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Achieving a family/work balance after a brain injury

"This blog is a reflection of how I felt back in 2019. I was roughly 2 years into brain injury recovery from encephalitis and a few months on from a second brain insult. Time has passed and situation has evolved since then, but I think this blog is still just as important as many brain injury survivors would go through similar experiences when it comes to re-introducing work into their lives post injury. I hope you can relate to this blog and also read it keeping in mind that recovery is ever evolving meaning that how you feel and your capacity is likely to change as your recover." Update- October 2023


I’ve found that finding the right balance with work after brain injury 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 my cognition has been lagging behind a bit more. I'm recovering, but some cognitive aspects are taking longer to bounce back compared to the first brain insult. So living with a reduced energy tank, I've been really conscious of putting my energy in things that also bring joy and pleasure.

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, my family and some friends time.

This time around I don't have "the ignorance is a bliss" 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 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...myself and my family now watching from the backseat. 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 Monday...to be able to face work again. However, this time I've pushed it so far 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. 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've put ideas of how this could be achieved in my blog Tips for returning to work after brain injury". I'm hoping that other brain injury survivors can relate to both blogs as I'm sure I'm not the only one tackling this sort of dilemma when going back to work after a brain injury.


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