The Cycle of Despair. A way of understanding what happens.



John McPhilbin, a previous Coordinator at the Injured Workers Support Network spent some time on trying to describe the issues faced by injured workers in the workers compensation system.

He came up with the Cycle of Despair a visual map of the emotional rigmarole injured workers go through once they enter the system. And it is the system that does this to them.

Normal human reactions to challenges may be frustration and the like but when that normal person gets injured at work – the world no longer works for them but against them.

For an injured worker, that societal place is stripped from them, quickly or over time depending on their injury and they have someone they can blame. It was taken away from them.

In most cases they have had little experience with being a person in need, most haven’t hand much experience of being injured or seriously ill before the workplace accident. they were average joes in our society, now they are disabled, unemployed, potentially homeless, under significant levels of stress, trying to recover and in a system where the control of their lives (previously jealously guarded as their own) is placed in the hands of others.

Whether those “others” are on their side or not, it is a disempowering process and one feeling or incident doesn’t isolate itself from any other part.

Injured workers then create their own systems to deal with it. coping mechanisms that may be of great use, or might be destructive.

the system is cyclical, Once a month they need to get a medical certificate, they need to talk with the insurer about that medical certificate, the insurer needs to talk to them about the medical certificate ect… thats just one of the cyclical systems in place.

Its not like the dole, or even disability benefits. There are layers of cyclical behaviours the injured worker needs to participate in. Rehab, court, assessments, job finding, threats to be kicked off though work capacity decisions. All these things are serious & potentially life changing, all these things happen time and time again.

They cycle of despair tries to marry the internal to the external. We hope it helps you understand whats happening to you.