Don’t Make Me Go!
I don’t know about you, but I definitely became more introverted after my concussion. At first, I wanted people to come over and missed connecting with others, but I would usually regret taking too much time with them afterwards because my symptoms would be horrible. I would be down and out for a few days after some visits. So, I think I became more introverted over time because my body knew it was too much effort to socialize.
I began to handle more one-on-one time with people as I began to heal. I learned to set time limits to what I could handle without too many symptoms/set-backs. I usually invited people over to my house so that I could control the environment. Noisy coffee shops were not my favourite anymore. Yes, my house was usually messy, at least in my eyes, but I’d rather enjoy someone’s company than worry about a messy house. I still felt the need to comment about it though and laugh it off when people came over.
Anyways, the fear and struggle came when I had to step into someone else’s environment. It was even worse thinking about and planning social settings like family holidays or friends’ get togethers. Thanks to Parkwood Hospital, I learned how to handle these events with a little more ease.
If you find yourself having to go or wanting to go to an event, but you’re petrified of what it’s going to do to you, here are some tips to take with you:
- Call your friend or family ahead of time and explain what you can handle so they aren’t offended if you have to leave early.
- Arrive early so you can adjust to the growing noise volume as people arrive. This will give you a chance to have more personal conversations at the beginning when it’s easiest. Or, arrive late and hide into the crowd. That way you can be a wall flower but enjoy being present with people.
- Bring ear plugs so you can put them in if the noise level becomes too much. Just remember that when they’re in, don’t take them out or the noise will be 10 times worse! (If you’re looking for a discreet pair of noise-cancelling ear buds that will help you hear the person beside you, but block out the background noise, check out Alpine noise-canceling ear buds here)
- Find a spot to sit in a corner of the room. That way you can see everything that’s going on, but you can feel safe and control what’s around you. The noise will only be coming from in front of you as well.
- Ask to do the dishes or “help in the kitchen” if you need a break from the chaos of the main room everyone is in.
- Leave when symptoms start to progress, or ask if there’s a quiet room you can lie down in for a while if you can’t leave, don’t want to, or are staying over somewhere.
- Do not drink alcohol! Consider yourself a super light-weight. Though it’ll feel like it might help to calm you down, you’ll be way worse if you drink.
Remember to relax and enjoy. You are with people that love you. Bring a wing-man to tell you when it’s time to go. He or she will also be someone for you to talk to and be a support to you throughout the event. Try to enjoy the time that you’re there for and leave when you need to. Then give yourself permission to have a day or a few to rest afterwards. You’ll need it.