If I could compose a playlist for what Finland is like in November, the first song would be, “The Sound of Silence” By Simon and Garfunkle. It’s that song that has that line, “Hello darkness my old friend” That’s Finland. I have 32 days left here, and I cannot wait to go. It’s nice here, there are definitely things I love about it, but I’m continually looking at my calendar. I want to come home because there are things I miss about home. The one I can think about right now, a proper routine. The other, the sun. The sun goes down at 3:15pm, last week it was 3:30, the amount of daylight we get is less and less. The sun also never gets to the highest point, its like as soon as it comes up it starts to go down.
I’m living my “best life” as my friend Priscilla says, but I don’t know if I’m all that happy right now. All the stress is something I can deal with, the darkness isn’t. I wake up, and it already feels like the suns going down, there have been days where I’ve missed the sun completely. I feel like I’m back in first year dealing with post concussing syndrome. Now I can explain this as best as I can and hope that it’s understood. A concussion is basically terrible head trauma, it can come from a car accident, a hit to the head, and if you’ve had multiple concussions, I’ve heard even a violent sneeze can do it. I don’t know how true that is. Below you’ll find the best way to get a concussion. The guy in white is Paul Kariya, one of the most exciting hockey players and a hall of Famer. The guy red is Scott Stevens, he hit people like that for a living, and he’s also a hall of Famer. So I’ve had 6 concussions, maybe 7, I fell pretty hard out here, and since then it’s been a little tricky when it comes to concentrating and sleeping. I know the symptoms, and I don’t think what happened to me here lead to a concussion.
I had PCS in my first year, it’s basically having all the symptoms of a concussion, but it lasts a lot longer. Symptoms such as noise sensitivity, problems with concentration and memory, irritability, depression and anxiety may be called ‘late symptoms’ because they generally do not occur immediately after the injury, but rather in the days or weeks after the injury. Nausea and drowsiness commonly occur acutely following a concussion. A headache and dizziness normally occur immediately after the injury, but also can be long-lasting.
The depression is what I want to touch on, when you suffer a concussion or at least the one I had, I was extremely sensitive to light. So sensitive, I didn’t go outside, I kept the lights off in my room, I was in constant darkness. I slept during the day and stayed up at night, I also cut off any interactions I had with people. Think about it this way, you have a routine (Gym, class, work, class, nap, volunteer, gym, homework, sleep) Now that’s gone and you can’t go outside, your body starts to change, you go days without talking to people, all the things you built your life around are gone. Everything you knew is gone, it’s sad, it makes you sad, sad to the point where you begin to doubt yourself, so you go to sleep. Your new routine becomes (Sleep, meandering around the flat, turning on the computer, trying to read but not being able to because you can’t concentrate, so you sleep again.) PCS is not something that I’d say I have anymore, I do have a slight problem with bright lights but nothing compared to what it used to be.
This past year I wanted to play Rugby, and when I went to get my check up, I was told that I probably shouldn’t due to the amount of concussions I’ve had. Long-term effects of sustaining multiple concussions can result in memory loss, depression and anxiety, sleep disturbances, sensitivity to light and noise. Memory loss is not really something I feel I have, I don’t remember any of my concussions just the descriptions of the hits. I do have sleep disturbances, but it usually stems from me being in a new place… or the fact that I’ve had 8 cups of coffee. The depression and anxiety is something I … the depression is not something I think I suffer from anymore. I do have my days where I feel down, maybe more than down but it always goes away. Anxiety IS something I have trouble with even now.
But this post was supposed to be about Finland right? Right, it’s dark, it’s cold, and I’d like to come home because I don’t feel very happy out here anymore, but I’ve read that that’s expected. Finland is a hard place, it’s supposed to be one of the happiest countries in the world, but there is an increasing number of alcohol-related health problems. Suicide rates have fallen in recent years, but mental health is still an issue, one the government here takes extremely important. I hear it takes about an entire year to get acclimatised to Finland. I’m sure if a Fin came and lived with me in Canada they’d find it hard too. I’m a little, or a lot homesick and that’s perfectly fine.
The ambiguity of this post is brought to you by me not wanting to study.