A month ago I was in a really bad car accident. He was going 50 mph, I was essentially stopped. He ran right into me. Didn't even brake. The impact threw my car out into the middle of the highway. The fact I didn't get hit again is a miracle. I walked away with a pretty bad concussion and a sprained wrist along with a totaled car.
Fast forward to a week later and I got a settlement check from the insurance company and went to buy a new car. Got it home and then had to convince myself to go out and drive it (was anxious after the accident) and not a mile from my home I was hit head on by a teenager in a truck that cut a corner too short and turned into my lane.
To say I lost it is a bit of an understatement.
I was terrified to get into a car. If I had to get into a car, then I freaked any time anyone got near me on the road. I started having panic attacks again. I got really depressed; in part from the concussion (apparently it's normal) and in part from being so isolated. I had no stamina to participate in social activities nor did I have the courage to get into a car to attend any.
I started cutting again. My anxiety got so bad and I felt so out of control about the entire situation that I just lost my grip on the coping mechanisms I had worked so hard to integrate. They honestly were not working and that just scared me more and turned me faster back to the release I knew would work. It bums me out a little to admit it didn't work as well as I remembered. I attribute that to the fact that I have lost my nerve a bit. Not a bad thing, but in the moment when I was waiting desperately for that relief and it wasn't coming the way I remembered it was very frustrating.
I have had to go crawling back to V. I literally felt like I could not cope with life without her support. I was falling apart and I needed her to save me; or rather to help me save myself. First session back was mainly to gauge my level of depression and help me get a handle on that. Only these last two have started to focus more on the trauma of this last month.
Trauma... *&@! that word...
That leads me to why I'm writing tonight. In the last two sessions I have had two diagnoses/labels thrown out in our conversations: PTSD and trauma.
Hang on while I grab a pin for my scarlet letter(s).
I never quite understood why in meetings at school, parents were so dead set against accepting the help their child so desperately needed because it would label their child as dyslexic or learning disabled or autistic.
I completely get it now. Labels take away humanity. They force you to see one thing and divert your attention from the millions of other things that are true about yourself/your child/whomever.
So to label myself with PTSD means I am that. To say I am traumatized again means that is my whole existence. You may be able to see the millions of other things, but I see only that. The shame that came with those things last time shrouds everything else in darkness.
I broke down in tears at this discussion today because I hate connecting this situation to my past. To me they have nothing in common and to connect them only further solidifies my feelings of helplessness and powerlessness. But as V was quick to point out, my prior experiences with PTSD and trauma were riddled with feelings of helplessness and powerlessness. I dealt with them the best way I knew how (aka shoved them so far down they rarely ever surfaced) and suffered the consequences of their unwelcome eruption 4 years ago. But as she also pointed out, I am so much healthier now and in a position of power in my own life to be able to process those feelings in a different environment and with a better understanding of my own self to possibly further my healing in a way I wasn't ready for before.
And you know what? I like the sound of that.