In my junior year of high school, a few kids were playing outside, teachers were chatting, and then all of a sudden, a basketball slammed into my head. Everything went black.
That moment changed my life.
After getting my bearings, I decided to stay in school for the rest of the day with hopes that the pain would eventually subside. Instead, the dizziness and other symptoms were increasing. It is not in my nature to complain, but the pain was increasing so much that later that day, I had to go the hospital.
The visit to the hospital was pretty straightforward and I left with a diagnosis of a concussion. Little did I know that I would be starting a five-year journey of recovering.
Over the next five years I grew desperate for answers. Every single day, I hated feeling all of my symptoms. Each doctor would basically say the same thing, that time would heal me, but never offered up alternative therapies. Five years of going to doctor appointments, explaining, reliving the traumatic injury, and repeatedly describing my symptoms. It was exhausting and, in the end, it was awfully expensive in both time and money.
It was beyond frustrating that so many doctors were not able to provide firm answers for me. It was and is still difficult to understand that still, in 2020, we still know so little about concussions. Why do some recover quickly, and others have long-term issues?
After years of no answers and continued daily pain, I started to seek out and research natural remedies. With my research, I learned that everyone has different experiences and each of us recover from concussions incredibly different. Some people can fully recover within a few days, but usually concussions have long-term effects that doctors are still trying to fully understand.
It was decided then that I was going to push myself past the pain every day.
First with small walks around my house, to a longer distance to the bathroom, and then walking down the stairs. After accomplishing those steps, pun intended, I started to work more muscles by accomplishing household tasks such as laundry and taking my dog outside. Now, I know those might sound like easy activities for the average person, but up until this point, I literally spent all day laying in pain. So, needless to say walking to the bathroom was a big deal.
With each accomplishment, I pushed myself to conquer harder tasks. In addition to moderate exercise, I started neurofeedback and it genuinely helped me a lot. At first, this was a physical challenge. And then, after some time, it became a mental and emotional challenge. Taking the time to write down my thoughts and emotions was a huge factor in the recovery process.
During my self-lead recovery process, my aunt asked me if I would like to take a trip to Maui with her and her friend. At first, I was not sure what to say. Of course, I wanted to go, but I was in so much pain, and so worried that I would not be able to do much. After much thought, I decided I would go. Hey, if I were in pain, at least I would be in Maui soaking up beautiful views.
That trip changed my life.
Excitingly, Maui was my first airplane ride!! On the trip, I zip-lined, snorkeled, saw whales breach, went on a sunset boat ride, a plantation tour, and watched the sun rise each morning. The time difference between New Jersey and Maui allowed me to wake up early and watch beautiful, bright sunrises. It is little moments like this that I treasure so much.
Being able to see, hear, and smell what Maui had to offer is something I value and appreciate. After so many years of pain, these experiences were beyond refreshing. Truly, there are no words to describe how much that trip means to me.
It taught me that even though I am in pain, I can enjoy life. I can go on adventures.
I may have a slightly different experience than most, but I can still have a great time!
I learned to see the beauty in the simple things such as a beautiful flower or freshly fallen rain.
After that trip, I went home with a plan to keep pushing myself. It was a burst to push myself to get more out of every day, do fun activities, and chase hobbies that I used to love before my concussion. Before I knew it, I dove into screenwriting, poetry, and science. I explored my love for these subjects and taught myself all I could. I was in pain, but I was not going to let that stop me from doing what I love.
Every single day, I am focused, working to heal, and closer to the future I want for myself. Now, I am here, excited about my future.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ― Maya Angelou
Arianna | Instagram
PS While the recovery process may have been dark and long, I have put together a collection of all poems that I wrote while recovering and I am finally pursuing the career that I have always wanted to go after.
The book is for sale on Amazon today.