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To feel guilty or not to feel guilty


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Hi all

I am now a year and a half from that dreaded day that changed me forever. I am back at work and I do most everything I used to but not like I used too. It's all so very different. 100% is now based on how I feel a good day is and not what it used to be. I go in cycles. I have a few weeks of good and then slam and hello headache, heavy head, and fatigue.

I have been working crazy hours because of a project I need to accomplish. When I say crazy I mean 150+ hours in two weeks. I am totally exhausted. I told my boss I simply cannot push like this anymore and not to ask it of me again. I don't think like I used to. I'm not as quick anymore. I work with numbers and my attention to detail has just gone in the can. I swear I see things that are not there!

I have been useless at home and my house hold is turned upside down. The stress has gotten the best of me and I have been having terrible outbursts of anger and then crying spells.

Guilt, guilt, guilt. That is all I feel anymore. Guilt that I am unable to do the job I used too, guilt because I don't care as much anymore, guilt cause I miss my old life, guilt cause I am a different person now, guilt cause I am not controlling my emotions, guilt cause I want to quit my job, guilt cause I want to be happy.

Seems never ending, this guilt of mine.

Iola

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Hi there Iola

This is so familiar to me as that is where I was not so long ago and I needed some help to accept that I have changed, I am different, with different capability and capacity to the person I was before my brain bled and things have to be different as a result, It is hard and I am not always accepting of it still but that said we have all come a long long way so I think we me to keep being kind to ourselves.

Pacing is all important to me these days and if I push it a little too much on one thing I know that it will have a penalty of unwelcome neuro symptoms or exhaustion, if I am lucky I catch it early and just go to bed like I did this Sunday. No niceties , just take myself off, the kids and hubby are used to it but I think it's still scares them as it unsettles and infuriates me but I can't change it so I just have to wait and it will pass if I don't push it.

You are back at work which is great and real progress and achievement but have you made enough allowances for how you now need to do things, how much energy those everyday and familiar tasks now take from you? If you work a crazy week then everything else probably has to drop and even then you will still feel awful. Sadly I would love to say that you can have it all and maybe some people can post SAH but they don't come to site to tell us as they are too busy getting on with everything.

 

I can only share that I am back to my work very part time and I look after my kids and that's me done and I then have no energy left for a social life , exercise and I have to get help to look after the house as that wipes me out completely. It's give and take. If I do some gardening then I need to have a extra sleep, if I visit a busy environment I have to have a complete quiet day the next with no stimulation. It's how I have worked out an uneasy balance but you are right, it's all so very different but we have to realise it is different and nothing changes that but it's also hopeful because things can continue to improve gradually.

Think about the guilt and the thoughts you have connected to doing everything. If you wanted to change something what would it be and why not change it? I confess I don't have much guilt in that respect I just do what I can do within my limits and no more than that and people around me have to accept it as I have accepted it. I hope things get better.

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Iola,

Wow, what a powerful post!  Stop beating yourself up.  If you are guilty of anything, it is brilliance. I am truly staggered by how much you have done!

 

Brilliant that you recovered, brilliant that you got back to work, brilliant that you have forged a new life out of the old, brilliant that you managed to do 150 hrs in two weeks - I bet you didn't do that when you were 'well' did you?  Brilliant because you have recognised how hard you have been pushing and are now having a rant about it, brilliant that you have told your boss not to push any more - my goodness, how much can he expect of one person?  What he's asked of you is madness, no-one can be efficient pushing those kind of boundaries!  If you become ill because of how much work you are doing, the business will lose all of your efforts and experience - madness!

 

When were you at home to see to the house? - it seems you weren't useless, you just weren't there!  If you work with numbers, use a calculator, use a colleague and check their work instead.  In my humble opinion, the stress you are feeling is because of the fatigue imposed by long and demanding hours, the demands of an unreasonable employer, the demands of your past.  The past is gone, get on with the new.

 

I have now taken early retirement, but I lived your existence - long hours, unreasonable demands to travel, targets, deadlines and the rest. I'll let you into a secret.  I cried, and often, but not at work - after all, I'm a big bloke and we're not supposed to cry are we?  I blubbed like a baby and ultimately it was those pressures that made me take early retirement when the opportunity came up. It got to the point, I felt, that people were getting fed up of me moaning and that made me decide to take matters into my own hands.  Now I have stopped, I can see how ridiculous it all was and how bad those people, asking me to give more than was reasonable, actually were.

 

Just take a step back and think about things when you aren't so tired.  Think of yourself, not what others think about you.  Live up to your own standards, not theirs.  Re-evaluate what those standards are now, not what they used to be.

 

Celebrate being a different person now, don't regret it.  Stop comparing yourself to the old you and embrace the new you -not worse or better, just different, with new qualities taking the place of some of the old.

 

Slowing your pace can make you a better and more experienced player.  You see things more rationally and take the impulse out of your decision making, giving you more consistency in your opinions.for example.

 

Iola, what you have done isn't just brilliant, it's bordering on the miraculous.  However, you can't keep pushing to those extremes forever. You have to find a work/life balance for the sake of yourself, your family and your work -in that order!

 

I just take my hat off to you that you've managed all that!  Don't stay on that guilt trip -get on the celebratory trip -it's much better.  And find a way of reducing those hours -either re-negotiate your contract or find another job - there is life afterwards.

 

You say you don't care as much Iola, but that's not true is it, or you wouldn't be on here?  You do care and very much so, I can tell.  You are saying that as a defensive, coping mechanism.  The problem isn't you Iola, it isn't your family, it is your employer.  Take your anger out on him, not your family - they are your rock!

 

I am so glad you shared your problem with us so that we can help.  take a bow Iola, I am truly, truly amazed at how much you have done and how you have coped.  You were absolutely right to let off steam here, that's what we are here for, but give yourself a break, sit down with your other half and take more control of what you want out of life now.  Take those needs and make your life fit them, not your employer!

 

Three cheers for the brilliant, brilliant Iola.

 

Best wishes,

Macca

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Aw honey I am so sorry to hear this, but the outburst, crying, & guilt will be all due to as you say working crazy hours 150+ a week any person not having what you've had would be having outburst's let me tell you.

 

 I think we've all had that same guilt at one time or another.

 

Good replies so will just say that for me when I faced I couldn't work and do day-to-day things I felt lifted I think maybe you need a counsellor here I'd say Headway but your stateside so why not speak with the doctor..

 

Yep you do care honey because you know there's a problem that's a start...

 

sending you virtual hugs xx

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I agree with others "I"

 

You have come on leaps and bounds, do not down yourself there is someone who will do it F.O.C. xx

 

Think back to early days you have done so well along with Daffs (you 2 are invincible apart from me) lol

 

150 hours I am lucky if I do 15 minutes.

 

Be proud of how far you've come and I'll do 25 minutes a day. Work work work !! 

Be Well and smile "I"

Love

WinB143 xx xx

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I,

Lovely posts by all!  I feel the same way as everyone so far.

 

Food for thought:

Isn't it strange how we are the ones with a brain injury and yet it is all the rest that ask us to do 'crazy' things?  However, for me, I was such a strong person before SAH and was able to know my limits and not to commit to things I didn't want to really put my energy into, but now...now I just say OK without even thinking about it.  This is part of what is damaged in my brain.  Not being able to filter things.  Things like other people's beliefs, I take them on when I'm talking with them only to go home and reflect how stupid they were, or maybe seeing a sad movie and totally crying about it for a good 1/2 hour, or feeling like things are piling up, when in fact it is just two household chores that I've told myself I want to get done, but they overwhelm me for some reason...oh yeah, I know why...SAH.

 

 Rationally, I know this, but my life is way less rational now than it was.  I am moved by all those primal emotions that my brain used to be able to filter through.  I see this in my laughter at seeing a wood chuck...I LOVE the wood chuck now for some reason.  I never knew I loved the wood chuck so much because it was not really dignified to show such emotion for a critter most people want to get out of their yard.

 

This being said, when I get too tired out by outside circumstances, I have less ability to filter.  This yields more crying, more aches, less balance, more mood fluctuations, or whatever SAH decides on that day because I've ticked it off!  I often have to be reminded in those moments that it will be better when I de-stress.  I need to de-stress.  What can I do right now to de-stress?  Then I answer and have an immediate plan of action (or inaction, as the case may be).

 

Take care of yourself and If you're anything like me, you'll be feeling great after the stress abates...it will come.

~Kris

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Hello lovely lady Iola,

I've read your post, and read it again, I've read the replies, and read them again... We all have such similar feelings don't we, we are so lucky to be able to come to this site knowing others will know exactly how we feel.

It is ok to be angry. It is ok to cry. It is ok to not be ok.

I think you're amazing, an inspiration. You should be very proud of everything you've achieved and all that you are.

Don't be so tough on yourself.

Step back and take a good look at things, change what needs to be changed. Your health, wellbeing and your family come first.

I know how you feel with the guilt thing, we've all been there. I skip along with it now and then, I feel guilty because when I'm frustrated beyond words or emotions I wish I'd died in my bed, then I feel more guilty because why should I have survived my stroke when a friend the same age as me died from his.

Life is different now, but that is ok. It's all about taking the rough with the smooth. Taking each day as it comes.

You will be alright Iola, you have the strength of those around you.

Take care honey, big hugs to you.

SarahLou Xx

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Iola,

I couldn't get your story out of my head.  I've been thinking about it and the pressures you must be feeling.

 

You did a month's work in two weeks!  Phenomenal!

 

We are all the hero in our own stories, but this was truly exceptional and you really are a heroine.  Please learn to say 'No' when you are asked to do these kind of hours.

 

What a truly amazing family you must have as well, but they must be truly worried about you burning yourself out.  Sarah Lou makes a great point above, about  "it's ok to be angry, it's ok to cry and it's ok not to be ok," Wise words indeed.

 

Please take some time out for yourself now to get back on an even keel and enjoy the rewards you must surely have earned - and I don't just mean monetary!

 

I can still hardly believe you did what you did, I am staggered by what you achieved!

 

Best wishes Iola,

Macca

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Good morning Iola!

 

My name is Carolyn and I'm very new here.  I won't go into my story here as it can be accessed under "My Story" - and this is about you. Your post struck a chord with me in several ways.  First, I have been researching sah symptoms, etc for a few weeks now and I got used to seeing your adorable picture and reading the positive and helpful things you have said in your attempt to help people feel better and safer about themselves.

Second, you sound like me - an overachiever in your employment.  I am 61 and have been in a similar situation to the one you describe multiple times in my life.  I can't seem to help it.  I just take on more and more until I either get mad and quit or end up yelling at someone.  I worked many hours a week...many days in a row...some of it for free.  Nothing stopped me.  A couple things I learned along the way 1) I can always be replaced and 2) all that I do is rarely ever appreciated in the end.  The world goes on.  

 

Admittedly I am fairly new to the after effects of an sah - mine was June 3 this year.  I am only now learning my limitations, quirks, etc.  I am not back at work and can't really see how I could be at this point.  So..you're seeing your situation from a little different viewpoint than I can.  But...I want to encourage you to be very honest with your employer and yourself.  Share your limitations.  Honor yourself by not making yourself sick or guilty one more day.  You are worth it! If you stop the mad crazy hours you are putting in the place will still be there tomorrow.  

 

Please take good care of yourself.  I want to continue to see your little picture when I sign onto this site.  

 

Carolyn

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I would like to thank everyone for such inspirational words. Really touched me and has me thinking. Macca, you're right I do care. Failure is not in my vacabulary and I need to come to terms with, it is okay to say NO. I've always been a people pleaser and over achiever but this week I hit a hard meltdown. Talk about losing my temper. It was awful and basically kicked a person out of my office. I was just plain angry and my nerves were shot. My mother used to say that and now I understand.

I didn't cry then but I sure did later. I do not bounce back like I used to and I need to come to terms with that as well. I suffer from the fatigue, and I hate it.

That one sentence, "you are rarely appreciated in the end." How true that is in the eyes of an employer.

Your kind responses have given me something to think about. Yes, I'm a thinker. :).

Thank you so much everyone. There truly is a God, for I would have never had the wonderful pleasure of all of you if He did not guided my hand to this site.

Iola

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Iola,

You can see what a reaction you caused in all of us - we look after our own - that's what the site is all about!  We care about you and your well being!

 

I think many of us looked at the mirror in your story, and saw the reflection of ourselves, and it scared us into action to support you.

 

We won't let you fall through the cracks in the side-walk as long as you communicate with us!

 

When you feel down, flip your feelings over and try to see the positive side - banish the 'guilt' and feel the 'good stuff' from all of us here at BTG!  If you can't see it tell us how you feel and we'll find it for you!

 

Give your daughter some quality time and you'll see in her eyes how precious you are to her and the rewards she gives you back!   Don't let work interfere with that - it's not worth it!  If you doubt it, ask her, in a quiet moment, how she feels when you are away at work so much.

 

Be prepared for the reality check, it may just bruise your soul, but it may also be the best question you ever ask if it makes you believe in yourself and gives you control and perspective back in your life!

 

Good luck to you.  Enjoy the day!

 

Macca

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Oh my goodness I could write that post 100 times over! I'm a high school teacher and a personal trainer and running coach. I cut the one on one training out of my business because I can't do it. I multitasked like a boss before, now I can stand in front of my kids and lose words that I used to know so well. I fail them on a daily basis, and yet they forgive (my kids=my students). I work late almost every night. This year I took on another position preparing and managing iPads for Assistive Technology and I just want to cry, yet I know I'm the best person for the job because I'm good at it. I'm also the IT person on my staff and manage the student techs. In addition I took on the CyberPatriot Program so my students can compete nationally in cyber-security.

 

In short...a lot of us are like you, still trying to live like we did before and feeling like we fall short. We have to learn to forgive ourselves because we are not the same people. Today during lecture I lost so many words it wasn't funny because the barometer is rising. (I had my SAH almost 3 years ago and have had a nonstop headache since then that spikes with pressure changes, up or down.) I'm in a lot of pain and thinking is hard. 

 

Macca is so right. We need to be kind to ourselves and we need to stop asking so much and stop feeling guilty. I'm starting to consider looking into disability (I have LTD insurance.) I don't know how we'll do financially as it will pay 60% of my current pay, only, but I also don't know how I can keep this pace with the constant headaches and missing an average of 3 days of work per month, and wanting to miss many more (working in great pain).

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thank God everyday for my SAH. It was a huge kick in the pants. I was going so fast down a spiral spin that was out of control.

 

I am a type A, go getter, I can do it all. I never ask for help and sometimes complain about how I need help but I would not accept it. You are too slow in showing me and then get so frustrated. I created stress and more stress in my life. Everything bothered me. We had incredible things going on. Building a home in Mexico and our builder took all our money and slowed down building. Everyday ( living there for 6 months) I would cry looking for him to come and do work and he would not show up. Came back to Canada and our dog got Addison's disease and almost died with huge bet bills. Hubby not working for 6 months and no income. I am retired. Then I got an awful flu and hubby went back to Mexico and I was alone and frightened and so sick. I let stress eat me alive. I cried and screamed and felt so sad about everything...

 

Then whammo! In the dentist chair got up and had a stiff neck. Then sitting in the car alone. Burning pain in my neck, headache like a bullet hit me and then my eyes went all wonkey. Drove 1 block back to the dentist collapsed and they called the ambulance. 2 weeks in the hospital in intensive care. 5 CT scans. Bleed stopped. Came home and hubby was home then and I laid on the couch with dark glasses, ice packs and lots of tylenol for 6 weeks. I was scared but had lots and lots of time to think.

 

My life has changed. The only thing I want is to live and be happy. Nothing else matters. I have let all the stress go. If it doesnt get done so what. If I feel tired I dont invite people over and I dont go out. I dont schedule things like I did and so good at cancelling. To see, to breath, to walk and to enjoy a day in the sunshine. It is all so simple. Please  make your life more simple. Just because you are good at something doesnt mean you need to do it. Let it go. Less money, less time and more energy to see the sunshine.

 

Good luck and breathe and let it all go! Over the past 4 months I have improved to almost 90%. Because I know what I need to do and I listen.

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Iola,

There is so much good advice to you on this forum, not least from April and Teechur, above.  The one thing screaming out is that you need to slow down a bit and be a bit more selfish in terms of your own health - put yourself first!

 

From what you said previously, you obviously have a lot of faith - so, please, put your faith in your faith and listen to what we are trying to tell you.   Be decisive and take some action to resolve your problems. Only you, yourself, can make them happen. The answers are in your last post and those that have happened since. Read them a few times if you need to and then take a few quiet moments for yourself to think what you want out of life and then discuss them with your family - and us if you need to!

 

Your fantastic family needs you and when you look at things from the outside, like we are, all you need to do is get back your sense of perspective, re-organise a bit and you will get back your sense of well being and all of you will benefit!

 

Remember, you have done brilliantly so far, be proud of that but don't try to keep on proving yourself to anyone, not least yourself.  Re-condition yourself to a less hectic lifestyle and reap the rewards - they are in plentiful supply!

 

Good luck Iola!

 

Macca

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Thank you Macca and to all. These past two months have been eye opening. I CAN say it's okay to be different than before. I must admit I struggle not being Wonder Woman. But then again, I am! I survived something so incomprehensible to most and discovering there is such strength in surviving and living.

This thread has helped on a multitude of levels.

I really do appreciate everyone!

I

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I had a SAH in Feb'14. I can totally understand your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. I returned to work 2 months ago. I have a very busy job and two young children. Prior to the SAH I thrived on pressure and managed looking after the boys and being a high flyer at work quite well.

 

However, I am really struggling to cope with both now, I feel that because I look and sound like the old me everyone has the same expectations of me (including myself!). I too find myself getting upset, angry and overwhelmed, things reached a head last week when I experienced my first panic attack and decided as a result that I needed more time to recover. Unfortunately being off work for longer will have a huge impact on the family finances, but I don't see that there is much choice.

 

Being me seems like quite a lonely place at the moment so reading your story and the replies from other forum members is a real blessing, thanks for sharing!

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Hi Tamsyn,

 

Thank you for posting and welcome to BTG.

 

Finances are a big consideration, but you have to be healthy first.  That is your priority right now.  Hopefully, any financial re-organisation will be short-lived, but you have to listen to your body. It is trying to tell you something - maybe that you are going too fast for it and you should slow down.  

 

Whilst you are off, think about how you can change your working pattern - delegate more, take more regular short breaks, speak to your boss about how you can re-arrange things etc. 

 

Your family need a strong and healthy you.  Re-appraise rationally and look seriously at that work-life balance - money is important but it's not everything - your health and well-being is!

 

Many of us have had to do this - I won't pretend it's easy because it isn't.  People will look at you and think 'she looks the same, walks the same, looks like there's nothing wrong with her,' but the fact is - you are not the same and you need to re-adjust to take account of the changes in you.  

 

Get that message across to the others around you because they need to understand that message loud and clear.

 

You can do it.  It just takes a bit of thought and a bit of planning!

 

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.  I wish you well.

 

Macca

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Agree with Macca. I am glad this thread is helping you tams in and you can see you aren't alone, welcome to the group. 9 months is good feeling and you have come a fair way but there is also still a lot of healing going on and the effort it takes is immense so please respect that and be gentle with yourself. . I have been where you are, young kids, used to travelling into London for work, busy busy busy, but my world is very different now and I have had to make peace with that. My best advice was to measure things from the bleed and not to look back and compare so much.

Yes finances are tricky and bring pressure but health comes first so maybe look at a slower re introduction to work and look at where you can cut back on outgoings so that you still have plenty of time to rest. I recommend reading up on pacing. It's boring but it does help build stamina.

take care,

Ps glad Iola you are doing well!

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Hi Tamsyn,

After a very stressful two months on a project and total meltdowns my project at work was done and do you know what my boss said to me?

He said, "You had to work through the pain and fight for your healing and push yourself to see your success." I literally laughed in his face because he has no clue the fight I have fought. What I fight daily.

We are the champions.

In his defense he would not have a clue and how could he? I chalked it up to a poor inspirational attempt to motivate me. Blah.

I

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