***Trigger warning****I talk about my intrusive thoughts.
I had high hopes for September. I was going to blog about my oldest going to kindergarten, and I have nine posts in draft that I wanted to polish up. Instead I said goodbye to a beloved family member, my green machine. I bought my first car three months after my husband and I started dating in January of 2001. My trusty Saturn SL2 sedan was twelve years old, and it had 222, 175 miles on it. Yes, I had planned on driving this car into the ground. A new car while I had two kids in daycare full-time? Forget about it.
I had taken two days off of work to send my oldest off to kindergarten and attend a Mumford and Sons concert. It was a gorgeous day, and I was singing along when it happened. I got into a car accident a mile from work. I was traveling southbound, and the other car was traveling northbound. That car was about to make a left turn when I realized I was going to hit him. I swerved to the left to avoid a head on collision. It is the most terrifying thing to see a car coming up to you when you are driving at higher speeds. Thankfully it was only the other driver and I. Even though I rode in the ambulance to the ER, neither the driver of the other car or I were seriously injured. I suffered minor bruises and some minor first degree burns on my upper abdomen from the airbags being deployed. My car absorbed all the impact in the front.
I was in complete and total shock. I started taking my anxiety medication every day after the accident. As I discussed before, I suffered from intrusive thoughts, particularly car accidents during my struggle with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. Those thoughts came back into my mind like a tidal wave. All I could hear echoing in my head was “you’re so lucky”. Everyone told me that. I realized that it could have been so much worse. I was physically fine. I ran a 5K the day after the accident. Mentally and emotionally, I was not okay. I felt like I had willed this to happen. I felt like this was all my fault.
I reached out. I saw my psychiatrist and asked for a refill of my anti-anxiety medication. I took that daily to help me relax for the first week after the accident. I got in to see my therapist a week after the accident. I talked and vented to my family and my friends. I asked for help. This time it was different. I knew my signs. I knew my triggers. In fact, I swerved out-of-the-way to avoid a head on collision. In my intrusive thought scenarios, I would deliberately swerve into oncoming traffic. I made choices that day that saved myself. I am a survivor, and I will get through this bump. I know this deep within my soul that I am NOT my thoughts. For all mamas who are currently struggling with these same type of thoughts, you are NOT your thoughts. Anxiety and depression tell you lies.
I am giving a list of resources for anyone who is struggling right now.
I would encourage anyone who has self-harmed or other-harmed to get help immediately. Please call the crisis line at 1-800-273-TALK(8255).
http://www.postpartum.net/ – This is the website of Postpartum Support International.
http://postpartumprogress.com/ – Katherine Stone writes one of the most widely read blogs about postpartum mood disorders.