10 things having a concussion has taught me

So an update from my most recent post, I was in a car accident over spring break and got a concussion. While some people recover from concussion in a mere couple of weeks, the impact from the crash was severe enough for me to still have a slight concussion to this day, almost 2 months later. While this experience has been brutal, from many doctors appointments, scary symptoms like blurred vision and constant ear ringing, the frustration of appearing normal and healthy when I’m not, and missing out on many fun events and cancelling plans..it has taught me some life lessons.

  1. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY: If I had skipped sorority events, class, student org meetings when my head felt like it was pulsing, maybe I would be healed already. I finally, finally began showing signs of recovery once I started being easier on myself. Even when I don’t have a concussion (if I ever recover fully lol) I will continue to follow this because health comes first.
  2. Health is more important than grades: I’ve always been very into school. I strive for A’s and sometimes B’s. My goal in college was to stay on the Dean’s list the whole 4 years. However, my concussion prevents me from being able to memorize things and concentrate as well as I used to. So I realized, your health really does come before grades. Mental health too!
  3. Everyone is fighting their own invisible battles: Just because someone looks fine that definitely doesn’t mean they are fine. You really never truly know whats going on in someone’s life, but I bet you that girl you see smiling with her friends has some struggles you would never guess. Therefore, it’s important to be kind to everyone because you don’t know what they’re struggling with…even if they don’t appear to be struggling.
  4. Reaching out to people when you’re going through hell isn’t weak: It’s not weak to call my mom in tears because my left eye suddenly has almost no visibility. It’s not weak to tell my sorority sisters I’m going through a rough time. It’s not weak to email my teachers that dealing with class is very difficult right now and that I may have to leave class early at times. People will support you through rough times, but if you go at it alone, it’s really going to be hell.
  5. It’s ok to cancel plans and disappoint people sometimes: now obviously this shouldn’t be a frequent thing or done for no reason, but having a concussion is definitely an excuse to skip out on events, club meetings, hanging with friends, etc. And it’s better to take care of yourself than please people anyway. However, this was probably the most frustrating part of my concussion. Even almost healed, I have to avoid certain activities.
  6. Healing isn’t linear: After about 2.5 weeks of having my concussion, I finally felt like I was getting better. Fewer headaches, fewer symptoms overall, and fewer doctors appointments. But then I took this good feeling and overdid it. I didn’t rest enough, I kept myself too busy and did too many things..then it took a turn for the worst. Out of nowhere, I got a really horrible headache, then came nausea, and then my left eye got extremely blurry. I had to go to the doctors three times that week and almost had a hospital visit 😦 my sudden decline in healing was discouraging, but a good reminder to take care of myself. Now i’m finally nearly healed…
  7. You’re not invincible: Now this isn’t to draw paranoia, but many people are reckless..they think they can text/drive and drive and not get in an accident. They don’t believe cigarettes will give them cancer. They believe they’re immune to tragic moments and being unlucky. Well this was a wakeup call that I’m not a special snowflake and random bad things will happen to me and that I should be cautious.
  8. Gratitude: I got many text messages asking if I was ok (all of which I had my brother read and reply to because I wasn’t allowed to use screens at all for a few days) and this made me really thankful for a supportive family and supportive friends. Bad moments show you who your true friends are and I’m so thankful to have amazing people in my life.
  9. Patience: this symptom has gone away, but for weeks I was taking long pauses in conversations and struggling to remember words/details/names. It was really frustrating even just having a normal conversation, walking in a room and forgetting what I was doing, leaving my belongings places accidentally, and general stupidity. But I realized that my body was trying as hard as it could and that you need to be forgiving and patient with yourself.
  10. Positivity heals wounds: my friend, who had a more severe concussion than I did in high school, advised me to remain positive. It was really hard to take this advice some days when I’d hyperventilate from concussion-induced anxiety, vomit, have a pulsing headache, spend more time with doctors than friends, and when I still wasn’t healing weeks later. It felt like I would NEVER get better. But I tried my best to remain positive, and she’s right..it does get better.
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