PIP Assessment (Aspergers)

I had my pip assessment with ATOS Healthcare on Saturday. I had previously blogged on the difficulties I had applying and I suddenly got a letter requesting that I attend an assessment with a ‘medical practitioner’

I feel I will have my application rejected after the assessment. It wasn’t good.

I was on time, but nervous. It a modern building and there was a waiting area and appointment rooms all on the ground floor.

Maybe, I was eight to ten minutes early. Being late for an appointment is stressful, so I try and be early for doctors things. 

I was taken in on time and I had a young lady say my name, she told me her first name and that she was a nurse.

I sat on a seat at right angles to the desk as you might at a surgery appointment.

Now, in terms of questions, i won’t recall. I think initially I was asked about depression and anxiety. I tried to answer that it was tied to my aspergers diagnosis, but was told to stop. I had questions on first treatment fo depression, drugs, diagnosis, CBT, having psychotherapy. I was asked the last time at doctor, last time with the CPN or local mental health team and with the Adult Autism Team. In truth, all were a while ago and I tried explaining about phoning for appointments or changing medication etc.

I tried to get over to her the issues I had with anxiety and with Aspergers.

The longest time on questions seemed to be on food preparing and on adaptions at home. I can feed myself and kids if I’m not doing anything too involved and although the PIP criteria is on preparing from scratch, it’s something that I rarely if ever do. One thing is concentration, the other is coordination. I’m useless at cutting vegetables or trimming meat or doing a series of prep activities. I wouldn’t attempt it for leisure, I think I’d find it stressful. I’ve recently swerved a food in a box promotion at the station as although I do want to eat better, I’d struggle with cutting, chopping, boiling in pans.

I live in a flat, it’s not adapted. I don’t think I need particular adaptions other than maybe dimmer switches on lights. I don’t really know what the point of that was, especially as i don’t think I’d qualify for anything and if I did, I’d need PIP to do so.

At the end I didn’t particularly feel anything. She had followed the questions on the screen and I didn’t particularly feel listen to, but she had noted my answers and typed away as and when I spoke. I sometimes didn’t speak, I think I was halting and nervous in trying to speak and the initial experience in trying to say that my mental health issues were linked to Aspergers and a result of having a lifelong condition that is an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. 

Formal? Business-like? Maybe. It certainly wasn’t really like a doctors examination or where someone was actively helping me.

If I fail to get PIP, then I’m ‘not disabled’. I could appeal or ask for reconsideration but I’m feeling pretty flat about it he experience and obviously having to talk for around half an hour took it out of me, the waiting, the traveling to and the nervous energy expended. I really had been in a bit of a state for about a fortnight before the assessment. 

I can’t speak for how ‘bad’ either depression or anxiety are for me. I know, at best, I may have a low level ‘background’ level of anxiety that won’t leave me and that I am not naturally a happy or bouncy person. I am functional but usually nervy or jumpy with that. I’d be sure there are people with worse clinical depression or worse levels of anxiety than me. The combination of those with a continual presence is my issue.

Possibly I’ve been under stress for too long a period. Possibly I need to stop doing what I do to be better. I don’t want and can’t afford not to work. I don’t want to be on benefits. I think I just want a bit of help and it’s something I don’t have and can’t get without PIP.

I’m unsure if my life would be easier or better or anything else if I had less anxiety/depression. I don’t know. I don’t think there’s an answer to what would help me. I don’t want to shut down and stop working or stuff as I’d lose everything and ultimately have nothing.

Is the Assessment fair? I don’t know. I don’t have a missing limb. Maybe it’s intended more for physical disabilities. I had to talk and that’s not really a help. I’m poor at talking, all my physical stuff doesn’t help as I’m not making eye contact, being nervous and speaking badly when asked questions. (These are all thought to be ‘tells’ for liars) The room was bright but I did have my coloured lenses. There weren’t steps or stairs or a lift to worry about. 

In short, I felt I couldn’t really get over my issues and symptoms. I guess I’m struggling to know how it all went.

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