Hi all, I posted previously about my struggles with the Job Centre, (I'm presuming you can search my name if you want to have a look, i'm still not sure how to navigate around this site, sorry
Long story short. I worked all my adult life until I was made redundant over two years ago. I have suffered with anxiety and depression since I was a teen, and IBS for three years (diagnosed about two years ago I think).
I was moved onto jobseekers from income support in early 2011 when my youngest hit seven. Within three months I was threatened with sanctions as the jc advisor decided I wasn't trying hard enough to find a job. I tried to explain that I hadn't applied for many because A: There aren't many, and B: Most require an early start which I dont have childcare for. Despite the fact that when claiming as a Lone Parent certain restrictions are in place (work during school hours), I was ignored. The stress of the threatened sanctions kicked my anxiety back into play to the point where I was feeling panic attacks coming on every time I entered the jobcentre, and could hardly sleep every week before my appointment.
I put in a claim for ESA which was successful and about six months later attended the ATOS assessment which I "passed". I was placed in what I believe is called the "work focussed" group.
I was called into the jobcentre before Christmas and told that I would be sent on a work programme in my local area. I was then called by the people who run the work programme and asked to attend to be assessed about thirteen miles away. First hurdle, hugely stressful for me. I can't travel to new places on my own, they know this. I've been told I will have to attend the actual programme once a week in my local area. That's fine, but I have to attend on my own, and it's a programme run for people with learning disabilities. Now don't get me wrong, I dont have a problem with people who have learning disabilities, my own son has special needs. But surely, this can't be right. I don't have a learning disability, I have anxiety. My needs are very different to my son's for example.
The thought of sitting in a group situation has me frozen in terror. I am not a people person, I can't handle it. Apart from that, I don't understand how this is supposed to help me. I know how to look for a job, I have experience, and qualifications. I'm already applying for every job I find that I can do taking into account my anxiety, IBS and childcare.
I'm already fretting over it. I have no problem with seeing someone once a week on my own, I still dont see the point but i'm happy to do that.
If they force me into some group i'm thinking of just not claiming anything at all, because as daft as it sounds, I know it will make me ill again. I fear crowded places, and group situations, that is a huge part of my anxiety.
Does anyone have any experience of this?