Monday, December 7, 2009

PTSD?

As I mentioned in my previous post I had a car accident in November 2008. I was rear ended while stopped at a red light. I suffered a back injury and have had problems with my right leg and foot. As if the pain of being injured wasn't enough I have come to realize how much I have suffered emotionally and mentally from my accident.

I am afraid of not only driving but also riding in a car. Because I was rear ended I am constantly afraid of it happening again and getting injured again whenever some one is driving too close behind me. This happens A LOT. Am I a magnet for people who don't understand that you shouldn't drive that close to people? Am I just hyper sensitive and that is why I notice it more than someone else? Every time I come to a yellow light I go into a panic. Should I hurry up and get through? What if it just turned red and I am almost to the light, do I slam on my breaks? I look in my rear view mirror to see how close the person is behind me to help me make the decision. Every intersection with a traffic light causes me stress and panic. Even a 5 minute ride down the street leaves me shaking and stressed out.

I refuse to drive in a city or on the highway. I schedule all appointments that require driving in these areas on Friday so Pat can drive. This is usually a day off for Pat and the one day we could have "alone time" without the kids. Regular followers of my blog know the constant drama we have and understand why this is a big thing to sacrifice. I'm also constantly telling Pat how to drive and look out for this car and that car, etc. Needless to say, he is being affected by this too.

I constantly look for reasons and excuses not to drive. Even lure of freebies and really good coupon sale matchups aren't enough to get me behind the wheel lately. I maybe drive one day a week and try to do as much as I can while I'm out so I don't have to drive again for a while.

I get startled when I hear the noise of an accident on tv and in movies. I don't even want to look at car accidents on the tv or on the side of the road. It freaks me out.

My pain is a constant reminder of the accident and the potential to be injured, maybe worse next time, by a car accident. I have been in a couple other accidents and have never had this reaction. I have always been able to "get back on the horse" so to speak.

I saw my Dr. because of my physical injuries and mentioned all these symptoms to her. She thinks I have PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am trying to get an appointment. My insurance company is starting to be a pain in the butt, pun intended, and the other party's insurance (she was at fault) has already called about a settlement. I have no idea what the hell I am doing or how to handle the insurance companies so I am off to see a lawyer tonight. I will have to drive at night. I am already anxious and trying to mentally prepare myself. Hopefully, finding out what my rights are will give me some piece of mind and help me get the treatment I need without getting screwed over.

2 comments:

StatMama said...

I'm really sorry you're going through this. I have experience with both PTSD (different reasons) and being in a serious car accident (twice).

Being in an accident can be really traumatic, and it sounds like you're dealing with a level of anxiety that is affecting your daily life, relationships, etc., and that does enter into anxiety disorder territory (PTSD, etc.). Definitely talk to someone about this, because the longer you let it go, the more it will own you. You deserve to be free of it, and to have your life back. It is completely possible, so be optimistic - but do know it takes work, and some of that work will be really uncomfortable at first.

Fear breeds fear. The more you fear something, the more control you give it over you. The more you avoid situations (having people take you places instead of driving), the more your fears will feel justified, and the less power you will have over the situation. New fears connected to the old ones, even remotely, will continue to develop, unless you put the brakes on (no pun intended). It has to be a very conscious decision in your mind, "I am NOT going to let this own me."

If it sounds like I've been there, I have. If you ever want to talk, e-mail me (staticvox at yahoo dot com).

Queenbuv3 said...

StatMama-Thanks for the support. It's been really embarrassing and hard for me to be so controlled by fear. I usually just keep on going no matter what the challenge but this year has beaten me down mentally in so many ways that I think it has left me vulnerable to this development in my mental health. I'm still waiting to get assigned to a therapist so I can deal with it. Unfortunately, they are booking for January.

I know I'll get over it eventually. I'm just accepting it for now. Like everything else it's happening for a reason. On the plus side I'm saving money on gas ;P