Universal Credit & my Mental Health – Part 2 *MH TRIGGER WARNING*

Universal Credit & my Mental Health – Part 2 *MH TRIGGER WARNING*

13th August 2018 2 By Alex Tiffin - @RespectIsVital

So I thought it was appropriate to do the next part of how Universal Credit has affected my mental health. If you haven’t read part one you can read it by clicking here.

Alex Tiffin



PLEASE NOTE; If you have any thoughts of self harm or suicide you can call The  Samaritans 24 hours a day, seven days a week on; 116 123.

So when I left off last time I had just had my Work Capability Assessment – WCA for Universal Credit and was feeling pretty crap.

I could already see where it was going based on her answers. I was right, it came back a couple of weeks later that the Department for Work and Pensions – DWP had decided that I was fIt to work. They had based this decision on the assessors report which when I saw it, was a bunch of lies.

I asked for a Mandatory Reconsideration but was unsuccessful. I was now spending more and more time in bed. What is important to note is; when I am more stressed my Functional Neurological Disorder – FND deteriorates. I ended up at one point being bed bound and needing help.

The hard part with that is, the only real help I can get is from my disabled parents and they aren’t well enough to visit mostly.

All the time I still had to maintain my Universal Credit commitments by carrying out job searches for 35 hours a week. Numerous times I pleaded with my work coach via my journal asking that my health be reassessed.

Each and every time I was refused once being told that their; “assessment is that I am fit to work and it will not be reviewed for 12 months.”

By the start of March I was thinking more and more about suicide.

PLEASE NOTE; If you have any thoughts of self harm or suicide you can call The  Samaritans 24 hours a day, seven days a week on; 116 123.

I was out of money within days each time I was paid my benefit, replying on foodbanks every week and it got to the point that I couldn’t afford to take my children. The latter is the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder – BPD. With this condition it is very hard to regulate how you feel. I can be either happy or sad, there is no inbetween. So what can be a slight disappointment to somebody without BPD, is like the world ending to a BPD sufferer.

Vice versa, good news can cause me to be hyper and euphoric.

My kids are everything to me. Not being able to take them and not seeing a way out I decided that I couldn’t take it anymore.

I made the decision to take an overdose of my medication which I will not name but needless to say it is very powerful.

My reasoning illogical as it seems now was that; I would be stuck like this forever and it can only get worse. My kids will hate me as I’m poor and that I’d let everyone down.

I took the overdose and just sat there. Thoughts running through my head I started to think about my kids and at some point it dawned upon me what an absolute idiot I was being. I called an ambulance and was rushed to hospital.


To cut a long story short I spent two days in intensive care and then a further two talking to the amazing mental health team.

I was discharged home and the next day a Community Psychiatric Nurse – CPN visited me the next day. He talked about how despite not being able to work I should find a hobby that I treated like a job.

Obviously this does not tally with what’s expected of me by the DWP. Despite me advising them of what had happened they saw fit to say that nothing changes. Still short of food I asked them for help with food. I pleaded for an advance to help me and the response I received from my work coach was;

“we are sorry but that is not a reason that we would provide assistance however we can offer budgeting advice.”

So whilst trying to think what to do I continued my search for a job that will take someone in a wheelchair who can be absent at a moments notice for months at a time, will carry me to the toilet and feed me.

I managed to sell a few things which I did feel sad about but, I could see my kids so I was more happy about that than sad about a few possessions.

I will leave it there but what I will say is that I am in a much much better frame of mind and have realised that it isn’t bad forever. I also know that talking to someone will make you feel so much better and usually put your mind at rest.

I have said it repeatedly throughout this article but; If you have any thoughts of self harm or suicide you can call The Samaritans 24 hours a day, seven days a week on; 116 123.

I will leave it there for now as I think that this is more than enough for this part. Next time I will talk about how I am now and what you can do to improve your situation.

Alex Tiffin

@RespectIsVital on Twitter

Universal Credit Sufferer on Facebook

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