Trigger Warning

by Ms Dentata

Right. I got a letter in the post from ACC on Friday.

It was dated the 4th of July and it stated “We’re sorry, we can’t approve your claim”

This was in reference to my recent claim with them, a sensitive claim for historic sexual abuse, coupled with a more recent (Dec’ 09) attack which had sparked some rather serious post-traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms. I went to my university counselling service, then after 2 months my GP referred me to a PHO type organisation which provided 6 sessions with a psychologist, and I further received another 3. After these 9 sessions my GP begun the process of lodging a sensitive claim with ACC.

By virtue of this claim being made, I qualified for 16 free sessions of counselling. I currently have 3 hours of this time left, and have applied for further sessions. To do this I need to have my claim approved, a process which involves seeing a psychologist for a one-off assessment on the state of my mental health, which will then be reviewed by a board (of people who have never met me), and this board will then decide how much, if any, extra help I may be given under ACC funding.

It’s a really impersonal and scary process. I have always thought of myself as a rather outspoken and articulate person, but the fact that the decisions about the future of my mental health care are not being made by me, or even by the counsellor who’s spent the last 3 months getting to know me, or even the psychologist who’s already spent 6 hours with me. No, it gets made by a board of people who’ve never met me in their entire life, based off recommendations made after a one-off session with a psychologist.

Still, it’s the biggest hope I have had over the last wee while for getting some ongoing support in gaining some independence, working towards my long-term goals, attempting to find new ways to reduce and manage my anxiety, and adjusting to the impact of anti-depressants on my life. It’s been pretty hard.

To get that letter on Friday was really sad. I felt shaken, and dismayed, and really panicked.

Then yesterday, I got a letter, dated the 6th of July, stating that I had an appointment with a psychologist. On Monday I’m going to call them to figure out what’s going on, but since yesterday I have assumed that this means my claim is no longer denied (it makes no sense to send me for an assessment if they’ve reached a final decision, right?)

I’m really confused and feeling rather upset that I have received such contradictory correspondence, after feeling I was in the dark for so long, and with no explanation in the second letter as to whether the earlier denial of my claim had been overturned or not.