Monday, 25 April 2011

Stepping back from the edge

Just when things seem to be swinging along, something gets me down again.

I got an invitation to my sister's surprise birthday party, she's going to be 50.  I probably won't go because there are too many difficulties including needing time off work and the fact that she lives 2 hours drive away...  But just thinking about it stressed me out.  Just my parents saying "I know they'd love it if you went".  Nothing's that easy any more and I need to do things in my own time. And getting a lift with someone else would almost be worse - I'd be so tense by the time I got there, having driven the whole way in my head but without the controls!

I already have my first longer drive planned, and it will to see my brother and sister in law where things are relaxed, and if I suddenly got stuck on the way they would probably come and rescue me!   Maybe a madhouse full of teenagers would work just as well, but.... I'm already making the excuses, I'm not going to go.

Even on my bike I've noticed my change in expectations on the road.  I used to be much more casual but now I always wear my helmet and luminous top, even when it makes it a bit warm. Even when it's just 1.5 miles to work. The thing is, I've realised I wear them not only for the obvious reasons, but so that if somebody does knock me off my bike one day I can say "Yes I was wearing a helmet, yes I was wearing a luminous jacket".   In the same way that now I can say "Yes I was wearing my seatbelt / sensible driving shoes / sunglasses" or whatever - don't try and pick up on anything to pin the blame on me.

I read that after a traumatic experience, a person's outlook can change from generally positive to generally negative.  Obviously effects vary but that's kind of how I feel.  Instead of somebody doing something stupid on the road being an outside chance, in my head it's now favourite odds, and it's up to me to anticipate it and avoid it. Maybe that is something do with the fact that there was "little or no chance" of me avoiding our crash (the coroner's words, not mine).

I'm attempting (not always succeeding) to pace myself physically and same applies psychologically.

Maybe I should get myself a T-shirt that says "I'm going as fast as I can...".


  1. i think it is quite normal to feel this way, sometimes people don't realize how a person can change after a traumatic experience. I hope your Family will come to understand your reluctance to travle the distance.

  2. I've found, perhaps, one person who 'gets it' since the accident eons ago. And yes, forever changed.

    It's not as dramatic--time had a way of evening it out for me. But I did the pendulum swing to that end of the spectrum. I hear tell that's 'normal' for folks who live through the trauma.

    I think my saying has become "I'm dancing as fast as I can"--meaning it's the best that I'm doing, today. Some folks came to understand that, some--notsomuch. I've come to realize they can only 'know' what they 'know'. I can only say what's true for me and appreciate when someone 'gets it'.....and show a bit of tolerance when they don't.

    You're dancing as fast as you can--and it's 'good enough' for today. Healing happens at our own pace. You are healing. Ease up on you.
    Your 'no' can just be 'no'. It's okay.
    It's enough.

    Just sayin'.

  3. Twain12 - I'm just waiting for my mother to suggest that I 'see someone about it'. None of them have had a similar experience so I can't expect them to understand. They also think that offering to give me a lift is the easier option, when really it isn't...

    Mel - "I'm dancing as fast as I can" - I like that, please can I share it? You're right, people can't know how I'm feeling when they haven't been there themselves. Mr H understands but then he was there with me and I know he struggles too.

    I'm sure when I get out there I will find it's not as bad as I think - but I'm going to do that when I'm ready, not when other people think I am.

    Thanks xx

  4. I like 'I'm dancing as fast as I can' and also 'f*ck em' must be up there too. Totally agree with Mel. Hugs.

  5. PS Thinking about this I'm sorry that explaining to those of us that haven't been in a similar trauma is such a pain. I too would think that offering you a lift might help. But hopefully would understand completely when you told me differently - without too much of 'what a pillock' in your tone ;-)

  6. Rosie - well, so would I think that, if I didn't know differently! It does depend who is driving, for instance with Mr H or Gail I feel ok and can tell them how I feel. But my dad is mid 70s and I'm forever thinking 'has he seen that...??'

    It has occurred to me that the obvious thing is to split the trip into chunks - instead of thinking 'I'm driving 100 miles to the Cotswolds', I should think of it in small sections, and maybe stop for a leg-stretch in places on the way instead of doing it all in one go.

  7. I think the first thing you have to decide is if YOU want to go. Not what you should do or feel you ought to do but whether you want to.

    Then tackle the how if necessary.

  8. Rosie, sorry I confused you - I was referring to visiting Mr H's brother and his wife in the Cotswolds - the chilled out destination ;-) I won't be going to the party because apart from anything else my holiday days are too precious, they're for seeing my husband!



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