Concussion or more serious head injury? Please help!

Hi, this is a continuation and update since my last post about what I feel was an undiagnosed head injury that occurred in June of this year.

Long story short, I had a car crash. Immediately afterwards, I had no severe bruising or broken limbs, no blacking out, and no retrograde or anterograde amnesia as far as I was concerned. I remembered everything that happened, including what I was wearing at the time.

Got sent to hospital 4 hours later, diagnosed with whiplash (which went away within a week) and administered painkillers and told to go home and rest the same evening. My prognosis was a full recovery i.e. that I'd be back to normal in a few days.

I got progressively worse about 7 hours after that, with lapses in memory, severe anxiety, slurred speech and apparent personality changes. I thought it was just emotional shock, and didn't want to make a fuss and go back to the hospital, so I actually didn't go back to get checked out again.

I was forced to go back to college and study; I wasn't allowed to rest my brain until three days after the trauma.

Several weeks past and in those weeks I felt increasingly detached from myself, as if I was a ghost of myself just going through the motions; functioning at a lower level of conscious awareness; not fully experiencing life with the same kind of profound intellectual insight and deep reflection that came so naturally to me before my accident. I became emotionally flat and detached and experienced severe anhedonia; I could not enjoy the things that I most enjoyed in life- music, art, and film.

Went to several doctors who told me all of it was just emotional shock and that I might have had a mild concussion, but that it was a temporary injury that would clear in around 3 weeks or so. I phoned Headway, who told me the same thing.

But I remain utterly convinced that perhaps I had a more serious TBI, maybe even a brain haemorrhage, and that the damage is far more serious than I first thought. Did I have a concussion, or a more serious and undiagnosed brain injury? I still don't know the answer to that question.

It'a been nearly 5 months since my injury, and I've lost all hope. I remain emotionally flat; I don't enjoy the things I used to love passionately. I experience musical anhedonia; music doesn't move me in the way it used to, which is absolutely devastating as I was a musician and music was my greatest passion and natural talent. I have no enthusiasm for anything at all anymore, which is a stark contrast to the passionate and emotionally sensitive person I used to be before my car accident.

I really am at a loss as to what to do. Doctors and medical professionals alike simply do not know what is wrong with me. I feel like the shell of who I once was. I'm a young person, and I already believe I have ruined my life.

Does anyone know what could be wrong with me? Do you think that medical professionals could misdiagnose a more severe head injury? Or is this a psychological problem? Will I ever enjoy music again?

7 Replies

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  • Is it possible to go to your GP & ask for a ct scan to set your mind at rest? It sometimes seems that people don't access appropriate treatment unless they repeatedly visit their GP and keep on until the correct investigations are carried out. You describe a lack of motivation and feeling of detachment that's very common on this forum. I understand exactly how you feel. Perhaps take someone with you to see the GP who can support you?

  • CT, MRI and neuropsych tests. If you suspect visual issues, try vision therapy (which includes neuro-optometry). If balance is an issue, research vestibular therapy as well as vision therapy.

    I also have the anhedonia and lowered awareness.

  • If all of those tests turn out to be clear, then does that mean that the problem would be more psychological?

  • I don't like the idea of psychological diagnosis as a catch-all when the labs and cognitive tests have shown nothing. The NHS uses it that way, and I think it's wrong to do so. They also use depression/anxiety screening tests which aren't designed to differentiate between mental health disorders and brain injury. My brain fog, fatigue and inability to enjoy things - symptoms of my own injury - caused me to wrongly show up as depressed.

    Do *you* believe it's psychological, or partially psychological? My advice is to check out some reputable websites and good bloggers on brain injury, ditto on mental health disorders, and figure out which fits your symptoms more.

  • It's quite scary how there's not really an easy answer when it comes to diagnosing brain injury, especially mTBI. It really makes me wonder just how many people are walking around undiagnosed, under the illusion that they are "seemingly fine," but are having a myriad of problems later on in recovery that are actually post concussion symptoms. There are possibly millions of individuals who go under the radar because of the lack of awareness of concussion symptoms. Some people make a full recovery, but for that unlucky 15%, symptoms can last for months or be permanent. There really isn't a lot of support for people once they are discharged from A and E, and follow-up checks in cognition and memory 24 hours after the injury should be mandatory.

  • Hello again Lemon Pie. My reply to you remains the same as my previous one ; you really need to push for more investigation.

    See if your GP will refer you to a neurologist for assessment. The fact that your olfactory senses are affected suggests some sort of trauma to the brain, possibly coup or contra coup if the impact caused a sudden jolt to your head.

    There will possibly be a post traumatic element involved, but any bruising to the brain can take months to heal, and in the meantime you won't function 100%. Take care LP xx

  • Hi, definately go to your gp for referral for brain scan n see neurologist for a second opinion. Write down all of your symptoms/ differences since your crash and put down how it affects you and how you feel. Having these written down to show them is good because just sat talking it is so easy to forget something as you may get confused and mix things up. I know I do even mow n its 43 yrs since my TBI.

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