I have been through a stressful process of being assessed for impairment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for the purposes of lump sum payment as compensation. For what is called sensitive claims (includes sexual abuse trauma etc) with ACC in New Zealand.
This can only be done after having therapy to treat the PTSD as much as possible. A lot of people pull out of the process.
The compensation process has taken around a year, and has been very triggering and stressful. I am diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder and PTSD. I experience them tangled together. Mental health services deal with bipolar and ACC deal with PTSD in New Zealand. Treated like separate entities. Bipolar is not covered by ACC and it was hard to get therapy in the first place as blame was put on bipolar.
I have had PTSD most of my life. I have the avoidance and shutdown presentation, which means I usually shut down when triggered, which also includes usually shutting down intense emotion, so I seem calm. Bipolar developed in early adulthood. I am diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder and I have experienced the full mood spectrum (mania, hypomania, depression, mixed features).
A trauma psychologist advocated strongly for ACC to pay for my therapy. It was a long wait before they finally accepted my claim for PTSD (which goes back to historical sexual abuse trauma). I have been in therapy for two years.
I am still in therapy but not much is expected to change now. My psychologist, a trauma expert agrees that bipolar and PTSD are tangled together for me. PTSD can mimic bipolar and they can set each other off. I was advised that I could start a compensation process. ACC required my GP to fill out a form.
ACC advised me that they do no payout for below 10% whole body impairment and that PTSD is usually assessed at around 10-20%. With a one time payout of approximately NZ $3,000 to $9,000 (which isn't very much). For comparison, a fulltime minimum wage job in New Zealand is $41,600 and I could have earned nearly double that if I had been able to continue being a teacher.
My assessment was a one-hour phone call. The psychiatrist asked lots of questions and read reports from my psychologist.
The process of assessment was so stressful, that I had a massive mood crash and had to quit one of my part time jobs as I wasn't coping.
I didn't agree with the assessment, so it went to review. I was reassessed by an independent psychiatrist by a video interview and easy met criteria for compensation. Yet, I was still knocked back at review. It's now going to court, so I won't discuss further what is happening while litigation is underway.
Xanthe finds creative expression including writing and painting to be therapeutic and helps her to manage her diagnoses of bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).