In most fender-bender cases, people tend to physically heal within six weeks of the accident. However, more serious car crashes, and those crashes involving bicyclists or pedestrians take more time to heal. No matter how serious the crash was, you may be still be dealing with it mentally. Physically you may appear “fine” or “better” or “improving” but you may still need to heal emotionally.
What holds you back?
One thing that can hold you back is fear. You may fear to move in certain ways, worried it will hurt or you will not be able to do it.
Another emotion that can block emotional healing is anger. You may still be angry at the injustice of what happened. This makes sense. Someone did something that changed your life, made it difficult or painful.
And finally, there is grief. You may not have fully grieved the loss of your previous life or carefree mind. So, what can you do?
Three strategies to heal emotionally and mentally
- First, you can identify the emotion. What are you really feeling?
- Next, after recognizing how you feel, brainstorm a practical approach. What can you do to move forward? For some people, including health care providers at the Mayo Clinic, tai chi is helpful because it is moving the body in a different way. For others qi gong combines mental focus (meditation) and movement.
- If you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) work with a metal health professional. A therapist trained in this can help relive the anxiety and depression you are likely suffering. Many people who have been injured deal with fear and sleep issues as well as avoidant behavior. The good news is that this field of research has made great strides forward. New modalities of treatment provide more and more success stories. You may be the next one!
All of us are vulnerable. All of us live with uncertainty. But there is help and hope after an injury. Focus on what you can control. Remember to put self-care first: get enough sleep, eat balanced meals and stay in communication with your social circle.
One other thing; consider trying new ways to think and to move. These are key to unlocking your confidence to fully live again.