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

Mental health conception on white background

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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  • Warning for MH issues, self-harm, suicide. You don’t have to read it!

    Thank you so much for being so honest. I lost my PIP award after a similarly ridiculous assessment. 27 years of Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and a decade-long chronic pain condition, described as “low mood, anxiety, lower back pain”. FFS. So many other things wrong with the report, too. 0 points.

    I freaked out. I’d been homeless for 2 months just a couple of months before, I was in a lot of debt as a result, and a variety of other extremely stressful things were going on. Panic (can’t live on ESA alone), anger (DWP was essentially calling me a fraud), and hopelessness reared their heads. My mental health began spiralling. A friend had to send in the MR request, which asked the DWP to wait for our submission before doing the MR. I was a mess. Had to get an extension. Eventually another friend did most of the submission for me. It was hellish.

    The day before we were going to post the submission I got the MR decision. They hadn’t waited. Still 0 points. I called them in a panic and they said that if I sent the submission in they’d redo it.

    Too late. I’d cracked. Cue months in bed, severely depressed, crazy anxious, with my moods swinging wildly every few hours or days. I barely ate, washed, slept or communicated. I lost ~19lbs, and was regularly awake for 50-60 hours at a time. I drank like a fish, self-harmed, and if my friends/partners hadn’t watched me carefully, I’d almost certainly be dead. I don’t even recognise myself in those memories.

    I don’t know why this time was so bad… My MH usually gets worse when dealing with the DWP, but this was…. Extreme.

    You’re not alone, remember that. Hope you feel better soon.

  • If I get letters from the DWP they are, for the last 5 years plus, just letters telling me about how much the ESA is going up. This, I believe, is because they sent me an ESA50 and looking through my old stuff I came accross the old ESA72 and it stated WE WILL CONTACT YOU AGAIN ON, OR AFTER (DATE) WHERE YOU MIGHT SEND YOU ANOTHER ESA50 OR AN APPOINTMENT LETTER.
    I went mad I wanted to burn down the two local job centres! but ended up just doing a letter to the assessment company, a copy of page 2 of the ESA72 and stuffed it in the post. 48 hours later I sent the DWP an email attached with a copy of page 2 of the ESA72 telling them I would take it to court and produce just one part of one page to win the case, that hit the spot because after the letter I got one back about 3 weeks later saying they sent them that early so the claimant would be having the assessment on or about the time on the form, pure Bullshit by the DWP. They changed the wording from the following April, and I got another ESA50 but asked for extra time to take me over the date on the form as I needed it to get the info to send with the form, I should really have sent it back blank with the words SEE YOU IN COURT written across the front of it. All I wanted was to send the form back after the contact date so didn’t bother.

    They have got another shitload of trouble comming their way when they contact me for the PIP as I have paperwork that states that while still receiving PIP they will contact me again but after the date of the assessment I had in 2014. Bring it on DWP or as I call them DEPARTMENT OF W*|NKERS AND PARASITES