Concussions

Embrace the New You

When I actually had a chance to stop everything, I realized that the hamster wheel I was on was only leading to burn out after burn out. It was time to hit the reset button on my life and review my priorities.

I think one of the hardest challenges after having a concussion is realizing that you’re a different person now. Yes, you are still you, but I’m guessing that you’re probably feeling frustrated that you just don’t feel the same anymore. Maybe your speech or word usage has changed, or, perhaps what interested you before just doesn’t have the same appeal anymore. You might get it back in time with healing, but you might not, and that’s a tough reality to face. I hear you!

When I first had my accident, my world came to a screeching halt. Prior to that, I felt on top of the world! I was in the best shape of my life, I was busy all.the.time. (which I thought was a good thing). I was learning, working hard, traveling, etc…to now sitting day in and day out staring at the walls in my house and wondering how I got there. It was time to hit the reset button on my life and review my priorities.

Running up the mountain in Lake Louise, Alberta

You see, when I actually had a chance to stop everything, I realized that the hamster wheel I was on was only leading to burn out after burn out. I had mostly neglected family for work. I had put so much pressure on myself to be the best at everything. Now there’s no way I could measure up to anything. I was depressed and lonely, but too exhausted to try and fix anything.

However, as time went on and daily functioning, or at least daily surviving, got a little easier, I wanted to take the things I learned about myself and make a difference. I had to tell myself that I was different and that it was okay. Now was the time to learn about the ‘new’ me and embrace those changes. It certainly wasn’t easy and it took a lot of time. I still have moments three years later, where I catch myself frustrated and longing for the good old days.

Maybe you can’t work anymore or just not yet. Is there someone around that could use a helping hand? Maybe there is someone in your community that is lonely and would love a visit once a week. Remember to set boundaries and let them know ahead of time how long you can stay. Even if it’s only a half hour or an hour, you are blessing them with someone to visit. In turn giving yourself some connection with others.

Perhaps you were a social butterfly before your concussion, but now you’ve become a total introvert. That’s okay! This one is very challenging because a lot of family and friends won’t understand. Try not to be too hard on yourself. They will either come around, embrace you, and work with you for who you are now, or, you’ll eventually meet new people who won’t know the ‘old’ you, and will like you just the way you are. Enjoy the quietness and find new things that’ll make you feel comfortable. Go for walks or read for a bit. Write letters to people, so you don’t have to worry about the social setting, but at least they’ll know you’re thinking about them.

Please don’t feel like no one cares or that you’re worthless now that you’re different. You are loved, there is help, and it’s okay to be the ‘new’ you. When the worst of the exhaustion fades and your comprehension and focus starts to come back, try to be creative, have some fun, and enjoy learning about you!

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