Sober hangovers and living with PCS

I woke up with another hangover this morning, which is really disconcerting for someone who doesn’t drink.

Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome (PCS) include:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • vertigo
  • fatigue
  • memory problems
  • trouble concentrating
  • sleeping problems
  • insomnia
  • restlessness
  • irritability
  • apathy
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • personality changes
  • sensitivity to noise and light

I am experiencing everything in bold. At least I’m not apathetic and depressed. There is so much in life to look forward to and be grateful for. Like getting over this hump! And greeting the day when my cats will finally love me.

The doctors say this will go away with time, but my functional neurologist talks about how symptoms can last years or even a lifetime. That thought terrifies me. I can’t imagine feeling like this forever. I don’t think that will be the case for me, but holy fuck, I can see how people choose to go the medication route and swallow away these symptoms. I feel like I’ve been on a 2 1/2 month long bender.

I keep drinking water and tea and eating fresh veggies, telling myself maybe this is all in my head and I am actually dehydrated or malnourished. But all that does is make me pee all the time.

I go on walks in the evening after the sun goes down. I stretch in the dark quiet of my living room. I do all the things I’m supposed to do. But none of it helps. Or maybe it does, but I can’t tell because I refuse to stop. I can’t do nothing.

So I write. And I listen to books. And I read The New Yorker. And I think of new ideas and projects to invest my precious energy into. Then I rest. For much longer.

Every hour of the day feels like I just woke up. All I feel is that groggy, shitty feeling after not sleeping very well. I look at my FitBit stats and confirm I got my 9 hours, but I’m starting to suspect the FitBit isn’t tracking properly. This is not what 9 hours feels like.

Despite the persistence of these symptoms, which just seem to amplify with time, or at least not ebb at the rate I would like, I feel pretty ok I guess. I find things to stay busy. I keep the house clean. I run the Roomba when it needs it.

The doctor recommended I see a mental health specialist. Does that mean therapy? I think she felt bad for me when I started crying in her office while describing my symptoms.

Time. More time. That’s probably what I really need.

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Wife, yogi, and cat mama living in the SF Bay Area.

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