A bad day, made awesome!

A few weeks ago, I had a horrible day. I mean a truly awful day. Not because I was in pain, but because I had a full blown, five alarm panic attack, which is not something I deal with very often. I’ve had them before, but they’re usually few and far between. This one blew all the rest of them completely out of the water.

Have I ever mentioned that I am absolutely terrified of car accidents? I can’t even watch crash scenes on TV, I cringe and hide my eyes every time. Seeing them in real life is incredibly stressful for me, and usually results in a serious pain spike, sometimes even an all out flare up.

You may be wondering why I’m so freaked out by car accidents, so let me explain…

My first major (and worst) accident happened when I was 17. Those of you who have been following my ramblings may remember me talking about it once or twice in other posts. This is the accident that supposedly triggered my Fibromyalgia. I don’t remember much of the accident itself; all I can recall is that I was going around a bend in the road, I took the turn too wide causing my front driver’s side tire to slip off the edge of the road. I over compensated and my last actual memory of the incident is me saying “Oh shit!”.

When I came to, several minutes later, I was in a field on the opposite side of the road from where my tire slipped, facing the road. I was later told that I had somehow managed to flip the car end over end no less than three times. In the process, I hit my head hard enough to black out and managed to break a vertebrae off the back of my neck. (Incidentally, if you’re going to break your neck, that is the “best” way to do it).

When I regained consciousness, I remember seeing myself in the vanity mirror, and seeing blood all over my face, which caused me to black out again. The second time I came to, I couldn’t tell how badly the car was damaged, but there was definitely smoke rising from the engine compartment. A good samaritan was trying to get me out of the car, but I was too afraid to move because of the excruciating pain in my neck/back. I told him that unless he could see flames, I wasn’t going to move. Let me just say that that was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make: get out of the car and risk being paralyzed/killed from moving a broken neck or dying in a car fire.

My little brother, who was also in the car, thankfully made it out completely unscathed, for which I am eternally grateful. The officer that arrived at the scene told my parents that neither of us should have made it out of that crash alive. He was actually so stunned that he decided not to charge me with any violations.

That is just one reason why I am petrified of car accidents. Since that accident, I have totaled two additional cars and narrowly avoided totaling a third.

The second accident occurred during a down pour and was caused by another driver’s stupidity (someone decided to make a left in front of me, and due to the slick road, I was unable to stop in time). I have no explanation for the third accident, all I can say is that it occurred right around the time that I had a bad reaction to a new combination of meds to treat the fibro; in case you’re curious, this particular combination of drugs literally caused me to start hearing voices in my head. Not cool.

A few years went by before I had my next accident, which was due to heavy traffic and more driver stupidity. I am happy to say my car survived, although she spent over a month in a repair shop.

Needless to say, I have some issues when it comes to cars. I have never actually been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD), but it’s probably a safe bet to say that I do suffer from it. (Actually, while writing this post, I decided to a bit of research into PTSD, and I’m seriously thinking I should talk to my doctor about it.)

I digress, back to my “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” (thanks to Judith Viorst for that phrase!).

Two Tuesdays ago, I had to run some errands. It started raining almost as soon as I left the house and continued to rain all day. On my way out, I think I must have passed at least two car accidents on the side of the highway and narrowly missed being in a third myself. Not a good start to the day. I made it through my errands and then, on my way home things got worse.

It was pouring rain and in typical Virginia fashion, everyone suddenly forgot how to drive. I was about 20 minutes from home, but it took me over an hour to get there. During that hour or so, I passed by one wreck involving an SUV with a flaming car stuck in it’s backseat followed by the remains of a second accident that left one car crunched accordion style, facing oncoming traffic.

My chest had tightened up and breathing had become much harder since I passed the flaming car, twenty minutes of stressful driving had not done me any favors. As I came up on the second accident, with it’s fire trucks and ambulances, my brain shut down. I literally have no idea how I made it home from there, it’s almost as thought I blacked out, without actually losing consciousness, (that’s a scary thought).

Almost immediately upon entering the house, I lost it. I barely made it to the bathroom before losing my lunch, breakfast and probably part of the previous night’s dinner as well. I ended up in a crumpled, tear streaked, hyperventilating heap on the bathroom floor. Not a pretty picture, as I’m sure you can imagine. I eventually managed to drag my sorry butt into bed, where I spent another good 30 minutes bawling my eyes out. It wasn’t until I ran out of tissues that my rational brain finally decided to wake up and force me to look at what I was doing.

Yes, I it had been a horrible day, but what good was it doing me to sit there and dwell on it? None. I’m not saying that it’s not ok to cry or even have a mini meltdown when you need to. As a matter of fact, I believe it’s good to cry. Cry your heart out if you need to, you’ll feel better for it, just don’t sit there and continue to upset yourself once the tears have run their course.

It took some serious will power, but I made myself get up, get dressed and go for a walk. Once I got outside, I made a decision: if my body wanted to throw a fit, I was going to give it something worth freaking out over, so I ran.

My “walk” turned into an impromptu 8k trial, which I am proud to say went amazingly well. I not only achieved my best time ever for the total 8k, (54:29), I even beat my best mile time, (10:29). I managed to take a totally rotten day and make it awesome, simply by refusing to give in to the pity party my mind was trying to throw.

For the record, I am not recommending that anyone else go out and try to just run 5 miles. This is something that I have been working up to and training for! Go out, enjoy some fresh air and just get yourself moving. You will be amazed by the impact that a little bit of physical activity can have on your mood. šŸ™‚

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  1. Trackback: Happy Slips In | Roots to Blossom

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