Hope after post concussive syndrome

Hope after post concussive syndrome

After recovering from multiple concussions, many of my clients have shared that they find themselves feeling increased moments of stress or anxiety. Their strengths in their job skills may have altered slightly or a great deal. This creates a situation where they now have trouble completing or starting projects at work. They might also feel uncomfortable in big groups, or noisy places like busy restaurants or concerts, when they had not before.  Many survivors of concussions report a range of memory issues and sensitivity to light or flashing lights. Others say they feel anger more often than they used to, thus affecting their relationships. Many have reported increased communication difficulties as well. Trying to manage these new and unknown stressors is challenging and scary. Thankfully, there are some helpful steps to help those battling these challenges manage their response to these situations. If this is you, or someone you care about, there is hope and there is support available.

I too, have suffered from three concussions spanning over 28 years. Concussions have a compounding effect of symptoms. I have learned to manage stress and the other symptoms after my concussions and also gained a great deal of insights from the medical professionals I worked with and others I have interviewed over time. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that my perceptions of the world after my injury are the most important symptoms impacting my life, work, and relationships. And the good news there, is our perceptions are something we have control over, and it normally requires you ask for help. There are many of us in this boat. You are not alone. Read on to learn how our strategies can help you manage your stress.


STOP STRESS IN ITS TRACKS WITH THESE STEPS

EDUCATE YOURSELF

Research and learning about your own condition can con­nect you to the right resources in your community and doc­tors or other professionals who specialize in your needs.

If you do some exploratory reading, you will come up with some good questions to ask your doctors, coaches and oth­er professionals.

Research and learning about your own condition can con­nect you to the right resources in your community and doc­tors or other professionals who specialize in your needs.

If you do some exploratory reading, you will come up with some good questions to ask your doctors, coaches and oth­er professionals.

PUT YOUR FRUSTRATION TO USE

Writing was a big way to deal with my client Susan’s injury and resulting symptoms. She felt as if no one understood what she was experiencing, feeling and observing with the changes in her energy, focus and abilities.

Writing gave her a voice to state how she was feeling. Putting them up on a blog or sharing these writings with friends and family, she said, was a way to help them un­derstand what she was enduring.

After a while and after getting more support from her sup­port circle, she continued to write to boost her confidence and bring peace into her day.

ASSEMBLE A TOOLBOX TO KEEP ON HAND

Many of my clients learned to believe in a multi-modal ap­proach to treating and managing their symptoms. Whether it is medications, foods and diet, types of activities to do or avoid, and types of exercises to enjoy, learning which of these tools to have available to schedule in your calendar and task lists is a way to regaining (or gaining for the first time) a healthy lifestyle that will bring you back into the world in the ways you want to be in there.

TALK ABOUT IT

Many people in your life – coworkers, family, and friends – will not understand your injury or be empathetic if they don’t have it. Talking with them about it can help raise awareness and help them understand what you are going through and what you are striving to achieve, moving for­ward.

There are also support groups in many areas and online that are specific to post concussive syndrome. When you feel you are most alone, you can talk to others who are going through a simi­lar experience. You can also read about their stories online.

This can help you feel you are not outside the norm, because there is a vast community out there with the same overall condition and set of symptoms.

KEEP A JOURNAL

One of the most important steps for a per­son with post concussive syndrome or even a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is to track their progress.

Write down just a few sentences each day or week on the same day of the week, about what is happening with how you feel, how your work is going, how you are doing in social settings and with find­ing things that make you feel moments of happiness.

Write one affirmation per entry too, like “I can regain my confidence.” “I am a capa­ble person.” “I am strong.

You can write to me and let me know if you need help brainstorming these options to help you manage through your stress or anxiety.

GET MOVING

Getting regular exercise and being active is important. It is not only important for the health of most of my clients, it makes them feel so much better than they do without exercise.

Find out what your favorite exercise activities are. They may have changed since your injury or they may not have. I used to love to bike and hike.  For a while after my accident, I was unable to do these things. After I regained my sense of physical balance, I started out slowly, biking and hiking with a friend. I would go regularly twice a week and, after a few months, which was specific to my timing needs. With time, I was able to do these comfortably again and get a lot of joy out of doing them. I love the meditative feeling of walking and hiking at a steady pace, which brings peace into my day.

Did you know that the bi-lateral stimulation of walking and hiking, or running is good for your brain? It also helps clear and calm your mind to allow for more creativity and problem solving. So… walking 20 minutes before sitting down to work on a project or a document is really beneficial.

BRING IN A LITTLE MORE SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Learning and growing are also vitally important. Learn about and try new social activities that allow you to laugh and enjoy other’s company even if it is limited to an hour or less.

Many of my clients no longer feel comfortable in large groups or noisy places. You can learn about activities and venues that are quiet or contained with regard to sound. Planning your activities for these targeted places will help reduce stress and ensure you have a good time.

Regaining the appropriate amount and type of social activ­ity will help you regain motivation and energy too, without wearing you out. If you enjoyed live music before, you still may be able to if you redesign the way you attend and plan for the types of venues to go to.

In addition, having the right mix of people in your life over the right types of situations and events will help you feel healthy and balanced.

TALK TO A PRO

Talk to a professional who understands your symptoms. It is important to know you are not alone and that you are understood. Finding someone who is professional and objective can boost  your spirits, your confidence and provide you with extra tools for your toolkit. This could be a combination of your GP, your neurologist and a life coach who has worked with other people like you. You need not be your own advocate any longer; there is comfortable, trustworthy and professional sup­port out there for you.

I would love to hear from you and know how you are doing. Click here to schedule a conversation with me.

 

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