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Planning a return to work


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Hi everyone,

I have taken steps to increase my work hours. Presently, I am engaged in voluntary work at the CAB twice a week, from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm.

I have maintained this for seven months, although there have been periods when I have been unable to attend work due to ill health.

I have decided to test increasing my working hours and have commenced working a third day (Thursdays,) at the Shaw Trust from 9.30 am – 12.30 pm.

The Shaw Trust is a charity, which amongst other things, help people with disabilities/ incapacities/ health conditions return to work. They recognise that certain groups need more support.

Any person recovering from ill health is going to feel daunted by their return to work. Often this anxiety is accompanied by the ‘pressure’ which many benefit claimants feel that they are under from the DWP/ JobCentre.

The Shaw Trust understand disability/ ill health instinctively, and it is a pleasure to be in an environment where I do not have to ‘insist’ upon my limitations and remind people that incapacities exist. The Shaw Trust are aware that people can have conditions which cannot be seen, but even ‘hidden’ incapacities can impact upon a person’s work capability.

Everyone was very gentle with me today and keen that I was not ‘overloaded’ with too much information. This demonstrates to me how a return to work can be made easier if we are supported appropriately.

Some work environments and people hold more ignorance than others, and I am keen to avoid them! The Shaw Trust have shown me how some employers can be very understanding and importantly, have a strong commitment to challenging discrimination and unfair working practices.

I will let you know how I get on.

Lynne

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Lynne, you are a really good role model for us, the way you pace yourself and share with us is beneficial to all of us. I just need to listen! :shocked:

It seems as though you have found an opportunity to test your stamina in a very supportive environment. Thank you for sharing what you are learning with us. I need to hear it. Actually, I think I need someone to hit me over the head with it! It appears I'm a slow learner!

Good luck with the Shaw Trust Lynne. They are lucky to have you.

Sandi K.

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Hi Lynne

I am also inspired by your determination and motivation to make good from your illness – what a champ!!! Sounds to me like you’re carving a new career as a specialist in disability law.

Met a friend for coffee today, a lawyer, who'd previously worked in clinical negligence. She was severely affected with encephalitis (ten years ago) and hasn’t been able to work. I mentioned you and hopefully she’s going to look in to volunteering @ the CAB too!

Looking forward to hearing further updates on the workings of the Shaw Trust; always very useful knowing someone on the inside – :wink: Good Luck!!

Anya xx

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Lynne, well done, you certainly seem to have a viable game plan and are focused in moving in the right direction. I'm sure you will be a huge asset to the Shaw Trust. I myself am planning a phased return to work next Thursday (4 hours a day) and am feeling anxious about it already. Although my employer has said they will support me in whatever I need, the reality is an extremely stressful and pressured environment where the muck hits the fan regularly and so I am a bit concerned that all that support will go out the window.

Anyway, good luck to you, keep us posted.

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Well done Lin and good luck with the increase in hours. It makes such a difference getting support and also when employers realise that we are really pushing things when we return to work. It's having support that makes a return to work and increasing hours a success. You are an inspiration.

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Good luck with your new venture Lynne.

You are an intelligent, understanding woman & I am sure this will be a fantastic learning curve for you AND for all the employees and clients at the Shaw Trust. You will undoubtedly do all SAH survivors justice and raise the profile of unseen ill health as you continue to improve!

Be very proud of all you have achieved.

Best wishes,

Michelle x

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Well done Lynne, you are always so positive and an example to us all! I wish you all the success in the world with the Shaw Trust!

I have also tried going back to work; well, doing a bit of work for the hospital where I was working when the SAH happened (temping, on the bank as we call it). Well, I managed 5 hours over two days, two weeks running, but that's as much as I could do. I was really whacked out by it. I also do the messages and filing for my lady Consultant that I used to work for, and she says the girls I was typing for told her they were worried I was doing too much because they could see it tired me out. That's so strange, because they can see it and I can't!!

I suppose we are all different. Part of me doesn't want to sit around at home all day because I fear that I'll just get more and more deconditioned; but part of me can see that as soon as I try and push myself I set myself back even further. So frustrating!

Keep it up Lynne :)

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Get in there Lynne, just be careful (as i'm sure you are) not to get to complacent. I recently had a wobble day and the doc told me to remember what had happened to me only 10 months before. London marathon next as well............................JOKING !:wink:

Thanks Gary. You are right about not getting too complacent; had a wobble myself on Friday.. I better not iron my Super Hero costume, just yet….. !

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Lynne, you are a really good role model for us, the way you pace yourself and share with us is beneficial to all of us. I just need to listen! :shocked:

It seems as though you have found an opportunity to test your stamina in a very supportive environment. Thank you for sharing what you are learning with us. I need to hear it. Actually, I think I need someone to hit me over the head with it! It appears I'm a slow learner!

Good luck with the Shaw Trust Lynne. They are lucky to have you.

Sandi K.

Thank you, Sandi. I’m still learning about the ‘new me,’ and I don’t always get it right. It remains a work in progress.

You are doing very well and I have noticed the good advice that you have offered to newbie’s of late.

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Hi Lynne

I am also inspired by your determination and motivation to make good from your illness – what a champ!!! Sounds to me like you’re carving a new career as a specialist in disability law.

Met a friend for coffee today, a lawyer, who'd previously worked in clinical negligence. She was severely affected with encephalitis (ten years ago) and hasn’t been able to work. I mentioned you and hopefully she’s going to look in to volunteering @ the CAB too!

Looking forward to hearing further updates on the workings of the Shaw Trust; always very useful knowing someone on the inside – :wink: Good Luck!!

Anya xx

Thank you for your support. I am certain that your friend would find the CAB very rewarding. It’s an ideal voluntary placement for ex lawyers!

Not only that, I think the life experience of suffering ill health and being unable to work, provides an invaluable insight in advising clients with welfare benefits and debt. Oddly enough, my brain injury allows me to do my job better. I think every lawyer should have one(!)

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Well done Lin and good luck with the increase in hours. It makes such a difference getting support and also when employers realise that we are really pushing things when we return to work. It's having support that makes a return to work and increasing hours a success. You are an inspiration.

Thank you, Liz. You are so right about support being the key. If I approached work at a quicker pace and/or I was not in a supportive environment, I would not be able to sustain work long term. Little baby steps seems to be the way forward!

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Lynne, well done, you certainly seem to have a viable game plan and are focused in moving in the right direction. I'm sure you will be a huge asset to the Shaw Trust. I myself am planning a phased return to work next Thursday (4 hours a day) and am feeling anxious about it already. Although my employer has said they will support me in whatever I need, the reality is an extremely stressful and pressured environment where the muck hits the fan regularly and so I am a bit concerned that all that support will go out the window.

Anyway, good luck to you, keep us posted.

Shwmae!

Thanks for your encouragement.

I can totally understand your anxiety about returning to work but I hope matters proceed as smoothly as possible.

I appreciate why you are worried about your work environment, particular if it is stressful and I can totally understand that you are keen to avoid feeling pressure.

For my part, I don’t believe that I possess the mechanisms to deal with stress in the same way as before. It is as if my responses are very close to the surface and it takes a lot less for me to react.

It is a good thing that you have identified that your employers need to be supportive in word and deed. Keep an eye on them and look after yourself in the same way that you would look after a friend or relative.

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