Updated: Jul 7
I am a person who never gives up, always believing there is hope, and you can change whatever it is. But what if you have symptoms that don’t go away, even after you tried so many things? Will you keep looking, or will there be a moment that it’s time to accept that this is it, to just enjoy the moment and be grateful for what you have?
The first 2 years - Always searching
During my first two years, I was always looking for new information, new therapies, and new tips from others in the same situation. Every day, I had the same question in my head, what can I do to improve? I Googled a lot, anxious not to miss something that could maybe help me, which always resulted in too much screen time and feeling overwhelmed or disappointed. I would never accept that a stupid accident would change the rest of my life. But it did. I still have moments when I can’t accept what happened to me, and then I end up again back in the search spiral. It feels like a full-time job! Like a detective who is looking for that little piece of information that’s somewhere out there.
Not ready for acceptance or for coping strategies
There will always be that piece of hope within me that will never give up, even now, four years after my accident. But it feels like I move more towards the acceptance part. I try to learn more about how to deal with my symptoms so I don’t feel overwhelmed all the time. In my first two years, I didn’t focus on things about how to deal with the situation. Why should I? I will find THE therapy that will heal me 100%, right? So why focus on something else? That’s how I spent my first two years. Not admitting anything. I totally lived in my own bubble, and when someone told me that I should dive more into acceptance and learn about dealing with my symptoms, I ignored everything they said. I wanted to end that conversation because I didn’t want to believe that this could be something I needed to do. I focussed all my energy on finding something that would heal me, not on coping strategies.
After two years, I needed to make a change
I was surviving all the time during my first two years. I didn’t know how to deal with my symptoms, and most of the time, I tried to ignore them, acting like nothing was wrong. Of course, this resulted in many times feeling overwhelmed, sick, emotional, and a lot of setbacks. I can’t even count them. Searching and waiting for two years for the right therapy is a long time. What if there is no therapy and this is it for the rest of my life? I didn’t want to spend my life feeling like this all the time, searching, waiting, and feeling sick. Something needed to change.
I decided to talk to a psychologist
I made the big step, at least it was a big step for me, to go to a psychologist. In my eyes, this meant I lost my hope to get better, that I needed to learn how to deal with my symptoms instead of healing them. A psychologist wouldn’t heal my post-concussion symptoms, right? So why should I go there? I wanted to get better. I still believed that I didn't need emotional help. Without my concussion symptoms, I wouldn’t feel like this. If the concussion symptoms went away, I would be the happiest person ever. So I was still in two minds about taking this step. But I was sick of waiting at home; the whole situation had such an emotional impact on me. I had to admit that.
Every life pillar collapsed: physical, mental, social and financial
In the beginning, I felt a bit ashamed that I was looking for emotional help as well. I always felt strong and stable, but I didn’t feel that strong anymore. I was lost. Lost at every pillar of wellbeing in life: physical, mental, social, and financial. Read more about this in the following blog:...
My psychologist told me that it's normal to feel this lost when all the pillars of life collapse at the same time. Of course, it’s normal; if this happened to someone else, I would see that, but I didn’t want to admit it. I finally felt like I didn’t need to try to act like nothing was going on. I could admit that it wasn’t easy. I only admitted it to her and my parents. I felt too ashamed to admit it to the whole world. And sometimes, I still do.
Looking for help made me feel less crazy
I started to enjoy my sessions with my psychologist because I didn't need to pretend that I was okay. The more I spoke about my emotions, the more she encouraged me to keep doing that. It was okay not to feel happy, to struggle, and to admit that. I started to learn more about how to cope with my symptoms and didn’t feel that “sick” all the time anymore. I realized that asking for help was a great choice. I didn’t mean that I gave up on my healing. But when you can, make your healing journey a bit easier. That's something we all need to learn, in my opinion.
Acceptance and coping doesn’t mean you’re losing hope
The road to acceptance takes time, and that’s okay. We are all on our own journey, and for some people, it will start maybe sooner, while for some, maybe later.
I will never give up on hope, and at the same time, I work on acceptance and dealing with my symptoms as well. These two things can go hand in hand. You don’t have to choose one of them in order to keep going. I wished I had realized this sooner in my journey, but on the other hand, everything happens at its own pace. I learned from it as well, and I believe I needed that to lead me to the road of self-development.