How do you know when something is wrong?
This can be a tricky question to answer and even more problematic when the wounds may be invisible. Our guest today, Bella Paige, shares her story of having concussions throughout her life, how that affected her, and how did it leave her feelings.
Through the time we have been doing CausePods, a common theme of “I just felt like the only one” has been the genesis for creating a podcast to fight that thought and remove the stigma related to a topic.
The feeling of community around a niche group of people can be powerful, and the Post Concussion Podcast is no exception.
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Hi and welcome to CausePods, I’m your host, Mathew Passy. Here at CausePods, we have one simple mission to highlight the amazing folks who are using podcast as a way to raise awareness for good causes and make the world a better place, whether it’s in their own local community or their taking on global issues.
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All right, once again, we’re going to take you to our neighbors to the north up in Canada, we are chatting with Bella Page. She is the host and the creator of the Post Concussion podcast. It is talking about all the realities of living with concussions and what it’s like to try and get back to normal life. Bella, thank you so much for joining us here on the podcast today.
Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. So I have to imagine that the reason why you are working on a podcast on this particular topic is that you yourself have dealt with a or many concussions in your life.
I yes, I’ve had over 10 concussions. Are you a football player? What is it that you do below that? You’ve had so many concussions? A lot of them.
I did sports. I was a little bit of an adrenaline junkie as a kid, but they were from things like showjumping, which is quite a few of them from horses. And then other ones were just like freak accidents, one snowboarding, one snowmobiling.
Just bad luck, I guess, as a Canadian adventurer just hitting all the check marks, there are things that you could do that would, I imagine, the first time it happened. Did you know that it was a concussion or was it one of those things where, you know, you bought your head or whatever, and then later you started to realize something was amiss and went to figure it out? Or how did that all like how did you realize that concussions were playing a large role in what was happening with you?
For sure I did. In the first few were quick. Like I would say I was back to normal within a few weeks, so I didn’t notice much. The I was about eight when I got the first one and I didn’t think anything about it until I went to dance the next day. And my teacher called my parents and said, you need to come and get pela shoes off today. It was actually not until I was about 15 that I started to notice headaches and I had a headache every single day for seven years once they started.
Do you mind if I ask how old you are now? 23. Wow.
So having had that many concussions. Are you still dealing with symptoms of a day to day now, or have there been treatments or things to kind of help you with that?
For sure? I still deal with some symptoms, like I don’t think any of them are all going to go away forever, but I’ve learned how to control. We call them triggers like I know what to not eat, what to not do or to not like I know how to not push myself so that I end up with symptoms for most of the time I can manage them. The only thing now I have to carry around little headphones that are almost invisible.
They go inside my ears for when I’m in noisy places just to drown out some of the noise.
I’m curious. You mentioned what to eat. Is it common that food would be a trigger for symptoms?
Yeah, things like because inflammation is a really big problem after any type of brain concussion injury. So when you eat things like sugar or a lot of bread, you can kind of increase that inflammation to the symptoms can increase as well.
So you talk about concussions being invisible, right? We you know, you pop on looking at you obviously, folks, when you’re just listening to this, but you’re not in a wheelchair, you don’t have crutches, you don’t have a big, you know, bandage wrap around your head. So. Right. Talking to you or approaching you on the street, nobody would kind of know what’s going on. So is that a big concern for folks who suffer from concussions?
Yeah, that’s actually one of the reasons I really got into this, is that it is invisible. And one of the funny things is when I started the podcast, I had people reach out who I known all through, say, high school. And they had no idea, like, oh, I know you missed a lot of school and you weren’t feeling well, but I didn’t realize how bad it was, because when you looked at me when I’d show up to school, I would smile.
I would laugh. You can hide a lot of the symptoms because like you said, I’m not walking around with a big bandage on my head, though.
I did really want that for a while. I remember, like, I just need to break all the bones in my body so people realize that I’m not okay.
Given how often they’ve happened to. Have you ever thought about or do you wear like a helmet when you’re do you wear a helmet and other seemingly normal activities and most people with it?
I don’t I know I skated this time this year for the first time in. Ever and I was actually really nervous, I was like, what if I fall because I wasn’t wearing helmet, I was wearing a hat and I never really thought about it, but I definitely wear more protection compared to most people when I go like I do bike and when I dirt bike, I’m like head to toe protection now that it prevents a concussion.
But just in case I have to ask, have your doctors or anybody else told you, like, stop doing some of these things? I mean, I appreciate being an adrenaline junkie. Not that I am, but I appreciate that. Right. It’s a lifestyle. It’s not just a thing. And so has anybody said to you, like, yeah, maybe not the dirt biking, maybe not the skating or anything like that.
Like, at first I got told to stop everything and that was really hard. And then two years ago I got cleared by doctors for everything they said, you know, you’re doing great. Your symptoms are down. So like live your life. So I decided to get back into showjumping, which was my, like, career in sport when I was a teenager, was supposed to be my career like well into the rest of my life. And I tried.
And I think after is about a month. All the symptoms came back because of the movement. I find I find sports like I ride a dirt bike, but I don’t ride it like crazy. I am not out there to around race. I’m not competitive. It’s more of just like a casual thing to get the adrenaline high that I kind of need because when I had to quit sports, it really affected my mental health like detrimentally. So I have to find a balance because if I don’t do anything or no sports or no like, if I take all of that out of my life, then I just I can’t really mentally handle it.
So that’s probably my biggest issue.
You had all these concussions when you were younger. You’re older now, still doing these activities. What made you stop and think I should do a podcast about this?
I wanted to write a blog.
That was my first well, I wanted to write a book that was my first goal. But I couldn’t write a book because I couldn’t read through most of my concussion recovery. And I was like, wow, this doesn’t make a lot of sense. And then my I’m a huge podcast fanatic, like I listen to podcasts all day. So my brother was like, why don’t you start podcast then? Why don’t you start podcast? So he just kept drilling it in my head for like months.
And actually he’s the one who found your podcast because he finds every single podcast, like you said, you should listen to CausePods was like, OK.
And he he pushed it. And then it took me a few months and I was like, well, this is a really good idea. Now I just have to figure out how. And I didn’t want to do just doctors because I thought it was really important to get it. The stories of people who have survived from concussions, because when I was going through it, I felt like I was the only person in the world going through it. And I didn’t realize that there were other people, like so many people out there, like me.
And so the stories have allowed me to share with other people that you’re not alone. And it just it’s a lot of like it’s brought people together. And I really like the community aspect of it. You know, for so many that has become the biggest driver of doing a podcast and sustaining a podcast is creating that sense of community, creating an outlet, creating, you know, relationships, whether it’s the guests, the listeners, if you do talk to experts and things like that, just it could be such a fantastic networking and growth tool in that regard that I can appreciate that.
You know, I’m seeing your setup. You’ve got a good microphone. You’ve got some sound behind you. So it seems like on the tech side, you’re in good shape and we talk about that a lot.
So I actually want to ask you, when you were working on this, because your brother is going to push you to do it, but you enjoy it.
How did you decide on what was going to be your format, your concept, your content for the show? I don’t think we discussed that enough. And it probably would be useful for folks who are listening and thinking about starting their own kind of CausePods.
Well, I didn’t want it to just be me because I thought people would get bored of my voice. So I don’t think people do get bored, but I couldn’t think of anything.
I wanted to add more. I wanted to hear from other people with just the aspect of concussions because it’s so sensitive. And I believe, like, my story is really important and I talk about it a lot in my episodes. But I think it’s important to get all the other insights because my brain injuries and concussions all happen from sports, but they happen everywhere, like I’m getting them from somebody slipped on the stairs, they walked into a door like so it’s important to realize that what does your community need?
And I found that my community needed to hear from everyone to understand that this happens anywhere at any time. And then I did some research into how to record them. That was I watched a lot of videos like YouTube with my best friend, and it took me a few months to actually hit like a release and episode. Another thing I thought was really important was I didn’t want to be last minute. I didn’t want to be recording and posting the next week because I didn’t want to handle I didn’t want the stress.
So I was like, I need to bank at least five episodes before and launch anything. And then I did a lot of research on tech. I wanted to do not the top of the line, but not the bottom. So I found kind of that middle range of everything. I am pretty good with technology, like I have three screens in front of me right now, so it definitely helps that I am quite comfortable with it. The only thing I was not comfortable with is editing.
Don’t know how to edit any of that stuff. So that has been probably the biggest thing that I decided to outsource actually for myself, because I just didn’t it wasn’t for me. I love to talk to people and communicate with people and that was for me. But the background of it was not.
And, you know, that’s OK. I think it is good for podcasters to know how to edit their show. Right. Understand the workflow. It’ll help them prepare their content better and it will help them, you know, if something were to happen and they’ve got they’ve got to take over and things like that. But it’s absolutely OK to figure out what your strengths are, what they are, and find help out there to get it done in a way that allows you to continue to your show.
So, you know, we are all for that. And certainly as someone who does it for a living, I’m certainly going to be OK with, you know, outsourcing that kind of work.
What have been the biggest challenges you faced in doing this since you are, as you said, you are pretty tech savvy. You connected to our conversation with No Problem, which.
Admittedly, lots of folks who we talked to do have some issues with platforms like Riverside or squad cars or even Zoom, but what were some of the unique challenges you faced in this podcast, either growing the show, launching the show, conceptualizing like where were the hurdles you had in finding your stride with this?
One of the biggest things was getting used to listening to my voice and post because I couldn’t like it still takes me a bit of time to sit because I like pre edit my episodes and of listen and make notes and it takes me a bit to like hit Plasto to listen to my own voice. That was a big step and growing it, it’s such a large audience, but actually finding it is definitely something that takes some time.
So as part of your appearance here on CausePods, we are promoting the Concussion Legacy Foundation. You want to tell us about what they do and why you are lending your support to them today? For sure.
The Concussion Legacy Foundation is very into research, which is not my field. So I think it’s really important that that is existing because we need more information. What we know about brain injuries and concussions is pretty much nothing if you compare it to other illnesses and diseases. So what they do is you can actually donate your brain to them and then they do research like you have big football players, hockey players, and then a lot of its athletes. But you have veterans as well, donate their brains and then they do a lot of research into CTE and just trying to and they create a lot of awareness around concussions as well.
I assume, given your support for this organization and your experience that you have made, the decision that you will be donating your yourself to science?
Yes, I will. Very brave and very good of you.
So for anybody who’s listening to this and wants to help out its Concussion Foundation dot org, you can easily donate, raise awareness and show your support for the Post Concussion podcast and Balo by checking them out.
For anybody who is listening to this, thinking about starting a podcast, thinking about supporting their cause, what would be your advice to them to go down this route? Just hit play.
It takes a long time or hit record to start because it takes time. But finding people that come on the podcast has been actually one of the easiest things, because people if you find a community, people want to share, people want to talk to you. And as long as you’re welcoming, I’m sure you could find guests. And if you want to do a solo podcast, too, I listen to lots of them. That’s also great. Just.
I have a couple episodes ready, so you don’t feel so stressed once you launch. That’s true. Worst thing in the world is the launch of Podcast Me Anything, you have to episode four and the guest Belles and now you’re panicking, you’re scrambling or you’re skipping a week. And we know consistency is key when putting out any kind of content. So definitely, definitely some great advice.
Once again, it’s the Post Concussion podcast, the hosts page. You can learn more about it at post concussion Inc.com Slash podcast. We’ll have a link to that as well as Apple, Google, Spotify in the show, notes here at CausePods and the Concussion Foundation Googling for the Concussion Legacy Foundation. Bella, thank you so much for taking time to tell us about your calls here on the show today.
Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. Thanks for listening to this episode of CausePods. If you’ve been inspired by the work of our guest, please check out the show notes of this episode in your podcasting app or at CausePods.org.
There you will find links to their show, their website, their podcast, links on Apple, Google, Spotify, as well as a link to support the charity that they highlighted here. In this episode. You will also find a CausePods.org boet to subscribe to this show on your favorite podcasting app, How to sign up to be a guest on this show and a link to our Facebook group, which is going to have special resources just for the folks who are podcasting for a good cause.
And I can tell you right now, we’ve got one great deal from our friends, a pod page. But you’re only going to learn about it and get that special deal if you are a member of the Facebook group for CausePods. And before I go, I should say thank you in particular. The show is edited and produced by Ben Killoy of the Military Veteran Dad podcast and what a great job he has done. And all this is made possible because of the great support that I received from Shannon Rojas here at the podcast.
Consulted Dotcom once again.
If you want to learn more, go to CausePods.org. Thank you so much. And we will see you next time on CausePods.