1. (of a person) Having a physical or mental condition that limits movements, senses, or activities.

  2. (of an activity, organization, or facility) Specifically designed for or relating to people with such a physical or mental condition.

I retired from teaching in 2007….through ill-health.

I had taught music for 20 years. I was very good at it. I enjoyed the fact that i could produce work of a really high standard, and loved production of performances. I thrived on being uber-organised.

i had been ill for months with long term conditions, and was seen by an independent occupational health consultant and deemed unfit to work.

I was put onto incapacity benefit,

i was already the owner of  Blue Parking Permit.

Since on retiring my life became very complicated for other reasons, i didn’t feel any loss….and lack of connection with working.

A few years after retiring i got heavily involved in voluntary work for Autism -as my son had Aspergers. I attending meetings, scrutinised papers, met with Ministers…a totally new direction for me. i LOVED it. i was good at it! it became my new full-time thought and focus.

The meetings became more difficult to commit to, but i struggled on, until…i hit my wall!

  • severe and brittle asthmatic. Stage 4 treatment. Have had to have emergency treatment.
  • neck and shoulder pain long-term – was hugely difficult at work – bending over unsupported at piano.
  • periodic reactant stress- related to family life and complications
  • irregular heart beat – a defective node AVNRT – corrected once, but needs more
  • car accident treated me to continuous Lumbar pain March 2009 – have been attending Pain clinic to have nerves deadened in my spine for years now – they no longer have effect.Need to scale up.
  • developed headaches – severe and frequent about 2 yrs ago. These changed over time and began to present with neurological symptoms. Admitted several times. But associated system still changing…MRI can done
  • have a cystic type lesion in my brain
  • have a chiari malformation in my brain/top of my spine

about the time the headaches occurred i was a very angry person. Very agitated…wanted to pull off wallpaper, hop off walls…. Went to GP and described how i was feeling and was put on many anti-anxietics which made me feel worse! and eventually onto anti-depressants – which i firmly objected to.

Was sent to psychiatrist as i was resistant to all medication. She gave me a cocktail of drugs and suggested therapy with a multi-modal psychologist. I went grudgingly …ranting that i was NOT depressed.

6 months later – i was ready to acknowledge….I WAS DEPRESSED!

i was depressed and grieving the loss of any semblance of health, and trying to come to terms with the ever increasing limitations being put on my life and the standard of my physical disability for the first time.

there it was…:

. I am depressed due to my serious incapacity or my disability!

i could finally say it! in 2011…i was disabled…the occupational health decision that i had shrugged off at the time i could now understand the significance of.

  • cant walk up hills
  • am breathless doing stairs
    • have numb feet and lower legs
    • headaches which can last up to 10 days
    • days when i need to sleep most of the days
    • frequent tachycardia and arrhythmia.
    • i am depressed.
    • am constantly in lower back pain – sleep over a pillow
    • use lumbar supports in cars and house
    • now have 6 pillows – trial and error for neck pain
    • waken at night- every night- in pain to move adjust, back and neck…
    • no conditions are curabled and will involve management for life.

i attend currently:

  1. gp – fortnightly
  2. pain clinic
  3. cardiologist
  4. I-CAP – orthopaedic team
  5. psychologist
  6. neurologist
  7. neurosurgeon
  8. medical respiratory unit
  9. physiotherapist
  10. overviewed by local medical consultant – every 2 months.

i don’t even want to discuss how much medication i am taking. Or think about the effect it is having on my health and the rest of my few functioning organs.

so finally i STAND UP and decide i do need to claim Disability benefits…as life could surely not get much more sedentary than this?

i get REFUSED.

i appeal – and write a description of my day in detail

i get REFUSED.

i send in more medical evidence and formally appeal the decision – this time including new MRI findings.

i get REFUSED.

i go to tribunal, where am convinced that since these people are Medical in background they will see that this makes NO sense….

i have never felt so “on trial” in my life. These people were asking me questions and sneering at the answers…as if “how could it be painful to chop vegetables?” “how could you not drive on your own?” “why do you spend night shuffling pillows in bed?”….

Pain is not visible

But they didnt want to know about that! They wanted to say that since i walked into the room – they didnt care that i was in pain – all the time…they didnt care what my husband did as i was in pain…surely i could peel a potato? – i said not without extreme pain…again the sneer…

and guess what?

i get REFUSED.

so in summary:

i retired on ill-health, spent 5 years avoiding it and the last two, while physical health declines, so does mental health as i struggle to accept this ME…this disabled me…

but today as i fill out ESA forms….

am i disabled?

the government would like to say NO!

and so far they have made me beg, feel like I am on trial, degrading me, felt dehumanised, unvalidated, humiliated, and made to feel that they OPENLY thought i was a liar.

so DISABLED …in every way accept the government views.

its a never ending cycle of PAIN… physical mental and now confrontational and interrogational




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