Soon after my return from hospital I put it to Rashmi that we would need to downsize to a smaller house, to release some of the capital in our house (about £40,000) and to pay off the mortgage if we were to survive economically in this country. She agreed to the proposal initially and we placed our house on the market, receiving various offers, and we searched for another house, finding one that Rashmi agreed to buy. But she changed her mind and decided that she did not wish to sell our house after all. She said that the house was the only thing of pride left for her and she wished to hold on to it to see how things would shape up. I also did not put any pressure on her to sell the house and we abandoned the house move. However, from now day-to-day household expenditure would have to be reduced even more and we spent the bare minimum in order to cope with the financial pressure. I personally hardly spent anything on myself.
Between 2004 and 2006 I spent much time applying for jobs and this proved extremely difficult. I must have applied for over 200 jobs and the number of successes could be counted in the finger of ones hand. I applied for scientific jobs at the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs and the Food Standards Agency to menial jobs like kitchen assistant, and for numerous jobs with Kent County Council only two of which I was selected for interview. I found a job as a Cover Supervisor at the Robert Napier School but this turned out to be a temporary post lasting 3 months. I worked for a Recruitment Agency for a few months but could not get sufficient work, and further, found the menial work too hard to continue with. I had a part time job as a cleaner at Total Britannia Service Station in Rainham, working 10 hours a week. Rashmi was particularly upset at my losing the job offer made by Kent Police. I wrote off a letter to Kent Police: Thank you for your letter to me dated 23 August 2005 conveying to me the disappointing news that I was unsuccessful in obtaining all the necessary clearances required to undertake the role of Public Enquiry Officer. However, since the Police Service must fundamentally believe in fairness in its dealings with the public I am writing to you immediately to express my concern that justice has not been adequately served on this occasion. Accordingly, I wish to find out which of the three categories of security, financial and medical have I failed in, in order that I may be able to submit further clarification in my defence. In particular if my dealings with Medway County Court has been of concern please confirm this so that I can explain to you how that court's officials have persecuted me in order to protect the state's educated criminals from being brought to a Trial. As you are aware I am entitled to a copy of the Consultant's medical report that you requested from him, so please send me a copy by return post. Rashmi wrote a separate letter copied to the Chief Constable of Kent: Dear Ms Beaumont. I feel compelled to write this after seeing my husband's anguish and disappointment over the withdrawal of his once successful application. You interviewed him on 9th May and rang him the same day with the good news that he has been successful at the interview. You even went on to compliment him on the way he conducted himself at the interview and also said how impressed you were with his qualification. This news was so refreshing to all of us. He waited patiently for three long months for the health and security clearance to come through and was positive of a bright and satisfying career with Kent Police. You can imagine his disappointment at the letter of rejection he received from you dated 23 August informing that he did not pass the medical, security or financial clearance. We are wondering if he failed on one or more categories (he has already written to you about this). We all are of course very puzzled and share his disappointment as it affects us all as a family. Firstly we know that Shantanu cannot be a security threat as he is the son of a Indian diplomat who came to the United Kingdom to work in the Kew Gardens as a scientist and I (his wife) am a civil servant working for the Ministry of Defence. Secondly, we are stable and secure financially with a £275,000 property and my permanent full time employment with the Ministry of Defence. So the only reason we can think of is Shantanu's medical history. I would take the liberty of explaining his real state of mind as I see it (we have been married for 20 years). Shantanu suffered a mental breakdown after losing his job as a Principal Scientist at the University of Greenwich. He was never violent, ill mannered or destructive during the 8 years of instability in his mental state and this is one of the reasons why I did not seek medical help. Eventually, we sought help as we felt that he was wasting his talent and capabilities by sitting at home, trying to win back his job which was once his life. He was hospitalised and treated for delusion and depression by a kind and understanding doctor in Spring/Summer 04 and returned home in a stable frame of mind and a renewed vigour to start life again. Unfortunately, mental illness is stigmatised and no one is willing to offer him a suitable job. He is possibly the only scientist with a Dr title who works as a cleaner! Such is the unfairness of society. Kent Police is an equal opportunity employer and is positive about disability and by offering Shantanu a job you proved your maxim. Why then was his application withdrawn after 3 months and 14 days? Whatever he did in his unstable state of mind can surely be ignored. You selected him at the interview so he must have done something to impress you. His medical condition was declared in the application form so you were fully aware of this when you interviewed him. In this dismissive, self-centred and uncaring society one cannot even rely on his family doctor for a correct report (our GP sent an erroneous report to your Head Office which had to be challenged and corrected). How can a major decision be taken solely on the basis of information that are passed on to you from various sources who have no idea what the reality is. We are of course aware that as an employer, your decision is final but having passed the most difficult hurdle of the interview, Shantanu can surely ask for the reason behind your decision that affects his and our life. At 48, Shantanu is too young to retire into a life of inaction and purposelessness. It is possible that you have employed someone else for the post Shantanu was originally chosen for, but I feel much better explaining my version of the story and I do hope in future applicants have a chance to have their own say. I felt able to write this as you are the Police and I regard your organisation as someone who is fair and caring to the public. Thank you for your patience in reading this.
We wrote a follow up letter of complaint to Mr Mike Fuller, the Chief Constable: My wife wrote to you on 30 August 2005 concerning the withdrawal of the Public Enquiry Officer's post offered to me following a successful interview. Mr Allyn Thomas, Assistant Chief Constable, replied to the letter on your behalf saying that the decision to withdraw my job offer was based on my medical history. I have suffered from a mental disorder since 2003 after losing my job as a scientist at the University of Greenwich. I do understand that you have a stringent policy on recruitment that you have to adhere to. But you also state categorically that you are positive about disability in your recruitment policy. My illness is now a thing of the past and with effective medication I am now living a normal life. The most natural thing for me now is to find employment to fill my days with a purpose, integrate with members of the society and not rely solely on my wife’s income to subsist on. Kent Police (Medway Area) gave me the opportunity to live with dignity by short listing, interviewing and selecting me for the post of a Public Enquiry Officer. But after 4 months, the offer was withdrawn abruptly. The Forces Doctor took the decision that working as a Public Relation Officer will make my illness return. This came as a severe blow at a time when I was looking forward to a happy and successful career with Kent Police. I have a brilliant record as a scientist working for the Overseas Development Administration and had 2 promotions in my 18 years of scientific career and was even head hunted for the post of Head of Aquaculture at the Institute of Aquaculture, Stirling. With the privatisation of the ODA unit in which I worked I was forced to quit my job and this together with the failure of successive tribunal and courts to take action against my employers resulted in my mental breakdown. I was 42 years old when I left the job. Temporary illness has not affected my brain and I am extremely sharp. All my creative energy is now spent in educating our 15 year old daughter who is continuing to do well at school. I am a valued and much loved member of our family. The Consultant I see is new in post and has based his report on historical data from his file. Nonetheless, the Consultant has said to me that 98 per cent of his patients are in full time work. I am wondering how this is possible? If the Force's doctor is right then these mentally ill patients should be sitting at home and not working. Ms Elaine Beautridge continues to be sympathetic and is the person who has seen me, interviewed me and selected me for the post, whereas the doctor has decided on my suitability by reading a report that is inaccurate as it is based on answers provided by myself and on my conduct when I was at an all time low and suffering a breakdown. How just is this? I was told that there was an appeal process in progress but it seems this has simply rubber stamped the earlier decision to withdraw the job offer on grounds that the job will make me ill again. There is no evidence for this. Although not an accurate report, the psychiatrist summarizes his view on a positive note saying that work will be therapeutic for me. However, the Forces Doctor has his own view and Mr Allyn Thomas says that the case is very clear cut. No case is clear cut in the realm of mental health. The recent story of the Piano Man fooling a team of top psychiatrists to think that he was ill is a good proof of this. Only myself and my family know how well I feel and how ready I am for a job. And I have proved my suitability by passing the interview. The glimmer of hope that made me happy for 4 months is now gone and I fear that I may begin to lose my faith in the goodness of people as a whole. It would be better for you to have rejected the application in the first instance than offering me the job and then withdrawing it. Now we are back to square one and this time I have lost faith in society, people and the whole system that is in operation. A family friend who works at a Mental Health Unit says that they have people from all walks of life on their Outpatients register. How is this possible? What do these people have that I lack? Am I to assume that Kent Police are intolerant of mental illness?
There was no reply from Kent Police to this letter.
I then had an interview with Kent County Council for the post of Kent Community Warden but it was unsuccessful. I appeared in a Prison Officer Recruitment Selection Test on 6 December 2005, which I passed but could not pass a second Job Simulation Assessment Test arranged. Out of desperation and prompted by Rashmi I wrote a second letter on 14 December 2005 to the University of Greenwich this time direct to the Director of Natural Resources Institute, Dr Guy Poulter, that I had worked for the Institute for 18 years but was taken ill which led to the termination of my appointment in 1998. I have suffered from depression which has kept me off employment for the better part of 6 years. Fortunately with medical treatment I have learnt to control my condition and am seeking employment again. This has proved very difficult as I had become too specialised in the area of natural resource management. I am writing to you because I still feel I have a great deal to contribute to the Institute and the University of Greenwich and wish to resume my career at Natural Resources Institute. I attach my curriculum vitae for your kind consideration. Dr Poulter replied immediately stating Thank you for your letter It was good to hear from you and I remember well working with you back as far as in Grays Inn Road. We have no vacancies at present but we will put your CV on our consultancies database and contact you should any opportunity arise.
On 1st September 2005 I wrote to the Indian High Commission again for a return to India and a job in India or at the High Commission itself but the response was again in the negative. In the meantime I carried on with the cleaning job and constantly on the search for the truth regarding my mental condition. Circumstances had fooled me into thinking that I was one of the chosen ones destined to find God, but so overwhelming was the evidence for this when I was going through the 6 years of struggle that I felt I had no choice but to follow the path outlined by inner force and outer circumstances. I considered that even after losing a great career it was still worth going through this saga in an attempt to find out the truth about God and even at that stage in 2005 I did not consider that all was lost on that particular question. The Citizens Advice Bureau and the University of Greenwich had not enforced their costs orders, and it would give me the opportunity to fight the case again if either of them had gone to court over that issue. If they did not go in for enforcement orders then I would have been vindicated. But time was a critical factor. We could not go on struggling to maintain the household with just Rashmi's salary and the £51.50 per week that I was earning from my cleaning job. Anything could go wrong like the central heating system which would bring a big bill for repairs. Every other day Rashmi continued to bring me jobs advertised in the Internet, as she was at the end of her tether in struggling to make ends meet.
Prompted by Rashmi I wrote an email in the winter of 2005/6 to the Prime Minister at No 10 Downing Street: Dear Prime Minister. I write this to you after trying and failing to gain employment following a non-stop search for one and half years. I am a 48 year old PhD holder scientist with 18 years of experience at the Natural Resources Institute. My employment was terminated after NRI was privatised and taken over by the University of Greenwich. They accused me of gross misconduct but no one was prepared to hear my side of the story. This resulted in my mental breakdown and I was out of work for 6 years. I have now regained my mental equilibrium but no one seems to be willing to offer me employment. I must have applied for over 200 jobs and have tried for every job possible from menial jobs such as Pot Washer, to work in my own field of expertise in the scientific Civil Service. But the only job I have found is that of a cleaner working for 2 hours a day. I do not get any help from the State except for £31.10 per week disability living allowance. How am I going to manage under such a situation? Employers who proclaim that they are positive about disability do so in name only. An example of this is Kent Police where following a successful interview and a job offer, the offer was subsequently withdrawn after they went through my medical report. I would be grateful for your advice.
I did not receive any acknowledgement of this email, let alone a reply. Rashmi drafted a letter to Kent County Council which was sent on 20 December 2005: Dear Ms Andrade/ Ms Woollett Employment with Kent County Council I write this to express my disappointment at being rejected for every job I have applied for since October 05 till the present day. I hope you will be kind enough in providing me feedback on where I am going wrong please. I started applying for jobs with KCC on the recommendation of a family friend who is also an employee of KCC. I have visited your website on a weekly basis since October 05 and I must have applied for about 18 jobs. And I have received letter advising me that I have not been shortlisted for every job but one. A letter of rejection I received initially offered me feedback but that stopped. I would naturally like to find out how my application forms appear to the Recruitment Team and whether there is any point in applying for more jobs. How long does it normally take for someone to find employment with KCC? I am a person with a superior brain and 18 years of Scientific experience (please see attached CV). Assuming that I may appear over qualified for some of the jobs, I have not declared that I have a Phd in some applications. But this has not helped me. I was very surprised to receive an invitation to an interview for the post of Kent Community Warden as I have no experience in that field of work. Unfortunately, despite performing well at the interview, I was not selected. I am enclosing all the letters of rejection I have received from you within a space of 7/8 weeks. Wishing you a Happy Christmas and Happy New Year.
The letter was acknowledged. I met with the Head of Recruitment Team, Ms Susan Cooke and discussed the situation. She asked me to send her an email when I next submitted Job Applications with Kent County Council, which I did with 3 fresh applications. I was asked to attend an interview for the position of Escort at the Department of Social Services. Nothing came of the intervention by Ms Susan Cooke despite further emails to her sent by Rashmi from my email address.
I attended the interview for the post of Laboratory Technician at Fort Pitt Grammar School for Girls but was unsuccessful. I applied for another post at the Food Standards Agency as a Higher Scientific Officer and some civil service jobs and another job at Kent County Council as Business Assistant Adviser. I was turned down for both.
I had always taken the medications reluctantly to keep on the path of oneness with the Divine Power as Rashmi insisted that I had suffered from delusional disorder and should take the medication. But I also wished to find out how I would cope without the medication and told her so. In March 2006 she reduced the dosage of Risperidone by half to 2 mg per day. I did not suffer any adverse reaction and if anything felt a bit better. The Consultant reorganisation at the Kingsley House Medical Centre had still not been completed and my mid-March six monthly appointment was cancelled by the Centre. A new Indian lady Consultant Pshchiatrist by the name of Dr Shobha had now been appointed for me and I had an appointment with her to which Rashmi came along. She had not much to say but did not disagree with the lowering of the dose for Risperidone and said that she might lower it further at the next appointment as I did not show any psychotic symptoms.