What I've Learned and Gained from PCS

Posted: 3/21/17 | WRITTEN WINTER OF 2015-16 DURING ESTHER'S MEDICAL LEAVE

What have I learned and gained from my experience with Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS)?

Resilience- nobody is better at getting back in the saddle, no matter how many times they are knocked off.
This is a life lesson. You will have perseverance and resilience like nobody else.

Rallying- we may not be able to sustain pushing through pain for long durations, but we can pull everything together for something big.
Another important tool for the rest of your life. I may have had to take the year off from school but I pulled a 2270 on the SAT when, according to my mom, I walked into the test center swaying and weaving side to side, heavily concussed.

Empathy/not judging- people who have had PCS have an insight into silent suffering and having the exterior and the interior not match up. They may all look fine and happy on the outside whilst struggling with headaches and other symptoms.
As cheesy as it sounds, I feel like I don’t judge people anymore because I have learned that you never know what someone is going through and what burden they are carrying in silence.

Coping- we’ve all been through a lot, and we keep going. I think we’ve all found coping mechanisms to get through losses and pain.
My best coping mechanism is humor. I find solace in joking about my situation. I recently fell asleep on a rug at a friend’s house in front of all of my friends because I hadn’t had my nap and I had a bad headache. This story could highlight my impairments and sad current situation, but I would rather laugh at the fact that I woke up to my friends trying to find out where I was. I could give a list of rough things that have happened to me, but I would rather be laughing. This coping mechanism is also a flaw of mine. I like to make jokes about what has happened to me and I thus sometimes don’t allow myself to fully come to terms with how much it’s affected me. I don’t like crying, but I think I’ve found a balance. Every once in a while I’ll cry to my mom or my best friend, but the rest of the time, I keep my spirits up with jokes.

Realizing who is a true friend and who isn’t- some people care a lot about you and want to help. Others don’t really care or take time to acknowledge what PCS has done to our lives. You learn who will stand by you.
I realized in high school what I think everyone finds out at some point: that you’re lucky if you have one or two really true friends. Though one person who I would have considered a true friend has let me down immensely through this process, I’ve emerged with a best friend with whom I can talk, and for that I am so grateful. I still hang out with my other friends, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that most of them won’t be there for me even if I am for them.

Not taking things for granted.
I have definitely learned that life can change in an instant. With that knowledge, I try to live in the moment and seize opportunities that are offered. 

Read more from Esther.

Leading to a Safer Future

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