Mental health issues
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Ill health retirement

dfretwdfretw Member Posts: 5 Listener
edited March 2018 in Mental health issues
Hi I recently applied for early retirement due to mental health issues. Depression and anxiety. This has been a long term condition. However I also have problems with alcohol misuse. My employer rejected my application saying that if I abstain from alcohol and take my meds I am capable of gainful employment. I had two occupational health reports in 2016 both of which say I would be considered to have a disability under the discrimination act. I feel my employer is using alcohol as a get out. I intend to appeal the decision and my GP is fully supportive. He will write a letter to support me. 
Has anyone had similar problems? 


  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @dfretw   Pleased to meet you  Welcome.  Being similar in the sense I am an alcoholic and have a long addiction history.  Thirty years.

    Have mental health anxiety and depression.   Also have a disability .  Born with hands and fingers missing.  Plus mobility issues also disability caused by addiction.  Physically. I myself had issues in work when I was working.

    Having to make the choice to abstain and become clean now for eleven years.  Going into rehab.  I understand the issues around alcohol and employment.

    To me please can I say about your openness and honesty.  Understand everything that you are telling me.

    The hardest part for me is being acceptance and realised that what was happening to me.

    I am not here to tell you what to do but think if you do have an issue with alcohol.

    Perhaps you need to rethink.  Why?  This little thought please.  I do know what I am talking about.

    Consider this the role reversal .  You are the employer and some one is in employment.  Has mental health issues around alcohol.  You are finding faults and problems in the work place.  Being a good employer and sound character you agreed to say that person.

    What would you say?  Please can I ask?

    Understand this please I am still an alcoholic and know if I was not performing or doing my job correctly.  I would be told.  Please can I say I have many times.  There I had to look at what I am doing to myself and the need to change.

    Please can I add all my Doctors supportive of me.  Yet I have to consider this.  Please think of this.  If I did not change and start to look at myself.  Would they be supportive my Doctors.

    Many well two have said you need treatment and this is not being helpful.  Remember I have been a alcoholic thirty years.

    I wish you well you are an intelligent person.  Think of this what is happening in the addiction community.

    The under funded services over worked staff.  I should know my friend has and is working in addiction circles.  So my worry is always will be.  If I relapse right now could get treatment.  Possibly wait a few weeks time.  Maybe few months for rehab.

    If I continue and the same path.  Where is the support and treatment.  Lots of these centres closing down.. Please see my post Anniversary for more of my story.  It is in Reasons to be cheerful

    It is eye opening this services for addiction  are becoming non existence  Frightening and scary.  

    I am a gentleman in my fifties and do know now did the right thing.

    Please consider your options carefully

    Lovely to meet you and please if you wish to.  You can talk to me.  That is the main thing I do really understand.

    If you wish to talk to me privately I use the wall.  If you wish to that is your choice.

    The one and only Spiceman

    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
  • dfretwdfretw Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Thank-you spiceman.
    I am also in my 50's. I access a recovery centre and have long periods of abstinence. If I do relapse it's for a day or two. During my periods of abstinence my mental health is the same. This is why I am asking for early retirement due to ill health.
    We are always at risk of relapse and it's hard work to stay safe. I just feel my mental health has been ignored and focus just been on my addiction.

  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello  @dfretw   Thank you for reply.  Please can I say that is good you are managing to cope.

    Always a struggle I know all that and recognise the battle.  The main issues was what I trying to say to .  The point is as I have explained look from this from the employers side.

    I have stated a role reversal if your the employer, would be more concerned about your mental health or your addiction.

    I would if the employer be me.  Concerned for your addiction.  Employers have to be thinking of the welfare and well being of their staff.  Please remember there are major companies now doing drug and alcohol testing.  If you are in charge of machinery or anything like in a factory.

    Common sense is it not.  I recall once working for a major supermarket on a trial basis.  Told them my mental health.  Also honest about my addiction.  I was the same place as you are.

    Suddenly coping with this work and the people I started to relapse and have a bit more.  Unfortunately so tired with my mental health plus addiction coming to work.

    The sensing something was wrong.  In the end I had to leave.  Not because of my mental health my addiction.  The employers rang me up and told me so.

    In reality one of the staff had told the rest of the staff my health history.

    Contacted by the company concerned I had a wake up call.

    Remember the two do are combined.  Anxiety and depression.  Understanding why you drink and why remain abstinence then drink again is one of the fundamental reasons why your employer is concerned.

    My anxiety and depression are caused by me not drinking.  I know the cravings so it is hard for me.  Yet I cope and can try to deal with.  I also know if I did start to drink again my anxiety would be high.

    Because that is what anxiety does.  To be a state of anxious and worry.  We need to reach for a drink.  That reassures us a sense of comfort.  Realises then that feels relaxed reach for more and so on.

    Then afterwards the downs of depression caused by guilty feelings and emotions.  Remember that coping with all that.  Is harming you mentally as well.

    First of all you have to know how to cope.  Physiology plays a part.  Your mental strength.  I do know this.  Whether you are at a recovery centre. or rehab.  It is dealing with it.

    Stress you must understand is also a factor with alcoholics.  Lot of my stress is knowing if I drink it makes me great.   Which I do not wish ever to do.  Make that clear.  Have really bad days. Just the opposite with out makes me depressed.  After wards.  If I did the depression and the immense guilty feelings.  It is a vicious circle my friend.

    It is the bar of chocolate scenario.  Have a small bit then have more eating the whole bar and then more.

    Yet you know chocolate makes your feel good but having it makes you ill.  If you want to eat more.

    That was taught to me in ARP programmes.  Which are Alcohol Rolling Programmes give opportunity to deal with ways to cope.  Unfortunately lot of funding ceased.

    Lot of this is information and coping strategy.  I understand this could be difficult for those who still wish to drink.  Have long periods of abstinence.  Then wish to have one or two drinks still.

    I understand that all the time. 

    Please take care I hope I had made that clear.  I know it is a long post.  This is all a learning curve.

    I met people in our community like yourself.  My friend who advises me sees it every day.  He struggles himself being an alcoholic.  He has been clean just a bit longer than me.

    Met some one who was twenty years or more clean.  He struggles like all of us.

    Remember this is a disease by the World Health Organisation.  Effects mind and body constantly.

    Take care my friend

    Always here to listen

    The one and only Spiceman
    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
  • susan48susan48 Member Posts: 2,229 Disability Gamechanger
    just a thought, are you in a Union? 
    If so mybe they can help you.
    Just a thought.

  • dfretwdfretw Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Thanks Susan. Yes I am. They have advised I appeal with support from my GP. 
  • susan48susan48 Member Posts: 2,229 Disability Gamechanger
    thats good.
    i was granted ill health retirement over 2 years ago and thankfully I was my employer who suggested it. Also it was ATOS who regularly contacted me re my health and was an ATOS doctor who granted this. I always wondered why I got ESA and PIP in the beginning without any assessments but that’s why, ATOS being involved via my employer.
    Different now though.
    I do hope you are successful, my health problems were anxiety and depression
  • dfretwdfretw Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Thanks Susan
    I'm going to fight it. X
  • susan48susan48 Member Posts: 2,229 Disability Gamechanger
    Good for you, 
    with your gp and union support hopefully it won’t take long  :)
  • dfretwdfretw Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Thanks. I will try. I will let you know. X
  • susan48susan48 Member Posts: 2,229 Disability Gamechanger
    Great and stay strong x
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