Becky Heinitz’s Concussion Story
I am a 26 year old from Kelowna, BC, Canada.
I have had 2 diagnosed concussions and believe I have had 1 more undiagnosed concussions with my longest recovery being 3-6 months.
I sustained my first concussion with a blow to the head on the arm of a cable machine at the gym 4 months before starting my Masters. I got a huge migraine instantly but continued with my workout and day to day activities. My recovery was about 6-8 weeks. A couple months later I was smoked in the head by someone else’s head, and although I had many symptoms come back instantly, I brushed it off as not being as bad as my first. I had just moved to a new city and had to drive back the following day to start my first day of my Masters in Physical Therapy. My symptoms continued to get worse as I continued to push through school until I was forced to take a medical deferral because I could no longer be in an over stimulating environment. It’s been 4 months since my second concussion and I am still recovering. My symptoms for months have included anxiety, depression, irritability, Sensitivity to light and noise, headaches, migraines, and nausea. It’s called the invisible injury for a reason, it’s very difficult for anyone to understand who hasn’t gone through concussion themselves because you look completely healthy. I’ve found therapy to be very educational and rewarding for me, as 3 of my cervical spine were rotated in my second hit. Healthcare professionals kept telling me my neck was fine. Listen to your body and seek help from a trusted source. Having my loved ones grocery shop, prepare dinner, drive me to appointments has been such a blessing.
Symptoms I experienced through my recovery included headaches, nausea or vomitting, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to noise, drowsiness, more emotional, irritability, sadness, nervous or anxious, “pressure in head”, neck pain, dizziness, feeling slowed down, don’t feel right, difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering and fatigue or low energy.
Emotionally, the most frustrating aspect of my injury/recovery was feeling helpless – not being in control
What I Would Have Done Differently
I would have taken the immediate 24-48 hours of rest following my 2 concussions. I think that would have made a huge help in my recovery. I would have stopped working as soon as my symptoms worsened in my work environment instead of pushing through due to stubbornness or judgment from what other may think.
Advice I Would Give To Others
Keep listening to your body. One of the biggest struggles for me was taking the rest or leaving an environment when I felt things get worse, and I paid for it for days after. It’s a long process that I am still in myself. Trying to remain positive, asking for help, and setting my boundaries are tools I am using to help me heal from this!
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