The way I’ve traveled with the circus. And was it amusing?
When being kicked of benefits on the 18th of October, I was told to appeal that decision (day 1 at the union). I needed to come back in November to speak with the legal assistant who would assemble my file. I needed to call my work to inform them of the lawsuit and to get the needed documents form them. I did so and I was told to make an appointment with the occupational doctor. I went back to the union (day 2) because I didn’t understand if that appointment could hurt my case or not.
They told me not to go because it would possibly hurt my case and we sent a letter denouncing the appointment. Work called again, I needed to go. I went back to the union (day 3) where yet another social worker told me that I needed to go and that resigning due to medical reasons would be the best option for me. The appeal wasn’t going to pose a problem in the future.
I made an appointment with the occupational doctor, apologized for the earlier letter and talked about my situation (day 4). She gave me another appointment, started a procedure of ‘reintegration in the work place’ and asked me to think if I would like to return to work or not. To help me answer that question I was referred to a job coach (day 5). Mind you that the commute to my former work place takes 1.5 hour one way (!). Needless to say that those appointments wore me out. The uncertainty, the long commute, the explaining my condition to people who have different agendas … I would answer my question with a no, it was not amusing.
I met with the legal consultant at the union (day 6), nothing was going to pose a problem and it was definitely no objection to go job hunting in 2020 when my sick leave was officially ending. I brought all the papers and a file was sent to the lawyer. I was going to get more information via mail. Two weeks later I hadn’t heard anything, mailed myself. No answer. Called, it was not possible to help me at the phone. I went to the union again (day 7). They told me half November that they couldn’t help me with the law suit because I wasn’t a member long enough. Like they didn’t know that in October? I was told to seek legal advice on my own. I asked with what money, no answer. I asked again about the nitty gritty of my situation because it didn’t sit well with me at all.
In that period I had to deal with anhedonia and intrusive thoughts that formed a hindrance in my daily living. ‘I can’t do this’ and thoughts about death formed a loop in my head that I wasn’t able to escape them with knitting, blogging or painting. I still went to my therapist and called the psychiatrist cause I couldn’t cope anymore. He couldn’t see me but upped my medication. I would take 3 weeks to kick in.
Asking my question at the union, they referred me yet to another social worker. She explained me (we write somewhere middle of November) that when appealing the decision (no benefits between October ‘till the start of 2020) ‘till the decision of the court (would be 2021) I wasn’t able to work 1 day because it would harm my case badly. The court case was only a sensible route to take when my goal would be to still be on benefits (read: ill, depressed) after the court’s decision. In my opinion it isn’t beneficial to close all doors to a reintegration on the job market during a whole year. How can I recover, feel useful, meet people, have a purpose when I can’t make my own way in life? When I need to wait passively at home till the court’s decision. The decision was also going to be based on the assessment of a doctor of the court and my psychiatrist wasn’t going to be contacted at all.
Doomed if I do and doomed if I don’t … will be the last part of this saga and will be appearing tomorrow.
Picture credits: Poster vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com