Song Lyric of the Day:
Oh, hard to hold this fire inside me / All I know, sometimes it’s frightening / Hard to hold this fire inside me / Oh, oh oh, it’s not really like me to lash out / I gotta let it out / I wanna lash out
Alice Merton / “Lash Out“
I mentioned recently that life had gotten a little overwhelming of late. A lot of that has had to do with countless therapy appointments, a result of the car accident we were in at the end of March. Both Rich and I have been in physical therapy because of neck and back pain. I recently wrapped up six weeks’ worth of twice-weekly physical therapy sessions, and Rich just wrapped up his therapy. I now miss my wonderful therapist because I totally imprinted on her. I’m hopeful that continuing to do the home exercises she gave me will help keep my neck and back feeling good. There were days where it was hard to simply hold up my head because my neck was so sore, so I’m grateful therapy helped with that.
As I was behind the wheel during the accident, I now have severe driving anxiety. I went back to my regular therapist, a psychologist, to try to help with that. She’s had me do EMDR therapy to really focus on the accident. That means I’ve had to relive the accident several times, multiple times each therapy session. I didn’t realize until my doctor pointed it out, but the only time I would cry when recounting the accident to her is when I would describe hearing Coraline and Sebastian screaming and not knowing if they were OK. EMDR has been as fun and emotionally draining as you imagine it would be.
This anxiety has pretty much ruined driving for me. Driving, once such a simple pleasure in my life, is now something that scares me, especially if the weather is bad as we were rear-ended on a rainy day. If the weather is bad or just looking like it might turn, I’ll do my best to avoid going anywhere. I have to fight to not look in the rearview mirror once I’ve come to a stop, because I tense up watching the car behind me approach. It might look like it’s going too fast to stop in time, or — lord help me — if it’s rainy out, I’m terrified they’ll lose traction and slam into me like the driver in our wreck did. As anyone knows, tensing up is the worst thing you can do if you might get hit, so I have to continually remind myself to NOT LOOK IN THE MIRROR.
I do breathing exercises when I start my van first thing in the morning, and I usually end up doing them at stoplights and stop signs to calm myself down if something scared me into thinking I was going to get hit again. Coraline knows I’m seeing a therapist for this, and, luckily, she doesn’t hear my internal monologue when I’m freaking out as outwardly I manage to keep it together. I’m grateful that not only were both my kids physically unharmed in the wreck, but they both avoided developing any anxiety like I now have about being in the van.
We recently drove to Columbus, Ohio, to visit close friends, and at one point during the 6-hour drive there, I started to feel as close to a panic attack as I’ve ever been. I was in the front passenger seat and had to fight to not ask Rich to pull over, because I just didn’t want to be driving anywhere anymore. The best comparison I have is that it felt like when you get on a scary thrill ride and immediately want to get off, but you can’t. You have no choice but to see it through. All the other cars on the highway felt like threats to me — they were driving too fast or too close or had distracted drivers or were right on our tail. They felt like threats to me, anyway. I managed to talk myself down by reminding myself that Rich is a careful driver and would never intentionally put me or (especially) the kids in any danger. Clearly, I still have a ways to go with therapy for my driving anxiety.
As if the anxiety alone isn’t enough to deal with, my van is still not completely fixed. The body shop (DO NOT use Abra) we unfortunately chose did a crappy job of “fixing” things. As in, it turns out they left out the entire radio harness that should be in the liftgate that communicates with the 20+ computers my van has. We ended up having the Chrysler dealership fix that as I don’t want Abra touching my van ever again, lifetime work warranty be damned. So what’s the problem with my van now? The blind spot detector works maybe 5 minutes a day whenever I’m driving. Which means the entire rest of the time I’m driving it’s constantly dinging — it dings to let me know BLIND SPOT DETECTION UNAVAILABLE and to SERVICE BLIND SPOT SYSTEM. All those dings are fantastic for my anxiety, especially when they happen at the same moment I make a turn or change lanes and it scares the hell out of me. The dealership ran a computer diagnostic on the blind spot system which came back all clear, so after some Googling, I think the problem is in the bumper/wire connections somewhere. Given that the body shop screwed up the liftgate repair, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they messed up repairing bumper connections, too. I have an appointment on the books to take my van back to the dealership so they can try to figure this issue out, and I’ll have to get another rental van which — you guessed it — increases my anxiety as I am then in an unfamiliar-to-me vehicle.
Almost every day after March 24 has been like this for me. It’s been a vicious cycle, one which I hope, no, NEED therapy to help me out of.
*You have no idea how much Googling it took to find these clips. It’s one of my favorite quotes from So I Married an Axe Murderer, and I couldn’t find a full video clip anywhere. Alas, a website called Yarn saved the day.