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From panic attacks and anxiety to new improvements! Even after 6 years of concussion recovery

Updated: Jan 10

Did you know 2023 didn’t start that well for me? Everyone who is following me on Instagram knows about this.

But that doesn’t mean things didn’t change for the best in my concussion recovery. There are positive updates as well.

Let me tell you what happened…

concussion and anxiety

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In January, I got a PDTR treatment (click here to read my blog: “I tried a new treatment, PDTR therapy), and it helped me so much with clenching jaws, not being in that fight flight mode anymore, light sensitivity and noise sensitivity.

But one week after that treatment…

I got panic attacks and as we all know, concussion and anxiety go hand in hand. It felt like my body was holding this feeling and because of that trauma treatment, it was able to release it.

That’s why I don’t see this as a negative thing in my concussion recovery. As the combination of concussion and anxiety is common, it was always some part of my journey. Now I had the chance to really do something about it, to treat it as it came to the surface.

But first, a new adventure started…

On February 1, my boyfriend and I flew to Bali. We planned this as we wanted to escape the rat-race and live a “slower” life. So, we tried living there.

At first, I didn’t know if I could make it because of the concussion and anxiety symptoms and the panic attacks, but I decided to give it a try, and so we did.

The thing is, we didn't get any rest in Bali. We were at a place with so much construction going on. Almost every day, there were workers in the house.

And besides that, there was just so much noise that I couldn’t relax. But I don’t dive deeper into that here. Interested in hearing more about our experience in Bali? I share more about it in this podcast.

So, after 4 months, we flew back to The Netherlands.

We didn’t have a home as we’d sold everything.

I am always 0 or 100, if I go for something, it’s 100%. Not 50%, one foot here in The Netherlands and the other one in Bali.

My boyfriend could stay at a friend’s place in Amsterdam. I stayed at my parent’s place for about 6 weeks in the south of The Netherlands.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful I have my parents to fall back on, but I missed a place for myself, my own stuff. So, after 6 weeks, I felt more than ready to move out.

Moving to Antwerp

In the meantime, my boyfriend and I kept looking for a place and right now, we’ve been living in Antwerp for about 2 weeks. We are living in a lovely area, and I am happy to be here.

We never lived in this city, but every time we visited it, we loved it.

Seeking help, things I focused on to reduce my concussion and anxiety symptoms.

In those 6 weeks at my parent’s place, I had the time to rest, recover and work on myself. Finally, I had the time and rest to fully focus on concussion recovery.

Now I was physically doing much better, but I never really focused on the mental part (professional help). So, what did I do:

  • I had weekly/bi-weekly EMDR sessions with a therapist to reduce the panic feelings. It helped immensely with my concussion and anxiety symptoms.

  • I had cognitive behavior therapy, which helped a lot with managing my thoughts.

  • I started to read books about mindset again. One I can recommend: Live More, Think Less from Pia Calessen (or for the Dutchies: leef meer, denk minder). It’s about not focusing on your anxiety as everything you focus on grows.

  • I started with Iris Kee (nutritional therapist, functional medicine) to work on my nutrition and supplements. I had a bloated belly and really needed to reduce brain inflammation. Gut health is so important. I am still following her advice, so an update will follow soon!

  • I started doing interval training again (the best exercise for people with a concussion) and noticed improvements right away. I did them running and cycling as it’s so quiet at my parent’s place, and I love the surroundings. Everyone who is interested in starting with interval training, I created a course especially for people with a concussion (there are specific breathing exercises involved and a specific heart rate). Click here for more information.

So, I am moving forward in my concussion recovery. And the weirdest thing is there were lows this year but also ups when it comes to my health. 2022 was steadier, with not that many changes, and I was still struggling a bit.

2023 started rough with panic/anxiety, but there were two things in my recovery that helped me so much (EMDR and PDTR therapy) that I feel much better now. (even better than before).

Improvement is possible even after years - concussion recovery

And that after 6 years. And I don’t say this because I want to show you that I am doing better.

I share this because I want you to know there is no timeline for healing, no fixed dates/years when you “need” to feel better or otherwise you will have this for the rest of your life.

It’s not just me who is still improving, but I hear this from so many people that they feel improvements, some of them even after 10 years!

Recovery, moving forward is always possible, even after years. So, if you’re in a bad place right now, I just want you to know there is help out there. Sometimes, it feels like you can’t recover anymore, that this will be your life forever. But that’s not true.

I try to follow this quote as a guideline as joy supports our healing too:

“You don’t have to be healthy to live the life of your dreams. You have to start living your dreamlife in order to get healthy.”

Right now, I am excited for our new adventure here in Antwerp.

But in my life, you never know how long I stay at a specific place. I am an adventure seeker, which is not always easy, but I don’t want to live my life with regrets.

Stay tuned or follow me on Instagram to follow my adventures in Antwerp (or wherever I go;)),

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concussion and anxiety

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