If you are in a car accident, no matter how large or how small, it can leave you shaken afterward. If you are dealing with the mental health ramifications of a car accident, the best thing you can do is try to work through them instead of ignoring the issue. Though this article will give some tips, the best way to cope with any mental health issue is to see a mental health professional. Make sure to seek help before trying any of these methods of coping.
See a Therapist
Seeing a therapist will be the most helpful way to work through any mental health problems related to a car accident. Therapy gives you a safe place to talk through what you’re feeling, and a good therapist will help you sort through your thoughts and feelings. A therapist can be especially helpful if you are unsure what you’re feeling because they can help you untangle confusing and mixed up feelings that can occur after a car accident, like shock, guilt, anxiety, or denial.
To look for a therapist, there are many online resources, like the Psychology Today database. If there are no therapists in your area, you can also use an online or app-based service like Better Help to work through your difficult post-accident feelings. You can also ask your normal physician for recommendations of where to go for mental health help.
Check In With Yourself
It’s important after a car accident to check in with your emotions. Ignoring the way that you’re feeling can lead to problems in the future because your feelings may come out in other ways. It’s normal to feel guilt, fear, shock, denial, and nervousness after a car accident, and you have to let yourself actually feel these things to work through them. However, if you find that you are becoming more distressed over time or if these feelings persist, it’s a very good idea to contact a therapist or psychiatrist to get help.
Talk To Someone You Love
Whether or not you’re going to therapy, it’s a good idea to talk to someone that you know, love, and trust about what you’re feeling. They know who you are and may have a perspective on the situation that will help you work through it. If you don’t want to talk about the accident for too long, you also will have someone there that will be able to distract you and make you feel happier. Make sure you choose to spend time and talk with someone that you know will acknowledge your feelings even if they don’t understand them fully.
You may even have a loved one that knows exactly what you’ve gone through. There are over 93,000 motorcycle accidents each year, for example, so there’s a chance that someone you love has been in a motorcycle accident and can tell you what helped them through the difficult emotional period after an accident.
Check-In With Your Doctor
Even if you did not sustain any major injuries at the time of your accident, you should still check in with your doctor. Sometimes injuries will not present themselves at the time of the accident, but you may feel soreness or discomfort in the days following your accident. To reassure yourself that you have no sustained any serious injuries, check-in with your doctor to make sure that any pain or discomfort you’re feeling is normal. If you feel any severe or intense pain, make sure to go to a doctor immediately. If your physical health is not doing well, your mental health will follow suit.
Check For Disability Payouts
Self-care is important after an accident, and sometimes self-care means literally taking care of yourself in a difficult situation. Depending on your level of injury and your state, you can get different amounts of coverage and different payments. For example, in California, if you qualify for Temporary Disability Payments, you can receive up to $5,077 per month depending on when you were injured and what your usual wages are. If you take care of your disability benefits, you may have less stress surrounding finances if you can’t work because of injuries sustained in the accident.
Stick To Your Routine
Sticking to your routine is key to returning to normalcy after an accident. Avoidance of common activities is one usual response to a car accident since we have to drive to do so many day to day activities. However, the sooner that you get back into your normal routine, the quicker that you can get back on track with your life and move on.
If you caused the accident because you were driving under the influence, even if it was your first offense, you may have your license suspended, in which case returning to your normal routine may be hard. If you have to make a new normal routine, then you can, just try to establish a set routine as quickly as possible.
Be Gentle With Yourself
No matter the kind of accident you were in and whether or not you were at fault, it can be easy to blame yourself for everything that happened. However, if you hold onto the guilt and blame, it can really hurt your mental health over time. Instead, be gentle with yourself. Forgive yourself for any mistakes you have made, and do your best to move on from them. As a human, mistakes are inevitable, so you have to accept any mistakes you’ve made and let them go so they won’t hurt you in the long run.
Being in a car accident can really change the state of your mental health and make day to day life more difficult. However, by acknowledging and working through the difficult emotions of grief, guilt, anger, denial, and confusion that may result from an accident, you can learn to move on with your life. Consulting with medical and mental health professionals will always be the best course of action, especially if you find that your mental health issues are getting in the way of your day to day life. You are strong, and you will get through this, and it’s important to keep that thought in your mind as you deal with the after-effects of an accident.