Getting back to work after trauma

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Are you struggling with getting back to work after trauma?

Whether it be finding a job, settling back into your old workplace, or struggling with your mental health; work can feel very different after the trauma of necrotising fasciitis.

If you or a loved one are struggling with getting back to work after trauma, it helps to know you’re not alone.

I share my experience of getting back to work after necrotising fasciitis below and offer some insights on what I’d do differently and where you can get help and support.

Work was very difficult after necrotising fasciitis

After my own battle with necrotising fasciitis in 2011, work was very difficult for me and I found that I had completely lost my way.

I had fallen behind my peers in regard to learning and my manager had no idea of how to manage me – sometimes he was too strict, other times he was too lenient and it made my return quite unpleasant.Cartoon image of a woman with her head in hands, struggling with work

I see now that I didn’t always help myself. When my manager told me I wasn’t allowed to be flexible with my return to work days, I should have put my foot down.

I should have told him that I know my body best and I know now that I wasn’t ready to return at the pace he expected me to. All of this added to the struggle of being back at work.

I rushed my return to work and it ended up making me more unwell. In the long-run I had more time off for physical recovery (I used to get very sore on my scar sites and very fatigued) and also mentally, I took a lot of time away from work.

I can’t help but wonder now if I had just slowed down my initial return, perhaps it wouldn’t have been such a bumpy recovery.

Don’t suffer in silence if you’re struggling

Returning to work after a trauma is an important part of recovery, but it needs to managed well.

There is a huge onus on workplaces to be flexible and to provide reasonable adjustments (this is actually a legal requirement ), but we must also take responsibility and speak up for ourselves.

When you are feeling unwell, tell someone. If your line manager doesn’t listen, then go to HR, or talk to a colleague. If you need support with your mental health then reach out – don’t suffer in silence.

Legal requirements for your employer to help you get back to work

As I mentioned above, there are legal requirements for your employer to help you in your return to work, but a lot of people just aren’t aware of their rights.

It may be that your needs fall under the Equality Act 2010, but if you’re unsure of your rights, as I was, there are people who can help.

Your local job centre should have a disability employment advisor who can provide support and help you plan your return to work and your local rehabilitation centre will be able to set up an assessment with an occupational therapist or check with your employer what their occupational health policy or scheme is.

Smaller companies might not have a policy, so you’d need to work in conjunction with them and your doctor in that case.

The Citizen’s Advice Bureau will be able to help you understand your rights if you are unsure or if you feel your requests for flexible working are not being seriously considered.

Are you struggling with work after necrotizing fasciitis?

Here at The Lee Spark NF Foundation, we are also here to help. If ever you want to chat by email or phone, about your workplace and how you feel after NF, please do reach out ([email protected]). We have lots of experience in all areas of NF and are very happy to help where we can.

We also have a page dedicated to useful links on our website listing other organisations that can help following necrotizing fasciitis.

You can also find some more information on returning to work after trauma from the folks at aftertrauma.org.

Much love,
The Lee Spark NF Foundation

2021-04-08T12:26:22+01:00 April 8th, 2021|Awareness, Charity, Latest News|