ESA appeal update

After over a year of waiting, I had my appeal hearing last Wednesday. I was really shocked that it was being held in the local magistrates court so arranged for someone from the local advocacy service to come with me. The doctor at the hearing asked me questions about the difficulties I have with my slipped discs which were really easy to answer. Yes, sometimes I can hold a jug of water, sometimes I can’t, that sort of thing.
Then the judge asked me how my mental health affects me on a day basis, I took a breath, opened my mouth and an answer started only for me to dissolve into tears. Her and the doctor looked at me so sympathetically that it made it a bit worse! After several goes, I was able to answer most of her questions, there were more tears and by now I was shaking so much I was convinced I was going to move that damn jug of water off the table through the vibrations alone! Once they had finished with me, I went and sat outside with my advocate while I waited for the decision.
When we were called back in, the judge started to tell me the decision but I genuinely had no clue what she was saying to me and told her that so she very slowly said “We have allowed your appeal”. My advocate explained everything to me over a coffee afterwards as I still couldn’t get to grips with it.

I would like to thank everyone that has supported me during this time, the hardest thing I did that day was realise that not only had I been covering up to others how I really felt, I had also not been honest with myself. I have a hard road to walk still but now I have realised just how I really am, I can start pushing for the help I clearly need and, in the judges words, the treatment I need but didn’t receive.

Also, if you are going through this process yourself, make sure you have someone with you on the day, it really does help and it doesn’t need to be a professional although for me it was definitely the best option.

MIXED BEAN GOULASH

I recently treated myself to Jack Monroe’s cook book, A Girl Called Jack and was so excited to see that Amazon had sent me a signed copy. This was the first recipe I cooked from it, just delicious and I’ve got 3 servings in the freezer!

JACK MONROE

Photography by Susan Bell: www.susanbellphotography.co.uk Photography by Susan Bell: http://www.susanbellphotography.co.uk

I never tire of this quick, simple meal. Originally adapted from a beef goulash recipe, but tweaked and tampered with in the way that all recipes are, it has become a sweet and spicy staple in my household and doesn’t disappoint. I use cheap baked beans in place of haricot beans, as they are simply haricot or borlotti beans slathered in sauce – but usually for a third of the price of a tin of plain haricot or borlotti beans. Eat warm on toast, with rice, or stuffed in a pitta bread with lashings of cheese for lunch. Eat from the bowl, water it down and eat it as a soup, or eat it straight from the pan in the name of ‘testing’. Or, for a slightly Mexican twist, have it with tortillas, some grated cheese, sliced red onion and lettuce, with some lime or…

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