The Current

How a concussion led Carla Ciccone to value life's fragility

Four years ago, Carla Ciccone was out for dinner when a stack of plates smashed onto her head. Diagnosed with a concussion which led to a deep depression, she says the experience turned out to be a blessing because of what she learned along the way to recovery.
Carla Ciccone's life changed dramatically when her concussion symptoms developed into clinical depression. (Courtesy of Carla Ciccone)

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>> The Disruptors

Carla Ciccone's life changed when she was out for dinner one night about four years ago. Everyone at the table was waiting for dessert to arrive when, all of a sudden, a stack of plates slammed into the back of her head.

"It felt like someone threw a brick through the restaurant and that it hit the back of my head," Carla recalls.

"There was a guy across the table from me and his eyes just went super-wide because I guess the sound had been so loud. And I was seeing stars actually, like a cartoon character."
'I'm better now. Mental health is something I actively work on every day,' Carla Ciccone says she has a new awareness about staying on top of her own mental health. (Courtesy of Carla Ciccone)

Carla was eventually diagnosed with a concussion. And if that wasn't bad enough, the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome led her to develop a major depression.

She says after a concussion, a patient is supposed to rest and do nothing.

"Nothing means you don't read, you don't watch TV. You can't really go outside because the sun hurts your eyes, so it's basically like sitting in a dark room doing nothing."

You can't even sleep, says Carla. "That could be bad for you too." 

But one day after waking up from frightening suicidal thoughts, Carla went to seek help from her doctor.

From that day forward, she has been actively working on her own mental health and considers her post-concussion journey a blessing.

"The experience has really made me aware of how fragile ... our lives are," says Carla.

"And how important it is to appreciate what you have, and to work on making the best of what you have."

Listen to Carla Ciccone's moment of disruption story.

This segment was produced by The Current's Kristin Nelson.