Post-concussion depression and resilience: Bella Paige (Concussion Stories podcast)

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Table of contents:

0:45 The concussion struggle: you are not alone
5:45 Sport related concussions
10:44 Concussion awareness
13:35 The fear spiral after a concussion
16:01 Bella’s post-concussion syndrome recovery
18:02 Helping others with post-concussion syndrome
20:58 Medical help with her concussions
24:24 Post-concussion depression
28:50 Bella’s concussion healing progress
31:15 The Post-Concussion Podcast

Introduction to this episode on post-concussion depression and resilience

In this Concussion Stories episode, Bella Paige shares her story of post-concussion depression and resilience with Melanie. Bella sustained over 10 concussions during her short life of 23 years. Not being able to live her life, she experienced depression. Unable to find help with her mental health, it felt like she had no way out and she intentionally overdosed.

Sadly and luckily, this was when things started to turn around. With help from a good therapist, she bounced back and now feels happy again. And what’s more: she helps others with post-concussion syndrome. I am thankful to share Bella’s story with you.

Transcript & links

What follows is a transcript of this podcast episode. Also, these are the links that help you find all of Bella’s materials:

Website: https://www.postconcussioninc.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/postconcussioninc/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/postconcussioninc/

Concussion Stories

[0:00 Melanie] Welcome to Concussion Stories, a Lifeyana podcast series filled with hope. I’m here to let you know that you are not alone in your concussion recovery. I’m Melanie and I spent more than six years experimenting, training and learning in order to heal myself from a very bad case of post-concussion syndrome. And today, I feel better than ever before.

In Concussion Stories we dig deep while discussing hopeful stories of recovery, as well as the hard stuff in the messy middle. If you’re struggling to focus, be sure to take breaks. Down in the description of each episode, you can find a table of contents, in case you want to skip ahead. Let’s dive right in.

Bella Paige

Bella Paige on post-concussion depression

[0:45 Melanie] Today’s guest is Bella Paige. She is 23 years old and she is from Canada. I asked Bella to record this podcast episode with me because she is on a similar mission as I am on. To spread the message that you are not alone in this concussion struggle that you’re in right now.

PostConcussionInc

Bella is a concussion survivor and host of the Post-Concussion Podcast where she has over 30 podcast episodes waiting for you. Be sure to check it out on postconcussioninc.com.

Today, Bella will share her story with you. And it shows the honest and painful truth about brain injury, as well as all the hope in the world that you can bounce back. Just like Bella. This is today’s guest, Bella Paige.

About Bella

Hi, Bella, thank you for being with us right now.

[1:38 Bella] Hi, thanks for having me.

[1:40 Melanie] I was wondering, just to start this podcast episode. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? So where are you from? What do you like to do, who do you like to spend your time with?

Concussion survivor

[1:52 Bella] Yeah, for sure. So I have had about 10 concussions, or more. I just stopped but 10 because when you say more than that, it scares people. And so I am a concussion survivor, so that’s me. I am 23 years old and I spend a lot of my time working actually right now. That’s most of my days.

Otherwise I dirt bike, which doesn’t seem like it makes a lot of sense with a lot of head injuries, but I really like it. And otherwise I spend a lot of time with my family and spend a lot of time outside. So yeah, that’s me.

Outdoor sports

[2:32 Melanie] I already gathered from all of your posts on Instagram and your information on your website that you really like outdoor sports. This has always been this way in your whole life?

[2:44 Bella] Yeah, ever since I was a kid. Like I remember it would be freezing outside in the winter, and my mom would have to actually drag me in the house. Because I would spend like from nine in the morning till 10 o’clock at night in the cold outside all day.

Return to sports after multiple concussions

[3:04 Melanie] Yeah. And it’s in that way ‘s amazing that after your concussions, so many, you can still enjoy being outside and doing sports outside.

[3:16 Bella] Yeah, for sure. Yeah, it’s really nice. And I just, I’m not a big indoor person. So it’s nice.

Working outside

[3:23 Melanie] How is that working out for you while doing all of your work?

[3:27 Bella] I actually work outside a lot. So yeah, so I bring like in front of me right now I have like my full setup with like, the mics and all that kind of thing. But I actually take a lot of my work outside.  I’ll go sit on the deck or like a gazebo, out of the bugs. And I sit there and work there a lot because I would rather work outside – at least in the summer, not in the winter.

[3:53 Melanie] Yeah. Okay, so in during spring and autumn, maybe you would go outside with a blanket.

[4:00 Bella] Yeah.

[4:01 Melanie] Okay. I should try that too.

[4:04 Bella] That’s nice.

About dirtbiking

[4:06 Melanie] And so you say that you’re still doing what did you say? Dirt…?

[4:13 Bella] Dirtbiking? Yeah, I do dirtbiking. Yeah, it’s fun.

[4:17 Melanie] It’s like mountain biking or..?

[4:36 Bella] Like with an engine. So like motocross trail riding that kind of stuff. So a little bit faster.

Fear and mental health problems

[4:27 Melanie] Okay, and it’s not like you have any fear of doing these kinds of sports after all these concussions?

[4:35 Bella] I used to have fear of a lot of things. Like for a while I wouldn’t do anything. And then I was kind of it was like, I’d get depressed. Like I’m kind of an adrenaline junkie.

So what I was learning that without any of these sports, I was having a lot of problems mentally, because I needed something else to do. So I got into archery because that’s saferand less likely that I’m going to hurt my head. And then it just wasn’t enough.

So I started dirt biking, and I used to be a show jumper. But with the dirt biking, I’m not obsessed. So I can do it like once a week, twice a week. And I also wear a lot of protection. I have a big helmet and a neck brace.

And there’s a lot of safety aspects, but I would rather get injured doing something that I enjoy, then kind of, like, deal with the mental health stuff of not doing it at all.

[5:30 Melanie] Yeah, I can fully understand. And I asked, because it’s amazing to see, because it’s a really normal reflex to get scared after being injured. And to hear you doing all these things, that’s really special.

Sport related concussions

Sport related concussions

[5:45 Bella] That’s probably why I’m injured so much though.

[Melanie] Yeah, is it?

[Bella] Yeah, it is. So like, I got a lot of concussions, every single one of them was from sports or some activity for sure. Yeah.

[6:01 Melanie] Okay. So can you tell a bit about how they happened?

Snowboarding accident

[6:04 Bella] Yeah, for sure. So one of them was this, there’s only a few that I tell the stories because they have good stories. So one of them was a snowboarding accident. I was eight years old. And my friend and I raced to the bottom of like in the middle of a hill, I guess, there’s two paths to get down the ski hill. So we went two different ways.

And we decided to meet in front of a jump. Now that I’m older, really bad idea. At the time, didn’t think much about it. So we met in front of the jump, and I gotten there first.

Someone crashed into Bella

And then someone flew over the jump, and landed on top of me and they were probably about 20. I was eight. So they crushed me and rolled down the hill with me.

And we didn’t really realize I had anything wrong with my head because, like you have a lot of pain receptors in the rest of your body – not in your brain. So my knee hurt. So that’s what I was concerned about. Because I was limping.

Delayed concussion symptoms

And then I was dancing at the time and I went to dance that night or the next day and my dance teacher called my mom and said: “You need to come get Bella, I think there’s something wrong.”

And I guess I was zoning out, I was dizzy, I couldn’t stand, I wasn’t talking normal. And that was one of my head injuries.

Horseriding and snowmobiling

And then a lot of the other ones were horseriding. I got one snowmobiling. There’s this 60 foot to a 100 foot ridge and I went the over the only spot that happened to have a rock and flew over my sled into the ground.

Yeah, it’s pretty like, really freak. It’s just when I got injured, I got injured badly. I didn’t fall off my horses, like at all, but when I did, it was bad. So there was always like those kinds of things.

Having multiple concussions

[7:50 Melanie] Hmm, it sounds like a lot of bad luck…

[7:54 Bella] Yeah.

[7:56 Melanie] …while doing sports. And I know that for a lot of us with with concussion, we already are quite traumatized by having one concussion. How has it been for you to have multiple?

[8:11 Bella] Um, well, when I was younger, I just didn’t, I didn’t really care. Because I was just stubborn and young and like I was really into showjumping and I was addicted and like at the point where like I had coaches telling me what level I was going to get to and it was just I didn’t see myself doing anything else. So I just kind of ignored a lot of it.

Subconcussive impact

And the first few concussions they healed in a few weeks, but actually what I ended up with was like the subconcussive, like the impact of all of them is what created the problem. Not one particular concussion was like, I got a concussion and all these problems started.

It’s: I’ve hit my head so many times now that it’s creating all of these problems kind of thing. But I never, I don’t know, I never really got like discouraged or anything. I felt when the headaches, I had headaches every day for about seven years. And I still, I still didn’t stop.

Fear of hitting her head

The only thing I was I was nervous, like, so last year, or like this past winter, I went skating for the first time ever since I was probably like 10 or 12 years old. So it had been over 10 years. And I just had a hat on and we were just skating at my sister’s house. They have a hockey rink.

And I was like: I’m actually really nervous because the fear of hitting my head for things that I’m not comfortable with. So like riding a horse feels natural. For some reason riding a dirt bike, it’s the same movement, so natural.

Not doing things that make her nervous

But like skating doesn’t feel safe or snowboarding when there’s not a lot of snow. I’ll go down the hill once and I’ll leave because I don’t. It makes me nervous. And then I don’t like doing things when I’m nervous.

Like I was dirt biking the other day, and we were trail riding. So all of a sudden, there was like a hill. And I mean, like, it was so big and so steep that when my friend went down it, he disappeared going down the hill.

Like, I didn’t see I’m at the top and like, it’s so steep that like, he went away. And then I saw him at the bottom. And I’m like, whoa,  I don’t know that I’m gonna go down there. So then I’m watching, it’s like I haven’t been riding for that long. And I was like, I was like, not now I’m nervous. And now I can’t, because if I’m nervous, I won’t do it.

High risk of the head injuries

Because I’m like, I can’t be overthinking it with the high risk of the head injuries, like I have to play it smart. So I just want a different way.

[10:39 Melanie] So you do have boundaries.

[Bella] Yes I do, I do.

Concussion awareness

Concussion awareness

And now you’re in your life, you’re at this place where you’re now helping other people, especially with concussion awareness.

Rest or live?

And how do you feel about people sustaining a concussion, and then they should take it take it easy? Well, that’s at least what doctors say, in order to avoid sustaining more injuries.

But on the other hand, you have this philosophy, which I really admire, that living sometimes is more important than the risk of sustaining more injury. How do you combine this?

Concussions are not just from sports

[11:24 Bella] So my biggest problem with the head injury world, and I try to not only talk about sports, because it’s not just sports. And that’s a big problem with the news right now is that they only see sports and forget about everyone else.

Take the break

But my thing is, you need to take the break. So that’s where I made a big mistake is: I was hitting my head, or I’d hit my head and then I was horse showing the next week. And I was competing, and I never took the break.

Worse symptoms because of taking risks

And never taking the break and ignoring it all, and just kind of being a stubborn teenager, left me with way worse symptoms. I believe my recovery took away longer because of my inability to stop doing things that put myself at risk.

But it’s also important to let your… like to live. But like after the initial impact, like putting yourself at risk doesn’t make sense. It’s just, as a teenager, I also understand how stubborn we can be.

Like, we’re talking the other day how like, if I got a concussion right now,and I got to the level of riding that I was like planning to get to, and say I had like this huge horse show or Olympic level show to go to next week, I would have told you to get out of my face. I’m going anyways.

Competitiveness in sports

Because it’s interesting how competitive you get, like, I get that point, too. So it’s hard to say that, like: no, you shouldn’t. Like I definitely should not do that. But I also get the addiction side of not being able to slow down your life, right?

[12:54 Melanie] Mm hmm. I don’t know if you even should call it addiction. There’s also just sense in living freely, especially after hardship.

[13:03 Bella] Yeah, that too, but it is a little bit of an obsession. Like, as an athlete, like, you’re not, you’re obsessed with playing and being on the field or whatever sport you do.

Determine your limits

Or like just your life, like maybe you’re really enjoying your job. But being in front of screens for 10 hours a day isn’t helping you, but you love your job. Like it’s hard to know where to step back and where not to and you just have to figure out what limits work for you.

The fear spiral after a concussion

Fear after a concussion

[13:32 Melanie] Yes, exactly. When has your last injury been?

[13:39 Bella] Three, trying to think… three years ago, three winters ago, I think is the last concussion, maybe four three, I think. There’s been a lot, so yeah.

Recovery after the last injury

[13:51 Melanie] Okay. And how long did it take for you to feel better after that one? Or has it, have you been feeling better after that one?

[14:02 Bella] The most recent one that I received was actually the snowmobile accident that I mentioned with the rock. And that one actually, it didn’t make anything that much worse, like I was already not doing great. I was doing a lot better than I had been, but not amazing.

Fear complex

My fear with that was actually more mental than physical. Because I was terrified that I was going backwards. Because like in the last like two years before that I had made a lot of progress, like health wise, head injury wise. Like we had figured out a lot of things that were helping me and I was making progress.

So to hit my head again, it’s a big fear complex. We talk about this a lot with what I do that when you hit your head again, after a concussion, it kinda is terrifying. Because your brain spirals, like I remember being really upset that day. And it wasn’t, I wasn’t in a lot of pain, but it was more the fear: did I just set myself back two years? I don’t want to go through that again.

The mental side overrules the symptoms

Like that part happens. And like it was more that that time than the actual symptoms getting worse. It was more just dealing with the mental fact that: just carry on with what you’re doing, you know what you’re doing is working, like try to not overthink what just happened to you kind of situation.

Did I make things worse?

[15:18 Melanie] Hmm. I really recognize this awareness of, oh, sh.., sorry, I’m not going to curse. But did I just make things so much worse? There was for me in…about three years ago, I had a snowboarding accident, just a small one. But I just fell down so hard.

And then I was like, what happened to my head right now? And for four days or so I couldn’t sleep just because I was like: is something happening? What am I feeling? And this is a really bad spiral to be in, as you say, because you’re not focusing on the good things. You’re only reinforcing the bad things.

Bella’s post-concussion syndrome recovery

Bella's post concussion syndrome recovery

How are you feeling now? How, where are you on your road to recovery?

[16:06 Bella] Yes, for sure. I consider myself, I would never consider myself, you say you’re recovered, which is wonderful.

Concussion related symptoms

I can’t say that, because I still deal with a lot of concussion related symptoms that your typical person doesn’t deal with. Like I have light sensitivity, I have noise sensitivity still, like lots of those kinds of things haven’t gone away. But they’re a lot better than they were.

Adaptive lifestyle

But now I’ve just considered that like, I live an adaptive lifestyle. Like, I’m very happy with my life. I don’t live in pain every day. But I know what triggers pain.

Sugar does, like if I eat like a cupcake. I will feel it in that hour, because it’s a lot of sugar. Things like that. So like diet is a big thing for me.

I wear hat in the summer all the time, because of the sun. When I go to the lake, and it’s really hot, I actually dunk my head every hour. Because I find it cools off my head. And then I don’t get a headache the next day from being in the sun all day.

Concussion symptoms are part of my day

So it’s just living a life that works for me. I wouldn’t say that I’m like, symptom free and I don’t think about it anymore. But it’s just part of my day now. I don’t think, like I use the dentist as an example.

So I go to the dentist. And when I go, I bring real sunglasses, headphones with music. And I cancel my day. And I have someone drive me and pick me up. And that is because I sometimes am really dizzy after, not always. And the, like the headphones help with the scraping noise because my ears are really sensitive. The real sunglasses help with the light.

Avoid triggering headaches

Like it’s just part of my life now. I don’t think about it. But it’s definitely things that I have to do so that I don’t trigger like headaches and things like that 

[18:00 Melanie] Yeah, exactly. I understand.

Helping others with post-concussion syndrome

Helping others with concussion syndrome

And because of living this adaptive lifestyle, you’re able to do all the work that you’re doing with your podcast. And which is not only that, but people don’t see there’s a whole business behind it of course. You have to arrange so many things, be in communication with so many people. That’s really amazing.

[18:22 Bella] Yeah, thank you.

Burnout from all the work

Yeah, I over pushed it in, I think I launched the podcast this past January, and then I started my Masters at the same time, in neuroscience. And I was doing like the podcast and that and I only lasted about four or five weeks. And then I shut down, because I just was overdoing it.

I was doing the podcast stuff and all that, which is way more hours a day than people think. And then I was also in a Master’s programme, which is a lot of hours. So it was too many hours on the screen. Like the combination of all of it. Like I burnt myself out really hard, where I almost quit all of it.

Focus on helping people

So I decided to take a step back from the Masters, because I’m really enjoying the helping people. Like, the connections are great and like making a difference to me is more important right now.

So I had to choose, like that’s something that happens with concussions a lot is: what is worth your health? Because like sometimes you’re going to do things that you know are going to make yourself worse at the next day. But is it worth it? Because sometimes it is.

Find the balance

Like sometimes my family stuff that I’ll do, because I have a very crazy loud family, and if I do stuff with them all weekend, well, Monday is going to be a quiet day for me, because I kind of probably pushed myself too much. But that’s okay. Because to me that was worth it. So it’s just finding a balance that works for you.

[19:48 Melanie] Yeah, I understand.

Getting back up

And it sounds like you’re well of course, sometimes you move into the wrong direction. But it matters how much how fast you get up, of course, that’s the quote that all of us know. And it sounds like you already know how to correct yourself if you feel like this isn’t working.

[20:10 Bella] Yeah, yeah, I’m better with that, where I used to get really mad like, or I get kind of depressed.

Anger over headaches

So like, I’d go a week without a really bad headache, and then all of a sudden, say Tuesday, I’m out. Like I’m in bed for 24 hours, I am in the dark, because I can barely stand up kind of thing because I did something. And I used to get really mad.

And then that would last a week, because of the mental part of being like, I can’t believe we’re back into this. Like, are you really back in bed? Like, how did I live like this before?

Bouncing back

But now I’m a lot better. Tomorrow is another day, and we can start it over. And then I bounce back a lot quicker than I used to.

[20:47 Melanie] Hmm, good for you. That’s, that’s really helpful. Especially in, generally, in your whole life, right?

Medical help with her concussions

Medical help with her concussions

And how has your experience with the medical system been in this whole process?

[21:04 Bella] I have seen, I always say a 100 doctors, it might not be that high. But it feels like it. Not just doctors, but specialists. Like I’ve been doing this for I think this is nine years or more of dealing with specialists.

So it’s, I’ve had a very different experience. So I’ve had doctor’s appointments, like people that have changed my life. I had a dietician that helped me relearn how to eat again, because one medication I was on made me lose 20 pounds in three months, and I didn’t have 20 pounds to lose.

Pharmaceutical anorexia

And I actually got something called pharmaceutical anorexia. So I wasn’t able to eat. And she spent a year with me, reteaching myself how to eat. And then she like, I really like that she wouldn’t get mad because I wouldn’t reach goals, I wouldn’t eat as much as I was planning to that week.

And like, sometimes it took a month to actually reach the goal of the first week. And that made a big difference for me.

Reversible treatment

But then other times there was medical professionals that I saw, and I wouldn’t see them again, because one appointment, I’d be done. And that happened a couple times.

So my theory with all of the treatment that I do, is that it’s reversal. So I will take a pill but I can stop taking it. I will do therapy, but I can stop the therapy. But I won’t do Botox because to me, it’s something that’s permanent.

Side effects from pills

So I’m one of those people, that like, there’s all those scary, like side effects on the pill bottle, I get one of them. Almost always, or I get one that’s not even on the pill bottle. And the doctor goes: I can’t believe you’re dealing with this. I’m like, I don’t know.

I even had night terrors once from one and they’re like: this is a really rare side effect. I’m like, great, I can’t sleep. So that was kind of like my situation.

Create recovery plan together

So doctors that were like, well, this is your only option. I didn’t like that. Like I liked kind of coming up with a plan together. So doctors are like well you do Botox, or we can’t start anything else. And I’m like, well, then I’m going somewhere else. And that’s what happened.

The pill regimen

And it happened a few times, or some like they do the pill regimen. So it’s like you come in, you try it for three months. You try, they give you another pill, you try again for three months. And like I did that, like I’ve done kind of a variety of everything.

Alternative medicine

My family, we call them witch doctors, seen a few of those, because they’re not traditional. But they do things that maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t, but it’s all worth a shot. So that was kind of my personality while going through it.  I try it.

Like I will try it because I can stop doing it. Right, like I like that piece of like anything I do medically. And if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But at least I know I tried. I don’t like the idea of being like, like not really against trying like new alternative methods and things like that. So yeah.

Many medical experiences

[23:56 Melanie] Okay, so it’s been a very diverse scala. But, yeah, so on the one hand, you had the doctor experiences where you’re coming and you’re going again, because there was nothing really that they could do. On the other hand, you found like this dietician who really helped you forward. That’s, that’s really good to hear.

Post-concussion depression

Post concussion depression

And I…how do you say that? Moving forward with this, you also wrote on your website that sometimes in the medical system, you missed the mental health perspective.

[24:37 Bella] Yes, that’s huge.

[24:38 Melanie] Can you elaborate on that a bit?

Severely depressed

[24:40 Bella] Yeah, for sure. So I was severely depressed when this started. I guess after, like I always say I hit a wall. So when I hit my wall, I got severely depressed because I all of a sudden couldn’t do anything.

So I was either in bed, at the doctor’s, or in hospital. And that was kind of my life for about a year or two. And nobody ever mentioned my mental health, like no one really said anything.

Counsellors and concussion conference

Like there was a few times there was suggestions like: oh, you should go to this counsellor. And there was a few times where I did go to counsellors, but I never lasted more than a session because I didn’t like what they had to say. Stubborn teenager side of who I was. And nobody ever mentioned it.

And even I went to one of the largest concussion conferences in North America for sports. And I sat there for 12 hour days, and no one mentioned mental health. And it was about neuroscience, but still, it was never brought up about any other patients or anything.

Overdosis and mandatory therapy

And that to me, that was really concerning, because I ended up being forced at mandatory therapy is what I ended up with, because I intentionally overdosed a few years ago.

So then it was either you go into the hospital and stay, or are you going to outpatient, but mandatory therapy. So I did that.

The importance of therapy

And I finally have a therapist that worked with me, we clicked. And that’s also where I learned the importance of therapy. Because all the time I was always like: aell, I have really good parents, I have really great siblings, I have really close friends, why do I need a therapist when I can talk to them? And I didn’t realize that that’s not what that therapy was for.

For me, I didn’t need to just vent to someone. That’s not what I needed it for. I needed it for the tools that she gave me because I had really bad mental health. And we talked about that spiralling of your head.

Stop the suicidal thoughts

Well, mine was really bad, extreme, very suicidal, very depressive. So what she gave me was tools to stop the thoughts. And that is what changed my life. So I always say that, like my puzzle was almost done for like my version of recovery and healing.

And the mental health was like the biggest piece of the puzzle at the end that just kept getting missed. Or like, I’d go to one therapy session, and I didn’t click with them. And I didn’t realize that I could have kept trying because you have to find one that matches with you. But a lot of doctors, they just didn’t really see it.

Concussions are invisible

But I was also one of those people that, the thing is, is this injury is invisible. All of it is invisible. And I was better at making it even more invisible than it was because I hid a lot of it. So I think a lot of that was on me as well.

[27:30 Melanie] Yes, I did the same. And we are not the only ones – we know, right. First of all, I’m really sorry to hear all this and I’m really really glad that you are where you are now. Because it’s it’s quite the story.

Mental health tools

Did you say doctor gave you the pills that stopped your thoughts?

[27:54 Bella] No tools, to stop them. So yeah, so like mental health tools like yeah, spelling a word forward, like more like grounding tools and distraction tools just to get the thoughts from not spiralling to extreme levels.

[28:11 Melanie] Okay, then I misunderstood but then that’s even better, because then you have those tools again for life.

Fully recovery from depression

And it’s really wonderful to see and also for our listeners to hear that even if you’re feeling the way that you just described, years later you can be in this place where you’re now helping people and inspiring people to live a better life.

[28:37 Bella] Yeah, for sure. And it did, it made like, I always say therapy saved my life. And I’m not kidding. It really did save my life. Like it made the world of a difference for everything for me.

Bella’s concussion healing progress

Bella's concussion healing process

[28:50 Melanie] I was wondering also,what are things that you can do today that you wouldn’t thought you could be doing again in the future?

[29:02 Bella] Yep, for sure.

Reading again

I can read, that’s a nice my one, that’s my favourite one because I couldn’t read for a really long time. And before my injuries, I used to read a book a day. I was like a book nerd. I read books every like we go on vacation, I’d bring five books.

Like I always had two in my purse, because just in case if I finished the first one, I had a backup one. That’s how I was as a kid. So losing the ability to read.

Getting my memory back

And my memory was probably the biggest thing was, I could read the page, but I couldn’t tell you what I read. So that was like a really big problem: doing university with that was very difficult. But getting my memory back was really big.

The headaches stopped

And the daily headaches. I honestly thought they would never stop. Having a headache every single day for about seven years is something you don’t expect to ever go away because you don’t believe it will. And I didn’t believe it would.

When the headaches faded

And when they started to like fade away, I almost, the mental side of it was kind of weird, because I would almost create a headache sometimes because I’d be so worried.

Or like, I remember there was I went a week without a headache once I think I cried at the end of that week, because I was just like, wow, like, I don’t know, I didn’t know I could live like this. And then, so that was really great.

Remembering pain isn’t permanent

But I also went through like, when the bad headaches came back, it was remembering that: okay, this isn’t permanent again. Like I had to remind myself that like, you can not have these headaches. And so those kinds of things were really important to me. Getting rid of the headaches, the memory, but yeah.

I can do everything

I wouldn’t say there’s anything I can’t do. There’s just some things that I shouldn’t do is kind of how I say it now.

[30:48 Melanie] Yeah yeah. Okay. That’s a really important realization that you’ve had, and I have had too, that, when you’re in the middle of it,it can feel like, what happened yesterday will happen tomorrow again.

But that is so not true. And your story proves it, and mine, too. And that’s very important. It’s a very important lesson that I want to convey to our listeners.

[31:12 Bella] Yeah, for sure.

[31:14 Melanie] Yeah.

The Post-Concussion Podcast

Bella Paige hosts the Post Concussion Podcast

And I was wondering that, coming from your story, and also doing what you’re doing right now, are these the motivations to, for example, do your Masters again, and also do the podcast?

[31:31 Bella] So, the podcast came from my brother, actually. So I started it, I guess over a year ago.  He was like, do a podcast, do a podcast, do a podcast. And I said: Yeah, okay, we’ll see.

Bella wanted to help others

Like, I really want to help people. But maybe I’ll just do a blog or something. And so I actually bought all the podcast equipment, and it probably sat for about, like, a few months. And I had it all set up, but I didn’t do anything with it.

And actually, once I recorded a few episodes, I didn’t release them at first. It took me forever. I was like: oh, it’s gonna launch this month. My dad’s like: oh, can’t wait. And I’m like, oh, next month. Because I was so nervous. And that is a big thing.

Helping people is the motivation

And it is a lot of work. There’s definitely times where I’ve been like, I don’t know what I’m doing. Like why, like you are putting in so much time and effort for this. But I get messages almost daily, and sometimes a few a day. And they usually make me cry.

Helping people it’s like the biggest part of it and trying to help people, prevent them from doing what I did wrong, because I made a lot of mistakes. And knowing that I can prevent people from doing at least going through this as long as I did, or maybe as intense as I did, or their family too is something I focus on a lot.

Concussions impact family and friends

Because it wasn’t just me going through this, it was my siblings, it was my partner, it was my parents, and we miss all of that.

Everyone always focuses on me, and they forgot that, well, my little sister doesn’t understand what’s going on, because her big sister can’t go to school. Or can barely remember yesterday, and things like that. Or my parents wanted to help but couldn’t. So that was really hard on them.

So I try to focus on a lot of that. And that kind of keeps the motivation going for sure.

[33:18 Melanie] Hmm, that’s a beautiful story.

From her depression came helping others

And I find it, I really find it wonderful that from all of that came this and helping people experience less of the hard things that you experienced, I think it’s the most beautiful thing that you could get out of it.

[33:36 Bella] Yeah, for sure.

[33:38 Melanie] It was really nice for me to speak with you, in general.

Thanking Bella for sharing her story

So aside from the episode, because every time, every concussion story, again touches me. And I’m very happy that you’re sharing your story and helping people, giving this positive power positive energy, sending it into the world. And thank you, Bella.

[34:00 Bella] Yeah, well, thank you so much for having me.

Let me know your thoughts

[34:03 Melanie] Now, I would love to hear from you. What do you take away from this episode? Is there something that you can apply to your life right away? Head on over to lifeyana.com and leave your comment now. Or you can leave it below this video.

And if you want to hear and read more Concussion Stories, actionable steps and inspiration, be sure to subscribe to the Lifeyana email list while you’re there, so that you never miss out on new materials we constantly make for you.

Thank you for listening to this concussion stories episode by Lifeyana. May you be well and may you be happy.

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