Being in a car accident can be a seriously traumatic event. Between the pain and suffering of your injuries and the financial and emotional losses that come afterwards it can turn a person’s life upside down and lead to a lot of fear, anxiety and other emotions that are difficult to overcome. The physical injuries from an accident may heal with medical treatment, but psychological issues can last for years or even decades without the right help and support.
Mental health is just as important as physical health after an accident but many people do not get the help and treatment they need to deal with the potential mental health problems they have acquired as a result of the accident. There is hope, with the right steps, help, support and a lot of compassion, it is possible to overcome the psychological trauma you have suffered.
Keep reading to discover how to deal with psychological effects that can happen after a car accident and ways to help yourself recover mentally and emotionally.
Addressing Your Trauma: Take it One Day at a Time
Immediately following ;your accident you will be dealing with a lot of pain, a lot of emotions, and a lot of things that need to get done. When this is happening it is easy to go one of two different ways. You can either give in to despair and not try to recover, or you can feel that you have to do everything all at once and hurry up to get better.
Trying to overcome your situation in either of these ways will not let you truly address the issues that you are facing. It is important to give yourself time to process everything that has happened, both the physical and the emotional. The best way to do this is not to shut down or to rush but instead to take things one day at a time. If you set realistic goals and try to accomplish one thing at a time while allowing yourself to process the pain and feelings that you are feeling, you will be much better prepared to return to a normal life when the time comes.
One of the ways that you can help yourself process what you are feeling is to get into a routine where you are doing something productive every day. This way you have something you can accomplish and something positive to look forward to while you work through a lot of negative emotions.
Be Realistic About Your Accident
One of the worst things you can do to yourself is to be unrealistic with yourself and others about the severity of your accident. It can feel like a good idea to downplay the accident and act as if nothing happened, but doing this can repress those feelings that you need to process. You want to be honest with yourself and those around you so that they can know how you are feeling and help you to work through your issues.
Omitting details, acting like nothing is wrong, or deflecting is how many people want to respond after an accident but these behaviors are unhealthy and will only prolong the suffering. You may be able to delay the onset of psychological trauma but eventually you will wind up having to face it and you may find it even harder to deal with in the future, rather than right after it happens.
Accept Help From Family and Friends
Loneliness is one of the fastest ways to end up in a poor state after a traumatic event. When you’ve been through something traumatic though, it is easy to feel like no one will understand. Having a strong group of family and friends around you is the key to avoiding feelings of depression and anxiety. If you have loved ones nearby, be sure to let them in on how you are feeling and what you are going through. Even if they have not had the same experience as you. The support and caring will make a big difference in how you handle your own feelings.
Love and support can make getting through the day that much easier. For example, if you are unable to bring yourself to drive after your accident, having a family member or friend that will drive you can help you stay productive and an active member of society, both of which will have a positive impact on your mindset. Plus, when you are ready, you will have the support you need to get on the road and on with your life.
Even if you do not have a lot of family or friends around, you can still find support in the form of support groups for trauma and accident victims. This can be a good way to share experiences with others who have been in a similar situation and sometimes you can gain insight and understanding of how to handle your own situation.
Get Professional Help
Above everything else that you can do for yourself after your accident, finding a professional therapist to talk to about your feelings and emotions may help the most. A professional is often easier to talk to than someone you know and they have the skills and training to walk you through the process of dealing with your emotions. They can teach you how to cope with the situation afterwards and through continued therapy identify triggers and weak spots that you may have because of the accident.
Most importantly, talking through emotions is one of the most healthy ways to express yourself and to move past your trauma and return to a feeling of normalcy. There is no way to erase what happened with your accident, but a professional can help you learn how to deal with the aftermath and move forward. Even if you think that you do not have any serious fear or anxiety after your accident, talking to someone who understands these types of events can be beneficial and help to make sure you are healthy in both mind and body.