….like a roller coaster. As I get further from my crash, the emotions and mental states I’ve experienced have truly been like an amusement park ride. My friend Saul Raisin, who has recovered from a brain injury far worse than mine, told be to be prepared for a roller coaster ride when I spoke with him a few weeks ago. At that point, I thought, “nah, Ill be fine. I feel good now, it can only get better from here as I heal, right?” Not so much. Thats the problem with brain injuries. There is no objective thing to look at or a known rate or process of recovery to depend on, and that can be tough to cope with. The fact that my brain is a little damaged and processes things differently for now makes it even harder for me to understand whats going on. In the past weeks my mental state has literally changed 180 degrees from week to week. At first I was just in a daze, still recovering from the initial shock of my crash. Just sleeping a lot and chilling out and recovering was fine by me, that was all I felt like doing anyways. Anyways, at that point I thought my injury was mild enough that I could even be racing again by mid-June. Once that phase wore off, and it was determined I would be out of my normal life for around 4 months, I began to cope with that, a pretty significant adjustment. Then I realized while I was half out of it the last two weeks I didn’t have a grip on my plan for recovery myself. My wife Loren, my parents, my doctors, they knew about everything, but I didnt. So I struggled to regain ownership of my own recovery, and try to understand every step of the process. This was really stressful and frustrating to me, especially when there was a communication error in my huge network of people helping me. Normally I am used to deciding my own goals and the way to do it, but now I was for just a few days unaware of the specific steps I would take to recover. With help I was able to get all my ducks in a row, define a recovery process, and understand each step of the way. This filled me again with my reglular level of confidence and I became much calmer and relaxed as a result. That was good, but now my problem was to find what things I can do in my life for a little while that don’t include riding bikes. Or driving. (( After a head injury like mine, the state of CO keeps you off the road for a little while until the doctors can confirm you aren’t gonna have a seizure and run someone over. Loren is getting sick of driving me around I think, so thankfully I have my first driving test at the hospital tomorrow. Hopefully I graduate.)) For whatever reason I was perfectly content just hanging out, feeling a little depressed, quite literally staring at the wall. None of the things I usually enjoy, like cooking, walking the dog, stimulating conversation, had any appeal. More importantly, I was realizing the regular mental tools I use to deal with everyday situations had been missing the last few weeks. These are my ways of moving through life that really make me who I am. Once I became aware of this and the mental state I wanted to return to, I pretty much woke up a couple days ago and felt like a completely different person. To somebody else who I might speak to for 10 min I might have seemed perfectly normal the last few weeks, but to me, the things I think about, my motivations, my confidence, were completely different. But now suddenly I am on the way to feeling normal again. My confidence, my calmness, my motivations, my ways of thinking, are all coming back really quickly. And it really feels good to be me again. Thanks for checking in
A Change of Pace
The lessons learned, the obstacles overcome, the limits pushed, the goals attained…these things make up the spirit of sport. One must define success in sport based not on victories alone, but also ask the questions; did I push myself to the edge? Did I learn from my mistakes? How can I apply this to my life beyond sport? The Just Go Harder Foundation provides assistance to those pursuing the answer within themselves.
The Just Go Harder Foundation is a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization that relies on fundraising and donations to offset the costs of sport and mentorship program fees.