This will be a straightforward account of my atos visit. Although I may start waffling on about the nature of psychosis. Lets see.
I’ve actually had a positive experience of ATOS. So much so, I sometimes think my interviewer was an angel.
Unfortunately, I had to cancel my first appointment as I ended up in hospital. It was some sort of dissociative fugue thingie and the police and social work were involved. My main memory was arguing, and winning, an arguement about how staff should talk to people who are in A&E because of sexual trauma. That issue is for another blog.
Anyway, I had to cancel so phoned ATOS. She was lovely! And eventually another appointment came through.
This appointment I made. I phoned beforehand and asked what would happen if I walked out. Again, she was lovely but couldn’t give me any specific advice.
The only thing I did that morning that was different was that I put no make-up on. When I went in I was in a heightened state of agitation. The waiting room was one of the saddest places imaginable. I’m prone to something called ‘hyper-sexuality’ which means when I’m stressed I want to have sex. Usually I can depress this need with wine but I didn’t think turning up drunk would be a good idea. I had to leave the room as there were men there and this was confusing my stress levels.
I spent the next 30 mins pacing, chewing my cheek and when I went to the loo, banging my head a bit. Back in the corridor I kept pacing.
Then she appeared. Okay, she wasn’t an angel but she was bloody good. Yes, news-flash, ATOS were great. The first thing she said was she could see how upset I was. And she seemed to assure me that she was going to make it as quick as possible so I can go home.It’s a bit of a blur after that. Quite frankly I was so suicidal that I couldn’t give a shit about benefits. She did ask me about suicide and I was honest. Also said I was homicidal too! She asked me how I got there and I said I walked and if she could get me a job walking manically all day I would take it. At this stage of my PTSD I couldn’t sit still/relax/sleep I was so dissociated. For some reason, I ended up telling her about the worst of my symptoms. I used to think devils and angels lived in my bank account and thats where the worlds problems played itself out. My bank account. She asked me if I still felt like that and was genuinely relieved that was no longer the case. I told her about self-harming. I used to bite myself. The last thing I said was ”Please don’t tell social work this, they know anyway” and I walked away worried she’d phone social work.
Anyway, I passed. Not that I knew about points systems at this point or WRAG or support groups.
The point of this blog is the fact she was a complete angel who obviously knew about mental illness. She really was lovely. She wanted me out that room as soon as possible so I didn’t have to disclose too much of my trauma.Good for her. My concern is the ethics of these interviews. Nobody should go through them and the state should listen to NHS professionals. The system is ripe for retraumatising traumatised people.