Car accidents are traumatizing. If you have ever been in one, you know exactly what I am talking about. The constant replay of the incident in your head while you try to sleep. Driving seems to be out of the question and you are suddenly fearful of everything. It is not easy overcoming an accident. In fact, many have trauma for weeks, months, and perhaps depending on the severity of the accident, years!
I was in my first car accident on November 15, 2016. I was driving on the freeway to go to work like I had been doing for the past few months. Jamming to my Disney playlist (yall know I am a Disnerd so it shouldn’t surprise you) and watching the road, as any good driver does. Then out of nowhere, BAM! Another car came and T-boned me on my side, causing me to spin. I remember trying to stop my car from hitting any other cars and from it swerving out of control. I remember calling my dad and after that, I think I blacked out because I don’t remember saying the things my dad told me I said.
It was scary. To know people who have died in car accidents, that was my fear. I was an avid driver on the freeway, considering I drove to my college (which was about an hour and 45 minute commute) and to San Diego (another 2 hour commute). The freeway was my usual way of travel, making the streets not as much fun. So to get in an accident on the freeway when I was barely 10 minutes away from home was scary to say the least.
I did not have serious injuries that needed immediate medical attention, thank God, but my tiny body frame was always a cause of concern because I felt the impact more than someone with a bigger shape. But I walked away with swelling and pain. The next day was horrible, the pain I felt was numbing because I could barely get out of the bed.
And yes, I was traumatized from ever wanting to get behind the wheel. I spent the first month after my accident in lots of pain, fear, and tears. It was hard (and still hard) to put it behind me and not be scared to get on the road. How did I do it, you may ask?
Well I have an amazing support group with my family. My parents pushed me and coaxed me into driving. First they had me driving on the streets so I could get comfortable being behind the road. It took about 3 weeks for me to feel extremely comfortable behind the wheel. Next was the freeway and that was a nightmare. Not to mention, it was raining! Probably not the best time to drive the freeway for the first time since the accident but it made everything else easier.
After 2 months, I drove by myself on the freeway, passing the location I had the accident at. It was nerve wracking to say the least. But I kept fixated on the road and distracted myself from thoughts of the accident by singing to music.
The thoughts from an accident pop up at random times, while you’re sleeping, talking with a friend, even taking a shower. I can still hear the sounds I heard during the accident, and remember what it felt like to be hit with such force. Even almost 3 months later, I still have physical pains and mental trauma. But I am coping with it the best I know how to.
For anyone who has been in an accident, give yourself time to heal but do not allow it take complete control of your life. You need time to process it, mentally and emotionally. Allow that time, you deserve it. And then talk about it or write about it as often as you need to. Get it out your system. You are going to be frustrated at times, especially if your accident causes you to have physical issues that hinder you from daily life, like mine. Try not to let it get to you. You will get through this. You made it out alive. Some don’t. So, count your blessings and continue on with your life in a way that best suites you. And don’t lose confidence in your driving skills. Start off slow and work your way up. These things take time and rushing them is doing more harm than good.
Have any tips for getting over car accidents or want to share your accident story? Drop it in the comments! 😀