Car accidents can be traumatizing, even if you aren’t severely injured. Here’s how to deal with anxiety and get back to normal.
You may experience persistent flashbacks of the event, or you might be too nervous or stressed to get behind the wheel again.
Or you may experience more strain in your personal relationships and may find it harder to engage in your normal exercise habits.
In any case, this recurring anxiety is harmful to your long-term health and happiness. Fortunately, there are a few strategies that can help you deal with anxiety.
5 Steps To Help You Deal With Anxiety
Follow these tips to successfully manage post-traumatic stress and anxiety:
1. Seek Justice
One of the best things you can do is seek justice for what happened. It can’t reverse time and prevent the accident from occurring. But it can give you confidence that the person responsible for the accident has been held accountable for their actions.
Depending on how you were injured during the accident (and how much of your property was damaged), you may also be able to seek legal compensation.
For example, if you suffered multiple broken bones as a result of someone else’s negligence, you can sue them for the medical expenses you’re facing, as well as compensation for your pain and suffering.
If your anxiety symptoms are severe, they may also be held responsible for paying for your therapy and medication costs. They should also compensate you for any work you missed during this period.
2. Confide In Friends And Family Members
Next, realize that you don’t have to do this alone. Many people dismiss their anxiety symptoms or simply pretend they aren’t there.
They may also avoid talking to friends and family members out of embarrassment, or in an attempt to minimize their suffering. However, this level of isolation and denial can do more harm than good.
Instead, it’s in your best interest to share what you’re experiencing with the people closest to you.
Let them know what you’re going through, and don’t be afraid to ask for their support. Chances are, they’ll be more than happy to spend time with you and help you during your most challenging moments.
3. Talk To A Therapist
Even if you don’t feel like your symptoms are encroaching on your life, it’s valuable to talk to a therapist or counselor.
With a dedicated professional, you’ll be able to talk through your symptoms and experiences and get a better perspective on the meaning behind those symptoms.
You’ll learn strategies you can use to manage your anxiety or panic at the moment. And you’ll also gain access to therapeutic techniques that can prevent those symptoms from occurring in the future.
If your symptoms are extreme or consistently problematic, your therapist may also be able to recommend medication to help you manage your symptoms. They can also coach you through the future stages of your recovery.
The benefits of physical exercise are hard to overstate. If you worked out consistently before the accident, you likely already realize this.
Exercise relieves stress, reduces your anxiety, and keeps your body in healthier physical condition. Doing it regularly can help you regain control of your emotional functions.
That said, exercising after a car accident may be difficult. If you were the victim of a car accident as a pedestrian or while riding a bicycle, you may be reluctant to bike or jog on the streets.
If you suffered injuries in the accident that prevent you from following your original workout routine, you may feel discouraged.
The trick is to find a series of exercises that are comfortable for you, and rely on those as you recover.
For example, if running or jogging is no longer comfortable for you, you may switch to upper body exercises like lifting or swimming. You can work on other exercises as you feel more confident or secure.
5. Exposure Therapy
Exposure therapy is one of the most common techniques for treating anxiety-related symptoms, and it can help you overcome your most powerful recurring symptoms.
The basic idea is to expose yourself to situations or conditions that trigger your anxiety symptoms gradually, and in a way that gradually reintroduces you to the original stimulus.
For example, if you feel panicked or anxious when driving, exposure therapy would have you ride as a passenger, then operate a vehicle under very open, safe conditions, gradually working your way up to full driving when you feel comfortable doing so.
The anxiety you face after a traumatic car accident may never fully go away. But you can manage it and limit its effects on your health.
Don’t be intimidated or frustrated if the first few strategies you attempt don’t work like magic. It may take some time for you to find the techniques that help you deal with anxiety. And it could take months (or even years) to completely recover.