Going through a traumatic brain injury can feel like an isolating event. It can feel like no one understands what you're going through since it's an injury that they can't see. One of our main goals for everyone who is experiencing the debilitating symptoms of a traumatic brain injury is to feel heard and validated. This is the reason we started our series called "Our Story". This series will include our team's personal experiences with concussions along with some of our success stories to provide that little bit of motivation on the days when you need it the most.
Here's our story of one of our Vision Therapists, Greg Dearden:
You often hear that everything can change in a moment. For most that have gone through a brain injury, that moment often cannot even be remembered, but the lasting effects certainly can. “You look fine.” “It was only a concussion.” “You should be better by now.” “If you’re not better by the one-year mark, that’s as good as it gets.” “He’s just lazy, why can’t you work?” Ever heard statements like these? After my accident I could literally not put pen to paper. I could not see much further than 10 feet, but I also couldn’t read up close. Try walking around seeing like that. My anxiety was through the roof. I had light and sound sensitivity, which if you have never gone through this, it is super stressing and difficult as the world is pretty noisy and full of light. I spent months in a dark room alone. I couldn’t follow moving objects. I spent much of my daughters first year lying on the ground beside her. Who is the infant they’d say? Dad or daughter? I couldn’t even watch my daughter when she first went to playgrounds as I couldn’t follow her with my eyes running around. The first time she went on a swing I had to shut my eyes when pushing her, not watching her smile and laugh as I literally couldn’t watch her swing, or I would feel sick. Then there is rehabilitation- Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Vision Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, spiced up with too many to count doctor’s appointments and assessments which more than likely will make you feel awful for days afterwards. All of this while dealing with the daily struggle that is the post-traumatic syndrome. You start to worry that every little bump to the head, or headache means that you are going “backwards,” or you’re never get better. It took me the better part of five years to get my “life” back and fully recovery. So yes, brain injuries and the symptoms are real. So, although we might look normal, the underlying pain and indescribable malaise that comes with a brain injury is always there. Speaking about getting my life back. Life changes in so many ways after a head injury. Often your perspective on things changes, you gain patience and a boat load of empathy for others. You also learn who your real friends are and those you can rely on. For me, I learned all these things and more. I also completely changed my field of work. Working in communications in my past career, I always wanted to do work that helped others, but it wasn’t until I went through therapy with Dr. Mueller, got my vision back and had the opportunity to learn to be a Practical Vision Therapist, did I find a job that I can truly help others. So, does Vision Therapy work? I can tell you from first-hand experience and from helping others that it does. I can tell you that even if you haven’t recovered from a brain injury after a year, you can still get better. I can also tell you that your symptoms are real and even if others don’t get it, we get it here at NeuroVision. So yes everything can change in a moment. But if you take it moment by moment you can and will get your life back.