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I am sorry I've not been online much recently, I've been concentrating on my return to work which I am finding increasingly difficult. Today I worked my second 8 hour shift of the week. I've been feeling very happy with my own progress but I feel like I am being put down at every available opportunity.

Last week I did my first 8 hour shift and not once did my manager ask me how I was getting on. We had a meeting later in that week where my manager indicated that she had seen me 'looking flustered' one day and another time she saw me 'looking angry' and also, she has seen me taking paracetamol. I explained to her that if I have several jobs on my desk, it can be overwhelming and I need to take a moment to work out which needs to be done first, explaining the 'flustered' moment. I then told her that before I'd sent an email, I'd checked with my colleague because I couldn't think of how to indicate that the truck booking I'd made was at half past midnight, I'd written 12:30 p.m on the email. My colleague told me that was fine and so I sent the email. When I came back from my break, I was told that I'd informed the haulier of the wrong booking time and that 12:30 p.m actually meant lunch time. I was immediately irritated and told my colleagues I was having none of that because I'd checked before sending but my manager said that my colleagues are not here to babysit me but if I want to be treated like a child, that can be arranged.

Each day I am told of the mistakes I made in the previous day which to be fair are few and are of a nature that cannot be proven either way. It's very much my word against theirs and everyone knows I have short-term memory issues which I feel is being exploited. In our review meetings, my manager asks me how I think my return is going. I start my reply with 'I think...' and she buts in and tells me not to be so defensive. I have not mentioned the half of it, but I fear I'm going on a bit. I might add, one of my colleagues has admitted that she wanted my job if I didn't return and she is one of my trainers.

I feel like instead of concentrating on my job, I am triple checking my work (which wouldn't be a bad thing except that now I'm told I'm too slow) and trying to watch my facial expressions. I make sure if I need paracetamol, I take them on my break. It's like I'm turning into a paranoid person and I really didn't want this. I feel like I should give up trying to go back to work, but surely that would mean they've won?

Sorry if it sounds like I'm whining but I could really do with some advice. I am too physically capable to be able to return to benefits but I think this is all affecting my health.

Dawn x

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Hi Dawn, my advice would be to print off what you have written & show it to Occ Health for their opinion & advice.

I would love to say that I am shocked by the way people are behaving towards you, watching your every move, facial expression etc, etc. Unfortunately, I am not shocked, I went through the same (although in my case it was only one nasty person). To make comments about arranging to babysit you if that's what you want is harassment & bullying without question & I would urge you to speak to OH for their opinion on your abilities post SAH.

You may be doing well at work & the problem is that a couple of the others want you to fail for their own gain i.e they had their eye on your job or it may be that you aren't doing as well in your previous job as you think. I'm so sorry to say that as I know it will annoy & upset you but having been there myself, I know it MIGHT be a possibility. If that is the case in can take a long time to realise but there would still be no explanation or excuse for you to be treated this way. Can't they point any any of the good things you have done or how well you are settling in as well as pointing out errors? Also, rather than beat you down, would it not be possible t employ you elsewhere as you ARE capable of being at work but maybe something less demanding (without the ********* looking for reasons to put you down) would suit you better.

Your health is so important now Dawn that you must put yourself first.

Michelle xx

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I feel so badly for you. I wish I had some great advice but I do not. You are in another country etc, another type job etc. I think you are doing wonderful, is it possible for you to move within the company? Maybe work with nicer mosre compassionate people? Really, what is there problem. I am so relieved that even the lowest on the totem pole at work knows what my brain has been through. Seriously even the kennel attendant understand and they are not medical people. SO what is up with your co workers?? I am sure it will / woudl be hard to change jobs. I cannnot imagine anyone hiring me or me even having the ability to start a new job and learn NEW things. I tell you if I get caught up front with the phone ringing & someone buying somethign I go into a panic. Honey, I wish I could make it better.

Big hug, Mary

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Dawn, my gut feelings on this are that yes you should maintain a diary of conversations that are happening but I also think that the daily reviews are not helping you or your employer, weekly should suffice, it's making it all too front of mind for everyone. Also the Trivial level of some of the comments coming into these work assessments seem to be ill judged. Their duty in this to you and in the law is to make reasonable adjustments to help you return to work. determining what these adjustments are needs to be done and agreed together but it seems to me that the adjustments you require are not clearly understood where you work and they need to be. They cannot deny you reasonable adjustments unless they are too costly or impractical to working practices. Taking paracetamol , being flustered are non issues, a fully fit person would be in that situation from time to time.

The worse thing for someone returning is to feel they are waiting to fail, so let's turn it around and focus on what is going well, what success you are having, wow you are doing an 8 hr shift, that is brilliant. Then you look at The areas where you need support at the end of each week and how that can be done.

I would be happy to help you draft something here to help you have the conversations, hell I'll come into work with you:devil:

i think you would benefit from having a colleague act as an advocate or who would be prepared to be present when you have these 'review' meetings just in the short term to ensure they are ALWAYS productive and constructive . Also i think it would be ok to tell hr that you are feeling insecure and slightly harassed right now by all the continuous monitoring and you need their help to get to a solution , then offer the approach above. Assessment of work when it is used to help support and improve during return is good, when It is used as a negative or intimidation tactic then it's time to stay stop.

Just give me a shout.

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Dawn, I don't blame you for feeling bullied. It sounds very much like the school grounds where it's been decided you are different so you are being picked on. It's very immature and unprofessional. I don't what your laws are in regards to human rights but in my country your manager would be expected to be supportive in your return to work. It sounds like your manager is very unsupportive.

Daffodil is offering some good advice and like the others and I'm wondering if you can have someone advocate for you?

Sandi K.

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Thank you all for taking the time to reply.

I did begin taking notes of conversations, jobs that I'd had to hand over etc, but to be honest it means I'm spending a lot of time note-taking and this has not gone unnoticed. I am amazed that anyone else is getting any work done with all the noticing that's going on!

Michelle, you have made a very good point there and I am pondering that perhaps I'm not doing as well as I think. If that is the case, I will take that on board certainly. But shouldn't someone be telling me this?

As for advocates, it's not that kind of work-place. Everyone keeps themselves to themselves really. I saw OH last week and he seemed to be expecting me to be very negative. I wasn't; I explained that being at work has provided me with lots of opportunity to multi-task and develop my memory which is very true. The OH Dr kept telling me that he could see how supportive my employer is being, so I think had I been negative it would have fell on deaf ears and made things worse in the long term. I'm not saying that the company are not supportive - they extended my phased return to 13 weeks from 9 and I really appreciate that. My PC was changed after it was realised that learning 3 things at once was too much and in fact it's my manager who took on the rubbish PC. They have also allowed me to split my break into 2 x 15 minutes over the course of 8 hours which is unprecedented as far as I know.

The reviews are actually on a weekly basis and I did in fact ask for that. But they are a one-way street, I say how I think I'm getting on and I try very hard to be positive but I get no feedback. When I ask how they think I'm getting on, I'm told it's about me and what I think.

To be frank, I'm shattered and I haven't the energy to take them on. It's obviously been forgotten that I nearly died (as we all nearly did) and I was surprised to find out from my partner today that HR and my manager visited me within a couple of weeks of me getting home from hospital so they did in fact see me when I was really ill and had no idea what was going on around me. It's like my spectacular recovery is working against me and I feel very disheartened. What is the point in trying so hard when this is all you get for it?

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Aw Dawn, firstly I am so pleased that I didn't make you mad with my comments. Secondly, there is every point in trying as hard as you are doing. wherever this journey ends up taking you - hopefully as the new manager who gets to sack that nasty old one & her side-kick who wanted your job :wink:

I remember speaking to the ATOS doctor (at the request of my employer trying to medically retire me) what I actually said about my new, nasty manager was translated as - the brain injury may have been the cause of the stress, rather than the 'perceived' effects of bullying........Even these OH people can sometimes hear what they want or are paid to hear. It was also noted that I was not available for a telephone interview despite having asked a friend to contact OH to explain that I was in hospital with my son who was undergoing brain surgery at the time. She had tried to contact OH repeatedly so don't be disheartened by them - they have their own agenda & probably the same employer paying them significantly more!!

Can your Headway group offer any help or support in this? Daff is correct that your employer has to legally make any 'reasonable adjustments' to support you in your return to work but some are happy to bully you out of your job so that they don't have to......

Good luck Dawn. Do your best but remember to keep yourself healthy & well first xxx

Edited by goldfish.girl
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Hi Dawn..

Firstly i'm sorry all this is happening to you, secondly well done with your 8 hour shifts and finally do not let them get you down or make you feel like your not doing the best you can.

I would be as brutal with them as they are with you....youv'e obviously tried the proffessional approach (biting your lip thingy and not saying what you really think etc) but be how they are with you...you don't owe them anything!!

Ask them a direct question along the lines of " Would you prefer it if i no longer worked here?" i know lots of people may say that's rude etc but enough is enough...maybe there are things you don't do as you did before or as well as you did before....but so be it. A major trauma happened to you and your doing what you can to get some normality back....they should be working with you, without unjustified references to you appearing flustered etc!!!

I said before they have a duty to you...so the breaks and computer and extra phasing are an expectation they must meet, they need to be reminded that your managers have other areas of your return that require something much harder it seems.....a heart and compassion.

Tell them exactly how you feel and if they don't like the " i think" start you use try " fed up because....."

I wish i could do it for you

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Tell them exactly how you feel and if they don't like the " i think" start you use try " fed up because....."

Jus, many many thanks for my very first genuine smile of the day!

Michelle, that's shocking! I would have been so mad about that to the point where I'd still be mad now!

My Headway funding has been closed although the OT lady did tell me that I could contact her if I needed anything further.

Thank you everybody, it's really good to talk to people who have compassion and understanding. You have made me feel less sad and pointless, perhaps I'll be able to sleep now. I really ought to go back to bed and try again. After all, staying up fretting isn't going to make my half day or my attention to detail any better tomorrow!

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You just work to your ability and forget the little poos who are being horrid, Bullies I detest have been there got the scars.

Bullies only understand one kind of talk so ignore them and do not come down to their level.

You just do the best work you can and give them no room to have a pop at you xx

Be happy and do not take any nasty comments, just think of a quip as a comeback, at this moment I can only think of swearwords

ha ha xx

Cheer up and don't let the B's grind you down...now head up and shoulders back and do a good days work xx So no one can hurt

you again. So Smile and Cheer up xx

Good Luck Pal

WinB143 xxxxxxx

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Oh Dawn sweetheart, what an immensely stressful situation. Can I just congratulate you on your amazing effort so far. Returning to work is very challenging after a SAH.

I cannot tell you what to do, so I’m just going to deconstruct some issues to help you unravel things you may be confused about.

Regarding your feeling that you cannot give up work, because it means that they have won; I think your emotional health is too precious to play this trial with. To stick out situations because we want to show others (whom we don’t care for) that we can do something is perhaps something the brain really doesn’t need post SAH. Such battles take a lot of emotional energy and will not help with fatigue. However, if you want to stick out the situation for your own benefit, then that would be worth the effort.

Regarding your feeling that you are too physically capable to go back on benefits; having good physical health does not mean that you are not entitled to ESA if there are ‘hidden’ issues. Ill health is not restricted to physical impairments. You would be entitled to ESA for the ‘hidden’ aspects of a brain injury.

A person with ABI may be suffering cognitive issues, communication problems, emotional and behavioural effects, memory issues, heightened anxiety / stress etc. Mental fatigue is a very debilitating condition and is much more than just tiredness. Mental fatigue can affect cognition, emotions, work hours and work methods. Being physically well will not invalidate a claim for sickness benefits if there are hidden issues. You could discuss with your GP whether he/she will sign you off if you need some more rest. You could do voluntary work in the meantime which can be more therapeutic and help with memory / multi- tasking in a more helpful way.

Alternatively, you may want to stick matters out at all costs. You may feel that your work is too important to lose. You may love your job and the awards and perks are too good to relinquish.

I think it will be helpful for you to consider what you want as an end result. Is your place of work so important to you that it is worth the battle to remain there. If the answer is yes, it justifies asserting yourself at the workplace and requesting changes. If the end result is not worth it, asserting yourself will be a lot of emotional energy you could better use for more rewarding pursuits.

A battle is worth it if we achieve an end result that is good for us; but a battle is hard work if the end result is not fruitful.

Take care Dawn,

L xx

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Aw Dawn hun so sorry its like this for you, wise words for everyone & explained wonderfully as normal Lynne, I would just add that you've said it yourself your shattered.

Reviews are a two way street arent they, say that you need their imput as much as they need yours.

You cant give up work because they would have won!!!! no-one wins Dawn Its YOU your health comes first & foremost...

I'd contact Headway just to see, but its your choice....

take care honey cuddles

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hi sweetheart

im shocked to say the least it seems like you are being put under a lot of presure by the company who are suppose to support you in your return to work and i understand how you are feeling just wish i could do more to help one thing under the disabled act they are flouting the law and would be held accountable i understand you want to do your best and good on you for doing what you can . i would suggest taking in a voice activated tape recorder then you can prove what has happened and i think the company would think twice about supporting you properly good luck dawn

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You are all really helping me to put this into perspective. Lynne, what you said is spot on and you have made me think about what I really want and I had to laugh - what perks? My work is just a job, it pays the bills. It is not a career, I am not in a position that will go anywhere and it isn't life-enhancing. So, what am I fighting for exactly?

When I finally got to sleep it was well after 02:00 this morning and that kind of thing's not going to do me any good at all. I still mananged to do my 4 hours at work and I even got a little bit of gardening done afterwards so my whole day wasn't just about work. There's only 4 more hours to go and the weekend will be here!

At least these days I know when it's the weekend and it means something to me now. That's a nice thing!

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Hope you feel calmer Dawn and the last few days are just fading.

Never lose sleep over others been there and it is just upsetting while others are zzzing and we are angry/mad at them.

Now keep smiling at them xx annoy them lol xx Get some sleep xxxx

Good luck

WinB xxxx

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You said advice needed- I would add a few things. I agree with what others have said. I'm so sorry that you have to go through this and deal with such feeble minds. For that, I say what comes around goes around.

As someone myself who has returned to work, I understand your frustration. I have dealt with similar issues. But my manager and company have been pretty good. I have had a few bumps along the way.

Bullies only respond to direct or indirect confrontation. They expect you to back down. Don't. Call them on the carpet. It's not easy but well worth it in the end.

Your company owes you the right to return at a pace that gives you the best chance for success. And if they don't, they are not worth working for anyway. But as far as HR goes, you may want to mention to them that you wonder why they would allow their disabled employees to be harassed, it seems that would be against the law? That might wake them up.

Be well,


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Today has been a much better day for two reasons; my manager was out all morning in a meeting and; I have stopped worrying so much thanks to all the help and support I have received here. Also, because my manager wasn't in, I wasn't having to watch my facial expressions. I have a naturally sulky looking face and so I have to put a half-smile on just to look normal and I admit it, I get face-ache! :lol:

I still make lots of effort with my work and will continue to do so until this comes to a head. Today I've been thinking about what I'll do if this all goes south. I only have 6 months of benefits left and this is the main thing that worries me about losing my job. It occurred to me today that I should perhaps get hold of my old social worker next week and see if there is any support he can offer.

I should have been visiting a friend after work but she texted me to say she is feeling too ill to see me today. She has cancer of the femur, pelvis, spine and heart and has been told that although she won't die immediately she certainly doesn't have 5 years left. It's only been 4 years since she had a breast removed and her children are 7 and 11. Compared to her, I have no worries at all.

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Today I have had a very good chat with HR and my manager about my return to work. I have just been completely open and honest and explained that I feel it's all gone south and I am worried for my job.

They have explained to me very nicely that they appreciate just how far I have come in 14 months and that they have no urge to see me fail. It has been suggested that I might consider other options like taking on a role with less responsibility. I was then allowed to go home straight after the meeting (2 hours early) to discuss this with my partner because he is on lates this week and I won't see him until saturday.

I cannot describe how much happier I feel! It's like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders :cool: There was absolutely no point at all in insisting that I'm doing ok. I also came to understand during the meeting precisely why I've been thinking I'm doing really well and they don't. It's simply because I know how little my brain used to work and so I can see improvements every day. I have even been multi-tasking! I described my multi-tasking ability in the meeting and it was met with somewhat less enthusiasm than it was offered. And it came to me then, to me these improvements are huge but when your brain works fine you absolutely cannot comprehend what it is like to have a brain that doesn't work properly. It seems so obvious to me now.

I want to thank you all for the input and advice you have offered me. You helped me to find persective and the courage to admit I am not ok. I am not sure where all this is going to lead, but it's just such a relief to have it all out in the open!

Many thanks, Dawn x

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