After you’ve been in a car accident, you might feel like your world’s been turned upside down, and things will never be the same again. But with time, patience, and the right strategies, you can get past the trauma you’ve experienced. Even if you’ve suffered serious injuries, you can still find peace again. It can take time to heal from these traumas, but rest assured that these challenges can be overcome. Here are some tips to help you recover from the PTSD triggered by an auto accident:
1: Deal with your physical injuries first
Neglecting your injuries is one of the worst things you can do when you’ve been in an accident. Not only does not doing anything to manage your pain make it more likely that your PTSD will get worse, but if you don’t get the right treatment for your physical injuries, they could become chronic and interfere with life even more than PTSD.
2: Seek professional help
Most people who have been in an auto accident will suffer from some degree of PTSD, whether it’s lasting just a few days or causing them to have nightmares and flashbacks for years after the accident. If you’ve suffered physically as well, your doctor is also likely to advise you to see a psychiatrist so you can get medication or talk therapy.
3: Get back to your regular activities
It’s natural to want to stay in bed and avoid going out after a traumatic event, but it’s actually one of the worst things you can do for your recovery. By getting back to normal life, even if that means taking it easy, you’ll be able to show yourself that you can function normally and be back where you were before the accident, which will boost your self-esteem.
4: Keep a journal
Someday, you may want to look back on what happened during those first few weeks after your accident. So it’s important to keep a record of those days, especially the things you may not remember or think is important. Note how much time it’s been since the accident and how many days it’s been since you last had a flashback. If you ever make a claim with an auto accident attorney, this information may also prove useful later as well.
5: Explore your feelings
PTSD is a mental and physical condition that’s usually the result of a traumatic event. Sometimes you might not feel like talking about what happened, but keeping it all bottled up inside can only make things worse. If you don’t want to discuss what happened with anyone else, write down your thoughts and feelings regularly, so you can gain perspective and process what you’re experiencing.
6: Don’t blame yourself
People who have been in auto accidents often suffer from PTSD because they feel somehow responsible for causing the crash, even if it was clearly not their fault. Even if you’ve already blamed yourself for what happened, try to remember that this is an unfounded feeling based on the auto accident’s circumstances. If you’re struggling with self-loathing or guilt after your accident, see a mental health professional who can help you work through your feelings.
7: Respect your triggers
Everyone has things that will trigger their PTSD, so it’s important you learn what yours are and how to deal with them. If you can anticipate your triggers before they happen, you’ll be more prepared when they do pop up unexpectedly. For example, if you’ve had a flashback during the daytime because of bright sunlight, then ask someone else to drive or wear sunglasses on your next car ride so you can have peace of mind.