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Concussion: Nature Time
Legal disclaimer: Since we are not doctors, never follow anything based on health-related topics on this or related sites without first consulting with your doctor or other trusted health professional. OTOH, the study of brain injuries is at best in its infancy, like studying outer space with primitive telescopes.
Thank you to supportive readers, and especially my loyal subscribers. The latter are/were critically important to me as I recover, and I am grateful to them. I also want to thank OWC / MacSales.com and B&H Photo for their ongoing support as I worked through this.
I know from many years pre-concussion that my trips to the mountains or desert have been the most restful and peaceful times of my life. Why should that change with a concussion? If anything, it offers the perfect venue for recovery. So powerful are the effects of a restful outdoor environment that stress evaporates and some health issues disappear. A weekend is good, but quite inadequate for a concussion; I recommend minimum of 2 to 3 weeks, interacting with no one, or no more than one person who places no demands upon you.
Post-concussion I found that I needed the peace of the outdoors and 1 on 1 with no schedule, a demanding force it seemed. As an example of something suitable: I love my daughters and I enjoy showing them things I enjoy where there is peace and quiet and no particular schedule to cause stress or strain. Below I am shown with my eldest; we spent 6 days together and we both enjoyed it. But even that carries a need to interact, and subsequently I found that being alone with no one to think about but myself allows maximal speed of healing, as it allowed me to concentrate every hour of the day on what might be best for me right then, which might mean a nap or a bike ride or some photography (or some blogging as my ability to use the computer came back online). Or just sitting and listening to the wind, or watching the snow fall or feeling the warm sun on my body. Or massage and meditation-like naps.
In my experience, recovering from a concussion in one’s normal habitation is a huge mistake because it carries along a massive amount of habit and baggage and interactions, let alone noise of all kinds. This is why I left home for nearly 4 weeks and traveled in my Mercedes Sprinter Photography adventure van. That approach was highly successful.
My advice to concussion victims once they are past the acute phase and can safely travel (by car, avoid airplanes): go camping in car or tent or adventure van where there are no TV or newspapers, no people and their noise and only the sounds of the wind and birds. Eat cold foods (fruit, cold chicken, cold-smoked salmon, vegetables, etc) and forget about cooking (but a hot chicken from a supermarket goes a long way). This approach will go a long way towards healing your brain and outlook and spirit. Indeed, quiet experience in nature is scientifically proven to reduce stress. Stress is toxic for a concussed brain, like picking at a scab and not letting heal without scarring it. If there is any stress, you are putting yourself at risk for recovery at a crucial time when brain circuitry should be rewiring optimally, not mal-wiring to cope with stress.
For those who have jobs: the ER doctors now ZERO about recovery. Don’t even consider any work for at lest 2 weeks, and 4 weeks for worse concussions. Had I my druthers and were not self employed, I’d have taken 10 weeks instead of 5 weeks. The rest of your life and risks for dementia depend on recovery, so don’t f*ck around—do you run a marathon on a leg broken only a month before?
There is this popular trend among psychologists who claim that people must have numerous close friends and families for happiness and health. There is a grain of truth in that, but in my view they are ignorant in not understanding the context, that is, confusing “Second Hander”* personalities who have no real sense of self, that is, deriving self worth only from the approval of others. Versus those who have a robust sense of self which does not require the approval of others to feel good about themselves. The entire psychological profession is full of warped collectivist minds with an ideological agenda, and this warps and twists their perspective. It isn’t even a science so warped has it become. Having had an intensely independent personally since the age of 2, I have never had any need for the approval of others for a feeling of self worth. In terms of concussion recovery, one has to know oneself, but I think there is huge risk in expecting recovery to come from outside, rather than by looking inward and understanding oneself and one’s own values. Pity, expectations of others, horse-shit platitudes are all worthless unless they are incorporated internally—and that can only come from self reflection. This is not to be confused with the support of a few true friends or confidants, which I do have.
* In my experience, Second Handers flee from me, sensing that the mask over their internal zero is transparent to me, which induces panic. See The Fountainhed. On the flip side, individuals with with a robust sense of self worth are drawn to me and I to them—rare in my experience, but out there to find, like a gold nugget in the sand and richly rewarding.