BY: NATHALIN MOY
To anyone who has had a concussion, I hope this reminder encourages you in these strange times:
Having a concussion has prepared us for this pandemic.
Staying at home, self-quarantine and self-isolation are not new concepts to us. Following a concussion, we are told to rest and to avoid social interaction. We end up spending most of our time at home, alone, in bed. That is the definition of self-isolation, is it not?
Having a concussion has forced us to learn to be mindful of how we feel and to take care of ourselves, physically, mentally and emotionally.
We have learned the importance of eating healthy, drinking water and sleeping well. We know that while it is tempting to eat everything in sight while stuck at home, doing so is detrimental to our health and our recovery. Conversely, we know that fasting or drinking insufficient amounts of water can make our symptoms worse. We know that while it is tempting to throw a regular sleep cycle out the window when we don’t have to leave the house, that is also detrimental to our health and recovery. We also know that light physical activity can help with recovery and improve our mood.
We know that with a lack of social interaction comes a lack of mental stimulation. While avoiding stimulation is essential to helping our brains recover, we know how easy it is for our brains to lose important skills. We have adopted light mental activities to wake our brains back up before they get back to full capacity, and also to combat boredom. We know the limits of our brain functioning and have learned to respect those limits. We know what times of the day we can be productive, and for how long.
We have experienced the stress that comes with isolation and uncertainty. We have stayed home and felt unproductive for what felt like indefinite periods of time. We have dealt with amplified feelings of depression and anxiety, whether triggered by our circumstances or the brain injury itself. We have developed coping mechanisms and support networks to help us through these tough times. We have learned to see the light at the end of the tunnel, even if it feels infinitely far away. Most importantly, we have developed empathy for anyone who is suffering, which these days, is everyone.
None of this is to say that having had a concussion makes sitting through a global pandemic any easier. Knowing that, myself and countless others, have had this experience (multiple times) puts me a little more at ease, and gives me a greater sense of control of how I respond to each day.
I hope it does the same for you.
Stay safe, stay healthy, stay strong, and STAY HOME!