Its been two years since I got hit by a car. And my anxiety, especially during the winter months, has not diminished. Lately, its at an all time high!! I am so afraid of slipping on the ice, breaking more bones. So much anxiety. I have definitely noticed how being hit by a car has changed the way I experience the city. Every time I see a taxi cab coming down the street, an almost daily sight, my thoughts rebound to my accident. Some changes, like never stepping off the curb until the light has actually changed, or looking both ways before crossing (sometimes twice), are probably good in a way. But all these inane thought race through my head in seconds – I am never again sure that a car will stop, and now my carefree walking in the city has come to and – abruptly and forever.
Although I recovered, for the most part, physically, I still walk around the city with a sense of permanent vulnerability. I still cannot cross many streets without looking both ways about four times and looking over my shoulder a dozen times while crossing. If a car gets too close, or if I think a driver turning my way doesn’t see me, I panic, break out in a sweat, and sometimes literally freeze. Sometimes, on crowded walkways, people stare, get frustrated with me, bump into me … all which just adds more anxiety.
Physically, I have been certainly recovering. But the last two years, I have became seriously depressed. Drugs did not help all that much. I was referred to a post-traumatic stress disorder therapist and during non-winter months, I think I am ok. But now my PTSD is at the forefront of my life. Waiting for the winter blues literally to leave so some of my depression can gradually lift.
For a long time, though, my life was defined by my accident. And I guess it still is -0 just when I thought I could put things behind me. So much is how much of my energy and time is spent on all the medical procedures, tests, rehabs, doctors’ visits etc., building anxiety, not to mention all that time I missed from work before they laid me off. And now looking to go back to work, I see how much I have really lost.
And the experience lingers, both mentally and physically. I have regained about 80 percent of my mobility and 70 percent of my strength, but it is just not the same. So many things I still can’t do, and this only leaves me more frustrated and disappointed. In my mind, I’ll never be the same and that’s heartbreaking to some extent.
And the fear and the vulnerability stay with me. I wasn’t paralyzed or killed, so I felt fortunate. Being hit by a car did, however, damage my sense of security and safety. I am still working my head around all of this.
I have become an exceedingly careful pedestrian. *sigh* I guess that is a good thing. I never got my driver’s license, I never quite liked cars nor traffic, but these days I am even more against them. I just pray to return to some form of stability — both on a professional and personal level as well as emotionally and physically.
I desperately seek and need the feeling of responsibility and accomplishment. I want my life back. But am keeping my true appreciation for why I am still here.