There’s no denying the fact that an automobile accident can be devastating. Even a fender-bender is likely to leave you feeling shaken; if you have sustained serious injuries, your entire life can be turned upside down. In addition to the physical toll that the accident has taken, you may be unable to resume working right away and therefore worried about your financial situation.
With time and the help of both professionals and your family and friends, however, you will be able to overcome this setback and resume a happy, productive life. Here are some things to help you bounce back from a vehicular accident.
You Don’t Have to “Bounce”
Before we touch on the other tips, it’s important to mention that it’s not really necessary to “bounce” back from a car accident. It’s perfectly OK if you crawl, tiptoe, take one step forward and then two steps back, or circumnavigate your way! How long it takes you to recover depends entirely on the extent of the injuries you sustained, the treatment you get for them, your overall health, and many other factors.
As you work together with your healthcare providers to recover physically, don’t be tempted to rush the process — or to judge your abilities against your pre-accident condition. Let yourself take whatever time is needed, celebrate your small wins along the way, and be patient. Accept the help that others want to give you, too.
An important thing to remember right after a car crash is to remain calm and remain quiet. “Never admit fault,” explains an auto-accident lawyer at Chaffin Luhana LLP, a law firm in Pittsburgh, “the only thing you’re obligated to reveal is the basic information about the accident, including who was involved and where it occurred. Don’t agree to give a recorded statement. That way you’re protected later on when seeking the recovery you deserve.”
“There is absolutely no shame in needing a little extra assistance doing tasks that were once second nature,” explains Brandon Stein of SteinLaw car accident lawyers in Aventura. “It makes others feel good to help you, too, so don’t turn down those gracious offers of help.”
Listen to the Experts
Your doctors and physical therapists have seen countless patients with the same injuries that you are struggling with, and they have nursed those patients back to health and mobility. So listen to their advice and heed it, as difficult as it might be to take things slowly. If your PT wanted you to do 50 squats instead of 10 each day, she would have told you to do 50. Rushing things, pushing yourself beyond your current capabilities, or trying to “tough it out” without pain meds won’t help you recover faster. In many cases, they may even backfire on you and delay your progress.
Conversely, cultivate a healthy sense of skepticism when it comes to other people’s advice. After an accident, it’s not uncommon for Facebook friends, acquaintances, and even perfect strangers to offer their take on your condition or injuries. It is usually well-meaning; folks like to share little-known remedies, complementary therapies, helpful products, and anecdotal evidence. But what worked for Kathy in Accounting’s nephew’s girlfriend or your neighbor’s grandmother might not work for you. Thank them for their concern and their suggestions, but don’t take any supplements or try specific treatments without clearing them first with your doctor.
Address Your Emotional Needs
Did you know that an automobile accident can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? Even if you aren’t diagnosed with this condition, being involved in a crash can certainly affect your emotional well-being. This is especially true if you were badly injured, if others involved in the crash were hurt or even killed, or if you feel guilty about having done something to cause the incident.
It is not unusual to have nightmares following a vehicle crash or to feel anxiety in your waking hours. The repercussions can last for a long time and are likely to persist if you do not take steps to address them.
Emotional recovery and healing are every bit as important as your physical condition. It might be wise to see a counselor for some short-term help in dealing with your feelings. If you’re not comfortable doing that, confide in a friend, relative, or your religious leader. You can also join an online group or discussion board to meet people in similar situations and open up about the emotional impact of the accident.
Journaling is another wonderful way to make sense of what has happened to you and to track your progress. By writing down your feelings, you are giving yourself the opportunity to process them so that you can move on from the accident.
Your life may never be the same after an accident – and that’s OK. One positive outcome of traumatic events like a vehicle crash is that they can put everything into perspective. Feel gratitude for having survived the accident and for having more time to spend with your family and friends, and focus on seizing the day!