post-concussion syndrome setback and lessons learned

I thought I was “done.” I even told people I felt like I was pretty much back to my old self again. I started volunteering for things again, started writing more, and was cooking dinner almost every night. Life was good!

But, over time I stopped paying attention to what my body was telling me. I didn’t notice the headaches. I knew I was tired, but I “pushed through.” I didn’t realize that my post-concussion syndrome symptoms could come back with such force. (Note to the reader: my alarm reminding me to take a rest just popped up on my computer, I snoozed it for five minutes. If it pops up again, I’ll finish this post later!)

Last week, after a bad night of sleep, I crashed. Suddenly, it seemed, though hindsight says it crept up on me, I couldn’t think straight. As it was right after the crash, thoughts would come into my head but they’d slip away before I could know what they were. I couldn’t figure out what the right order of steps were to prepare dinner. Listening to the radio in the car made it difficult to drive. My brain was much too loud, my eyes weren’t focusing well, and I was beyond exhausted.

It’s been a week and I didn’t do a terrific job returning to an awareness of my symptoms. In the last couple days, though, I took more breaks and noticed when my mind was particularly slippery or foggy. I’ve had a lot of work to do, and a lot of it required high level intellectual thinking, but I did it bit by bit rather than in one massive dive.

Today I feel a lot better. I finished an essay I’d been working on. I’m about to make dinner and the prospect doesn’t feel overwhelming.

It was a rude awakening, though. I’m not as “done” as I thought I was. My speech therapist said she feels confident I’ll get to a point where it doesn’t get *this* bad anymore. I keep focusing on the fact that it’s been months since [pause to take that five minute break, thank you computer reminder system] I had symptoms that couldn’t be resolved by just a few minutes of resting my brain and eyes. I’ve been “back up to speed” in most areas of my life.

As with the rest of the post-concussion syndrome recovery, I’m reminded that my life improves when I take it easy. When I pace myself and don’t overdo it, even without the brain problems caused by post-concussion syndrome, life is better. I’m more present in life and I’m able to enjoy it. So now, after hitting “publish,” being present in my offline life is what I’m going to do.

3 thoughts on “post-concussion syndrome setback and lessons learned

  1. I can relate a little bit, due to being on daily meds for migraine plus additional ones if I get pain breaking through. Sometimes I simply can’t do what I planned. I take small breaks as well.

  2. I completely understand. It’s been a few years now that I’m living with post concussion syndrome and found out I have OCD as well. Several times, I feel like I can do whatever I want and feel almost back to normal. I tend to over do it when I’m working on something. My OCD wants me to finish what I started instead of just putting it aside and take breaks, A few days of doing that and then all of a sudden my head it’s a dead end sign. It sucks that it takes several days/weeks to recover. But at the same time, it’s a definitely a good reminder to accept that yes I have post concussion and no I’m not/may never be back to normal.
    Stay strong!

  3. Ha. I thought the first paragraph was describing your experience after quitting Facebook!
    Best of luck on your continuing recovery. It sounds as though you’re on a rising slope, overall, just with some blips. Have patience!

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