@FitnessAfterAccident’s Concussion Story
After college, I began working a job in a hospital. One day while at work, I was attacked by a patient and sustained a severe concussion. In just a split second my whole life changed. I knew that something was wrong, but I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was in the moment. I was sent to the emergency room to be evaluated when I realized I could not walk without extreme effort. It was as if the communication between my brain and legs faded away. To this day, physical activity remains difficult.
All of the major changes that were taking place in my life after my concussion left me feeling like I was never going to return to my previous health. Nausea, dizziness, tinnitus, migraines, and many other symptoms became my new norm. I spent my days shuttling between medical appointments. Before my accident, I loved to spend time in the gym. Not being able to workout became one factor that contributed to my post-injury depression.
Depression is a side effect of concussions that many people don’t want to talk about or don’t know about- including health care providers. I never would have considered myself someone who would struggle with negative thoughts or drastic emotional changes, but my concussion so drastically changed my life and I often felt helpless. Shortly after my accident, my doctor mentioned that this could be something I would struggle with. Because I was convinced I would be back to full health within a few weeks, I did not take her seriously. I was wrong. As my recovery and symptoms continued, it seemed that my mood continued to decline.
I struggled for months of whether or not I should mention this to my doctor. To be honest, I was ashamed and embarrassed. I now know that there is no shame in addressing issues of mental health. Finally, I sent my doctor an online message requesting help. I didn’t even have the courage to say it in person, but I knew I couldn’t wait any longer. Thankfully, the clinic responded right away and set me up with mental health professionals who were very familiar with concussions and its side effects.
What I Would Have Done Differently
If I could go back in time, I would have reached out for help sooner. It was hard to take that first step, but getting the help I needed not only helped my recovery emotionally but also physically. Many symptoms can be exacerbated with stress and distress.
More recently, I have been slowly getting back to integrating exercise into my daily routine, I began an Instagram page to document and share this with others who struggle with concussion recovery. I also began blogging. Through these platforms, I have connected with many others who also struggled with their recoveries. These connections have helped to offer me a sense of community and understanding while in recovery from my concussion.
Advice I Would Give To Others
The advice I would share with others is to reach out as soon as possible. Whether that reaching out is to your medical providers for help or to others to help realize you are not alone. Reaching out was one of the best decisions I made for my recovery.
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