Life Begins Again

I’ve gone from posting no blogs for a long time to posting 3 in a matter of days…a car accident will do that to you.

Tomorrow is my first day back to work and I have a lot of feelings running through me right now. I’m extremely grateful I was able to get a new car today after not a whole lot of hassle or haggle (and the help of my wonderful dad). As much of a burden as that has lifted, it certainly didn’t fix everything. I couldn’t quite identify this nagging feeling I’ve had since about Wednesday. Then I realized tonight…it’s fear. Not the horror movie, breath-snatching fear but just that little bit of fear knocking on my internal door.

I’m going back to work and trying to resume my life as “normal” again. Running errands, getting what I need at Target, going places with friends. You would think that would all be exciting and it definitely is. I’ve never wanted to get back to work so much in my life but I feel like on Tuesday my life changed. A different chapter was started whether I wanted it to or not. I plan on making it a good chapter but at the same time, I was made aware of something I think a lot of us so often forget in the day-to-day grind we get so used to: life is short and on a simple drive to work one day, it can change change in less than 30 seconds. I feel so overdramatic when I say my life was in danger that day but I know the reality is that it was. I’ve never really had a moment like that in my life thus far (other than an accident I was in a long time ago when my friend fell asleep at the wheel) and it wakes you up in a really weird way. Now that I’ve been privy to such information though, I can’t really drive down that street the same way. I’m never going to not wonder if someone is going to jet out and make an illegal left turn in front of me again. I don’t know if I’m ever going to forget how easy it is to get in a car accident or how fragile we all are on this earth.

So it’s almost like I don’t even know where to begin with picking up my life and just going again. This week it literally kind of came to a stand still. I couldn’t go anywhere, I was laid up in bed or on the couch…It’s going to take a little time for me to just going like I did before everything happened. I’d be lying if I said even a little part of me didn’t like the idea of never leaving the house again but I know that I can’t let this stop me. People have been through much worse and continued on with their lives and I fully plan on doing the same, no matter how long that nagging might linger.

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18 thoughts on “Life Begins Again

  1. I totally understand where you’re coming from. A few years back I almost witnessed my brother get hit by a car because we decided to jay walk across a busy intersection. When the car barely swiped by him, I remember feeling completely in fear! For the next few days and then months, I continued to have flashbacks about that event. Although nothing bad happened to him, that experience left me scarred and forever grateful for his and my life. Without a physicians diagnosis, I came to the conclusion that I had suffered PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) because I continued to have flashbacks and images of those few terrifying seconds. Although your situation may not have seemed like a big deal, don’t minimize your feelings and emotions behind that event. It is real fear that you have/are experiencing and you have to allow yourself to process through it. You just can’t let it take over your life, which It seems like you are still going about your everyday activities 🙂 I can 100% understand how you feel and it’s good to blog about. I didn’t have an outlet right away to talk about my feelings when all of that happened. Good for you for staying strong and to keep pushing forward!

    1. Sorry you and your brother both had to go through that Kristen but thank you so much for the comment! It seems to be at night when I have the flashbacks of the accident because of course I’m just lying quietly in bed and not keeping myself busy. Thanks for reminding me not to minimize my feelings also. I just always know it could have been worse and there’s people going through worse so I feel bad complaining but at the same time, know I can’t help how I feel and know it was still a traumatic experience for me. Very lucky I have blogging as an outlet and to get such wonderful supportive comments from people like you!

  2. I am so sorry to hear about your recent accident. I love this quote and hope that it provides you with some inspiration. -Alex

    “Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to have woken up. I am alive. I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it, I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others. I am not going to get angry, or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” – Dalai Lama

    1. I love that quote so much Alex! Thank you so much for sharing and for the concern 🙂 I hope I never forget that everyday I wake up is a miracle and one I’m fortunate to have!

  3. Hi Jackie! I am so glad you are doing much better from your accident. It’s tough to climb out of that hole, when it has just been freshly dug. I know all too well.. I had a mild case of PTSD after my accident; a 6 car pile up, all because I wasn’t paying attention. For about 6 months after, I avoided that part of the freeway. I found myself not able to drive fast, or follow another car closely. Honestly, I couldnt even be in the driver’s seat without a petrifying fear crawling through my veins. It’s that fear that made me realize just how fragile life is. I’m not invincible- I’m no wonder woman with bones made of steel. Little by little, fear was cast out by affirmation that it wouldnt always be this way. I will keep you in my prayers Jackie!

    1. Thank you Eleanor! I can’t even imagine what a 6 car pileup must have been like! I am experiencing that same fear too. I’m glad I am out and driving again but with a new car I now have car payments on too, I am even more protective. I know with time I’m going to get used to driving more again and will no longer jump everytime I see a car to my right (the side the car came from that hit me). Thank you for the kind words and comment 🙂

  4. Hi Jackie my name is Janelle (I am one of Sharon’s students). I am so so sorry to hear about your accident I have been in a few and they are never fun. Looking back at them now after the PTSD has gone away, part of me is thankful for it because I am a much more cautious driver now and I am far more aware of my surroundings. This may not happen for you but just wanted to share my little glimmer of possible hope at the end of the tunnel.

    I actually have a question for you regarding the video you sent my class. I know you mentioned working out and that you are actually allowed to(allowed to and actually doing it are two different things;]). I was wondering what sort of difference working out could make for you? Would it have a positive effect or really no effect because of the type of MD that you have? Would it more be a way of staying healthy rather than building muscle mass? Sorry if this is too much detail I just was really intrigued when you mentioned that.

    Thank you so so much for sharing with our class!

    1. Hi Janelle. I think you make a great point! I am definitely a more cautious driver now and I hope to keep that going for a long long time! This is the first time I’ve had a brand new car too (not just a used one or a hand-me-down) so I don’t want a scratch on it if I can help it! 🙂

      Great question on the working out too. Before my accident, I had started doing stretches 3 times a day and some form of yoga just about everyday. I really noticed a difference in how strong I felt, especially in my core. So compared to someone with a normal level of strength, I’m sure it’s not a huge leap but for me, working out the right amount (and not doing anything too strenuous because then I can be overly sore or risk falling) really can make a tangible difference. With the MD though, I’m actually not sure if it can help build muscle mass though so that’s a question I will have to ask my doctor cause that would be a good thing to know.

      Thanks so much for the comment!

  5. Hi Jackie,
    I am also a student from LLU and have really enjoyed reading your blog. Thank you for sharing all your stories and experiences with others.
    I can’t believe that you were in a such a bad car accident! I am so glad though that everything turned out well and that you are back to work already. The fact that life is short really resonated with me. Though I have not personally been through too many traumatic experiences, those close to me have. That fear that you describe is not only felt for oneself but also for those you love and might lose. Thanks for sharing your experience and I hope you are feeling well back at work! – Veronica

    1. Thank you so much for the well wishes Veronica! It’s been good to be back to work, I just wish I was feeling 100% again. Definitely still sore and have a hard time sitting for the amount of time I used to because my back and neck start hurting. I know it’s just going to take some time before I’m fully healed though.

  6. Hi Jackie, thanks so much for posting this. i totally get where you are coming from–an accident like that really makes you feel your mortality, and it’s something I forget–I always assume I will be fine. But when something like that happens, it forces you to face it–and that’s scary! I don’t think it’s something we think about as young adults so much. I got my first traffic ticket a few months ago for a carpool lane violation–and even that affected me! I totally avoid carpool lanes now.

    Maybe this is a silly question, but do you feel like the accident affected your MD at all? Did it make you feel more fatigued than normal?

    1. Hi Rainey. That’s a great question I was just thinking about today actually. Unfortunately because of my MD, I was already having back pain (in fact, I saw my doctor about it a week before my accident). Because I have to twist in weird angles to get off couches or out of chairs sometimes and because I fall so often (and usually very hard when I do), I’ve started to have a lot more back pain than I used to. It’s not awful all the time but it’s definitely there. So I got a little upset thinking about it because now I’ve been in a bad car accident that really shocked my body and threw it around so I worry that it’s impact on my body in the long term could be more severe than it would if I didn’t have MD. I saw my regular doctor yesterday and am seeing a neurologist tomorrow so hopefully the accident hasn’t caused any permanent damage. In general, I’ve been a lot more tired since too but I think that’s just a combination of the emotional toll and the pain medicine I’ve been taking after the accident. So not a silly question at all, that was a great question!

  7. Hey Jackie, I am an OT student from Loma Linda University and I wanted to thank you for the video you shared with our class. I am very glad that you are doing much better after your car accident. I’ve been in my fair share of accidents though not as serious as yours but I do remember the fear that sets in when I get into cars after my accidents. One of the accidents I got into was on a residential street and the car coming towards me hit me and both our side mirrors shattered. Thankfully that was the only damage that was done but because I was driving I always go nervous/anxious how close cars where to me when I would drive after. At first I did not want to drive anywhere and waited for someone to drive for me, but eventually I had to get over that. Having those feelings of not know where to start to go back to normal routine is common after accidents. I hope you just take it one day at a time and know that it takes time to be able to go down the same road and to not wonder if other cars are going to make illegal moves. If I’ve learned anything from my self-defense teacher it is that when driving you should always be aware of other drivers, so that feeling of wondering if other cars will come at you is sometimes a good thing.

    All the best,
    Christine Tambunan

    1. Thanks Christine! You are very right, we should always be aware of other drivers because as much as we can control ourselves driving…we can’t control how other people drive. All we can do is be as aware of the road around us as possible. I actually narrowly avoided about 3 accidents in the weeks before my accident (none of which would have been my fault, people just almost ran into me changing lanes and not seeing I was there) but because I was paying attention I was able to honk, swerve or brake in time to not get hit or hit them. I feel like now, after a really bad accident, my driving senses are even more keen. Though I do get freaked out if I see anyone coming out of a driveway or driving on my right hand side I get really nervous still but I know just like you said, that will pass. And in the mean time, I’ve figured out a couple of different routes to work too in case anyone else decides to pull out and make an illegal left hand turn in front of 6 lanes of traffic 🙂

  8. Hi Jackie,
    I am an OT student from Loma Linda University and I really enjoyed reading your post and watching your video! Glad to hear you are doing better after car accident! Here is the quote that hopefully can make you feel better: “Within each of us lies the power of our consent to health and sickness, to riches and poverty, to freedom and slavery. It is we who control these, and not another.” Richard Bach

    1. Hi Richard. Thank you very much! I love that quote also! It’s interesting because the car accident was the first thing that made me realize that other people, whether we like it or not, can control our fate and that really scared me. Every time I get out on the road, I’m putting my life in the hands of the drivers around me and trusting that they won’t run into me or do something that could prove fatal or put me in danger. But at the end of the day, the one thing I can control is how I react to this accident. How I am when I drive. It’s only me that can decide to live in fear or not. Thanks for the comment!

  9. Hi, Jacyln
    I am liz, a loma linda student. i want to start of by saying thanks you for sharing your thought about your life experiences in general and your experiences with living with MD. I am glad to hear that overall you are okay from your accident, that is great news. sometimes in life we get inspiration thru an unlikely event. i noticed that you stated that you had not blogged in a a while, but this car accident brought you back to your blog. Is bloging helping you deal with the fears brought on after the accident?

    I was in a car accident about a month ago in the freeway (215 south bound in menifee). i was the most scariest experience i have gone thru because it happends fast and the speed that i was driving made my car spine out of control. I definantly understansd your fear. I would like to ask you, after the accident, how does your prespective in life change? and does living with MD influence your thought?
    thank you again for sharing your thought
    liz

    1. Hi Liz! The blogging is definitely helping me deal with the accident as are all of the kind comments you and your classmates have been sharing. During the day when I’m at work I’m pretty ok, it’s when I come home and I have time to think about everything that I start to get sad or angry, etc. So blogging definitely helps me sort those feelings out better.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your accident! I can’t even imagine how scary it would be to have an accident not just on a freeway but to spin out too. I’m glad you’re ok!

      Great question on my perspective about life after the accident too. I would say for the most part it’s really helped me appreciate life more. Things that would have seemed like such a big deal before the accident don’t seem so big anymore. Weirdly, it’s made me care even less about dating too (something I’ve blogged about many times). You would think maybe it would have made me want to get out there more or try to meet someone but it actually made me totally content with being single. Buying things or material stuff in general seems a lot less important too. I don’t feel like I need to buy all this stuff anymore or get this shirt or those pair of jeans or whatever. Worrying about how I look has really taken a backseat. On the more negative side though, I am a little angry sometimes. When I drive and I see people doing reckless things, etc. I get really upset because they don’t realize they’re putting the lives of other people in danger.

      Living with MD has had an interesting effect on my life perspective too. For a long time…I will be totally honest…it made me doubt if I even wanted to live. I battled on and off with depression for a long time because I felt so “weird” and so isolated from everyone because of my disability. But in the past 4-5 years, as I’ve started to accept it more and stop letting it define me, it really has made me appreciate everything that I do have. I’ve seen so many other people with and without MD that have it much worse than I do so I’ve learned to be much more appreciative in general.

      Thanks so much for the great questions!

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