TBI One Love Survivor Melanie Wienhoven
Updated: Sep 8, 2021
Hi everyone! My name is Melanie, I am from Amsterdam in The Netherlands and I am thankful to be able to share my concussion story with you in this community. I wish for it to help you realize that you are not alone and that there is hope, always.
I sustained a concussion in 2012. That was back when I had just started a traineeship fresh out of university.
I cycled home from work one day. The evening sun was warm and nice and I remember enjoying being outside the office. Then, I noticed something was off with the front of my bike. Before I realized what it was, my reflexes already kicked in and it felt like my hands practically pulverized the brakes. But it was too late.
I don’t remember being shot forward from my bike. I don’t remember any pain in my hands and knees as I landed on them. I had the feeling of a large pin piercing my skull. (Luckily, that didn’t really happen; it was just what I felt.) Then: the taste of metal, a loud ringing tone, and black. Everything was black. But my eyes were open. I was sure: I couldn’t see.
I felt the hands of someone grabbing me off the street. He sat me down, I couldn’t understand his words. Golden sprinkles started to rain from the top of my vision, disappearing behind a thick black. And after a while, I have no way of telling time, the experiences subsided. The ringing faded. The metal taste faded. A blurry vision returned. So many people around me, all looking at me… Shame.
As I tried to stand up, the man pulled me down. I tried to convince him I was good: all I wanted was to get out of there and get home. I wanted to hide. I wanted to cry. I just didn’t want to stay here, with all these people looking. In the end, he had to let me go. And with legs like pudding, I cycled home. It took an eternity and in hindsight, I was lucky nothing more happened during that long ride home.
After 1 week, I started to notice things were off. I couldn’t concentrate anymore. Bright monitors made me squeeze my eyes. I got emotional without reason. And I had such headaches! What followed was doctors giving me the runaround, even though I believe they meant well. They just didn’t know what to do with me and generally advised me to go home, be assured that nothing was really wrong with me, and rest. When months turned into years, the narrative changed. My brain would never heal again, and I had to learn to live with my symptoms.
After experiencing isolation, hopelessness and depression, I realized something had to change. And that something had to be me. I had to start believing. I had to have hope and believe that there WAS a way out. So I started doing research, reading countless patient’s stories, studying cutting-edge science and most of all: experimenting on myself. I failed, learned and adapted my plan continuously. And finally, 6 years after my accident, I felt the pieces of the puzzle falling into place and fully recovered from the concussion that doctors declared “beyond repair”.
No day has gone by without me being thankful for having a brain that works. Having the energy to bring my dreams into reality is the most wonderful thing. I started Lifeyana in 2020 to share my story, to show you there is hope. To share my lessons, so they may help you recover faster. And to let you know that you are not alone in what you feel and what you’re going through. You are not alone.
To read on about Lifeyana or to listen to the Concussion Stories podcast, I invite you to visit: https://www.lifeyana.com/
Thank you, TBI One Love - for your work, mission, and community!