ESA Assessment

On the 22nd I have my ESA assessment and I have to say it’s really making me nervous. It’s so hard trying to explain to people how much I struggle on a daily basis with both my pain and mental health and I’m terrified as if I’m refused I just don’t know how we are going to cope. I tried to write on a ‘support’ group how I am feeling and was surprised to find so many people making horrible comments towards me, I know there are people a lot worse off than myself and I can appreciate it is so much harder for them but to me this is difficult too and I need to ramble about it somewhere safely… I guess this is kinda what the blog is for after all!

I didn’t expect to get as far as actually going through with the assessment, I guess part of me hoped the steroid injections would have helped ease enough pain for me to start getting back on track and start looking for a part time job but after a good week everything has just gone back downhill and I’m back to where I was before the injections so I have no choice but to go through with the assessment and hope for the best but my anxiety is getting the better of me and feels like it’s eating me up.

How do you even begin to explain to a total stranger that although you look fine on the outside apart from walking a little funny that every step requires so much effort that even a 5 minute walk leaves you exhausted physically and mentally at the age of 25?

I know being completely honest is necessary but it’s also scary to think I’m going to have to admit to a stranger that I can’t pick up my baby at just 20 month’s old, if I take her out on my own I have to get the Mr to put her in her stroller as I can’t even do that without causing more pain, I cant even lift her onto a changing table so have to lay her stroller flat if I’m alone! How do you admit that you can’t even manage walking your 5 year old the 10-15 minute walk to school and back every day and have to rely on the Mr to do it otherwise I’m left in so much pain and feel so drained that I’m left completely useless for the rest of the day?

I guess a big part of it is me feeling like I am admitting I am a failure as a mother, I cant lift and rock my baby when she needs it, I cant walk my daughter to and from school and get chatting with the other mums, I cant take the girls to the park regularly, I cant bend down and pick up their toys properly, hell I cant even wash their damn clothes because the bending, lifting, and stretching to hang the clothes sends my back into spasm!

How do you admit all this to a stranger face to face? How do you explain that your basically useless and break down several times a day just trying to do the most basic of things? How do you explain that simple tasks make you feel so queasy because of the pain & a sharp bolt can make you vomit & leave you feeling so shaky and weak without sounding like a drama queen?

I’m also terrified my emotions will get the better of me on the day, I’m an emotional wreck most day’s as it is and if I get too worked up I get queasy and struggle to breath without throwing up! Any time I try to explain to someone what I’m going through it makes me feel like crap reeling off a list of basic tasks I struggle to do, how every time I struggle I become so upset and angry with myself for not being able to do such a ‘simple’ task etc. It all just sounds like I’m over reacting!

I guess I’ve tried to hide the pain and how it leaves me feeling from people for so long that now I need to open up and be honest so I can get the help I need it’s much harder and it feels like I’m about to go to confession to admit all my failures instead of sins.

It’s terrifying to think they could decide to deem me fit to work when I can’t even load the dishwasher daily, climb into the bath, push a hoover around and all the other thing’s most people do without thinking. The worst part is if they do say I am fit to work I have no choice but to try and find a job as there’s no way I could cope trying to keep on top of school runs, looking after Izzy etc so I need the Mr to be at home to carry on doing it all as I can’t.

Then there’s the added fear of how my health will affect a job as just 5 weeks doing 4 hours a day work experience at the job centre was draining and one of the day’s I had to be sent home as I was in so much pain & everything felt too much and I arrived in tears! I tried so hard for the first week or two to hide it but eventually the staff I worked closely with were picking up on it and I was made to go sit at a desk several times. One of those times I was struggling so much I buried my head in my arms on the desk to hide the tears whilst I tried to stretch my back out that one of the managers walked past and thought I was being lazy and told me to sit up which of course led to me feeling even worse and having to excuse myself to go hide in the toilet for 5 minutes to calm down.

I’d love to work, I’d love the chance to socialise with other’s and actually make some friends around here and do something to be proud of and show the girls the importance of working but I know realistically I just wouldn’t cope,I cant even keep on top of the blog on bad days because I just can’t even focus! It’s fairly easy to get this all down in words but how on earth am I meant to explain all this to a complete stranger and have them take me seriously? So many questions and I know on the day I’ll only feel worse and again afterwards waiting on their decision. I guess time will tell but I needed to get it all off my chest instead of letting it carry on eating me up!

11 comments

    I'm sorry you're having to go through this. It seems so futile when you're in so much pain. I understand they have a job to do and assessments but still...I hope they're kind to you.

    stellabranch | 1 year ago Reply

    How do you tell a stranger all of this? You just do. I faced the very same issue when I applied for disability, and it helps to treat that person as someone you will meet once and then never again the same way you treat the readers of your blog who never like or comment. Nothing about this makes you a failure. Your love for your child and your ability to parent are not decided by what your body can or can't do. Plenty of mothers who CAN pick up their toddlers are total asshats not worthy of the title. Your body is what it is. Your mental health is what it is. It doesn't define us, it doesn't make us less of a person. It just makes life a little trickier for us, with different and more specific needs. The only thing you can do is be honest and detailed about what is and isn't possible. You can't control how other people think - you can only say the truth in full and let them decide themselves. There's no point in worrying about things you can't control (easier said than done, I know, but it's worth trying). Do what you CAN do. Be honest, blunt and set the boundaries you experience. "I can't work. I can't pick up my 20 month old because my body won't let me. I can't function when I have a bad mental episode." This is the truth. Don't think of it as failing at life. You're not, you're experiencing illnesses. You can do this. You can tell them and you can do your best. Whatever those people think is not your responsibility. Your responsibility ends with the end of your explanation/story. Holding on to that really helped me. I hope it can help you too.

    Sanne | 1 year ago Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment, I really appreciate it especially coming from someone that has been in a similar situation x

      relentlesslypurple | 1 year ago Reply

    I'm so sorry to hear you're going through such a difficult time. You are certainly not alone. Your story is similar to mine, so I can relate to what you shared. It is really terrible that many people don't take us seriously or don't believe us when we say we're in pain and have such limitations at a young age, simply because we're younger. We're not being lazy, and they won't have any idea of the magnitude of what we go through, partly because i think they refuse to believe that a younger person can indeed experience such pain. But we do. It is possible. Age has nothing to do with it when you have chronic pain/illness. I can empathize with you on many levels. You're not alone. You can do this! Just focus on sharing your experience and what you go through and how it affects your day-to-day, do the best you can, and be your authentic self. I will keep you in my thoughts and I hope that you are able to receive support you need. Hang in there! And I'm glad you decided to share this with us on your blog. It's a safe space where you can share these things with folks who understand what you're going through. I'm glad you shared with us. Wishing you all the best for the best possible outcome!

    MyLifeWithChronicPain | 1 year ago Reply

      Thank you so much for your kind words, it's a relief to know someone else understands. Thank you for popping by and taking the time to comment :) x

      relentlesslypurple | 1 year ago Reply

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