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MVA Can't seem to let go of car accident

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OK, so here's my story.

I was in quite a bad car accident almost two and a half years ago. I don't want to go into a lot of details as to what happened. Long story short, I was driving, hit a patch of ice on the highway and rear ended someone. Gave me and my friend a concussion; the girl I hit was unharmed.

After that, I had to deal with my PTSD: nightmares, flashbacks, dealing with the guilt, shame, everything like that.

Well I feel I have really turned the corner with everything, but I can't seem to, for lack of a better term, let go.

It seems like the accident itself is ALWAYS on my mind, no matter what there is always this part of me that can never get that night out of my mind. Usually it gets aggravated when I'm watching a TV show or movie or something that involves an accident. I end up jumping, or tensing up or going into a cold sweat or something like that. And I STILL can't ride in a car without bracing myself when I see brake lights.

It just seems like I can't go a few days without somehow talking about it, and lately it's been bothering me a lot again. Even though I barely remember any of the accident, I can't forget about it either.

Im just looking for some advice really. Is what I'm feeling normal? Am I being overly sensitive? Help me out here.

What you're going through is normal. It is completely understandable.
My best friend just got in a very severe car accident about 2-3 weeks ago. One person in the other car passed away while my best friend remains in critical care. She cannot stop thinking about the accident and gets very nervous whenever I am going to be driving.

She refuses to touch her car when...if...she gets out of the hospital. But whenever I tell her I'm going to work, she asks if I'm driving then insists that I call her the second I get there.

These feelings are normal. Try writing journals about how you're feeling, what you're thinking about, practice breathing excersises if you are getting anxious, go for a walk, if you have pets play with them, do a crossword puzzle, etc. You can get through this! Hang in there.

Hope this helps! I wish you the best!

hello AADMAHM!

You are not alone. Car crashes are stunningly violent events. I was talking to Mrs Pike the other night and I asked her how many people are there in the history of the whole world who have taken a car for a flying lesson off the edge of a mountain and lived to tell the tale? Anyway, this is normal. It is nortaml to feel this way. while you are in t he car crash you are out of control and things are happening to you that you no longer can influence. I have a very clear recollection of flying through the air and my car spinnining a full 360 in a victory roll. It replayed in my head over and over again. Because it did not compute! This is a very normal reaction to a very violent and abnoraml event.
You are alright you know?
I have beat myself up about it for years and I am now coming round to realise what a very strange event it was. Whereas I have met many people who have very strong opinions on my mortal fibre, I am yet to find anyone prepared to get in a car and do what i did.
Car smashes are horrible violent things. You wouldn't wish one on anybody. I wish you hadn't had one but seeing as how you have, I can honestly say, I KNOW EXACTLY how you feel man! You are normal.

have you tried EMDR already? It is said to work very good with these kind of traumatic events... it is a technique which - if i put it right - adjusts the left and the right side of the brain and thereby the traumatic information are getting sorted in a way... I know, it sounds strange, but it really can help a lot...

here you can find more info on it:

Best wishes
From what you've written and what I've learned about PTSD since diagnosis, it reads as pretty normal to me.

Prior to my diagnosis and actually getting somewhere in my management of my PTSD, I used to believe that willpower alone could conquer most any challenge. Great scientists, chess players and olympic athletes all display stunning feats of willpower. I thought that similarly I could manage my PTSD symptoms via brute force. If I needed to "get over" an aspect, a social, psychological or even physical symptom: all I had to do was muster the strength and JUST DO IT!

Unfortunately, it doesn't work this way. If you lost your hand in an accident, would you beat yourself up for not being able to will your wrist to grow a new hand? I've since learned that that is what I was essentially doing prior to diagnosis by beating myself up daily over my social, emotional and physical symptoms. The brain and CNS are more than the seats of our psychological being, they are squishy, gooey, physical organs and are succeptible to their own sort of physiological problems. Severe trauma physically changes stuff in these organs. (More and more articles each year out there about the hippocampus in particular.) Trauma leaves fingerprints on our brains and the wider CNS.

We are still figuring out means of lessening the presence of these fingerprints. No treatment has a 100% success rate. And nothing can ever fully cure the disorder. But there are an increasing number of approaches to minimizing the lasting impact of your trauma. Almost all the approaches I've experienced directly or read about have some degree of a physiological component--think of it as physical therapy for the CNS. To echo Igasho's words: EMDR and it's younger cousin called "brainspotting" have done wonders for moving a few of my traumatic memories that I could just not "let go" of either. It's not perfect. And as some here will be quick to remind, it's not a cure. But it does help many people. I know it's helped me.

And with whatever symptoms linger after a period of treatment, you do learn how to manage your symptoms. In parting, remember that one of those symptoms can actually be the shame, frustration and embarassment of not being able to "get over" your trauma! So again: Yes, this all reads as normal. No, you do not seem overly sensitive. Instead you sound like a perfectly sensible person who went through something quite traumatic.

Take care and welcome to the forum. Best to you in your recovery! :smile:

I'm just enjoying your post. Love that stuff about willpower. I did that for ten years till i ended up working for a bully who only ever focussed on the negative and served to back up all the bullying I was doing to myself. Brought all my symptoms to the fore and nearly killed me.

Thats a good post that is!
I was merrily driving down a San Francisco street last June at 20 miles an hour watching out for the schizophrenics with their grocery carts and whamo some lady ran a red light totaled my little car. Luckily I was driving very slow....and being cautious where caution was due...blah blah blah...of course this lady mindlessly running the light set off my already fragile complex and ongoing PT.

So for the next 3 months or so when I found my self going through a light...somehow I picked up this little self talk...if the light was green...."green light green light, green light" or "YELLOW LIGHT YELLOW LIGHT YELLOW LIGHT" Sometimes I added me me or mine mine to the mix. It was like my little personal mantra. I've used this before when I was dwelling on negative thoughts, mostly in the car, commuting. In the past for negative thoughts I use "Change the channel". Positive word repetition can be very helpful and a good way to break the habit of negative thoughts.

Hope that helps.
I don't think you're being overly sensitive at all. I was in a bad car accident and it's been three years almost to the date and I STILL cannot handle when people talk about it. My boyfriend has some permanant scarring and everyone likes to comment on it (people in his family who know what happened) and this commenting happens everytime we're all together and I just want to scream! Just thinking about it right now gets to me...
I did that EMDR and I guess it helped some, but I think I was a little too on my guard with my counsellor and I didn't fully process everything that hurt me. I would look into it and when/if you go make sure you're being completely upfront about everything so you can be healed.
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