*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, all information is based on my own personal experience. Please be sure to consult with your doctor*
Depression — this one thing that I never thought that I would ever have. All my life, I have always been a happy go lucky kind-of-girl. My concussion truly had a life-altering effect on me. I was always happy, optimistic, and active in my sports, academics, and extracurriculars. So, when I obtained a concussion, my life seemed to come to a full stop. Before, I was “go go go”, before I was always doing something, always going somewhere, always putting my best foot forward in all that I did. My concussion crippled me and I began to fall deeper and deeper into a state of sadness.
Things didn’t really get bad for me until I began to notice that I was not healing, in fact, it seemed that I was getting worse. This was after about the third month into my recovery. I had been resting and waiting for so long, that I began to fall behind in school and fall behind my friends. I was making promises that I soon found that I could not keep. I would often tell my friends that I would hang out with them next week or the week after that because by next week I believed that I would SURELY be better. But, I didn’t and I wasn’t. Time passed and the seasons began to change, but I was still the same. My concussion was taking important parts of me and unleashing insecurities within myself that I did not know I had.
My life soon became a perpetual cycle. I would go to school and endure best that I could, come home with an excruciating headache, and immediately go to sleep. If I wasn’t in my bed, then I was at school suffering. Things did not seem to be looking up for me and I became to believe that internally. My brain logically calculated that 1) You are doing everything your doctor is telling you. 2) You are not getting better. This equated to post-concussion syndrome for the rest of my life. I became crushed and lethargic. I read story after story about people who had been suffering from brain injuries for 2 years plus, and lamented for the life that now could be mine.
No one can truly understand the pain that brain injuries bring. I had never experienced pain as severe as that. Being in perpetual pain, day in and day out truly was a living hell and nothing can compare. I had fallen so deep into the depression to the point that I was sure that I would never make a full recovery. Many nights, when I found myself crying in bed, my headaches only seemed to multiply in intensity and severity. The harder I cried, the worse my head pain would become. I soon hypothesized that my emotional state had to somehow be tied to my physical state. I realized that the feelings that I had toward my recovery also had an effect on my healing process. If I believed that I would not recover, I would not. If I was sad and crying all day, I would not recover. With this realization, I decided that I needed to take action. If I continued the path that I was going, I would surely give up on myself and my life.
But change is not as simple as making a decision and all of a sudden your life getting better. I needed to take the proper steps to create the optimal environment for a full recovery. For my physical health, I created a workout and food plan that structured my life in the right way so that I was getting the right foods in my body and doing the right activities to optimize recovery. To keep the right mindset, I physically surrounded myself with words of affirmation, and people who truly supported me in my struggle. This was crucial for me to maintain a positive mindset and attitude. All of this put me in the right place. Because I was doing the work AND constantly renewing my mind to believe in myself and my body, I was now on the right path to making a full recovery.
Battling with depression is not easy, but when taking the proper steps you can overcome it. Always be sure to talk to your doctor about other ways of treating and recognizing depressive symptoms. Changing your mindset and perspective on your injury can be the key to reaching a full recovery.
Happy Healing Everybody(: