Updated: Nov 20
(Or listen to my podcast).
I wasn’t aware of the impact of my concussion in the beginning. I told everyone that I would be better after resting for a few weeks. I did rest, but I didn’t get better. Everything changed when I still wasn’t feeling any better after a few months. One of the things that helped me so much was brain injury support groups. But there were 4 other things that helped me, read on!
Download my free eBook to learn 7 things that have helped me to reduce my symptoms: click here.
Table of Contents
The first few months
In the beginning, everyone seemed to care and asked me how I was doing all the time and if I was able to do things. This happened during the first few months. They didn’t push me at all at my work, friends came over for a short visit to my home, and I got text messages from several people about how I was doing. I never felt lonely, and it always felt like I just had to rest for a few months, and then I would be back as the old me.
After the first few months
I started to get worried, as I didn’t improve at all; it even seemed like my post-concussion symptoms were getting worse. I didn’t know what to tell my friends, family and employer anymore. It felt like they didn’t know what to do and what to say after I didn’t feel any better. I felt the pressure to go back to work, not that my boss pushed me, but I got questions like when do you think you’ll be feeling better? I wish I could answer that question. Not being able to answer that question gave me a feeling of anxiety. What if this would last forever?
Friends didn’t visit me that often anymore. Just sporadically, a friend came to my house, but even then, I didn’t know what to say, and they didn’t either. I didn’t get that many text messages because people presumed that I was feeling better, and you don’t start asking someone 10 times if they are already feeling better when the answer is always no. Besides that, I didn’t want to bother people with my problems.
I started to feel lonely
First, I started to feel lonely because I still couldn’t go back to work, I missed the contact with my colleagues, the Friday afternoon drinks, the weekend hanging out with friends, just my normal life. It felt like I wasn’t on the same level as everyone else anymore. I had the feeling they saw me as a “patient.” Maybe that was in my head, but it really felt like that. Every conversation seemed to be about my concussion, and we stopped talking about spontaneous things, stopped having drinks and worst of all, they stopped asking me out.
I totally get it from their side that they didn’t do that anymore because I was always saying no. They also didn’t want to disappoint me and give me the feeling that I was missing something. So some of them stopped telling me about their fun adventures. I know their intention was good, but it felt like I was not part of it anymore. Well, it didn't feel like it; it was a fact that I wasn’t part of that anymore. I missed so many things at work and hangouts with my friends that I couldn't keep up with anymore.
I felt lonely because I couldn’t explain my post-concussion symptoms
I always felt alone in my journey because I wasn’t able to explain how my post-concussion symptoms felt. Some people really tried to understand, but when you don’t experience it yourself, you're just not able to really get it. I don’t blame anyone for that because, of course, they can’t. I appreciate that they even tried to understand me the best they could.
It was hard when some people told me they were feeling the same as my post-concussion symptoms (people without a concussion/tbi). When I was tired and really needed a nap, some people made comments like: “Yes I am so tired, too,” or when I told them that I couldn’t endure sounds/lights, they said things like: “My eyes are tired from that screen all day too.”
I know they said it to help me, but it made me feel more lonely. In the beginning, I tried to explain that it wasn’t just tired eyes or that things were annoying me. I couldn’t deal with it, I couldn’t handle it, and that’s something different from when something is annoying you.
Five things that helped me to feel less lonely in my concussion recovery
Talking to a psychologist: at the beginning of my journey, I really didn’t want to talk about it. I just wanted to feel better because if I were feeling better, everything would be solved. But I wasn’t feeling better, and the emotional part was hard to deal with. I decided to talk with someone, and it really felt good to be open and have someone care about you. Let me be honest, the first two persons I went to didn’t feel good. I felt even more lonely because they didn’t get how I really felt. I decided to look for someone who has been on this journey herself. Some great recommendations are: Julie Kuch or Jen Blanchette. Both of them are TBI coaches and also offer classes for the Concussion Community.
Going to yoga group classes: I started to do some yoga from home. After being more comfortable with it, I decided to go to live group lessons, and it really felt great. I also do yoga classes online, and I love the group feeling here as well. I can really recommend LoveYourBrain, and I love the yoga classes they are offering within the Concussion Community. They offer special classes for people with concussion symptoms and TBI symptoms.
Joining brain injury support groups: This made such a difference. I finally felt like people really got me without explaining everything. I read stories from other people, which also helped me. We all share so many tips, and it feels like this group helped me more than my own doctor. Because of this group, I found concussion treatments that are helping, changed my nutrition, started exercising again and discovered yoga. I even stopped my sessions at the psychologist after a while because the group was giving me a lot.
Going for walks with like-minded people: Now you may be thinking, where did you find those like-minded people? I found them online! After opening up about my concussion symptoms, so many people reached out to me, and some of them lived in Amsterdam as well. We went for walks now and then in the park. It gave me more trust that when you are open and really yourself, the right people will come your way. It also gave me more confidence to let go of some of the people who didn’t fit in my life anymore. I was always a bit scared that I wouldn't find new people, but after this experience, I know that when you let go of some people who are costing you energy, you will get back some people who will give you energy.
Writing: I love to write, and it’s helping me to clear my head. When I write down how I feel, it feels like I can let go of some emotions. Never tried it before and don’t know how to start? Don’t make it difficult for yourself. Just start writing what you are thinking; it doesn't have to be a logical story. I am sure you will find what works for you when you continue doing that.
I really hope that when you feel lonely as I did in my journey that you will find a way to feel less lonelier. It breaks my heart to read about people who are really isolated in their concussion recovery. It breaks my heart because I have been there, too, I know how it feels, and I don’t wish this anymore.
brain injury support groups
I want you to know that you are always welcome in The Concussion Community. It’s one of the brain injury support groups that I really like because people are positive and really help each other where they can. So don’t feel shy because I am sure you will feel safe in that group.
Download my free e-book and learn 7 things that have helped me to reduce my symptoms.
In this e-book, you will learn how to reduce your headache and fatigue, increase your energy, improve your sleep, feel less stressed, and return to exercising.
Receive it right away in your inbox: