On this day last year, I was in a car accident. Just thinking about it now makes my head hurt. I was driving home, only 4 blocks away from my apartment, when a speeding car completely ran the stop sign and crashed into me. I remember seeing a man standing on the corner, walking his dog in the quiet residential area. I remember being so happy in anticipation of the upcoming three-day weekend.
My head at hit the driver side window and my seat belt tightened across my chest. I was frozen. A man in a silver sedan exits his car; he was wearing baggy, distressed blue jeans, a white shirt, and a bright red hat. He walks towards me but stays at a distance. I exit my car still in shock. He mumbles something.
“Are you okay?”
“I don’t know, I think so.”
A Man whose house is on the corner comes outside, he saw the whole thing. What happened? I need to call the police, I need to take a picture, all these thoughts are running through my head. I turn to my car to retrieve my phone, the man in the red hat sprints to his car and drives away.
Shortly after the accident, I began to experience headaches, extreme waves of sadness, shortness of breath, and light and noise sensitivity. I was in denial about how hurt I actually was, I could not focus because I knew I had some much I needed to do; call my insurance, call my job, tell my parents, and find a collision shop. I felt so hurt and betrayed; hurt by this indecent person, betrayed by the police for not caring. I kept having to repeat the story and each time I would burst into tears. I went to work the next day in a complete haze. My coworker kept trying to convince to stay home or go straight to the doctor, but I told her to pick me up anyway. Two hours into the work day, I was quivering in the corner, everything was too much. I ended up going to the doctor, as you may have guessed, I had a concussion, bruising, whiplash, and emotional distress. I was out of work for a week and a half and spent a lot of the time sleeping and crying. My body was extremely sore and my headaches were intense. It was nothing that I had experienced before. It took a good month before I actually started to feel like myself again.
Early on, I realized I was grateful and aware of so many things, a few were:
On that day, complete strangers who lived in the neighborhood surrounded me so I would not be alone. In a time where there is a lack of trust or a lack of general compassion, it was so touching to experience this. I was able to provide witnesses for my insurance company and was able to feel safe while waiting for the police, despite their unhelpfulness.
When I drive home through that area, I usually see kids riding their bikes or walking about. I was so glad it was me and not one of them. I do not know if this person was distracted, I would have been heartbroken to hear of something fatal.
The material things are not as important as ourselves. I was upset about having to fix my car, but thank goodness that is all I had to do. I could have been seriously hurt or worse. I can replace my car and I cannot replace me.
The mind and body are incredibly resilient. It can be hard to bounce back from an emotional or physically harmful event. As much as we want to speed up the healing process, we cannot. Healing takes times, we are all very resilient.
Today, my driving anxiety can be through the roof, but I was always an anxious driver and overly cautious. My hearing is still very sensitive which comes with its own set of challenges. It totally sucked, but it is alright. That was just only one of several obstacles that continue to come into my life. I may not come out untouched, but I usually can smile once I reach the other side.
Take of yourselves, folks!