When I went to see my psychiatric nurse practitioner for the first time back in May she took my health history as it pertains to Depression. One of the first questions she asked was if I had ever had any head trauma.
Nope. Never. Not even once.
When I was 20 I went on a camping trip. The plan was for me and my significant other (now spouse) to bike 20 miles to a campsite with all of our equipment (tents, sleeping bags etc.) in giant backpacks.
Don't interrupt. I know it wasn't smart. We didn't have any panniers and even if we had there was no way to attach them because we were riding racing bikes with skinny little tires. This may have changed my center of gravity somewhat and may or may not have compromised my ability to keep my balance while going really fast down a hill carrying many pounds of extra gear on my back.
In a freak accident I skidded out on a patch of gravel and somersaulted over the front of my handlebars. It took me 5 minutes to fly through the air (not really, but it seemed like it) during which time I thought "I should put out my arms to break my fall... I should put out my arms to break my fall... I should put out my arms to break my fall..." But instead I landed full force on my head.
Then I put out my arms, scraping them up very badly on the gravel. Nice.
My first thought was that my fall must have been terrifying to watch. To prove that I wasn't dead I called out "I'm totally fine." And then I wandered tipsily into traffic.
I was bleeding messily. My head hurt a lot. But I said I was good to go. We were halfway to the campsite. Never trust a person with a head injury when they say they are good to go. I was a very convincing liar. I didn't even know I was lying, to tell the truth.We stopped at a grocery store to get some bandages and then proceeded on our trip.
Only I could only ride for a mile at a time before I had to stop to rest because my helmet (which now had a big flat spot right in the front) felt like it was too small and my head was pounding.
...One month later back at college I was still having headaches so I decided to visit the campus doctor. She made me do all the brain bleed tests and looked for bulging eyes and told me horror stories about what could have happened to me. "You had a head injury a month ago and your'e just coming in now?!? You DESERVE to have headaches." This is an exact quotation.
I probably would not have mentioned this to my psychiatric nurse practitioner even if I had remembered it because it happened more than 20 years ago. But now studies are coming out about mild traumatic brain injury leading to a much greater chance of suffering from Depression and Anxiety even years later because there have been physical changes to the brain. This risk is increased in people who have a history of Depression (which I did, having been on anti-depressants for about a month as a teenager).
Interesting. I don't know that the brain trauma had any impact on my Depression symptoms. I don't know that it would change anything about my treatment plan now. I will share the head trauma information with my nurse, though.
Quaker, teacher, parent,