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Fatal Car Accident Survivors. Life Change?

Discussion in 'Vehicle Accidents' started by x3priincess, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. Shy Wolf

    Shy Wolf Guest

    I never imagined i would be typing on one of these but here i am. I am 20 years old but was 19 at time of accident. In October i was in a horrible accident that has since changed my whole life. I was taking a back road i had never been on on my way to work. I was running late and not going slow at all. I was using a gps and looking down and back up to see where i was going. The next thing i know i was slammed in my drivers side and knocked out. I woke up confused and the car was on its side. Glass and blood everywhere i looked. I searched for my phone but disnt see it anywhere. There was blood dripping from my entire face hitting the passengers side window. I started screaming for help. Thankfully someone had drove by right after and called 911. It all happened so fast. They had to stabilize the car because it was on a hill in the woods. Apparently i had ran a stop sign and got tboned. They airlifted me to a hospital about and hour away. I broke my hip, my pelvic bone, my wrist, and had several bruises and a bad concussion. The other people were fine thank God in the other vehicle. I had to go through extensive therapy as i coulsnt walk for months and was in a wheel chair. I was in ICU for 4 days. I should have died that day. I have ptsd horribly and cry often when im driving and alone. I always think a car is going to smash right into my side. Its gotten worse recently and im really considering getting therapy. It affects everyone around me especially my husband. I just want to move on from this but i cant. Thank you to everyone who shared. No one understands what we feel.
    Esterio likes this.
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  3. Esterio

    Esterio Well-Known Member Donated

    Hi Shy Wolf
    Welcome. I am sorry for what you went through to need a place like this, glad you reached out. I understand what you are feeling. Accidents can be horrible experiences. I have been I one really bad one and a few not so serious. I have very little memories of the worst one. I would try therapy. EMDR help me to recover a memory of the accident that had been waking me up for years. That accident was 42 years ago. You are right to deal with this as soon as possible with therapy.
    Peace be safe
  4. Oregon John

    Oregon John Guest

    Hi Shy Wolf,
    I'm pretty sure I understand at least some of what you're feeling. For one thing I am very familiar with crying while driving alone. It's been fifteen years and that's still a problem. I hope you find someone to talk to and feel better soon.
    I wrote down my story for the first time just this week. It follows below. I saw a therapist last week for the first time. That's what prompted me to write the story.

    Sorry for the coarse language and graphic details but that's part of the story.

    Warmest regards,

    This is my best recollection of the events of the afternoon of February 9th, 2003. I remember some of the details like it happened yesterday and others not at all.

    I was at Mt. Hood Meadows ski area for a giant slalom race that day. I had the best race of my young racing career and couldn’t have been more pleased. Following the after race party in the lodge I started driving home in my Dodge RAM 2500 truck. It was a pretty large truck with a substantial grill guard on the front. I remember I was listening to a Stevie Wonder CD.

    Traffic was moderate, ebbing and flowing as I passed through Government Camp and a little beyond. I was traveling west on Hwy 26.

    Without any warning a vehicle appeared directly in front of me. They had lost control while traveling in the other direction and come across the centerline. We collided violently. I don’t think I even had a chance to hit the brakes. My truck was traveling around 50-55 mph at the time of impact. I’d been in accidents before including a rollover two years earlier also on Hwy 26. This was much different. It happened in an instant.

    I pulled over to the right shoulder. Next I saw the other vehicle nosed into the guard rail on the far side of the highway. The force of the impact sent them all the way back across the road and into the guardrail.

    I jumped out of my truck and ran over to their vehicle. The small black truck was hit extremely hard on the driver’s side. The impact was centered just behind the driver’s door. My grill guard on my big diesel pushed well into the passenger space buckling their truck.

    When I looked inside I saw two people. Both of them were girls/young women. I would later learn they were eighteen years old. Each was slumped inward with the driver on top of the passenger. Neither of them were moving. In retrospect it was at this point I feel like I started internally self-destructing.

    The driver had her long hair pulled back into a ponytail. There was blood running from her nose. I didn’t see any other injuries, just that she and the passenger were not moving at all.

    I stepped away from the demolished truck. A woman across the road asked me if anyone was hurt. I yelled back something like “yes, very much”. I later came to learn the girl’s truck had hit her Volkswagen first before colliding with my truck.

    The next thing I remember is walking across the highway towards my truck yelling “f*ck, f*ck f*ck!” over and over again. I called 911 and there was no answer or a busy signal, I don’t recall which. I hung up. They called back a few moments later. I told them there had been a serious accident and we needed life flight. She told me the accident had already been reported. She added that life flight was on standby. I don’t remember if we discussed anything else.

    By this time another driver stopped to help us. He parked his SUV in front of my truck. I remember this because at some point my truck rolled into the back of his vehicle. It turned out that the damage to my truck caused the transmission to slip out of Park allowing it to roll away.

    I don’t remember the police or fire department arriving. My next memory is being in the passenger seat of one of the emergency vehicles. I was hysterical, totally overwhelmed by what was going on, shattered into a million little pieces.

    The EMT was concerned I was injured. I told him I was fine but he nevertheless checked me. I remember him running his hands over my arms and legs. I was wearing ski clothing so that probably made it harder to see/tell if I was hurt. I have no idea how much time had passed.

    I could see out the front window they were attending to the passenger from the truck. She was lying motionless on the ground. I also learned the driver was dead at some point.

    A chaplain came over and spoke to me. He must have been affiliated with the fire department. He gave me his contact information and encouraged me to call him if I wanted to talk. I never did.

    The passenger was taken to the hospital by Life Flight. She would recover from a head injury.

    Over the years I've been in touch with the mother of the deceased driver. We commiserate annually on the anniversary of the accident. She has never blamed me and for that I am immeasurably grateful.
    Esterio likes this.
  5. Shy Wolf

    Shy Wolf Guest

    Thank you for your encouraging words. Its so hard to find anyone who truely understands; atleast in my life. I am interested in therapy im just not sure I want to relive that day. I keep pushing it to the back of my mind. I will never forget the split second when the other car smashed into my side. They were going over the speed limit but the accident was my fault. I still feel horrible about that even though im the one that almost died that day. But the other car did have a 1 year old in their passenger side in the back so im thankful it was me who was hit and not them because i wouldnt of been able to live with that guilt. It seems like everyone in this place was not at fault which makes it kind of hard to share considering it was my fault. I never thought in a million years it would of happened and i still feel ashamed.The other people were fine and did not press any charges as they understood it was an accident. Someone recently told me that an accident is caused by 12 steps throughout the day and I truely do believe that. Ive counted in my head all the things that went wrong that day.

    I can relate to some of those feelings all too well.Thank you so much for sharing your story. Im incredibly sorry you had to go through that and the heartache of someone losing their life. We are all very lucky to be alive and for that im grateful. Surviving a t-bone accident is almost unheard of and mine was horrible. I find that i mostly relive it when im actually int he car. I have only had a few dreams but none where i woke up screaming or anything. But as soon as i put my seat belt on everytime i get int he car i think of that day and all the pain it brought to my life. I grip the wheel so hard everytime i pass a intersection or lights. I cry and breakdown when i get scared which is almost everyday. My husband sees a car speeding to a stop sign to stop where i see a car coming full force at us and thats what he doesnt get. Ive tried explaining it to him. He gets very frustrated because of all the comments i make and freakouts i have. I want to be free from my accident. How do you deal with all the thoughts and anxiety?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2018
  6. Friday

    Friday Raise Hell Moderator


    PTSD requires life threatening trauma, it doesn’t require not being at fault, nor even being a victim... people also get PTSD from the jobs they love (military, police, fire, EMS, Doctors, aid workers, athletes, etc.). Fault/NoFault is an entirely different thing.

    Welcome :)
  7. Oregon John

    Oregon John Guest

    Regardless of whether it was my fault I feel tremendous guilt over the accident. There is guilt for being there at all. Guilt for driving a large truck. Guilt for not seeing the accident developing in time to react. Guilt and shame for not helping the girls after the accident. Most of all I think I feel guilt and shame for being so sad when the loss I suffered was so trivial compared to the loss of the deceased girl's family.
    I was actually doing reasonably well with the thoughts and anxiety for quite a while. I would have sadness when there were triggers (e.g. anniversary, driving by the accident location, listening to Stevie Wonder, etc.). I also think about suicide as a relief valve if the sadness and/or hopelessness get too bad.
    However, things got considerably worse for me earlier this year. My daughter's cheer coach committed suicide on the night of January 30th. She was only twenty years old. It plunged me into deep dispair even though I hardly knew her. It didn't help that it was about a week before the anniversary of my accident. My anxiety over the anniversary date starts in advance.
    So... I decided it was time to talk to a professional. I'm a private person so that didn't come easily for me.
    Last week I met the therapist for the first appointment. I had a lot of anxiety before the appointment. Was this the right decision? Was she the right person? Would talking about the accident just make me sadder? Regardless I was determined to give it a try and keep an open mind.
    She asked me a bunch of questions about my current feelings and my history going back to my childhood. The meeting was basically an assessment exercise. She diagnosed me with PTSD to no surprise.
    The next several days I felt worse for me than the days before I saw her. She was nice enough but walking through my childhood stirred some bad memories that were previously vaulted away (child abuse, sexual abuse, etc.).
    Now I'm feeling a little better and looking forward to seeing her again next week. I'm trying to stay optimistic that this is a path forward that will ultimately help me with the sadness and suicidal thoughts.
    I don't ever expect to feel like I did before the accident. I'm not the same person anymore. I feel much more vulnerable and fragile. I do expect to find ways to better cope with the feelings. That seems like an attainable goal.
    I hope you will talk to someone (professional) soon. There is a path to us feeling better. I'm confident about that. We just need to get on the path and moving ahead. Do it with me!
  8. Shy Wolf

    Shy Wolf Guest

    Wow, i often wondered if I was the only one that thought dying would have been easier than living everyday with the constant anxiety and hurt that I feel. People look at us like we are insane, like we should be jumping with joy that we are alive. Which yes it is a blessing that I am here but the suffering I feel from this feels endless. There is not one day that goes by that I dont relive the day of the accident and think about it. Im at the point where I know that i need help, i cant do it on my own anymore and family does not really understand. I saw today where a guy that is my age died in a accident last night and his wasnt even as bad as mine. He was so young and it was strange because I knew who he was. I have guilt for people i barley know. Thats how I know it has gotten way out of hands. I cant keep crying in the car all the time and fearing that i am going to get slammed int he side and flip everytime i drive anywhere.

    Again, thank you for sharing your personal thoughts on here with me. There is something special about not knowing who you are and you not knowing me but in ways our paths have crossed. I am ready to start on my healing journey, now its finding the right person as you have said.
  9. Oregon John

    Oregon John Guest

    Thank you for sharing your experience too. I feel your pain!
    There is joy and happiness in your future and mine too. I’m certain of that. The sadness and hopelessness are temporary feelings. You have people that care about you! I’m sure they want to help you but don’t know how. That’s where the professionals are best. Make the phone call and get started!
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