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Achieving a family/work balance after a brain injury

Updated: Oct 13, 2019

I’ve found that finding the right balance with work after encephalitis has been very challenging. I truly enjoy my work, I have awesome employers (they are caring, accepting and do everything one could hope for), but I often find that I come back from work destroyed which leaves me quite sad and deflated.

Following a General Anesthetic, I've recently had to deal with a huge set back and I have had to start the whole brain recovery process all over again. Just about back to square one! That in itself has been physically and emotionally exhausting but with that second brain insult, I've found that the cognitive has been lagging behind a bit more. I'm recovering, but some cognitive aspects seem to take longer to bounce back compared to the time it took after the initial brain injury. So living with a reduced energy tank, I've been really conscious of putting my energy in things that bring me joy and pleasure.

Looking back, after the original brain insult I found that I was putting all my new spare energy in the work basket to the detriment of saving energy for myself, the family and some friends time.

This time around I don't have "the ignorance is a blessing in disguise factor" on my side. What I mean is that I know first hand how long the recovery process takes and although I still want to do the right thing by my employers, I know that it can't be to the detriment of myself and my family.

We have three young active boys and they need to have a mom that can be there for them after work. It’s honestly a hard one as I’ve always been the type of person to push myself 110% in everything that I do. I've always been good at pushing just that little bit more to get through the hard patches. But see, it doesn’t work like that with brain injuries. You actually gotta stop/rest/slow right down in order for your brain to be the best it can be and consequently to be the best you can be for the ones around you.

So after a big week at work, I’m currently sitting at home feeling bad about the fact that at the moment it looks like I’ve fallen into the old trap again. The trap where work gets the best of me and of my new found energy...not me nor my family. I am very aware that I somehow made that choice but consequences aren't light. I've spend most of the past weekend sleeping in order to try to recover in time for be able to face work again. However, this time I've pushed it so far at work that I depleted my energy tank to the point where here I am a week later still in recovery mode. So the weekend turned into a whole week of trying to get out of the red zone. I know I can’t keep making this choice over and over again for an unknown period of time. I love my family and want them to have the best of me but it is such a hard balance to achieve.

So that lead me into thinking about what I need to do different in order for both worlds to have the best of me. I'll try to put these ideas down in my next blog but I'm hoping that others relate to some issues that I've raised in this blog as I'm sure many have to deal with this sort of dilemma when going back to work after a brain injury.

A blog is now available in which I address some of the challenges you may encounter when going back to work and I'm also sharing a few tips that I learnt along the way: Brain: "Manage your return to work carefully"

#encephalitissurvivor #encephalitis #ABI #workafterabraininjury #returntoworkafteranABI

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