“Okay, Areeba, turn your head to the left,” my doctor instructed.
“Sure!” I turn my head to the left.
“Good. Now turn your head to the right.”
“Okay!” I didn’t turn my head.
“Areeba. Turn your head to the right.”
“I did! It is to the right!” I didn’t move. My head was still turned to the left, but somehow I didn’t register that.
“…Areeba, tell me again what happened?”
“I ran into the side of a stage while dancing during a dress rehearsal a little over 24 hours ago.”
After numerous similar failed tests, I was diagnosed with a concussion and was sent home to rest. Thus, I would have to pause my junior year for month to ensure a smooth recovery, which included missing my dance show, ISAS, and all my school work. Easier said than done.
I spent my first week at home, alternating between sleeping and trying to fight my boredom. My own mind felt foreign as I soon realized I was not able to concentrate, do basic math, or write or speak in a coherent manner. I cried at least twice a day because my concussion caused increased sadness and irritability, but there was nothing I could do to cheer myself up. I mean, how do you fight your own mind?
My entire life I lived by the logic that if something bad happens, then something good will follow, and vice versa. It was a way for me to stay optimistic through rough times and stay grounded when I felt rewarded for my actions. Therefore, through my recovery, I kept waiting for a sign that something good was going to happen to me as a result of my poor luck, but it never came.
Instead of a miracle, I received more disappointing news and missed more opportunities. Nothing seemed to be going in my favor so I lost my motivation to recover. I was convinced my drive would only come back once something good happened to me.
After about two days of sulking, I realized that I couldn’t just sit around and expect good things to happen; I had to make them happen. Did I then miraculously get the courage to get out of my pathetic hole and get on with my life? No, but I forced myself to make active steps to resume my life. Slowly but surely, I got some control of my life again and faced my problems head-on. (Well, not literally, of course.)
Mantras such as “Good times will come” and “There is always a light at the end of the tunnel” are true however, to live your life by them is a mistake. You can’t just sit around and expect good things to happen to you; you have to make them happen. Sometimes, all it takes is some frozen yogurt and change of attitude, and other times it will take weeks before you see “the light.” But, none of that matters. What matters is that you are actively trying to make yourself feel better, to get control of your life, and to make the changes you need to get the life you want.
As I write, my own set of “Concussion Chronicles” are still not over. I’ve made a countless number of dumb mistakes and I’ll be lucky if I finish the school year on time, but at least I know I tried my hardest to get where I am now.
Originally published in the May 2017 issue