My name is Silvie, 29 years old and based in Amsterdam. In May 2017, I got into a scooter accident, which has caused me concussion and whiplash. I didn't fall on my head. I was conscious and I thought I only hurt my ankle. So I thought I was lucky and went home, not knowing I just walked into a new life. The next day I felt so weird but I went to work anyway. I didn't know what was going on because I didn't fall on my head so what could it be? I went to work for the next 3 days as well. I couldn't concentrate, made a lot of mistakes, my eyes were hurting from my computer and I was so upset, confused and even defeated not knowing what was happening. What's going on with me?! I felt like everything was wrong but I couldn't address what exactly it was.
On Friday, I went home early and told my employer, "Don't worry I will rest this weekend and will be back on Monday”. I then went to the doctor on the same day and he gave me some relaxing medication.
It was relaxing. I slept for almost 2 days but my symptoms became worse. So on Monday, I did not go back to the office and I told him I needed an extra week. One night, my flatmates and I, were going to go to a birthday party together but I just broke out in tears before we were heading off. They told me to just take some rest and that everything would be okay. I believed it, went to bed, and slept for hours. The week after that, I wasn’t able to do anything, even the normal daily activities were hard for me to handle. My head couldn’t manage it and I felt so emotional not even knowing why. That extra week off ended up becoming a month, the month then turning into half a year, the half a year lasted and became a year. Though, finally, after that year, I have never gone back to that office again. I loved my job, I loved the people there. I am always ambitious and I felt so useless doing "nothing".
The First Year
During the first year, I still didn't know what was going on with me. I felt guilty because I couldn't explain my situation at my work, not only my coworkers but also anyone around me, even myself. I tried acting like nothing was wrong most of the time, but from the inside, I felt like EVERYTHING was wrong. I had a hard time sleeping, couldn't concentrate, felt overwhelmed all the time, cried a lot not knowing the reason why, felt so tired, got a pressure on my head all the time, couldn't read, couldn't watch any screens, couldn't manage any sounds/light, had shortness of breath, felt a pressure on my chest and so restless. During that time, I was home most of the time, alone. I couldn't manage to see a lot of people as I always did before because it made me so overwhelmed in a short period. I couldn't drive a car, use public transport or even ride my bike. It was hard to manage here in Amsterdam as it can be so busy!
After The First Year
The first year was a hard time. I did not know what was going on with me. I often wondered if I were going to recover if there were any recovery at all. Would I get better someday? Though after a year of time, I still didn't feel any better than the beginning. I went to the doctor again and he told me I had an anxiety disorder which then he wanted to refer me to a psychologist. I felt so misunderstood. I didn't need a psychologist. I need someone who can heal my symptoms so that I can live without those symptoms and wouldn’t have those struggles at all! It freaked me out so much to a point where I asked myself, "Will this be my life forever?". No one could answer those questions, not even doctors. No one could tell me what I needed to do in order to recover. Did I need to rest or should I do some activities? Should I exercise or would that make it worse? I felt so lost not knowing what would work and no one could tell me.
I have always been a busy person with lots of parties, 5 or 6 days of work in a week, going to the gym 4 times a week and busy social life. I was just always doing something. After that day, my life changed 180 degrees. Those things disappeared. The hardest part was just from the inside since I really wanted to do all these things so badly, to get my "normal" life back. But I couldn't, not when my head and body did not cooperate. I had so many kickbacks because I felt so frustrated and tried things anyway even if I knew on forehand I couldn't. The "acting normal to others" part was also breaking me up.
Of course, I Googled on the internet about my symptoms and came in contact with someone who was struggling with similar ones like mine. She sent me an article on Linked-in about a Dutch woman who described her story. I read her story and I recognised everything, I thought THIS IS ME! She wrote about whiplash and how whiplash can cause a concussion as well. After all this time, I finally knew it was a concussion while I always thought you must fall on your head to get one. I sent the woman a message and she added me to a Facebook group with others who are struggling with post-concussion symptoms as well. This helped me finding the right treatments for recovery. I couldn't find the right help here in The Netherlands so I went all the way from The Netherlands to America.
Just to get real, I am not totally healed yet but I started to notice some changes since then, changes I didn't feel during the first 2 years. Even now, I am still improving. I just want to mention all injuries are different, making the outcome of every treatment different as well. I am just so grateful I found treatments that helped me and it gave me the hope to be symptom-free one day.
A community for like-minded individuals wanting to get better and refusing to let this be their life permanently.
It felt so good to meet other people who know exactly what I was going through and without them, I wouldn't be where I am today. Finally, I felt the recognition I was looking for, I no longer felt lonely during my journey anymore. I already knew that time someday I would create a community myself to help other people around the world finding the support and help they need. Now, after 3,5 years, I finally feel ready for it and there it is: The Concussion Community.
From the 1st of April, there will be an online platform with classes given by experts from all over the world. The community will offer support from others and online live classes given by experts from all over the world. Everything on just one platform. Can't wait until the 1st of April? →Join the Community on Facebook.
I hope this makes the step to the right therapy smaller because it will give access to experts from all over the world and not just the options from your own country. There is so much more out there! Besides, I hope you find the support and help within this community. If you need anything, just let me know! I am happy to connect!