Major anxiety after car accident.
About a year ago now I managed to get hit by a massive truck and totally destroy my car, walked away somehow with only a few bruises when it all honesty it could have killed me. In the past year I've found myself getting a little more worked up over driving on the road but nothing major, just being more careful when turning etc. I do sometimes imagine though at intersections being hit by someone out of nowhere because when I did get hit I didn't even see the guy before he rammed into my side. That does kind of panic me a bit as I pass them but I feel like I can deal alright.
Last weekend however I went on a road trip with my best friend who drove the whole way. She's still only a beginner p plate driver and I found myself freaking out the entire time she was driving, looking out at every intersection, checking her mirrors and being a horrible backseat driver by telling her to slow down or look out every minute or so. She got pretty annoyed with me (understandably) and said something along the lines of that she was a good driver and I was only making her more nervous and I needed to stop. I did, but found it extremely panic inducing, not having control of what was going on. I was just wondering if anyone had any tips on how to calm down a bit and just let other people drive.
I feel like otherwise I've been pretty okay with dealing with everything. I got straight back into a car after the accident and haven't stopped driving since. Just a bit slower and more careful as a driver which I don't think is a horrible thing. When I'm driving with myself the only issue I found is when passing over intersections or doing u-turns because I'm just v. anxious that someone will slam into me again from a blind spot and it'll be too late for me to do anything.
Having a car accident like you did sounds frightening. I've never been in one so can't imagine what it would be like. It's good you've found the Beyond Blue (BB) forums. You'll find that people who respond are helpful, friendly, caring, supporting and respect individual's privacy.
While we're not mental health professionals, we do have experience with mental illness and can share our experience to try and help.
I have PTSD from a childhood trauma, along with anxiety and depression from sustained ongoing childhood abuse. So I do understand the flashbacks, the physical changes (e.g. racing heart, perspiring, change in eating behaviour) and other social changes (e.g. withdrawing from people, not wanting to go to places, or being in spaces).
The trauma of being hit by a car would be extremely difficult - cars are used everyday for getting to and from places. Living with PTSD, anxiety and depression is a life long management and copying strategy. It's working out what will help you to manage your symptoms. Some of the things I do include:
visits to doctor and psychologist (when necessary). Do you have a doctor and psychologist you see regularly?
breathing slowly in through the nose for 5 and out through the mouth for 5. Focussing on the breathe as it travels through the nose, throat, chest, lungs and diaphragm. Do you thin you could do this as you're driving?
grounding, mindfulness, meditation (there are threads available under the staying well forum). Various apps are available for these activities.
distracting yourself (e.g. I go walking in nature to listen, watch and photograph birds and other creatures, gardening.) Could you listen to relaxing music while you're in the car? There are apps available. Do a google search.
keeping a healthy lifestyle (eating well, exercising etc).
There is a lot of material available on the BB home page. Do a search for PTSD or anxiety. There is also a thread under the PTSD & Trauma forum on coping strategies.
I'd like to know how you get on. So please come back and let us know how you get on.
PamelaR has given lots of useful suggestions.
I too was involved in an accident and I'm always checking everywhere esp behind me while I'm pulling to a stop and I have flashbacks too. I was hit from behind while sitting at the lights and have a permanent sore neck- the pain comes and goes.
How scary for you. I feel ya...easier said than done but I'm thinking we have to try and forget about it/ distract ourselves in ways...I'm also more careful when I'm driving, and yeah I can also drive slower. Well done on taking those precautions, you should be proud. Because of our traumatic car crash experiences we are making the roads safer by being more careful and driving slower. You should also be proud of yourself for getting back behind the wheel as a lot of people wouldn't be able to do that.
Come to think if it, I had anxiety too because of the crash.
U survived. Such a miracle...well done.