Suffering PCS While Being Unemployed

When I hit my head on July 31, 2022, no one expected it to have such a big impact on my life, with PCS being part of it. And that while it happened so clumsy… I just hadn’t seen the stone pillar that was 15 centimeters away from me. So when I turned around, I slammed the side of my head into it at full speed.

Yes, it hurt. But not so much that I thought it could be a concussion. Only after five days when the headache increased and I started having other symptoms, I got the diagnosis from my doctor that it’s a concussion.

After 3 weeks, I still had many symptoms on a daily basis and couldn’t work normally. Together with the company doctor, I made a reintegration plan.

The plan was: 1 hour working per day, and every two weeks I would add an hour. This went with a lot of trials and (mostly) errors, which was mentally quite tough.

Every time I thought things were getting better, I relapsed and had to take a step back.

Women in front of a nice view in Prague

Getting an MRI scan

Despite all my efforts, my symptoms lasted longer than usual with a concussion and I was referred to a neurologist for an MRI scan.

Fortunately, the results were good, so a permanent injury could be ruled out for 99% and from this moment I was diagnosed with PCS (Post Concussion Syndrome).

Recovery time? It could take 1-2 years… Ouch… There are of course different stages in this, but it would still take a long time before I am 100% recovered.

PCS and stress don’t go well together

In those 2 months of waiting for the MRI scan, my recovery improved every week. At the beginning of December, I was able to work 4 hours a day, and I was finally able to do more social things.

Wasn’t it that the day after the good MRI results I was unexpectedly fired by my employer. I didn’t see that one coming…

In the past two years that I worked there, I only got positive feedback, and a week before this news they even told me that I was getting a big project in January.

You probably understand that this resulted in a mental breakdown, which had a major impact on my recovery.

I had to start all over again

In addition to having to mentally process the unexpected layoff, my recovery was pushed back enormously. I could only work 1 hour a day behind a laptop and had to start all over again.

Fortunately, my recovery went a bit quicker than the first six months, and I could slowly look ahead. But after half a year of sitting at home all the time, I started to feel the need to escape my daily life of that moment.

Luckily both my neurologist, physiotherapist, and company doctor said that it would be good to take a break. Something I needed very much!

So as soon as everyone agreed on this, my boyfriend and I booked a last-minute trip to South Africa for 3 weeks.

Undisturbed time with just the two of us, discovering a new country and enjoying the beautiful weather. But everything in an adjusted pace, because my PCS was still bothering me every day.

Related article: My Life Lessons After 12 Months With PCS

The current situation

Right now it is mid-May, which means 9.5 months with PCS. Due to a stomach flu that made me pass out, I had a small relapse in March, but I now really dare to say that I am slowly getting back on track.

This week, for the first time since December, I finally managed to work behind my laptop for 4 hours.

Currently, I mainly suffer from headaches (in various stages) on a daily basis, cannot focus for long, and get tired quickly. Things that occur less often, and/or are extra stimulated when I have bad days or I am very tired:

  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Blurry vision
  • Get words mixed up when I talk for a long time
  • Feeling down more often
  • Easily overstimulated in busy places
  • Difficulty switching from Dutch to English.

In the Netherlands, the system is fortunately reasonably well regulated with a sickness law. As a result, I still receive a minimum monthly payment from my former employer.

This is of course much lower than my salary, but due to this, I have little financial stress, which is beneficial for my recovery.

The job search hunt is on

I am now at the point where I would like to go back to work. I want to use my knowledge and experience to help a great company/brand with their marketing strategy. So I slowly started to look for a new job. Something that turns out to be quite difficult.

My situation is new and unfamiliar to many people, which is why I notice that many companies are not open to it. Not even with the safety net that is available under the Dutch sickness law.

But I’m not giving up! I know what I can do and that I can add value to an organization.

And in the meantime, I’ll keep working on my recovery and put the hours I can work behind a laptop into looking for a new job and launching this website.

Yes, there is a lot of trial and error in this journey, but I am learning so much about myself and life that I will come out stronger anyway.

This is probably my longest column you’ll find here, but it will help you understand everything your read next. If you have any questions about my PCS recovery, leave a comment or feel free to message me.

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Hi there, I am Resy! Here on Femmelution I hope to inspire women to invest in their personal development to become their most empowered selves. In my bi-weekly column I write about my own experiences within this topic, but also about anything else that is on top of my mind lately.