There are so many different situations that cause trauma. It can be something physical, it can be something emotional, or it can be a combination of both. No matter what kind, trauma should not be compared.
As I’ve been healing, both physically and emotionally, from my car accident, I haven’t been sticking to my own advice. I think about how much worse it could have been or how it’s not the most traumatic thing I’ve ever experienced. I see stories in social media or on the news, and feel guilty for something so minor in comparison.
However, that isn’t really being fair to myself.
I need to give myself all the time I need to heal, and let those feelings be whatever they are. Just because I wasn’t more seriously hurt, it doesn’t make what happened any less real or scary. Even though it only involved me, unlike my twin pregnancy, it doesn’t make it any less emotional.
While most of the damage was done to my car and not my body, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t damaged on the inside.
I think I’ve been beating myself up because I’m not getting over it fast enough.
I didn’t want to talk to people about the accident, I didn’t want to do all of the insurance stuff, and I didn’t want to drive.
I still don’t.
What I’ve learned
While I haven’t let it stop me from doing everything, it has slowed me down. It has made me feel guilty about the help I’ve accepted, and it has made me feel like a burden to those who have changed their schedules to accommodate me.
Because of that, it has given me so much gratitude for the people in my life.
My husband has supported me completely. He’s taken the boys to summer school every day since the accident, since I couldn’t bring myself to revisit the scene yet. He’s called the insurance company when I couldn’t. He even took all the boys on an overnight trip (a big thanks to his brother and sister-in-law too!) to give me some much-needed rest.
My Dad has been amazing. He’s picked the boys up from summer school every day, and then usually took them on a special outing. They’ve gone to library story hours, the zoo, and the park. They love spending time with Grandpa, and he loves spending time with them too.
My In-laws have taken each of the boys for an overnight, come to watch them at the house, and been there for any support I need.
My friends have helped with rides, groceries, and play dates. Just checking in on me has meant so much.
And, of course, my mom. She’s always there for me, no matter what. To talk, to listen, to let me borrow her car, to drive me around…
This accident has really taught me a lot.
Out of bad, there definitely can come some good. There is also no limit on trauma, and everyone deals with it differently.
Healing from trauma doesn’t always go in a straight line either. As with life, there’s bound to be some shake-ups.
After I finally worked up the courage to rent a car, of course, it couldn’t be easy.
My husband dropped me off about a mile from our house at the rental company, only to find out that they had no cars in the lot. There Internet reservation system takes into account cars in all of their lots, not specific ones. A pretty silly system, if you ask me.
So, I walked home, tried to get another car from that company, but they weren’t at all helpful. Cancelled the reservation, and made a new one for a few days later.
A headache, but it turned out OK.
Cut to a few days later.
I’d been driving, and I was doing OK. Honestly, I’ve never liked driving to begin with, so OK is the best that can be expected.
I didn’t really go too many places, just the gym, the grocery store, or somewhere with the kids.
One morning, I was on my way to the gym. I was in the left-hand turn lane again (luckily, not the same one as the accident!) when I heard that familiar crunch. It was a red arrow, and no other traffic was moving, but next to me on my right-hand side, someone hit into the car in front of them, which was right next to me.
I didn’t see it happen, and I couldn’t see the damage, but that noise just made my heart jump into my throat. I saw the man get out of his vehicle and go to talk to the person that rear-ended him. I could see the irritation and disbelief on his face.
He got back into his car, and both cars went through the green arrow, then pulled into a parking lot.
I also had to pull over. Not there with them (I really didn’t witness anything, just heard the noise) but I needed to calm down. I took some deep breaths, texted my husband, and waited for my heart rate to slow down.
So, as you’ve probably guessed (since it’s almost August!) I didn’t make any goals for July. I had to be selfish and just focus on one thing at a time. Sometimes, it was just getting through the afternoon.
Or renting a car.
I’ve not been writing much, and motivation was really hard to find at first.
But, I’m getting there.
I’m healing one day at a time.
I’ve gone back to work. I’m looking for a new car. I’m starting to plan my next moves…household organization, back-to-school transitions, summer road trip, NICUversary, etc.
It’s a little overwhelming at times, but I am still taking it slow. Or as slow as life will let me.
So, stay tuned…and keep sending those good vibes my way.
Thank YOU for all your support through this, and always.
Julie A says
Ahhh, trauma. Such a tough topic. So difficult to understand when you’re living it. But I’m sure more great life perspectives will be waiting for you on the other side. Until then, carry on bravely!
Annette Dattilo says
I’m so sorry you have been going though all of that. It is wonderful to hear that you have an amazing support system while you heal. Warm wishes.
Shann, your writing especially in sharing moments of vulnerability like this is such a selfless and brave act and I’m sure you’re helping a lot of individuals who may be going through the same thing. Taking time for yourself, especially to heal is not selfish at all and neither is accepting help from others. That’s what we all should do for one another. Sending lots of positive vibes your way. Hugs, Nis
Thank you so much Anis XXXOOO
Sending those good vibes! You have an amazing husband to give you such support. It is always hard dealing with trauma. Baby steps.
You are amazing. The way you have been coping is an example to anyone dealing with a physical or emotional trauma. Thank you for making yourself so vulnerable. It is going to help many people.
Trauma can be so incredibly debilitating. Take your time and don’t rush.
Penny Struebig says
Hope writing helps you get through this! I totally hear how you are feeling. Getting over something like what you’ve been through is just not easy. Thinking about you!
Thank you Penny!
Lecy | A Simpler Grace says
I’m so sorry that you’re struggling with this. Physical and emotional trauma is so difficult because no two people experience it the same and we all heal differently. Hoping you find some peace soon! <3
You’re so right – trauma can be emotional, physical, mental, and it doesn’t matter how “big” or “small” it might seem to you – or others- you can’t account how you feel. I’m so glad that you have support though. I’ve never driven a car in my life. No big accident or anything, but with my anxiety, etc. I find cars scary enough just being a passenger so actually driving TERRIFIES me. So on that level, I get it.
Aw honey, hugs!! I know exactly what it’s like, took me months and months to drive again, and then learn how to drive stick in a brand new car.
Take it easy and be kind to yourself babe. xo