way. I don't have experience with these forms. I helped someone get benefits from DWP a very very long time ago. But I can imagine things have changed.

It is a great pity someone in DWP can't help you with the form protocol ! At least to give you some guidelines. But I am sure they won't.

Positive strengthening thoughts sent out to you from me, lior. And some gentle thoughts as well, so you will be able to relax and wind down in any spaces between "things to do" if possible :hug:
 
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Thank you so much @Wolfcub , I very much appreciate your kind thoughts. :heart:

There's a lot of advice out there about how to fill out the form - I recommend Benefits & Work, it's £20 to access all their guides which are good. It's just it's a lot of work for me and even with the advice, it's difficult for me to do it cognitively.
 
Hey, sounds like your symptoms are very linked to stress. In my case it wasn't a 1 - 1 connection with feeling stressed and my symptoms being worse. It just came one day and then didnt get any better until I did this openfocus thing. It's not meditation really more like a psychological technique. It's also free on this website:
https://www.openfocusattentiontraining.com/

near the bottom right there are some downloads.

I do variations of it all the time and to begin with I was doing it for the whole day sometimes.

It's really helped and continues to help.

Best wishes,

Sophie
 
Let me know if you try it and have any positive results! I'm really interested since it helped me so much if it could help other people as well.
 

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