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PTSD after car accident? - March 17th 2017, 12:03 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering by the original poster or by a Moderator. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

Back in November, I was driving home from getting tacos when a man in a huge truck pulled out in front of me. I was going 40 mph (the speed limit) and I had less than 3 seconds to react. I still vividly remember the smoke from the air bags, the windshield cracking, and the pain. Oh my god the pain in my left arm was unbearable. I later found out at the ER that I fractured both bones in my wrist. (and now after a couple months of physical therapy, unfortunately I will have nerve damage and general discomfort the rest of my life, just to add to the stress.) But I was thankful to all the people who stopped and stayed with me until the ambulance and all the other first responders arrived. I was also thankful that I had my seat belt on, otherwise I would have easily gone through the windshield. Shit, the force was so hard that it drove a hole in the engine block draining the contents of my car into the street. We found out that the man who was driving didn't have insurance and his license was revoked as well. Now we have to go through even more hoops to get compensation for his actions (which is a long story; for another time). Now every time I drive, I get nervous. Extremely nervous. It's not as bad as when I first started driving again, but I can feel my palms get sweaty and my heart racing when I go through intersections, pass other people, make left hand turns, etc. I work with my therapist to ease the anxiety but I wanted to see if anyone else has been in a similar situation. How do I continue to deal with this? I can't not drive, ya know?




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Re: PTSD after car accident? - March 17th 2017, 07:03 AM

Hi Fallon,

I'm glad to hear that you are, overall okay. As you mentioned things could have been a lot worse, but it's still hard to go through this either way.

I've been in a couple car accidents over the past few years, so you're definitely not alone. One that I was in, I was checking my blind spot when the person in front of me slammed on their brakes and I wasn't able to stop in time. The bumper of the car went over my hood, so it missed the airbag triggers, but I was nearly stopped either way.

A couple of us were talking about this in chat a couple nights ago. I personally, take an anti-anxiety medication every night, and I also have an as needed one. I find that since I've been on the medication I haven't had as much trouble when behind the wheel, however, I have PTSD from another situation in my life.

PM me if you want to talk about any of this. I am here to listen. I'm glad that you are seeing a therapist as well

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Re: PTSD after car accident? - March 17th 2017, 01:10 PM

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Originally Posted by .Brittany. View Post
Hi Fallon,

I'm glad to hear that you are, overall okay. As you mentioned things could have been a lot worse, but it's still hard to go through this either way.

I've been in a couple car accidents over the past few years, so you're definitely not alone. One that I was in, I was checking my blind spot when the person in front of me slammed on their brakes and I wasn't able to stop in time. The bumper of the car went over my hood, so it missed the airbag triggers, but I was nearly stopped either way.

A couple of us were talking about this in chat a couple nights ago. I personally, take an anti-anxiety medication every night, and I also have an as needed one. I find that since I've been on the medication I haven't had as much trouble when behind the wheel, however, I have PTSD from another situation in my life.

PM me if you want to talk about any of this. I am here to listen. I'm glad that you are seeing a therapist as well

Stay Strong,
Brittany
Wow that sounds terrible, but I'm glad to hear you're okay though! I used to take medication for anxiety among other things but I have been off my medications for 5 months now and just yesterday my psychiatrist closed my case (yay!) so now I really don't have anything to lean on to ease the anxiety besides coping skills and whatnot. If I ever need to ask you something I'll definitely PM you, thank you!




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Re: PTSD after car accident? - March 17th 2017, 11:21 PM

I actually saw that post about your psychiatrist after I replied here! Something else you can try doing is listening to music. If you feel like you're starting to get overwhelmed then take deep breaths?



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Re: PTSD after car accident? - March 18th 2017, 12:09 AM

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Originally Posted by .Brittany. View Post
I actually saw that post about your psychiatrist after I replied here! Something else you can try doing is listening to music. If you feel like you're starting to get overwhelmed then take deep breaths?
I always listen to music when I drive; I get bored easily lmao. I'll try using deep breathing. I think my main problem is that I knew how little time I had from when I realized that he was stopping to impact so it just freaks me out how quick it can happen.




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Re: PTSD after car accident? - March 18th 2017, 02:03 PM

I have PTSD from other life events, but some of those events occurred in a car, and that has made driving difficult for me. I've done a few things to make my car a safer place and I thought I'd share with you.

One thing I did was slowly decorate my car. The first item I started with was a steering wheel cover, and as I made more achievements with my driving, I added a new decoration. One of the cool things about the steering wheel covers is that they can be fuzzy or bumpy; this helps stimulate your sense of touch and that can help keep you grounded. If you decide to do this, you can add more items as your anxiety decreases or as you work on your driving, as a reward.

A few months ago, I got a car air fresher to stimulate my sense of smell. After a period of time, you can go "nose blind" to different scents. But you can prevent that by getting two or three scents and switching them out. Smell is a good way to keep yourself grounded. You can put scented lotion on your hands before you drive as well.

You can also try keeping gum or any kind of hard candy in your glove box. Before you start driving, put a piece in your mouth and keep it there as it starts dissolving.

Keeping a few items that symbolize safety can be beneficial as well. For instance, in my trunk, I have an extra jacket because I like to be covered to feel secure when I'm anxious. I also have a memorial card of someone I love dearly; I have it clipped to my visor so they are always riding with me.

These things may or may not work for you, but they might be worth a try.


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Re: PTSD after car accident? - March 19th 2017, 01:31 AM

I have this! I get high anxiety while driving, I feel tired behind the wheel every time, and I some times I picture the accident and can smell the air bag smoke. I listen to music, have air fresheners, breathe. I don't have much advice on it, other than you are not alone, as you see, a lot of us can relate, sadly. But you survived it. I love the idea someone suggested about decorating your car and the idea of eating candy. Refrain from eating anything while driving though, unless you can just pop it in your mouth.

Sometimes, I'll put the air on or open a window, to keep myself focused and alert. Can you see a cognitive therapist? It always helps. I love it. He will help me to train my brain in new ways without medication. Though, I've gotten to the point where I realized I can't do this on my own anymore. And need medication.
Good luck. Hang in there.


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Re: PTSD after car accident? - March 19th 2017, 04:21 AM

Thank you all for the suggestions! I really do appreciate it. While it really is sad that we all shared the same experience, it just makes it a little more comforting knowing there's are other people that understand.




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