The doctors are saying they want me to go back to work…gradually. But I’m not sure. I’ve lost my confidence. My rehab specialist says we won’t know until we try. He means I won’t actually recover properly until I go back to work. The neurons that fire together, wire together – he keeps saying. [audio src="https://media.acast.com/brain-on-nature/backonthebike/media.mp3"][/audio]
I’m depressed and anxious and the headaches are back. I have to dose myself up on nature again. I wouldn’t have considered heading into the bush alone before the accident. But now I’m known for turning up to school pick-ups in shorts and hiking boots. But why has no doctor told me to use nature? Or even encouraged me really? [audio src="https://media.acast.com/brain-on-nature/theressciencetothis/media.mp3"][/audio]
I’m racing towards the finish line. I'm almost better! I try to get back to my normal life, but something’s still not quite right. And then, all of a sudden, things start to unravel. Surely this isn’t happening. I’m nearly better, remember? I find Cait Ward, who had similar experiences after being hit with a lacrosse ball. [audio src="https://media.acast.com/brain-on-nature/invisibleinjury/media.mp3"][/audio]
Finally, I get a diagnosis. The doctors tell me I have what they’re calling ‘a mild traumatic brain injury’. And there’s not much that they can do about it. They encourage me to just accept my situation. Then, some friends invite me on a bushwalk. [audio src="https://media.acast.com/brain-on-nature/ifsymptomspersist-accept/media.mp3"][/audio]
The injury makes me reflect on what the load on my brain was like before the accident. I’m a journalist, my head’s full of work. I manage our household, wrangle our kids. My partner’s frantic running his arts organisation. I still keep a busy social life. I love late nights out in hectic loud bars drinking with friends. But after the accident I can’t do any of this! [audio src="https://media.acast.com/brain-on-nature/thewaitingroom/media.mp3"][/audio]
I wake up on the road in intense pain. I don’t know what’s happened. Who are these people? Where am I? Why is my right shoulder killing me? But it’s only when I get home from the hospital that the extent of my injuries start to emerge. I can’t read, I can listen to music, I can’t be around my family. What is happening? [audio src="https://media.acast.com/brain-on-nature/theaccident/media.mp3"][/audio]
We are celebrating the launch of the podcast with a listening party on September 26. Please join us!
I prescribed myself a mental health hike today. It was spontaneous. I woke up at 5am, lay there for a while thinking about what I actually needed to do today and what could wait. I decided my mental health would benefit from a strenuous, solo bush walk.