Thanks for the response. I figured I would post an update, so others can also learn from what I’ve learned. (NOTE – my writing hasn’t recovered so apologies if this isn’t the cleanest piece of writing).
It’s been over 4 years and still I am seeing a lot of Post-concussive symptoms remaining, as well as a lot of chronic pain issues as a result of my other injuries. I still haven’t gotten back to work but I am working with an occupational therapist and can do about 4-8 hours a week of cognitive exercises. Headaches are still constant but vary in degree, and pain sucks. Progress is slow but you have to keep working at it. I will say recently I’ve actually noticed some of my old ADHD habits emerging, which I welcomed because it felt normal and familiar.
But here’s what I’ve learned:
– Blue light filters – A MUST! I have purchased computer monitors that have blue light filters in them in addition to keeping night shade on permanently. While I still cannot use a screen in normal amounts, it has helped me build up a little. You can also adjust the blue in the actual screen settings as well, plus reduce brightness.
– Glasses – I have 3 sets of glasses one has a regular blue light filter (honestly that doesn’t do much, but it does not distort colour), I have a set of red glasses the lenses are called FL41 (these are for fluorescent lighting and unmodified screens), Maui Jim also makes polarized sunglass lenses that supports a blue light filter. The red glasses allow me to go to shopping malls, grocery stores, and places with strong fluorescent lighting that used to be painful.
– Ear plugs and noise cancelling headphones – I have custom ear plugs that I keep on me at all times. Loud noises still cause me a lot of pain so having them on hand helps. I also bought proper noise cancelling headphones. While they work the best with music on, some days I cannot tolerate music, I will often put them on at a grocery store or mall and put the cancelling on. I find it takes the painful and confusing layer of sound out. You can still hear people talking to you, but it doesn’t hurt anymore.
-E-reader – I cannot read large amounts of text on a screen. Truth be told I needed to take breaks while writing this… But I bought the ONYX Boox Nova2, it’s a tablet that is made out of e-paper. It works like any other Android tablet. I have resumed leisure reading which I hadn’t been able to do in 4 years. If I can’t print out something I can now at least send it to this tablet. It also has a great note taking function, which as an aside I use for daily logs, to do lists, and now I don’t have to carry a giant notebook to doctors etc, it’s all saved on this tiny tablet.
-Apps/tools – I have found that many of the organizational apps or tools from this site apply both to ADHD and Concussion. I stopped reading this site for a while, mostly because I couldn’t, but when I came back I found that a lot of the techniques I only used a little, now became more relevant. Any sort of brain injury impacts executive functioning and I have found it has impacted things that my ADHD did not noticeably impact.
Exercise- I agree with the exercise. It was just so hard building up, the nausea and dizziness is still a problem for me. But I know if I stop exercising all of my symptoms will get so much worse. I have also learned that core workouts have helped my balance and stability. A lot of core workouts can be done on your back with your head and neck supported. It also has the added benefit of not being able to fall if you are already laying down. I still get dizzy but I trust my body a bit more so that when I feel unstable I can work through it. Although, I still faint and run into things, spatial awareness is still a problem. Exercise also helps so much with pain, other general brain function and mental health.
Mindfulness – oh man, this is my weakness… I know that it is important and I know it helps but it is a daily struggle to manage my mindfulness practice. I have a handful of different recordings a like and I try to tie with other things in my routine. When I can’t do meditations I try to do other types of mindfulness, like mindful eating, mindful exercise or movement, making mindful decisions.
Diet – YES – about a year an a half ago I started making major changes to my diet. I know this site says sugar is bad, high fibre good, blah, blah… But it is so true. I cut all processed sugar out of my diet and I notice that if I cheat and have a treat my pain almost immediately increases. Also post accident I gained 30lb due to bed rest etc. I am now under my pre-accident weight, and I no longer crave sugar and chocolate. Yesterday I ordered size small pants that fit! I went from a size 14 waist to a size 4. This has made exercising more fun and engaging and this new lifestyle has really helped. I’ll also echo the above post that ensuring you have the right supplements is key. My bloodwork showed I was deficient in a lot and I now have a balanced supplement regiment.
Sleep – I was fortunate that my sleep wasn’t too horrible. But I have a set bedtime and I get up the same time daily. I also try very hard not to nap. By keeping the sleep routine stable it allows your body the time it needs to recover. I use a Fitbit to monitor my sleep so I know when something is off.
Lastly a good team – my medical team is huge and it has taken 4 years to get all the right treatment, covid also has not helped. All of the things we are saying are helpful, but of course you need to listen to and trust your doctors. Concussion usually does not come without other issues (either pain, mental health, etc.) you have to treat all the symptoms and this can take a long time to get to. In the last year I finally found out what was wrong with my shoulder and neck which has resulted in yet another piece of the puzzle.
Thanks again to the above post for your response.