I've been signed back for a Phased return to work. I should be pleased but am terrified. My cognitive issues much the same as just after I had my stroke. I was referred to Occupational Therapy but have never got the appointment yet. There is a huge backlog & as I'm mobile I'm not a priority. I was sent photocopies from a text book by one OT with some exercises but even reading the text is overwhelming me & then I don't remember much from it. I was told months ago that if the issues were not addressed & I returned to work that I was setting myself up to fail. That was in May & yes I've physically improved & tiredness not as bad but I don't think the cognitive issues are better although I've found ways around dealing with them. My work has been good so far but what was previously spoken about for the phased stage is now being dismissed. I'm worried enough at returning after 7 months away but also at maybe not being able to do my old job. I know my management won't be willing to move my team & I can't work in the current office ( open plan, overhead lights & noise). My GP says I should think of retraining but I don't want to face this - I've spent too many years to get where I am & honestly if I can't cope with reading the OT worksheets then what hope do I have if retraining? My husband is fed up with my 'negative attitude' & is now not really speaking to me. So much for getting better. Sorry for the long rant. I know I'm much better off than many but not feeling very positive just frightened of what's to come.


Hi fiona ( i hope i have that right) returning to work is very hard. I went back 4 months after my stroke and really struggled with the noise in the office. I still do. I honestly dont have a strate fix for u i wish i did. Just try thats all u can do. Iv asked for quiet, my own office. No luck yet. I hate work now. I only tolarate it because i have to. All we can do is try though and work for me is better than it was. Stay in touch and let me no how u get on. I work in accounts by the way so it isnt easy i just have to take my time and concentrat more. Im sure you will be fine. Ayisha.


Dear Fiona

Thats horrible for you, really horrible.

If your employers have an HR department then talk to them. Ask that they use a stroke specialist on their side. Now the HR must accept that at 7 months you are returning to work early. I reckon nine months is about the earliest, but we are all different and I know some have gone back earlier.

So a phased return is pretty much essential. Ideally reduced hours and say two days a week to start.

Please please please break away from any negative attitude. I am not saying this for your husbands benefit. It is for you Fiona. Those of us with a positive attitude are those of us that have the better recovery. Think about everything you have achieved in seven months. Do  not dwell on what you have not yet achieved.

You are now starting to be "new Fiona". You will not return to being "old Fiona" as thats impossible. Stroke damage does not repair, any more than if you had your leg amputated then it wouldnt regrow. 

The cognitive stuff is much harder than the mobility stuff. And we generally look well so others think we must now be OK. You and I know we are not yet OK.

But the cognitive stuff does ease, provided you can rest and let your brain sort iteslf out.

So be positive.

Smile a lot

You arent alone, lots of us on this site are cheering you on




Well said colin xx

Thank you, you are bringing a tear to my eye, the support you all give is wonderful. The sun is shining today so I should smile & not be down. Thanks again.

Awe thats lovely. Dont forget we r here. Xx Ayisha

Like other SS , I fully comprehend your anxiety and fear of the future. I was off work for 18 months, after lots of meetings with HR and OTs, even after that time I knew I would not be able to cope. You must be honest and strong about what YOU think you could manage without causing you any further anxiety. Even with the offer of phased return, I could not cope and eventually came to an agreement to work part time from home. It is not fulfilling, but it gives me a purpose (and income, topped up withworking tax credit). 

Is this something that you could investigate ? I know we all really just want to get back to the pre stroke person and situation we had worked for, but unfortunately, that is not going to happen and people pushing you into something you are not comfortable with will only make things worse.

Best wishes.

Hi. I know it’s tough. I went back to work far too early as felt pressured. The phased return did not really happen as my boss just wanted/needed/expectedme to deliver as before. I like you just wanted to get back to normal as 47. Now realising I have a new normal which has included getting a puppy and seeking ill health retirement. I hope it goes well for you at work but please put your health first. Jx

Hi, thank you for responding. My meeting yesterday with the Occ Health Dr at my work went well. I think they (occ health)do understand, however I then went to see my team. I just get the feeling that management are not going to be as helpful. I await the reports & where & what they suggest. It's very unsettling. I was only on site for an hour & a half & it left me completely drained & exhausted. However I've been told that I have to try & see how I get on. Home working was suggested by the Dr, l have to see if management will agree ( even for short term). Thank you again.

Hi, thank you for your message. I do have lots of concerns about expectations ( theirs & mine). The occ health Dr at my work I believe understands but now I have to await management & their expectations. I'm 56 so need to fathom what to do with my life as hadn't expected to do anything other than pre stroke life for another 10 years. Thanks again.

Hi Fiona, im glad your trip in to work went ok. When u get back just take it easy. You can only do what you can do. Try not to worrie about it to much. You will be tired im afraid ( by the end of my week im done) just take it at your owne pace. U can only do what u can do. Let me know how you get on. Good luck. Ayisha. Xx

it sounds like you have an understanding employer. that is more than half the battle. I was 57 when I had the stroke so any kind of medical retirement really wasn't an option. I had to try and return. I can't tell you an optimistic story because I had a thoroughly miserable time of it. like you I was supposed to return on a phased return but while I was away in hospital the organisation restructured, without involving me, I was the senior manager, so it was a bit strange. it is a a long and unpleasant story and I will spare you the details. I went back after about ten months, attempting to work a few hours from home to start with. I had cognitive problems with information processing and was very slow with reading documents and stuff. this improved quite quickly. I had very good support from access to work who provided equipment to help me work from home and supported travel when I was eventually able to get on site. I worked for a small charity, so not big enough to have an HR department. mostly I had to negotiate all that myself.  access to work is easy to deal with I found. it is an online application but I found it OK. I did have good support from my OT from the local rehab team. I eventually got back to doing two days a week. this wasn't what I wanted but had to accept as my job was restructured down from full time to 2 days. I fought cit as much as I could but didn't have the energy to get very far with it. the restructure was a shambles and I was set up to fail. in the end it fell apart unpleasantly butI was offered a settlement which I accepted. it was incredibly stressful as they were trying to take me into a disciplinary process with the I'll concealed intention of getting me out. I was glad to go. the settlement was adequate and has enabled me now to have six months without having to work. I will begin to seek employment again soon. though I am daunted by this as I am 60 now and disabled, I don't know what I can do. fortunately my wife vworks full time and can keep the boat afloat. my exit happened very quickly and I didn't have time to plan what next. as it was an acrimonious separation I have needed all the time I have had to recover from the emotional fall out. now I am sorry for that outpouring which I am sure has done nothing to ease your anxiety. you will need all your courage, just getting as far as you have has been a major success. it shows that you have your spirit intact. as I think you said you worked hard to get your position. you don't need to give it up lightly. I shared some of that approach I worked very hard to get my last job and had to dig deep for the courage to hang on to it in what became a rather hostile environment. I did have friends and professional supporters so I knew it wasn't me going mad. those supporters were a lifeline. I hope you have some professional friends you can rely on. if your employer is understanding that is worth everything. 

forgive me if I have dampened your spirits. I know how scary it is but you can do it. not how you caused to and others will have a lot to learn, as will you. but you can. 

with very best wishes 



Hi Anthony , i just read yr post. Im so sorry for what happend to you with work. Its awfull. I hate it ( just got to try and put up with it as im only 37 and dont have much choice). It is very hard and iv struggled a lot with it although it is a bit  better at the min. I work in accounts so when you have had a stroke it isnt easy. One of the hardest things is having to share an office with some one. I need it to be quiet and she has music on its been a nightmare. I did ask my boss for an office but im still waiting. Hope u find a job soon. Good luck. Ayisha.

thanks for the kind words, I appreciate that. I am glad to be out of that place. my doctor thought that getting back to work would help with my recovery. I suppose it accelerated my ability to deal with problems. but I would not have chosen it as therapy if I had known. you might benefit from a work place assessment by access to work. they can make recommendations to your employer for reasonable adjustments such as noise free environment. I would have thought for accounts you'd need that anyway. I did find them very helpful. it was just my employer that created a hostile environment. I am taking it gently in looking for other employment, no idea what I could do yet but will get all the help I can.  I would definitely try access to work. it is a. gov website. should take ten minutes to apply. your employer should be aware as you need to give a contact. you may need to upload  a medical note, if you have a fit note that does it. or any letter from an OT or other clinician.  

they did help me and if I get something else I will apply again. 

good luck 


Thank u for your help. I will give it a go and let you know what happens. Ayisha

Evening, it might be worth you contacting access to work. It's a government scheme who will come in and asses your work needs and pay for any adapts that you need ect,......

yes do post an update when you feel ready. I am sure you will make progress 

with very best wishes 


Thank you tony. I will let you know how it is going