As I am sure anyone could imagine, driving is not nearly as easy for me as it used to be. I have never enjoyed driving even before the accident, and many of my friends will tell you that I am actually not very good at it.
Following the accident we had to leave my car at Brynn and Cody’s for the investigation to be complete. I didn’t care; I would rather not have the icky, nasty, killing car near any of us. It was driven back over to our house within a couple of hours by some friends of ours who are actually family of Brynn and Cody. We couldn’t even look at it, in fact my husband pulled the car up by the side of the house so that none of us would have to see it. Luckily, I have some incredible friends, and one of them having dealership connections, knew this was not something I had neither desire nor ability to handle right now. We just wanted the car gone. She brought us printouts of other rigs we could get into. I picked one off the paper and by early the next week I had a new car. I couldn’t drive it; it was difficult to even be in a car at that point. In fact, when it was brought to the house I couldn’t even sit in the driver’s seat. The idea of it made me extremely sick to my stomach and anxious.
One day I was with my mom, (my chauffer) at the time, at the store. I stayed in the car and I decided while she was in there that it might be a good time for me to take a shot at driving. My mom was leaving to go back home soon (which is Tri Cities) and I had to try. So I did, in the parking lot of Safeway that day, but I couldn’t. I made it about one row in the lot with grips on the wheel. Someone honked and I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. I got out and called it quits. I had tried.
At therapy I was introduced to a technique that they use for people who are struggling with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). I now carry this diagnosis. The technique is called EMDR therapy. It is strange, super simple and oddly it worked for me. It took the idea of driving and it brought the emotion out of it somewhat. My friend picked me up from therapy that day and I didn’t even realize it until we were halfway back to my house but I was not shaky and scared in the passenger seat. I attempted to drive the next day, and it was successful. I went alone to the gas station down the road, but I did it. And I knew I could do it again.
Despite the fact that the therapy worked and I could get behind the wheel again, it was not and still is not all as simple as it used to be. It used to just be a natural thing. I now have a complex when it comes to driving. I am nervous, fearful and hyper vigilant when I see a pedestrian. I get overcome with fear and the thoughts in my head change from the song on the radio to, what if it happened again? What if I killed someone else driving? How could I live with myself? What if I didn’t check good enough when I backed out, or pulled forward? I get the same feelings when a semi is beside me on the freeway or a car is going too fast or driving poorly. I pass a cop driving and immediately wonder what my driving record shows. It’s gotta be in my file somewhere. Ultimately, I am scared, but not for myself. The emotional torture of this accident has allowed me to not fear my death. But I fear for others. What am I unknowingly capable of? I would never want to hurt anyone, but yet I have in pure accident.