Hello everyone how are you all doing?
So.. I’ve already been back at work after my MS relapse for one week now… how has it gone? Really well, I work with the best team and my manager is so supportive and takes very good care of me…
I’ve been back on phased return hours to get me back into work, I’ve been working 10-4 (I can’t really afford to do less hours) and I have to be honest, it’s been really tough and fatigue has been affecting me on some days. However I am really enjoying being back at work as I love being around people and my lovely customers. I’ve been having regular meetings with my manager and we are going to take things week by week and see how I feel, I’ll increase my hours back slowly and then eventually back to full time 9-5:30.
This is my second week now, it’s Tuesday today… yesterday fatigue was really bad and I found it really difficult getting through those 6 hours but I DID IT! I feel very proud that I did it, I made sure that I took my time and rested where I could, I have a 45 min break so I make sure I rest then as well as eating my lunch lol.. My manager wanted me to have a longer break but I can’t really afford to lose much more money so 45 mins is fine for me.
This experience has been so very different to my previous employment.. that was when I was diagnosed with MS. It was a really difficult and unsure part of my life… I didn’t know much about the illness (luckily I have family members who have MS so they were able to tell me about it) But my previous employer knew nothing about the illness.. I would try and tell them all I could.. I even printed off some information about ‘MS and Work’ and gave it to them… to which they left it on the staff room table for the world to see!!
I went through relapses/mental health issues back then and yes I was off work a few times (I think in the year I was there, it was about 3-4 times I was off all MS/mental health issues related). I came back to ‘oh you don’t look that ill’ things like that, nothing supportive at all.. then I was told that if I had anymore time off that I would have to undergo a formal meeting… Obviously I was very upset and made my point clear that I was going through massive changes in my life and was finding things difficult.. they just told me that it was ‘Company Policy’ oh… and they also said ‘We didn’t do a formal meeting with you when you were admitted to hospital in your probation’ Yeah.. I know what you’re thinking.. very kind of them!!
I knew then I wouldn’t get the support I needed from my PREVIOUS employer, they were not willing to help me, I mean I even asked if I could reduce my hours to help cope with things and to stop me from having time off.. to which they replied ‘no’ because ‘other people left early (manager included) so there wouldn’t be the staff’… that’s when I knew I needed a new job.
A few months later I had an interview for my current work place, I was a little nervous but more excited as my new manager sounded so lovely over the phone. I had asked a lot of people about whether I should tell my new manager about the MS or not.. A lot of people said no as it could affect their decision… in the end I had decided to tell them.. at the end of the day MS is apart of me and if they can’t accept MS… then they don’t deserve the whole of me.
Anyway, I had the interview and it went really well.. we had a great chat and found things in common. I was praying to God that I’d get the job and I told them that I had MS and they were totally fine about it. I was completely honest with them and told them my struggles.
A couple of weeks later… I got the job! The new manager said to me ‘I liked you instantly, you weren’t the most experienced interviewee I had, but you will learn.. I think we can really help you and I know that we will look after you!’ just hearing those words made me feel so much happier and so much more at ease!
Now here we are… almost 2 years down the line and I still LOVE where I am now, I get on with my manager really well and they are always supportive towards my illness, they listen to me and try to help me in anyway they can… It has been very hard to open up again and trust an employer because of my previous experience.. but since this recent relapse.. the past has disappeared and now I can look forwards.
We both know there may be more relapses in the future but myself and my employer will face and deal with them head on.
Today I’m feeling.. okay… tired but I’m still in bed at the moment lol (need to get ready) I will know how the day is going to plan out when I get going.. I hope you all have a great day and I’ll see you all soon.
Love Hannah xx