Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Concussion Syndrome For traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post concussion syndrome (PCS).

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Old 11-13-2019, 10:50 PM #1
red90 red90 is offline
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Default Has anyone here overcome Concussion Anxiety Syndrome?

It seems like more than half the posts on this forum at any given time are about concussion anxiety. I constantly see people writing things like "I'm not sure if I hit my head or not," "was this force enough to cause damage," etc.

Concussion Anxiety Syndrome has been something I've been dealing with ever since my first concussion around 5 years ago, and even though I'm essentially symptom-free now, I still at least once a week have one of these OCD episodes where I'm not sure if I got hit, not sure if I caused damage, etc. It's frustrating because my concussion anxiety makes it hard to do basic things with my friends like hugging, going dancing, going ice skating, riding bikes etc because I'm afraid of my head getting hit.

What I'm wondering is if anyone on this forum has truly overcome Concussion Anxiety Syndrome, and what strategies you found effective. I have tried exposure therapy in the form of running and practicing dropping light things on my head (such as a sock or beach ball). However, it feels kind of futile, because I'm always afraid to push it further because I'm afraid of re-injuring myself. Does anyone have other ideas for similar de-sensitization training? It's hard to know how heavy an object to try without having any risk of damage.

Does anyone have further advice for beating this anxiety or have experience overcome it? I want more than anything to be able to live a normal life, and it's so hard when everything I do in the day seems to revolve around not getting hit.
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Old 11-13-2019, 10:56 PM #2
red90 red90 is offline
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Also I wanted to follow up in case people are curious on what I've tried so far with socks: sometimes I play a game with myself where I throw a sock in the air (it should be a long one, such as one that would go up past your ankle) and then try to "catch" it with just my head. It seems really scary at first but it gets you used to soft contact to your head and with moving your head quickly. If it's a long sock it's also surprisingly easy to catch.
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Old 11-14-2019, 06:36 PM #3
BenW BenW is offline
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Used to have the absolute worse concussion anxiety, was worried about everything from walking to sneezing, to sex, to tiny bumps and so on and so forth. I still have concussion anxiety and youíll see me make posts about this fairly often but really only when something extreme happens like a bad fall or hitting my head hard or something like that.

First thing that caused me to change was that my ex gf broke up with me because she couldnít take my obsession anymore and it kind of opened my eyes and changed me in a lot of ways. I sort of realized to myself like Ďwow we seriously only live once, is this really how I want to live my one life, wtf kind of life is this?í It took that huge emotional jarring to sort slap some sense in to me.

There are so many uncertainties in life and if you focus on it, so many things to be afraid off, concussion anxiety being one of them. At a certain point you kind of just have to tell yourself like Ďyou know what, this is not how I want my life to be and so therefore my life will not be this way, I am taking back control and I am choosing how I want to liveí. Itís the same as if you had any other form of health anxiety or ocd. Take back control, live how you want to live and focus on having fun and enjoying your damn life. If you donít then I guarantee you will regret it years down the line **.

Iíll give an anecdote from my life, not to show off or anything, just to prove how Iíve taken this mantra into my own life. On Saturday I was working a show all day, I creative directed an event and so all day I was running around doing stuff, talking to people, etc. By the end you can bet I was feeling pretty lousy, pretty exhausted. But then one of the models texted me and asked if I wanted to get drinks with her at a bar that night. I said screw it, this is something I should be doing as a 19 year old boy, and so I went and hung out and had an alcoholic beverage and ended up hooking up with her. She was being very aggressive **but I thought ĎIs this really something I want to worry about? Nah Iím gonna live my life how I wanna live and that doesnít involve worrying about something small like thisí. A couple days after, I was walking out to see some friends and I fell hard on the ice. Actually made a post about it on here due to how bad it was. You can bet I was feeling really lousy after that but the day after (yesterday) I was supposed to see the model again and so, regardless of the huge fall, I did. **These are all things I could very well worry about but I thought Ďdo I really want to worry about this stuff or do I want to just be free **These are just decisions I made on how I want to live my life and not have regrets when Iím older.

Second thing that happened to me is that I switched my mentality from viewing incidents that happened as devastating new injuries but instead ways to get stronger and desensitize myself. This happened after a bad fall on the ice a while back that had me in the depths off despair. That is until I kind of realized that a week after the fall, I didnít feel so bad. Maybe my body is strong enough to take a fall like this? Maybe Iím not quite so fragile? Iíve been assuming Iím fragile as an egg but maybe thatís not the case, maybe this fall will make me stronger because it will show myself that Iím able to take incidents like these and be ok and that Iím not a fragile little flower like I thought I was. Itís like an extreme version of exposure therapy I guess. Not Iím not recommending at all that anyone fall on the ice or hit your heads on signs or anything, but if you ever happen to do so on accident, take it as an opportunity that your testing your body to see what you can endure. People here always say they wanna live a normal life again, but stuff like this is part of normal life. The only way to know if you can take it is to actually take it and view it as an opportunity to get stronger and desensitize yourself and normal people donít worry about their brains when they fall on their butt on the ice.

Finally, my advice would be to look at someone whoís had way more brain trauma then you and therefore should theoretically be much more fragile then you and just see how they live they lifes. Take Cowboy Cerrone for example. Heís a ufc fighter who fights a ton and has undoubtedly taken way more damage then anyone on this site. Yet if you look at his Instagram, heís out on his ranch riding horses, wakeboarding, cave diving, building things, training mma, drinking and basically living exactly the life he wants to live, having fun. Would Donald cerrone worry if he slipped and fell on his *** or if he bumped his head or had a rough wrestling partner? Iím gonna go out on a limb and say probably absolutely not, donít think heíd worry for more then a few seconds. So if he can live his life that way and be happy, then maybe I can to and maybe a lot of the stuff that happens to me now that I worry about isnít actually all that damaging.

All this may very well not be of much use to you but itís stuff that has helped me a lot. Now Iím still far from free of the grasps of concussion anxiety but Iím better and these kind of mentality switches have helped me.


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Originally Posted by red90 View Post
It seems like more than half the posts on this forum at any given time are about concussion anxiety. I constantly see people writing things like "I'm not sure if I hit my head or not," "was this force enough to cause damage," etc.

Concussion Anxiety Syndrome has been something I've been dealing with ever since my first concussion around 5 years ago, and even though I'm essentially symptom-free now, I still at least once a week have one of these OCD episodes where I'm not sure if I got hit, not sure if I caused damage, etc. It's frustrating because my concussion anxiety makes it hard to do basic things with my friends like hugging, going dancing, going ice skating, riding bikes etc because I'm afraid of my head getting hit.

What I'm wondering is if anyone on this forum has truly overcome Concussion Anxiety Syndrome, and what strategies you found effective. I have tried exposure therapy in the form of running and practicing dropping light things on my head (such as a sock or beach ball). However, it feels kind of futile, because I'm always afraid to push it further because I'm afraid of re-injuring myself. Does anyone have other ideas for similar de-sensitization training? It's hard to know how heavy an object to try without having any risk of damage.

Does anyone have further advice for beating this anxiety or have experience overcome it? I want more than anything to be able to live a normal life, and it's so hard when everything I do in the day seems to revolve around not getting hit.

Last edited by Chemar; 11-14-2019 at 08:00 PM. Reason: Sorry but too graphic per posting guidelines
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Old 11-15-2019, 03:04 AM #4
Vania Vania is offline
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I think Ben offered good advice.

I would like to complement it with something I heard from professionals who treat people with health anxiety disordeds. Apparently the best strategy in many cases is not to tell people that they are fine, that their symptoms are self-imposed, that the activities they engage in are not dangerous, etc. We all know how difficult it is to reassure an anxious person with rational arguments.

Instead a common strategy is to insist on the opportunity cost of anxiety: how many opportunities do we miss out because of our anxiety? How many hours/days do we spend worrying (irrationally) instead of doing something meaningful with our time? How many relationships are we damaging because of our behavior?

It took me a good 3 years of PCS to incorporate these thoughts in my mental life and, while this is not a magic bullet, it helped me realize that the risk of isolation / depressing lifestyle / losing friendships etc. is sometimes much greater than the physical risks I was worried about.
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Old 11-19-2019, 02:01 PM #5
BlueberryPCS BlueberryPCS is offline
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Think back to the biggest hit to your head since your last concussion where you didn't get an increase in symptoms. Use this as your baseline reference and always remind yourself that you've sustained worse and been fine.

I have to say your reaction is completely normal given what you've gone through and don't feel marginalized because of the way you feel. Your brain is giving you a fight/flight response related to your trauma. This is your brain trying to keep you alive, problem is its a highly reactive part of your brain going off and you need to keep that in check with your logical part of the brain.
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Old 11-29-2019, 11:46 AM #6
SuperElectric SuperElectric is offline
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The problem is that concussion in many cases locks the brain in anxiety mode as a self defence. It soon becomes learnt behaviour. I think you have to consciously work to get out of it and back to normal by either CBT/mindfulness type techniques or anti depressants.

I found my anxiety reduced a lot by the 6 month mark but progress slowed after that. Getting rid of totally is proving hard. It's not helped by the modern stressful way of life most of us have to lead! But I remember one occasion stepping out of the shower like an old man and thinking why on earth am shuffling about? I then realised I had to take control and claim my pre injury life back. It seems to be paying off, the last two weeks have been the best yet until my tinnitus spiked yesterday, drat!
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Concussion 28-02-2014 head butted a door edge.
.

Symptoms overcome: Nausea, head pressure, debilitating fatigue, jelly legs, raised pulse rate, night sweats, restlessness, depersonalisation, anxiety, neck ache, depression.
Symptoms left: Disturbed sleep, some residual tinnitus.
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