How to deal with a concussion

How to deal with a concussion

My dad sounds really cheerful: ‘Is your concussion over?’ I have to disappoint him (and myself): ‘No, it’s not. But it’s getting better everyday.’ I’m now able to walk for half an hour. I sleep 3 times during the day. I trained myself in playing memory, so I can win from the kids again. Two days ago I was able to go into a gentle tickle fight with four year old Kobi. That was a huge personal victory.  Screen time is limited, just as my concentration. Slowly my energy comes back in longer and brighter stents.  But it’s sobering to be so limited in my actions. To not know when I get better.  And to realize that while I have a mission here in the states, the main thing I can do is to be on the couch.

So what helps in a situation like this? How do you get through without falling into despair too much? For me these three things help the most.

  1. The Blanksons

Number one is being with the Blankson family. Amy, Bobo and the three kids are awesome friends with whom I can just be. It’s okay if I’m frustrated, feel pain or make them laugh. That’s not always a given on the road. The Blanksons are so sweet and take really good care of me. Ranging from the youngest who distance tickles me, because real tickles hurt, to surprising me with Dutch treats because it’s Sinterklaas – a Dutch tradition.  It’s good to hear the volume of the girls increasing now they see I’m feeling better. All five cheer me up with their humor.  Whether it’s making faces with 7 year old Gabri or a good display of sarcasm. Last week I walked way too far, so I was a wreck when I came too in the house. Amy supported me while we walked to my room. She said: ‘You’re adventurous.’ ‘You mean stupid?’ She replied: ‘You pick up the intricacies of American language well.’

Being on the road often involves not knowing where you’ll be the next week.  But even before my concussion it was already decided I would stay longer. Having that security and the time to properly recover in such a loving environment is a real gift.  I’m so lucky social support isn’t limited to the Blanksons. Willemijn and Josien help me now to update the blog. Getting well messages from all over the world, friends and family who check in regularly, I feel so rich.

2. My beautiful moments

Everyday I draw my own beautiful moments. But these weeks it has become more important. It forces me to stay focused on the good things on the days. It helps me not to dwell on my situation. But the effect is stronger. These days are filled with more beautiful moments then my normal days. It makes me view my days as good days.  They are filled with highs and lows, which is fine.  But the (little) ups tend to stick out as I pay more attention to them. And the drawing itself is a perfect way to get my mind to stop thinking. It relaxes me to focus just on a couple of simple lines on the paper. And with a concussion it’s the first activity I could pick up.

3. Knowing what I can and cannot change.

I can’t change the facts.  I can be angry or frustrated with the my concussion, but it won’t help. And it helps me to just say to myself: ‘This is what it is.’

The only thing I can change is how I view this situation.  And that gives power.  I can add meaning to this, like the belief that good things will come because of this. This is especially helpful when I feel frustrated I can’t fulfill my mission in the way I would love to: being on the streets. But it’s a good realization about how vulnerable Seize Your Moments is. If I’m gone the project is gone. So it’s time to change. The  beautiful moment work is too important to be limited it to only my person. So let’s do things together. And create a happier world where people feel heard and connected. It would be great if you want to join.

During breakfast the conversation is about identity. Bobo explains that who you are isn't solely defined by what you do. Amy gives an example: 'Janne can't collect beautiful moments now but she is still Janne.' Nine year old Ana comments: 'But she can can collect beautiful moments. This is a beautiful moment.' Seize by Janne in Dallas, Texas, USA on November 29th 2016.
During breakfast the conversation is about identity. Bobo explains that who you are isn’t solely defined by what you do. Amy gives an example: ‘Janne can’t collect beautiful moments now but she is still Janne.’ Nine year old Ana comments: ‘But she can can collect beautiful moments. This is a beautiful moment.’
Seize by Janne in Dallas, Texas, USA on November 29th 2016.

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