People who have experienced Post-Concussion Syndrome often complain of a variety of emotional distresses which have the effect of causing them profound difficulty in their everyday life. Apart from simply not feeling well physically and being in pain much of the time, they often experience additional worries such as these:
feeling unsafe in the world feeling vulnerable
believing the world is unpredictable expecting harm
health concerns concerns about their job
worries about financial responsibilities feelings of frustration and irritability
feelings of guilt depression
feeling emotionally vulnerable becoming easily overwhelmed
driving anxiety or nervousness
All of these symptoms are very common following an unexpected traumatic event and/or a minor concussion injury and almost all resolve completely with time. There are a number of things you can do, however, to make these symptoms go away more quickly.
* First, recognize that these symptoms are natural and that they do frequently occur to patients involved in similar injuries.
* Second, resolve to do something about these symptoms. It is important to not simply let these feelings and thoughts ruminate inside your head without discussing them with someone else. Thoughts can make us depressed. Thinking that things are terrible or will not get better only makes things worse. Oftentimes, bad situations are not actually as bad as they may seem at first but become so as we think about them more and more. Such thoughts become statements which we tell ourselves and which make us feel worse. If you find yourself thinking depressing thoughts, stop. Simply telling yourself to not think those thoughts and to think of a pleasant thought can be very effective in helping you feel better.
* Third, replacing the distressing thoughts with more positive statements can be very helpful to you.
Worrying about your health and your ongoing symptoms can be very stressful. For many people, this may be the first time that you have been “ill” for longer than a few weeks. Normally in our life we are sick for a few days and then we get better. If you are continuing to experience the effects of your injury after 3 weeks or more, this can become very distressing to you and can lead you to worry a great deal about your general health and whether you will ever get better. Rest assured, you will get better and your symptoms will go away, but the recovery period is frequently much longer than you may expecting. It is important that you tell yourself that you are in the middle of your recovery phase and that, with time, you will return to normal. Worrying and wondering whether you will ever get back to normal can often result in a delay to your recovery. Such worry causes you to feel more stress and, therefore, more muscle tension and headaches. Working to reduce that stress and tension by maintaining a positive outlook about your recovery is crucial to you getting better faster.
TIP Be sure to remind yourself that you will get better but that such injuries sometimes take a long time to recover.
This may also be the first time that you have ever been hurt as badly as you have been as a result of this accident. If the injury occurred without warning (such as being rear-ended in a car while stopped in traffic), this can be extremely traumatizing to you and may lead you to feeling more vulnerable and insecure about your personal safety, as if you or your family could be injured without warning at any moment. Such thoughts are a very normal reaction following such an injury, but it is important to recognize those thoughts as being natural but not realistic. Just because you have been in an accident and been injured does not mean you are now more susceptible to being injured a second time in another accident. In fact, most often, this will be the only time you will ever be so injured in your life. But these feelings of vulnerability and a loss of personal safety that you may be experiencing can be extremely disruptive to you and can cause you to lose sleep and not be able to focus your attention as well as you did previously. It may almost feel as if you are a Knight of the Roundtable who is going out to defend the kingdom without wearing your suit of armor to protect you. Such a situation could certainly cause a person to be very focused upon watching out where the first attack will come from and not paying attention to the more mundane day-to-day activities such as what you were supposed to pick up from the grocery store on your way home from work after fighting dragons all day. Try to visualize for yourself putting your suit of armor back on and creating for yourself a method of protection and reestablished personal safety.
TIP Tell yourself that you are safe, your family is safe, and that you will get better and once more be the strong person that you were before your injury.