Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Cant switch off after ESA face to face assessment

overthinkingagainoverthinkingagain Member Posts: 24 Connected
Hello all
I recently went for my face to face to be reassessed and hopefully continue on ESA. As I suffer from Sever Anxiety,Depression and OCD, it has been a nightmare for me dealing with this process from the moment I heard the postman put the ESA50 envelope through my door.

I am really writing this to offload a little as I isolate myself and do no open up to friends and family as I find it difficult and dont want to upset tehm. Please dont read if you are really worried as I dont want to make anyone feel worse....

I went to my Face to face assessment the other day and I thought after it I would feel relieved that it was out of the way, but instead I am obsessing over it and analysing it, although I was in such a tired and anxious state, I can not really remember what happened.
I knew that my mind would be blank at the appt as this generally happens when I am under great stress and anxiety. I cant relax and concentrate on what is being asked, and tend to ramble, and not know what ive said.... 
so I followed advice given and wrote a diray of my day to day ongoings for the weeks leading upto the appt, and wrote a personal statement where I tried to cover what I thought they would ask so that if I struggled to answer on the day they would be able to see answers in my statement. I gave this to the assessor along with my doctors letter and therapist letter.

The assessment centre itself was a challenge and the waiting room was a challenge as i was waiting for about an hour I think (no clocks in there), but the assessor seemed professional and understanding and spent alot of time tapping away on the keyboard and telling me to take deep breaths when I was upset. The Assessor relayed first what he had read from my ESA50 form, and it showed he had read it as he gave some details of answers I had written. Then asked me questions about my mental health ...
I was so frustrated as I knew what I would be asked but when i got asked it, i was just done crying and couldnt think, i even said..Im just blank..i cant think...and then eventually after scrambling and waffling that I had written it all down, i messed with my paperwork and then could even concentrate on the words id written anyway! eventually  words came and I started to answer but I wasn't as informative verbally as I am on paper when I write in the safety of my own home.

The assessor only asked about mental health questions and I was there for about 40 minutes, when the assessor said that they had all they needed from me and that I shouldn't worry if at all possible. (obviously not going to happen) and that a decision is taking about 6-8 weeks which caused me to express my distress by form of a deep sigh that the assessor said ''is that going to be difficult for you'' and I explained again how difficult waiting is for me and change....and they wrote some more down. I said, I have to try and take it day by day but I just dont know how ill cope if I have to appeal or something and ...waffled...
Then he said that although he isn't the decision maker, from all the information he has, he couldn't not see me being classed as fit for work, so to try not not think about it as best as possible.(wish I could relax, but ultimately the decision maker will have the final say) I guess he was trying to put my mind at ease, but I always think the worst in my current frame of mind anyway.

I gave the evidence i had and explained what it was at the end and he took it all, then led me out to the door and told me how to get out of the building. I felt so out of it, like an out of body experience, I have no idea if they picked up on that or how I was perceived..... I wish I could remember what I had said and I guess thats why I am worrying so much. 

I guess what I am wondering is, if they will take into consideration the paper evidence supplied which may be more easier to understand than my anxious word mumblings that did not really express everything I wanted to say as I was so nervous and found it hard to communicate???

well thank you for listening and all the best to all that read this should you be going through the same thing.


  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger

    Having recently been through yet another ESA re-assessment myself i can totally understand the way you're feeling. It's perfectly normal to feel this way when waiting for any decision on a re-assessment. Try to keep yourself busy to occupy your mind if that's at all possible. I know it's very difficult.

    Decision times vary depending on backlog in your area and it can be anything between 2-8 weeks, sometimes longer.

    In the meantime if you live in the UK you can ring DWP to ask for a copy of the assessment report to be sent to you. This will give you some idea what the decision is likely to be as they mostly go with the report. Good luck.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • overthinkingagainoverthinkingagain Member Posts: 24 Connected
    oh, thanks for that advice Poppy123456 I really appreciate it.

    you have helped me to calm down my racing brain a little, I live alone so I can get carried away in my own loops of nonsense.

    I do live in the UK, so will give DWP a call (although so far my calls to them have took so long on hold, I give up waiting after 30 minutes as the recorded messages drives me insane!)

    How long after the assessment would you advise I wait until requesting the report?

    All the best to you also, on your re-assessment, I hope that you get the outcome you need.
  • BenistmonkBenistmonk Member Posts: 343 Pioneering
    Sorry to hear you are feeling so worried, all I know is, it doesn't do you any good to worry about it, it can't influence the result. The worst that can happen is you will have to appeal, and as long as you have the medical evidence, the tribunal can only rule in your favour. The other possible outcome is, you score enough points to avoid this. 

    Fingers crossed as they say. :smiley:
  • overthinkingagainoverthinkingagain Member Posts: 24 Connected
    you are so right Benistmonk, thanks for the support and adivce.

    I think I will start to calm down soon and be able to rationalise more. I find change and things out of my control a challenge, but thinking logically and not emotionally is the best way forward in these times. I think my mind just needs to catch up with my tired body and then I will have a nice much needed sleep.

    Thanks again
  • BenistmonkBenistmonk Member Posts: 343 Pioneering
    That's the spirit, don't let it get you down. It is a total waste of energy worrying about things we have no control over. We all have to go through this torture, and we get stronger each time we can accept that which we cannot change.
  • overthinkingagainoverthinkingagain Member Posts: 24 Connected
    Thanks Benistmonk. 
  • overthinkingagainoverthinkingagain Member Posts: 24 Connected
    edited March 2019
    Just thought I’d post an update. The last few months have been such a horrible experience and after my F2F  i continued to be struggling terribly  with my severe anxiety and coping with the wait for the outcome as well as dealing with new medication and it’s side effects so it has been awful.

    After failed attempts at getting through to the enquiry line to ask for the medical assessment report, I remembered I had a contact Info for a work coach at the JC who was very helpful to me in the past and S o I emailed explaining my mental health was deteriorating and  asked if they could help with my ESA85 request. I got a reply saying they don’t have the reports at the JC  but could see on the system that a decision hadn’t been made yet about my ESA but they would forward my assessor report request to the DWP.

    Later in the day I had a couple of missed calls from an unknown number and I never answer calls Im not expecting. But I as the caller was hanging up then ringing again straight away, I plucked up the courage and answered. It was someone from the DWP. They said they were calling about my request for the assessors report. They said they could send it, but had checked and could confirm I have been placed in the support group, the call was quite a blur and I was very nervous and had to ask for thé info to be repeated -and confirmed as I was having trouble concentrating....

    As you can imagine I was relieved and glad I answered the call. I have to wait now for the paperwork to process and receive my letter of confirmation but now I know what the letter will say so will not be dreading the brown envelope moment (although until I see it written down im having a hard time believing it if I’m honest) ...it hasn’t sunk in yet as I type this as I am so exhausted.  Thanks for listening! All the best 
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,924

    Scope community team

    Hi @overthinkingagain, thanks for updating us and glad to hear of your positive outcome! 
    Senior Community Partner

    Your feedback is really important to the development of the online community, so please remember to complete our online community annual survey
  • overthinkingagainoverthinkingagain Member Posts: 24 Connected
    Hello again! As stated above,  i contacted the DWP to ask for my ESA85 a week after my assessment. I got a follow up call  from the DWP saying I can have my ESA85 if I wanted it, but they were able to tell me that I had now been placed in the support group.  They said I was lucky the decision had been made quickly and was quite straight forward, but now my paperwork was in a queue to be inputted into the system so I would have to wait for the ldecision letter to arrive (they called me out of courtesy as they could see I have mental health issues and am distressed with this whole process) which was very thoughtful.  

    Anyway....A week has passed by and I received my ESA 85 but still no decision letter with confirmation that I am in support group. Despite the verbal confirmation, I am finding it hard to relax until I get the letter and see it in writing. Just wondering how long I should wait once a decision has been made for them to generate and send the letter?

    i appreciate any advice should anyone have any. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    There's no timescales to decisions.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • overthinkingagainoverthinkingagain Member Posts: 24 Connected
    edited March 2019
    Ok thank you @poppy123456
    i understand it also depends on area etc too and workloads. As I have been informed verbally by phone a decision has been made, i am just eager to get the confirmation in writing but understand that I am lucky to have been informed
    of anything,  i was just hoping the letter would follow sooner rather than later. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    If you were told by DWP what the decision is then that's the decision. ESA decision letters are very strange anyway and they don't tell you any information other than you're in the Support Group.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • overthinkingagainoverthinkingagain Member Posts: 24 Connected
    Thanks @poppy123456.
     That is reassuring, i will try and switch off from it now, my mental health issues makes relaxing difficult and I am my own worst enemy sometimes. The copy of the esa85 they sent me advises that  I meet the criteria for LCWRA, which is also good to have as a reference. I appreciate your support. All the best to you. 
  • LaughingLollyLaughingLolly Member Posts: 101 Pioneering
    I've never claimed ESA but as with any extremely stressful activity I would encourage you to now engage in something completely absorbing and unrelated. With stress doing something in the physical world can really help. 
    A laugh a day keeps the psychiatrist at bay. 
  • overthinkingagainoverthinkingagain Member Posts: 24 Connected
    edited March 2019
  • Silver925Silver925 Member Posts: 87 Courageous
    I also suffer with anxiety, depression and ocd felt worse after assessment even though the assessor was great was mental health nurse. Told me takes 2weeks which it did. Obsessed the whole time over thinking and analyzing. Convinced he was trying to catch me out. Got Support Group. I know how your mind can play tricks with this illness. Try not to worry. Take Care
  • overthinkingagainoverthinkingagain Member Posts: 24 Connected
    @Silver925 thanks very much. You are quite right about your mind working against you. I think it’s been difficult to cope as all my usual coping techniques have gone out the window at this stressful time and thrown me into a mess. Good to meet someone going through the same condition though and know you aren’t alone. 
  • overthinkingagainoverthinkingagain Member Posts: 24 Connected
    @Silver925 As i hit send on that message to you the post woman just put a brown envelope though my door! It says I am now in the support group, such a relief to see it in writing and you must be a lucky charm! Thanks everyone for listening to my racing mind. 
  • Silver925Silver925 Member Posts: 87 Courageous
    Congratulations on getting into the Support group.  Glad I could be of some help.
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