Saturday, 27 January 2018

It's been a busy week, with most of my efforts being put into psychology-related targets.

I still don't have a clear answer from the DWP as to why my Working Tax Credits were stopped. We've been around the same circle numerous times, being told that my WTC claim was 'under review' and being told to phone back in a few weeks' time, only to be told the claim must be referred onto another department. So we've decided to complain. We've once again been told that the system they use won't let the call handler move forward with the claim, only this time we've found out it's because a drop-down box on their screen has been greyed out.

The referral should take another four weeks. Meanwhile, ATOS only gave me one element of PIP, and I work part time, so without WTC I'm basically running out of money.


In fairness the last person from DWP I spoke to was helpful and explained the complaints procedure, but many other people have just not given us the help we need.

I say we, because there isn't a chance I'd be able to manoeuvre my way through the benefits system alone- I have little to no understanding of formal and financial information. I do words, not numbers, and I'm creative, not systematic. I'm getting huge amounts of help from my parents, who are endlessly supportive. But this is a massive blow to my confidence because I'm a THIRTY-FIVE-YEAR-OLD GROWN MAN and I shouldn't have to rely on support from them. But then, the only reason I do need their support is that I have memory difficulties and I don't understand the government's system. If the government could provide me with some relevant support, like I've been asking them to since I was 25, then this wouldn't be such a big issue.

On a lighter note, I volunteered at the Healthwatch Oldham Forum in Oldham Sports Centre yesterday, raising awareness of Andy's Man Club.

Healthwatch 'gives people a powerful voice locally and nationally.
At a local level, Healthwatch Oldham will work to help local people get the best out of their health and social care services.'- (Healthwatch website)

On yesterday's event, we manned a stall asking questions about the group and encouraging people to pass on leaflets to anyone they think might benefit from the group. AMC member Andy Hall gave a great speech about the challenges he faced which led him to the group, a talk full of pathos, honesty, insightfulness and good humour. Another contributor, an elderly gent alongside his wife, talked candidly about his battle with cancer. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room after his speech ended.

A very powerful day featuring some brave and honest speakers.

More good news: the NHS graciously refunded the £150 dental fine I received after ticking the wrong box. If you're reading this, NHS fine department, I appreciate your understanding. I just hope the prescription fine team are as understanding- I need them to be while the WTC team continue to look into my case...

My Headway card has arrived. I mentioned last week that brain injury charity Headway are issuing ID cards for people with brain injuries, to formally explain to others what kind of challenges they may face. Ideally the systems I have will prevent any memory-induced mishaps in the first place, but systems fail. A card like this will only help, should the need arise.

One final point this week: I mentioned a month ago that I was changing my habits with antidepressants. I moved back the time at which I take them by 5 hours. I reviewed this after a week.

So. A month later, how have I fared taking Sertraline at 12pm? It's not made a huge amount of difference- it's still a challenge to sleep some nights, I'm still struggling with weight gain and hair loss, the former of which is definitely related to Sertraline, and I'm still trying to build confidence. I'd say it hasn't done me any harm, and surely something that gives you a boost must help you to sleep better if it's taken earlier, and further away from the time that you'd normally be trying to sleep?

I'll be sticking with 12pm from now on.

I have loads more psychology related posts to go up over the next few weeks involving memory, depression, confidence building and some psychological experimentation.

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