After being involved in an accident, you may go through a range of different emotions.
You may experience these feelings at the time of the accident, and in the days following it:
- have trouble believing it really happened
- nervous or worried
- fearful or uneasy
In addition, you might keep going over the accident in your mind. You might feel like you can't stop thinking about it.
Most people who have been in an accident have some, (or all), of these feelings. In most cases, the feelings go away over time. However, some people's feelings don't go away, or they become stronger, changing the way the people think and act. Strong feelings that stay with a person for a long time and start to get in the way of everyday life, are signs of a condition called post-traumatic stress disorder, that can keep you from living a normal life after the accident. If you find yourself in this situation, please seek professional advice and support.
How can I cope with the feelings I have after my accident?
- talk to your friends and relatives about the details of the accident and how you thought, felt and acted, at the time of the accident and in the days after it.
- stay active. Exercise and take part in activities as you can. Your family doctor can help you figure out how much you can do safely.
- try to get back to your daily activities and routines. Accidents can make you limit what you do. It's important to try to get back to your usual activities, even if you're uncomfortable or scared at first.
If someone died as the result of the accident, the grief process may be different to that of an anticipated death. The bereaved person may suffer from 'survivor guilt', questioning why they survived when others died and may believe that they could or should have done more to prevent the tragedy.
If you find yourself in this situation, please seek professional advice and support.