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The Big Picture

THE BIG PICTURE

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COMMUNITY STORIES | 1.6.18 | By Haylee-Jo Heggie

loveyourbrain

My accident happened on July 29, 2013. I didn't lose consciousness, so I remember almost every detail. I was wake boarding when some big waves from a storm were rolling in. I couldn't keep up with them and I lost control. As I fell and hit the water, I bent backwards and the board cut my head open leaving me with a gash ten centimeters long and skull deep. The doctors didn't tell us much about the concussion, but said I would be better in ten days. My biggest concern was the uneven spot where the doctor had to cut my hair. But, it was more serious than we knew. I had no idea it would end like this. It's been four years and I'm not where I used to be, but I'm making improvements every day!

  Minutes Before Injury- Wake boarding at our cabin (July 2013)

Minutes Before Injury- Wake boarding at our cabin (July 2013)

I feel that moving forward is about acceptance. That was super hard for me to do, to accept that my whole life was changed and lots of the things I liked to do were taken from me. I felt like it was unfair and I would always wonder "why me." I would always replay the day of my accident in my mind and think of all the possible things that I could've done to prevent it. Thinking those thoughts does nothing. Once I was able to accept that this happened to me, I was able to start seeing it not so much as a bad thing, but just a different opportunity. And I started to try and let it change me in a better way that couldn't have happened without it. Once you accept what has happened to you, then you are able to learn from it and let it make you great.

Yoga and meditation have helped me a lot because they give me a chance to take a break from the craziness of my life and just be. They help me give my brain the break it needs and to be able to think about things. I have learned lots of techniques that can help me calm down in a stressful situation or prevent headache pain when I feel it coming.

  We tried so many different types of therapies and treatments, none of them were successful (January 2014)

We tried so many different types of therapies and treatments, none of them were successful (January 2014)

It's important to know that the healing process isn't going to happen overnight. It can take time, and everyone heals at different paces. I've learned that you might have good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks. Sometimes you have more bad days than good days and that can be frustrating, but overall you are getting better and that is what matters. For me, it seems like it’s two steps forward one step back, and that's super frustrating. It might not be as fast as you want it but you are improving.

  Happy to be able to come back to basketball, wearing the Full 90 concussion headband to keep me in the game (March 2017)

Happy to be able to come back to basketball, wearing the Full 90 concussion headband to keep me in the game (March 2017)

Another important thing is to keep the big picture in mind. If your progress seems small then compare it to where you started out, and see how far you have come. Try to stay positive. Don't push yourself to do things your brain can't handle, and don't listen to people who try to push you that far, you are the only one who knows how you feel. Try to stay hopeful for the day things will get better. Because they will.

My final piece of advice is that you can't go through this alone, and you shouldn't have to. Find good friends or family and make sure to keep them around. Surround yourself with people who you feel like you can talk to, and who support you and can take care of you when you need it. They can help you through the bad days and celebrate the good days. Try to keep yourself involved with the things that make you happy even if the thing is something you can't do during your recovery. Don't isolate yourself from it and try your best to keep involved because it's good to keep yourself feeling involved and motivated. Try your best to stay positive even in those hard times.

  Beyond happy to be able to do what I've always dreamed of doing - Playing college basketball (October 2017)

Beyond happy to be able to do what I've always dreamed of doing - Playing college basketball (October 2017)