Updated: Jul 7
Having a concussion is the hardest thing I ever experienced in life. You are not the “old” you anymore but you are also still not the “new” you, so who is this person somewhere in between? Figuring everything out can be such an emotional rollercoaster. When I thought about concussions in general before I had my accident, I just thought there would be only some physical symptoms for a couple of weeks and that’s it. Now after almost 4 years of having post-concussion symptoms I know that it’s way more than that! The emotional part is definitely harder.
My first year was a rollercoaster of emotions
After I got my concussion due to a scooter accident, I had a lot of physical symptoms. My doctor told me to rest and that they should go away within a few weeks. Emotionally this wasn’t hard, I just had to “wait” until they would go away. Easy right?. Everything should be fine within a few weeks. I pushed myself to do my work and didn’t listen to my body at all. The rollercoaster of emotions started when my symptoms didn’t go away after those weeks. I panicked and since that moment, it became such an emotional rollercoaster for me.
Now it’s almost four years later and my emotions have piled up during those years. I suppressed my emotions for a long time, up until I reached my three-year anniversary. I looked for a hobby, started to travel the world by myself, did more walks outside, maintained my social life.. everything to get more confidence about doing things outside my comfort zone (my house). I did all those things and way more, but I still felt less emotions, didn’t have that much energy and felt weary for a long time. Nothing made me really excited like it did before my accident. I wasn’t used to those flat emotions.
Your body and mind are arguing
When you have a concussion, your body and mind don’t react the same anymore and every aspect of life is affected. This isn’t just a small change, it changes everything. You lost yourself, you have to find out everything on your own. You don’t know what’s going on in your body and every situation is different and feels new to you. You can’t do the same things anymore but what are your limits? Are they changing? It made me sad to feel lost and not knowing myself anymore. Even when I tried to get help from a doctor or psychologist, I felt like they didn’t get me and I felt even lonelier afterwards.
Not the “old” you but also not the “new” you - the in-between phase
I had to get my life on track – but how? Feeling that lost had such an impact on my emotional wellbeing. You are grieving about the person you aren’t anymore and you don’t know the new version of yourself yet. You are somewhere in between and that was the hardest part of my recovery. My mind still wants to do the same things I always did before I had my accident, but my body didn’t allow me to do those things. Should you listen to your body? To your mind? To both? It could drive me crazy. I got less confidence in my body and it made me scared to make any plans for the future. I couldn’t rely on it anymore and it scared me. So, the easiest thing to do was staying at home.
The anxiety took control of me
It’s such a scary feeling when you can’t rely on your body anymore as you used to. I always took my health for granted my body always did what my mind told it to do. But now, my mind can say so many things but my body isn’t listening. It scared me. What if I go to the supermarket and my body can’t handle it? What if I meet a friend and can’t follow that conversation? What if I am at a place and I am getting dizzy and nauseous? I felt anxiety all the time – anxiety in my body, anxiety about the future, anxiety about other people not understanding how I felt, anxiety about eating the wrong food, anxiety about almost everything.
Learning from struggles
It was and it still is hard sometimes to deal with the “new” me. I know it sounds cliché but “hard things” make you stronger, right? ;). When someone said this to me during the period I struggled the most, I was so mad at them, I almost threw something at them! But now I realize that they were right! Even if you are struggling, it doesn’t mean you’re failing, pausing your life or going backwards. You are growing, learning and getting to know yourself even better than before.
Without bad days, good days wouldn’t exist
Life isn’t only about happiness and feeling good all the time. Without bad days there wouldn’t be any good days. Without rain, there would be no rainbows. Think about this example: What if you had all the money in the world ever since you were born? You wouldn’t feel the same as a person who grew up poor and became rich by themselves. Who do you think is more grateful and enjoying it?
The same goes for people with health issues. If you are always healthy you take it for granted, but what if you aren’t? Don’t you think when you’re healthy again you will feel so grateful and happy about it, even more than ever before? So, embrace your struggles, accept that they are part of your journey of becoming grateful and more aware of everything in life. Things will get better and easier over time, trust that process.