This post is about mental health after a car accident.
It was an early Sunday morning, and I was on my way to volunteer at church. I was met with a motorcyclist only a few minutes away from arriving, and a head-on collision occurred. It was a freak accident that left families destroyed, and I ended up as the sole survivor.
My life was never the same after surviving that accident.
Even though the coroner had determined it to be a freak accident, I still lived with survivor’s guilt for many years. Honestly, it still gets to me now from time to time.
I have, however, learnt how to regain my mental strength and overcome emotional pain to live a fulfilling and happy life.
This post will be about how my mental health survived a fatal car accident.
Mental Health After A Car Accident.
No one wakes up happy and healthy expecting to die or to be in a traumatic event. Prior to that day, I was living my best life and enjoying everything from my career to friends and holidays. I was only in my mid-twenties.
Now in my late 30s, I have learned a lot from that fateful day and how I managed to take hold of my mental health to survive and choose life over death, even in the aftermath of the accident.
Here are the steps I took to heal and secure my mental strength for years to come:
1. Sought help from a mental health professional.
I was initially scared and worried about seeking help from a counsellor and psychologist. I didn’t understand mental health and had no prior experience with PTSD or depression (conditions I would later be diagnosed with).
I was worried about what it meant to seek treatment for a mental health condition and what my friends, family, and work would think. I am so glad that today we are breaking the stigma.
Once I sought help from a psychologist, I could only fully unravel what happened that fateful day. Before then, I was too scared to dig deep into my heart and soul to rehash the hard truths about being a car accident survivor and living with survivors’ guilt.
I didn’t want to think about it and would much rather go about my day pushing those thoughts and feelings deep down inside me.
Unfortunately, when we do that, our bodies decide to deal with it anyways, and we then lose control. Our bodies may do the following:
- Gain excess weight or loose wight too quickly
- Find it difficult to get out of bed and be sluggish
- Develop migraines
- Develop cancers and other diseases from so much stress and inflamation in the body
I quickly learned that taking care of my mental health meant taking care of my physical body. I was setting myself up for a much happier and healthier future.
2. I Did activities I loved, like dancing and going to the beach.
I absolutely love the beach. The blue hues of the ocean and the sound of the rolling waves brings me so much happiness.
The sunshine on my face also helps restore a smile where I frown. The beach may not be for you, so find something you love and carve out time for that in your schedule. You will not regret it!
I also love a good dance party in my living room, out in the nightlife or at the gym. Dancing moves my body, clears my mind and gives me those endorphins.
If you have experienced a car accident and wondering how your mental health will survive, I promise you that doing things you love and enjoy regularly will help (make sure you incorporate this in your overall treatment plan).
Only doing activities you love without engaging in therapy or seeking medical assistance won’t improve you; you must include an overall treatment plan tailored to you with a mental health specialist.
3. Improved my mental health after a car accident by Spending time with my closest friends
I had people in my life who meant well but always seemed to say the wrong thing. On the other hand, there were a select few who, instead of trying to fix the problem, just sat and listened to me, cared for me and tried to make me smile.
I will always be forever grateful to those who loved me and showed me compassion in my time of need.
Here is the do’s and dont’s of speaking with someone who is going through trauma:
4. I Watched funny movies.
Laughter is so good for our mental health. I was striving to improve mentally, and all that striving exhausted me.
One day I chose to sit down and watch a funny movie. I enjoyed it so much that I made it a weekly thing on my to-do list.
If funny movies are not your thing, find something light-hearted and full of comedy to make you smile.
Even if you don’t see a significant change straight away, over time, laughing does help to improve our mental state of mind.
5. I Exercised to improve my mental health after a car accident.
I have never been someone who has loved the gym. I rather sit on the couch and watch reality TV; however, exercise was paramount in my healing journey.
I’m serious; even after the fatal car accident where I had no energy and lacked a lot of motivation, when I could exercise, working up a sweat did wonders for my mental health. It’s a practice I still do now.
I love to dance, so I do a gym workout that is incorpates a lot of dance and aerobics. I also love listening to my favourite podcast while walking, making exercise fun and interesting.
Not gonna lie, it’s not always easy to get started, but trust me, it’s worth it. Exercise releases these natural happy hormones called endorphins, making you feel like a million bucks. Plus, it can give you control and power over your recovery journey, which is important after a traumatic experience like a car accident.
But that’s not all; exercising can also be a great way to connect with people and build a support system for your mental health. So, why not join a fitness group or take a fun dance class? You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference it can make!
6. I thought long and hard about what I wanted and worked towards building a future I would love.
When traumatised and depressed it’s very hard to see any future. Trying to make someone see too far into the future when coping with the sudden aftermath of trauma can be more damaging than good.
However, once I was ready to seek therapy and work through the trauma, I then got to a stage with my therapist where I could start making goals for my future.
The good thing is that when you have been stripped emotionally bear, you can start from scratch and build a whole new life for yourself. You may never be the same again (I know I wasn’t). However, you can build a new life that is even better than the life before.
A new life is full of authentic moments where you know how fragile life can be, so you no longer take anything for granted. It’s a beautiful new life if you let it be.
7. I began purchasing flowers for myself on a weekly basis
I was single and loved anytime it was my birthday when a friend would send me a beautiful bouquet, so why couldn’t I do that myself? Why did I have to wait for a special occasion and wait for someone else to buy me flowers?
Flowers were something that bought me joy and happiness. I needed more of that in my life. So, each day I walked home from work, I would stop at the local florist and choose a beautiful bouquet. I would take them home and carefully arrange them in a gorgeous vase.
The aroma of the florals and the bright colours they brought to the aesthetic of my home and personal space made me smile every day.
Discover what makes you smile and add it to your home to create a comfortable and happy environment. Dealing with trauma can be challenging, but incorporating simple things like flowers into your living space can bring comfort and peace.
This post was about mental health after a car accident.