(Or listen to my podcast).
I know it may sound weird to some people, but during the COVID situation, I finally felt less different than others. I am not sure about you, but the quarantine wasn’t that hard for me because I already knew how it felt to be at home all the time. To not go to restaurants or parties or hang out until late in the evening. During Covid, this was the case for everyone and not only for people with a brain injury.
People Around Me Were Complaining About the Restrictions
They were not complaining about COVID-19 itself but about the restaurants that were closed, that they couldn’t travel, and that they had to stay at home all the time and couldn’t go outside after 9 PM. I heard them talking, and the only thing I could think of was, “I couldn’t do that for years,” and it was even worse because while I was staying home, everyone around me was still celebrating life. During the pandemic, we were all together, but I still felt alone.
I know it’s not fair to compare it because this is a whole new situation for them, and we all experience things in our own way, but I just want to write about how that felt for me. I want them to know that this whole situation was my life for such a long time. I think people do understand me a bit better because of that but full understanding isn’t possible. Only the people who are in the same situation really get what I just wrote.
I Felt Less Different - Brain injury in time of covid
No one was allowed to go outside or to public places, so I didn’t feel that weird anymore. It felt better to stay at home while everyone else was also staying at home, instead of seeing everyone doing fun things without me. I know it sounds selfish but don’t get me wrong; I wish all people the best in the world.
It also made things a bit easier for me. I didn’t have to say no that often anymore, and I didn’t have to explain why I couldn’t go to dinner or to a party. It felt like a period of more rest for me, and it gave me the opportunity to completely tune into myself. That’s what I really needed to move forward in my journey.
What I Learned From This Situation
I realized that I didn’t enjoy around 50% of all social appointments I made, and it only cost me energy, instead of giving me more energy. Why should I continue doing that? Seeing this from another perspective made me realize that this needed to change. I went to those appointments because I felt like I needed to or so that I wouldn’t feel guilty for not being there. Now, I know how it feels to not waste my energy on things I don’t even like.
It feels like I can put that saved energy into my healing process, and things and people I like. I feel better and happier.
During this time, I learned that it’s okay to take more rest when I need to, and to not force myself to go to dinners or other social things. I felt more improvements because I totally listened to my body, instead of forcing myself to do things that are sometimes just a bit too much. I say no more often, and it feels great; it feels like I have control back.
During this time, all gyms were closed, as well. I feel better when I exercise, so I went outside to run in the park. This changed a lot for me. Instead of doing fitness—which I realized is sometimes too much—I enjoyed being in nature. These runs gave my body a boost, instead of feeling exhausted and having neck pain after a training session. Exercise in nature felt like the best medicine for my concussion / head injury.
Don’t Take Anything for Granted
My experience is that people who have post-concussion syndrome or a TBI don’t take anything for granted anymore. Before my accident, I wasn’t like this at all; I took everything for granted. Besides that, there were no real ups or downs; my life felt steadier. Now, my downs are more intense, but my ups are, too; I think that makes life beautiful. I can feel so much more gratitude and love for even the smallest things. Even things that seem like the worst in the whole world bring some positivity in the end.
I hope all people in the world can realize that nothing needs to be taken for granted. Everything can change in just a second. One day you are healthy, the other day you have a head injury. We are here for a limited time, and we need to make our lives meaningful and find joy in all things. It’s such a waste of time to spend your time on things you don’t even like or that don’t give energy to you. That’s what I realized during my concussion journey but also during this pandemic. I hope we are all more aware of that. Do what feels good for you and listen to what your body needs. You know what’s best for you—only you!
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