Everyone has setbacks. They’re frustrating. They can be even more frustrating if you feel as though you’ve made progress with your recovery. Then all of a sudden you have a bad day or a few bad days and it seems that you lose ground. That is discouraging, to say the least. Maybe it’s depressing for some. I think, though, that setbacks might in some way be a good thing. Here’s how.
Review Your Setback History
Recovery from concussion and post-concussion syndrome, slow as it can be, still probably shows some sort of progress one way or another. So I’d like you to look back. Think about the initial days after your accident or whatever caused your concussion. Think about the worst days. Now, think about where you were recovery-wise a few weeks ago, a month ago, three months ago. Are you doing better one way or another?
Now, think about your current setback. How far back do you think it went? If it took you all the way back to the start, then that’s pretty tough. If it took you back a month or so, that’s not good, but perhaps not as bad as going all the way back. If it took you back to where you were a week ago, then perhaps it’s not so bad after all. So look at the bigger picture. Just how bad is your setback vs. how bad could it be?
Maybe your setback is a good setback.
Maybe you’re still moving forward in recovery overall. Maybe the current setback is more of a temporary situation. Maybe it’s a clue from your body to take a day and rest.
Take a Break
Lately I’ve developed a theory of sorts. Concussion can greatly impact your life on a day-to-day basis. Let’s face it: concussion can turn your life upside-down. I felt like mine pulled the rug out from under me, so to speak. Everything changed. It can take over in many regards. If you’re not dealing with it physically, you have to be dealing with it emotionally to somehow get through it.I think it’s good to take a break from it from time to time. To not think about it as much and just switch your focus. Recovery can take a lot out of you.
Setbacks are a great example of this. So I think that’s a good time to take a break from your concussion. Listen to your body. Give in to the day and rest. It is what it is.
Stop thinking about it for a day – or maybe even two if possible. Just rest up or ease your schedule a bit. Maybe you pushed harder on something or did more or who knows what? Maybe you’re stressed. View your setback as a moment or opportunity to just relax, to rest up and recharge so you can forge ahead.
Everyone takes weekends off of work. So take a day or two off from your concussion sometimes if you can. Listen to what your body is telling you.
Rest up for a day. Recharge. Have someone drive you and get out in nature somewhere. Maybe there’s a park or something where you can take a walk (short or long, whatever you can handle). If you can’t do that, then just go on a short drive somewhere. Get out of the house. Get away. Take a break. Think about something else.
Determine the Cause
This might be next to impossible. It can be difficult to discern a pattern. I could never identify one during the course of my recovery. It was incredibly frustrating. Every concussion, person, and situation is different, so try to determine what may have caused your current setback.
Think of the Flu
Everyone at one time or another has endured a bout with the dreaded flu. I’m guessing that everyone also got to a point where they thought they were through it and that particular episode was complete. Tired of being stuck in the house feeling sick, you get up and go do something, thinking it’s all behind. Maybe not, though. This you may discover quickly that day. You can get weak, tired, or sick again. You’re not done with it. That’s a setback. That’s something that others can relate to. If you’re trying to explain to someone what a setback is like, tell them that. Then say that a concussion is 10x or 20x worse (or whatever number you’d like). Perhaps they can understand it a bit more.
If you get a flu setback, what do you do? Rest!
If you get a concussion setback, what do you do? Why not take a break and rest? Don’t rest for weeks at a time, because that’s not good and recent research is showing that. However, maybe you need to rest more than usual on a setback day, and then not on other days. I have no idea. Every person, every concussion is different, so who can say for sure? Listen to your body and see what your doctors think.
To sum it up, here are my general thoughts about setbacks.
Maybe setbacks are a good thing and actually a sign of progress.
Look back at all your setbacks and determine how far back this particular setback takes you. Maybe it’s not such a bad one after all.
Don’t get discouraged.
Try to determine what actions you took that may have caused the setback. Make adjustments in your life if that might help.
Consider a setback as a clue from your body that it’s time for a break.
Get the rest you need. If you can, get out of the house that day or that weekend or whatever and switch focus for a day, an hour.
Recognize a setback for what it is: a bad day. Give in to it, ride it out, and get up the next day and focus on your recovery again.