ESA Benefit Appeal Upheld by Tribunal.

Many of you have probably seen stories in the news about people with mental health struggles battling to get benefits; some of you may be fighting the battle right now.

Like most things I don’t think you can fully understand a problem until you live it, and in a way that is why challenging a decision by the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) to stop my ESA benefits seemed something that I just had to do.

While I was successful with my appeal, the whole process highlighted some rather alarming issues; the main one for me was that the DWP seem to have no detailed knowledge of how mental health issues work, and that is scary because let’s remember, this is a government department that is tasked to try and help people! Read more

Video Diary: Getting Off Sertraline – 7th & 12th June.

There are a lot of question marks about medication used in the treatment of mental health conditions.  I am currently on Sertraline which is an anti depressant and part of the SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor) group of medications.  What does it mean, and how does it work?  I’ll go into that in later blogs.

Like all medications Sertraline comes with a long list of side-effects, some worse than others, and it is this part which raises the question; are they really worth taking?

There is no doubt that the Sertraline has helped me, especially in the early stages, but now I feel that it is actually hindering my recovery.  One of the side-effects I have is night terrors, dreams in which I am really anxious to the point where I am paralysed in the dream.  I often have massive fights in my dreams; it is where a lot of my rage and anger seems to come out. Read more

Stress at Work: The Overloaded Inbox

Modern technology is meant to make life easier, and while in part it does, it is also the cause of a lot of stress, especially at work.

E-mail is just one of those technological achievements.  While it is great to be able to contact someone quickly and is environmentally friendly, it also adds a lot of pressure and expectation which can mean that our minds are never ‘off-line’.

As a recipient, you can get overwhelmed with the volume of e-mails, and as the sender, you can get angry quickly because you expect a fast response, and don’t always get it.

“All those e-mails you don’t have time to deal with could be making you ill” says an article on the BBC website today.  Research has been carried out at the University of Manchester to prove this, which is great because we can’t do anything these days without scientific proof. Read more

Alastair Campbell: Depression & Me. Another Great Mental Health Documentary.

This was another great documentary by the BBC for Mental Health Awareness Week; and again, it was great to see a public figure being so open in sharing their struggle with a mental health issue.

Like most words related to mental health issues, depression is wildly misused.  As we saw with Alastair Campbell, depression is not just feeling sad or unhappy for a short while; it is a long term, daily struggle and it can make your mood change in split seconds.

The main question raised by the documentary was the use of medication as a treatment.  It was plain to see that the medication Alastair was taking only helped to reduce the feelings of depression; his family were shocked that he could switch from feeling fine to being in a depressed state in just a matter of seconds whilst being on medication. Read more