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I am overwhelmed and I’m injured or sick, what do I do?

It’s become obvious to me that when someone is seriously injured or sick, time that could be used recuperating is actually spent in exhaustive medico-legal activities. I speak from experience in supporting thousands of cases and from personal experience. Given that I must respect confidentiality I will speak in terms that are generic and only specific to my particular case.

I was injured in a car accident on my way home from a Welfare Fund board meeting. I sustained head, neck and back injuries. I applied for workers' compensation and for insurance on the car that I was driving. I must say, that the experience gave me a high regard for the ambulance officers and the police at the scene. I was hospitalised and recuperated at home for two weeks. The scars on my face healed, however, I still suffer back pain from an injured lower disc. I was the principal wage earner with two young children and a mortgage. It was not lost on me that my role reversal from helper to someone needing help had happened in an instant.

Did I get overwhelmed?

  • At times yes, like when my back froze and I couldn’t get out of bed.

  • When the insurance refused to pay for my car even though I wasn’t in the wrong.

  • When the specialist preferred to write a report rather than give me advice on how I was to deal with the pain.

  • When I had a relapse and I had to complete a full set of forms to apply for compensation.

  • When I was at home recovering and still had to keep the office going, as I was the principal senior welfare officer.

  • When I felt stabbing pains just trying to lift my young son.

  • When relations with my wife became difficult because of pain.

I was fortunate, in that I had been working for 20 years and had some sick pay, I had family support and thanks to psychological supervision I was able to reframe my role and see my way through a very difficult period in my life.

What is the takeaway? Many of us who are used to being carers find it extremely difficult to accept help. My advice is, to accept help when needed, from individuals, families and businesses like ourselves.

Secondly, we tend to look at accidents or illnesses as a deficit, but if we look at ourselves as a unit there is much more to us than that. I was fortunate that I had a desk job, so even though I’d had a decent whack to the head I was still able to perform my duties. I guess we just need to know that we are of some value, other than what we can physically perform. If this message means anything I am reassuring you that you are a whole unit even with your injury.

Finally, have a backup plan in place. Our membership is there for that reason. We hope that nobody gets injured, sick, or overwhelmed financially. However, we’ve set this fund up for Australians to have a place to talk and seek help when they do feel overwhelmed.


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