Part 1: I’m smiling, I’m working, but I’m not the same.

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Life-changing experiences often take the shape of momentous occasions, grand gestures, and calculated risks. For me, the life-altering experience that changed it all was my concussion.


When I hit the ice and crawled to the bench, the world was spinning like it never had before. Thirty years of hockey surely prepared me for this event to occur. Or my profession as a teacher with all the precautions we take for students has also given me the resources to deal with all this on my own. To my dismay, all this didn’t stop me, from shaking it off and playing another shift. Those 20 seconds felt strange, and I knew I should leave the ice. 


The experience of a concussion is different for everyone. In fact, for anyone, a health-related trauma will feel different. For me, I felt all the symptoms, but the challenging aspect was the need to enhance skill sets that I thought I had developed in my life – Patience, empathy, resilience, and faith all needed to be rooted in the hope that I would once again reclaim my identity.


This process is frustrating, depressing, lonely and the most challenging encounter of my entire life. Panic attacks started as a result of my injury, but I would venture to say that I was always an anxious person who had developed great coping skills. Well, when your brain slows its response rate, and you begin to fear the unexpected, it feels like everything starts to close in on you. How do our students feel when this happens?


I didn’t realize that I had taken my healthy life and lifestyle for granted. I was and now am so fortunate to be able to be self-sufficient, independent and strong. I’m still recovering and growing from this experience.


Key Takeaways:

Sometimes the small stuff is all we have. 

Celebrate every small victory during recovery. 

Humble yourself and ask for help.

Rest when your body needs it.

I am thankful for my support system.

Thank you, friends.


HMW… build awareness of the mental health impact of a concussion and how life-changing it can be?

It’s about the now. I’m feel good to start the day, but each moment can change the outcome of the day.


One Response to “Part 1: I’m smiling, I’m working, but I’m not the same.”

  1. Eadaoin O'Boyle

    I’m so glad that you are looking at this from a mental health perspective and using empathy to help guide you. I look forward to what you will come up with!

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