The only way I can describe the first 3 years after my mTBI are “a living hell that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy”. I had extreme light and noise sensitivity. I kept the blinds pulled and relied on noise-cancelling earbuds, sometimes with ear protectors & pillows over top. The hum of the fridge in the kitchen and the dehumidifier in the basement drove me nuts. I couldn’t stand any music at all or two conversations going on in the same room. Walking into a drug store felt like going to a rock concert. I couldn’t stand the sight of things moving, it took 8 months to be able to sit up with my eyes open in a moving vehicle. It was over a year before I could look at a TV screen. It took a year to be able to walk at a normal speed without triggering a headache.
What I needed most then was hope. I’m 9 ½ years post-accident now. Let me warn you as a member of a club you never wanted to join – the road ahead is long and incredibly hard, but things can get better, a lot better. Ignore anyone who tells you that you’ve reached maximum recovery. Push yourself. Find ways to work on all the things that are hard for you now. Be creative. Do a little more of those hard things every day even if it triggers your symptoms. Keep being willing to try different things. Be diligent in what you eat and remove any pro-inflammatory foods. Get sugar out of your diet (yes, I know how hard that is). Eat lots of avocados and olive oil. Take high doses of Omega 3 & Vitamin-D. Get your hormones checked and supplement if necessary. Do whatever it takes to improve your sleep. Learn to meditate, even if it’s not your thing. You need to calm your central nervous system down. Become aware of your thoughts and squash the negative ones. And at the top of the list – EXERCISE!! It did more for me than any of the therapies I paid for. The progress is infinitesimally small, but the baby steps eventually add up. I have climbed mountains to get here, but things are a lot better now.