Lessons from a Concussion

It's 2:51 am on a Sunday—first thought: wow, it’s early. Or late. My second thought, and why I’m writing these contemplations in the first place, would be about the first few weeks back at school here in La Crosse.

 

I felt ready to return to a steady schedule, filled with a purposeful education and activities that shaped my soul. Oh, all that in addition to some good fun with my friends.

 

The first week went by smoothly as I felt completely ready to embark on this new journey into sophomore year.

But then, the strangest instance occurred. I got a concussion—not from some glorious athletic event, but from slamming my head into the metal bars under a lofted bed after standing up too fast.

It really threw me off guard, as I was fully prepared to settle into a new schedule. I was ready. I was excited. And now? I had to sit and do absolutely nothing. I couldn’t even watch Netflix.

I was frustrated especially because I brought the injury upon myself. And I was lagging behind in classes. My symptoms weren’t the worst, so I couldn’t complain. But when the desire to sleep was so painfully overwhelming in a busy schedule, things got frustrating.

I knew that this happened for a reason, though. And through this brief moment in my life, I was reminded of some pretty important lessons that I believe we are all familiar with.

 

One is to focus more on human connection, rather than a technological one. As I’ve grown older, I’ve definitely distanced myself more from social media and my devices. I feel less attached to them and less bound by social media expectations. My feelings about my phone and computer were positive ones. But, when it is physically uncomfortable to the brain to look at a device, the opportunity to spend even two minutes with a screen vanishes. What I noticed, was that I didn’t miss my phone. Sure, it was a little difficult to contact people, but overall, it was a beneficial experience. Because the activities I was able to perform were limited, I focused more on my interactions with people. I craved conversation and cherished all that I got.

 

Another was that I needed to take care of myself, not only physically, but mentally. Again, I wasn’t able to complete everyday tasks, but I was able to do things to help aid the healing process. I was reminded to take a step back in a busy day and take care of my mind (literally). Even the simple action of taking a shower felt like a gift because I was allowing myself to heal. When I started to feel better, I received a text from my aunt sending her best wished for me to return to full health, but also a reminder to take care of myself. The term is so simple, but extremely powerful to me. Taking a step back and evaluating all of my bad habits was essential in order for me to be a better me! Filter all the negative away and focus on the positive.

 

Lastly, through this experience I witnessed the love and support of those surrounding me, whether from close friends or acquaintances. People showed that they truly cared, and this I felt in my mind and heart. I was reminded of how blessed I am, and it dawned on me that the weight of a simple action can have tremendous positive (or negative) effects on someone. In my case, every person who reached out warmly and asked how I was doing created a happiness within me in a time of struggle. I knew I wasn’t in the journey alone. I had amazing people surrounding me that displayed generous acts.

 

This semester, I encourage you to confront your stress with positivity. Spend a little less time with technology and more time with people, creating memories. Take care of yourself (always)! And, show others that you care; even small acts of kindness make a HUGE difference!

And as for myself, my concussion healed quickly. When the semester’s first round of sickness/the common cold hit me, I felt more prepared than ever to battle it. If you’re feeling defeated, I’m reminding you that you’re strong and so many people care about you—even me!

 

Take care of yourself.