Going back to work : How many people after there tbi... - Headway


8,095 members10,525 posts

Going back to work


How many people after there tbi have managed to return to work I’m so desperate to go back but my fatigue and anxiety and ptsd are all taking over and it’s a living hell but my job was my happy place it made me me and I just want to be back there with my friends and enjoy my work I loved my job so so much

Ps sorry for all my posts today

17 Replies

I have worked in basic skilled work since the brain injury from 2003-2007 then from 2007 -2012 I put my qualifications to use and worked in childcare education but I couldn't control the work due to neuro fatigue

Hi Leanne,

It's great that you are keen to get back to work but I would strongly advise that you take it very slowly. Without sounding like a scratched record, you are still very ”early” in your brain injury recovery.

My brain injury was almost 6 years ago and a lot of my improvemens have only happened within the last two years and they happened extremely slowly and only one I had got my PTSD, anxiety and stress under control/better managed.

It's really hard not to get caught up in who you were before your brain injury.

I did this for a long time and then one day it clicked that I can have a really good life (despite my difficulties) and without pressure you can work on lost or ”broken” skills and even learn new ones.

The key for me (and my turning point) was finding a sense of purpose. This for me was volunteering a for few hours on a Thursday at one of AgeUK’s day centres. This might not be for you but there are all sorts of volunteering opportunities out there and I found the lack of pressure (that you would get in paid employment) very liberating!

I wish you the very best!


This is something that I'm sure we all think about doing and essentially rush back into work. I'd highly recommend you make sure you've covered everything you can beforehand to make sure you're as prepared as possible.

Work alongside your speech and language therapy clinic (I had to as now have aphasia) and they will ensure you're as prepared as you can be. Have meetings with your previous manager or team to slowly step into the office and make sure you're as prepared as possible.

Personally, I rushed back into work after the injury and it wasn't something that I seemed to be able to do so am now using my skills to volunteer and talk to others rather than actual clients at work.

I hope this helps.

Sorry to say I am one year post tbi and still not able to work due to neuro fatigue, concentraton problems and headaches. Like you I am fed up and frustrated. The longer it goes on, the harder I find it to accept.

I try to follow the advice of doing things that make me happy and am trying to get to a place where I feel able to volunteer.

Hang on in there. We have to believe it will get better, just very slowly.

My profession was my 'happy place' too and I fought to get back. My life was structured around my role and for my own sanity I needed that back ASAP.

A common theme in the other responses is 'slowly' and (now) I must agree.

I say 'now' because I didn't listen. I wanted to be right and I wanted it right NOW. So I pushed myself to recover. I kept telling myself I was building stamina by pushing, the reality was that I was pushing myself into the ground and not building stamina at all. I was too pigheaded to see it, it was my wife who could see what I was doing, but still the 'arrogant male' in me disagreed and kept pushing. I ended up in hospital requiring further neurosurgery and that put a halt to any chance of returning to my former role as I'm now considered to be totally and permanently disabled, which has been a REALLY hard pill to swallow.

My advice: Listen to your body. It will tell you. You just have to learn the signs. My body was telling me 'Laydown or I'll put you down' so I PUSHED past that point and it put me down HARD. Ahhh, don't be doing that.

Others may have views/opinions but everybody's recoveries are different. The only person who is going to know is you, but you MUST, MUST listen to your own body.

Wow you’ve given me goosebumps reading this

I don’t listen to my body when it says stop I just keep pushing as u say to build my self up but I know it isn’t working

So thank you so much for this advice

I’m sorry to hear how it has affected you

Thanku again so much x

swedishblue11 in reply to Merl1n

Ditto to that! If only the hospital had advised me properly to rest, rest, rest. They said nothing! I was obstinate and determined to push away symptoms so alien to me, resulting in several years of chronic fatigue and endocrine problems. But I am managing that better today. Ya live and learn! The 'sleep cycle' was out of sync and played havoc with the quality of sleep I was getting. Then finally, yesterday, my gp wrote up melatonin. I am pleased to say, I slept a solid 8 hrs last night, and feel wonderful!

Merl1n in reply to swedishblue11

"If only the hospital had advised me properly..."

I have to say here often the dr's make out they know it all... ...They don't. No 2 brains are wired in exactly the same way, no 2 injuries are exactly the same and due to this no 2 recoveries are ever going to be the same. I have had the 'joy'(Not) of enduring 6 neurosurgeries so far and I can assure you none of my recoveries, nor outcomes have been the same. Medicos like to use precedents as a baseline ie "Patient 'A' had the same injury and their outcome was A+. Your outcome will be the same" only it wasn't. The medicos put this back on me 'Well, it's nothing we have done. We operated, we fixed. It must be YOU'. I often say 'If this is fixed I can think of another 'F' word that better describes it all'. I queried the neuros and they did not like that at all, in fact, I was asked by the surgeon if I intended to sue, which has never been my intent. I was looking for answers, not $$$$. In my view if they hadn't operated I'd be dead, but the information I was provided with regarding recovery was poles apart from the reality of it all.

Hi I went back to work 7 month after a subarachnoid hemorrhage and it's been 4 years now i have some issues some days but be strong never give up


With most things there are many answers.

A lot depends on the work you used to do, how sympathetic your employer is or even if you were self employed.

Many people with great employers make a successful return to work after injury. Some people find it much harder either personally or competing for roles against other people. Which in a very competitive job market is quite understandable. Despite what the laws, policies, guidelines are when people are paid a wage they are there to earn money for a company and firms will employ the people whom can contribute to the bottom line the most.

My problem was that I was self employed and worked as a high end computer consultant. So when I got injured, the contract stopped and so did any payments, no job to go back to.

The trouble is nobody wants an ageing computer consultant, with suspect health, problem reading and writing and too over qualified for a basic job. If I was interviewing for a role and there was myself or candidates with similar qualifications, experience and no medical concerns. It wouldn't be me that would get the job.

I tried everything, not even then disability adviser in the Job centre could help. She actually told me that I had done my bit and should go and live as best I can without worrying about work !

I thought I would be back up and running, but it wasn't meant to be, my recovery arrested at three months, and reasonable adjustments weren't practicable, I was retired as I was classed as unemployable.

Probably way too early, as the normal advice is to give yourself around 12 months recovery time.

There are many stories I've heard about returning to 'friends' who turn out to be your worst nightmare.

Then you have to factor in how supportive will your employer be.

If you try too soon the chances of failure will be very high.

This may sound very negative and I'm sure there's many sucess stories but you do need to be cautious and recognise where it could all go wrong.

I appreciate what your saying it’s very true I don’t want to go back to soon and completely risk losing my job as that will be absolutely devastating for me my employers are extremely supportive so I’m hoping I’m going to be allowed to go back for just a few hours a week maybe in a few months time even thou it’s only a few hours I think it will make such a big difference to my life and my mood as I feel useless at the moment and worthless thank you for your message x

I'm afraid more from the voice of doom!

My advice is you are able get some independent support during your initial return, a Neuro OT would be ideal.

When it comes down to performance and type of adjustments you may need, their 'support' may become a hindrance.

I have a Neuro OT Who is willing to come to my work to speak to my employer and support me so hopefully that will be a positive step

Never rush back into work, I had a intermediate brain injury with a head on with a lorry and had two parts bleeding in my head.

I went back to work around 6-8 months later and lasted around 2-3 months until I was so drained and depressed.

My doctors then signed me off and I tried a couple of years later with part time work but even that I found hectic.

Even with 16 hours I felt so under pressure like I was doing 60 hours per week.

Then once again I left work for a further year or so then tried again.

And on the third time I give up and now am much happy not working.

I have a great hobby and spend most of my life in the country side.

I get prescribed sertraline anti depressants and some times still get anxiety in busy places.

I can also get tired mentally a lot quicker than most but I feel a lot better doing my own thing.

My PTSD got better after about 4-5 years

Keep it steady with returning back to work as it is a slow progress.

For me it’s 11 years and I am happier not to work now and enjoy life.

All the best

You may also like...