Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (also known as PTSD) is a disorder I never knew I could relate myself too. However, after a massive incident, it forced me to realize how real and how critical this mental disorder could impact someone.
February 5th, 2018, I was on my way to work. It was around 5:30 in the morning, as I started at 6. I was merging onto the highway when I hit black ice and lost full control of my car slamming into the metal guard rail.
I was in shock. At the time, I did not realize how bad it had been. I’d thought whatever the case would be, I would still be able to go work. But the guy who pulled over behind me had immediately called 9-1-1 and told me not to move.
With no physical or mental pain, I just helplessly waited there trying to keep calm. When I heard my mom’s voice on the phone I burst into tears trying to tell her what had happened. It took several attempts getting through my sobs before she realized what it was that I said.
Cops and paramedics showed up within minutes and I got asked a series of questions for them to better understand what it was that I just went through.
The medics pried my car open and I was helped onto the stretcher and strangled onto the backboard where I could no longer move. I was brought into the ambulance while my car went up the tow-truck. I was given all the documents needed to later give the insurance company and to find my car.
While in the ambulance the paramedic was checking me out and asking me questions. That’s when my first flashes started happening. I kept seeing the metal rail. And because I was strained on the backboard I could not shake the image out of my head.
Once I got to the hospital my mom met me in emergency. It took two hours and the whole time I was checked for a concussion. But with no signs or symptoms I was released and sent home to recover.
Throughout the night, I kept seeing the accident in my mind. It was happening more frequent as the day went on. So, I decided to go to sleep early that night, but the nightmare was there. It was not going away.
In the wee hours of the morning I had a night terror living the entire thing vividly that the sudden shake when I hit the post woke me up.
That is when I realized, unless I did something to ease the PTSD, it was never going to go away.
So, what I did was, I wrote to get through it. No matter what, I was writing. Whether it was on what I felt/how I felt, a story or doing homework that kept me distracted.
The times the concussion symptoms were flaring I would play a game, or be with some close friends. I would never stay not-busy or unfocused because that is when they flared.
Some other methods that were recommended were;
- Getting a hobby
- Seeking Help
- Going out in Nature
- Listening to music
One thing to note is, it is a daily process. Not a one-time thing. Some days are good and other days aren’t.
If you’ve suffered from PTSD, how did you cope with your symptoms?