I recently sustained my third and hopefully final concussion and as previous experiences proved, this time was no less painful, nor frustrating. To put it simply, having your very identity damaged is both physically painful with migraines, dizziness, and disorientation, but also a psychological battle that friends and family become painfully invested in helping you overcome.

I was told to stay home from work, told to stay off the bike, told to stay in dark rooms with no screens, told not to read, write, or over stimulate my brain until I was Better. On a healthy day, that’s enough to make me crazy in and of itself, especially when my symptoms lasted for a whole month.

As a third time concussor, I can not say that this will work for everyone, because when our brains are injured, different parts of the brain might be affected and present itself as having different side effects — like feeling paralyzed under bright lights, not being able to spell words correctly, making rash decisions, and insomnia–but I did discover one or two tricks that doctors don’t make a point in telling you about.

The first was walking through the green lush forest with my partner in life–Kona the Bear, my trusty dawg gone, ball fetching, bestie. The greenery settled my addled brain better than any amount of aspirin I took and Kona was the best silent company a girl could ask for when her brain needs under stimulation.  Every time I entered the forest, I went into it with an unsettled feeling of, “what if I fall,” but never did I once feel dizzy under the canopy of redwoods. Instead I left feeling refreshed and healthy.

And the last trick that I discovered was in rereading books from my childhood for an hour or two. It wouldn’t trigger a headache because I knew what was coming already. There was no stimulation of new thoughts, nor feelings of mystification as the plot unfolded, just sentiments of visiting an old friend. I have J.K. Rowling and Christopher Paolini to thank for my entertainment during my status as an invalid and curating my childhood inner nerd.

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