Now that Chester has been discharged from the hospital after his accident, I feel like this should be the first step in letting myself move on from the situation. I definitely suffered a lot more emotionally and physically over it than I thought I would so I’m writing this as not only a form of therapy, but in the hope that it helps me get it all out of the mush that is my brain. I could only hope that it may bring comfort or support to anyone reading this and also experiencing trauma. My main symptoms from the trauma have included weight loss (although I’ve been trying through slimming world, some weeks have been kinder then they should have), trouble sleeping, nightmares and irritability. I just experienced so much rage inside of me that bubbled up so frequently it began really affecting my quality of life. Not only did it affect my marriage but also affected Noah as I was so short-fused with him and aged just 3 he couldn’t be expected to understand. So this is my personal experience of what I found helped me to deal with the emotional trauma of Chester’s accident.
Accepting it’s happened. This is the first and maybe most important step. Stop thinking about everything you didn’t do, thinking of how you could have stopped it or punishing yourself over and over. I think I will forever more feel guilty about that day and a part of me always has to remind myself of this advice but there is absolutely no point beating yourself up over something you simply can’t change. Adjust your mindset to think about what you DID do and how you made the best choices possible. This is a hard thing to do but once your logical brain starts taking over it helps control the emotional part of your brain. Guilt isn’t a feeling that is quick to go away and 2 months on, I still battle with it myself. Just know that it shows you you’re doing an amazing job if you have those feelings and worries.
Try to carry on as normal as difficult as that it. Surround yourself with people you love, that understand and give you the support you so desperately need. Continue with your normal routine and perhaps create an even tighter one because I found it allowed me to have some control back in a time when I felt robbed of it. I have always needed to keep busy generally as I find it is really positive for my mental health.
Have some alone time… easier said than done especially with two kids and more hospital appointments but this one is so important. Even if is just a coffee alone or a walk around the block, having time to reflect alone is so important to help you move forward. I found having an physical outlet such as running was so beneficial for me as no matter what my emotions i.e angry, sad, guilty, I focused on pounding them out. Of course, we all know that exercise produces endorphins which in turn help too. When something big happens such as Chester’s accident, you find life gets busy and crowded. Everyone wants to help and support to the point that it becomes overwhelming (obviously its very much needed and appreciated). Some alone time helps you refocus on all the step you need to keep reminding yourself to focus on.
Don’t bottle feelings up. It is SO important to talk about how you feel and not let them bubble up inside of you. I used to feel trapped talking about my feelings when people made comments such as ‘I’m glad he’s ok.’ It made me so angry because he wasn’t ok. My baby had gone through an awful trauma and just because he was out of hospital didn’t mean he was ok or that I must be ok. I am the sort of person that needs to go over and over things with someone as it helps me to process things. Obviously everyone has their own coping mechanisms but it is important for everyone to have someone they can talk to on their bad days and celebrate the good days with.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I went through absolute shit and my life felt like a living nightmare so why the hell should I feel ashamed of saying ‘do you know what… I’m really struggling.’ We live in a culture where we just crack on and continue, putting a brave face on and try to move on whereas sometimes it isn’t as easy as that. Seeking help from friends or in my case, medical help was the only way I could really start to feel better. It is more than ok to not be ok and sometimes you can’t become ok until you’ve had some help. Please, please don’t be afraid to ask for it. My inbox is ALWAYS open if you ever need any support.
I think in a way I’m writing this down as a reminder. A reminder to myself on a bad day and maybe I’m only able to write these down today because today is a good day. Dealing with trauma or something bad isn’t easy. It’s like being thrown on a rollercoaster when you’re absolutely terrified. It’s about becoming self aware and finding your own personal and unique ways of coping and accepting the good with the bad. There will be days that you don’t even remember it has happened and there will be days you feel like you’re right back at that day, reliving it. Things will get easier… I tell myself that everyday.