Five Steps For Emotional Healing After a Car Crash | Caravan Sonnet

Five Steps For Emotional Healing After a Car Crash

June 20, 2019

If you or a loved one have been unfortunate enough to be involved in a vehicle accident, this may be one of the most traumatic experiences you and your family will ever face. While it’s well understood that physical injuries can be life changing, emotional trauma often goes undiagnosed for months or even years after the incident. It is understandable that you would prioritise treatment for physical injuries in the immediate aftermath, but it is important to consider the profound psychological consequences of the trauma as well.

Life may never be the same again after an accident. If somebody has died, the weight of guilt can be crippling for survivors, and not only for the driver. If you have sustained injuries that change how you are able to function in the world, you may have to approach life differently. Because of these and many other factors, countless survivors of car crashes experience depression long after their injuries have healed. They may also struggle to sleep, gain or lose weight drastically, withdraw from society, or suffer bouts of crying.  If you are suffering in this way, or if you’ve witnessed this in somebody you love, remember that post-accident depression is a real thing, and it can be healed. These tips will help you take those first steps towards feeling normal again.

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Get Professional Help

A mental health professional can be a key figure in the healing process. They provide a forum for open discussion and the processing of emotion, without your having to worry about burdening them or hurting their feelings. It is not unusual for car crash survivors to display symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and if you’re already in treatment, this is likely to be picked up on and treated appropriately. Therapy is often called the ‘talking cure’ because the act of opening up and verbalising one's feelings helps to spur on the healing process. Talking really helps, even outside of the professional therapy room, but not everybody finds it easy (or even possible) to speak freely to their friends or family, especially if you feel responsible for their wellbeing. Calling in the help of other professionals can help ease your burden in other ways. If the cost of treatment for your injuries is keeping you up at night, put experienced personal injury lawyers on your side. If you’re busy and stressed in your work life, consider hiring a personal assistant, so you can focus on your recovery. Whatever the sources of strain are in your life, there are professionals out there ready to pick up the slack.

Join a Support Group

It’s common for people who have survived car crashes to feel alone in the world, as the experience of trauma can be extremely isolating. You might feel like nobody understands what you have been through, and therefore nobody can help you through. However, literally millions of others have gone through similar experiences. Whether you connect with others online or find a local group in your area, it can be helpful to listen to others' coping stories, and start to share your own. Signing up for a support group or forum might feel strange at first, even a little uncomfortable, but the support you receive will equip you to cope better with your situation. As a participant, you might share encouragement and coping strategies, while drawing inspiration from others like yourself.

Mindfulness Meditation

It’s normal to feel swamped by unpleasant thoughts and feelings after an accident. The incident itself may play over and over in your head like a video reel, you might be questioning your role or fault in the accident, or you might be experiencing acute negative emotions such as rage, guilt, hopelessness and fear. It’s important to remember at this time that these negative thoughts and feelings are normal, and they do not have to dominate your existence. Mindfulness meditation is an ancient practice that can help you identify and distance yourself from the negative thoughts and emotions that rear up after an accident. While you may not see results overnight, it is likely that you will feel calmer after only a few meditation sessions.

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Stay Busy Doing Something You Love

If you’re struggling to free yourself from unpleasant memories of the crash, sometimes the best thing to do is distract yourself by engaging in activities that tie up your mind. For example, performing a challenging task like playing a musical instrument can be engrossing enough to make the unpleasant stream of memory stop or at least slow down for a time. While it’s great if you can get into something rewarding and satisfying, don’t feel like the activity you choose necessarily has to be constructive: when you’re recovering from a trauma, it can be beneficial to take the pressure off, and give yourself to space to process and recover. Doing activities you really enjoy will encourage you to feel good about life again. Whether it’s watching a film, doing a painting, or building a picnic table, doing a hobby or leisure activity can provide some welcome relief from the racing thoughts that can lead you into a dark place. Solitude is important for coming to terms with loss and trauma, but spending time with friends and family can be a key part of recovery, too. If possible, try to balance solo activities with enjoyable things you like to do with others. Simply watching a light-hearted comedy with someone you love can do wonders for the mood. Don’t under-estimate the power of laughter!

Getting Back into Regular Routine

Being involved in a vehicle accident is one of the most disruptive events in life. Even a solid routine can be blown to pieces by the aftermath of such a traumatic incident. Following recovery from injury, it’s important to try, piece by piece, to return to normal life. While you may not be able to dive right back into the life you had before, it’s worth slowly re-introducing habits and routines to give you a sense of normalcy and continuity. Whether that means taking the dog for its daily walk around the block, cooking dinner, or going back to work part-time, you’ll be amazed how grounding these day-to-day routines can be. Don’t push yourself. Sooner or later, your life will begin to come together again.

Whether it’s been one day since the accident, or one year, dealing with the psychological and emotional trauma can be just as challenging as recovering from physical injury. These suggestions may help you gradually return to normal.

*contributed Post*

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