Saturday / August 04 / 2012
Coping with gut-wrenching guilt
Blogging about the accident has gifted me with a new freedom. Permission to breathe. Absorbing the comments of you, my readers has gifted me with… well, a new perspective. An embrace of love and understanding. Thank you.
Privately, a couple of you have shared your own battles with rooted, suppressing guilt stemming from the accident. Guilt you have endured for 25 years. Alone. Guilt you put on yourself (as I did) in a determined attempt to rescue your mind from the many unanswered questions of, “Why?!”
One friend revealed, “I have never told anyone else this, but I feel I need to share with you. I felt responsible and guilty after the accident.”
I had no idea.
My prayer is that our journey together through stories and discussion, ache and adulation — but mostly through the freedom with which they are exchanged — will solidify friendships and build souls of love, courage, and freedom.
My friend and heroine Denise Foster asserted, “These stories you share help me to better understand the depth of your suffering on that awful day, and beyond. I have put those memories so far in the past, but you live with them daily. I am proud of you, not for surviving, but for living the life that you live despite those difficult times.”
Every time I stand before a mirror, I see my scars. Every day as I care for and cherish my leg, I’m reminded. Of that day. Of those unanswered questions.
For two years, I endured stomach pain so great, I sank into deep clinical depression, an illness I’ve since learned to accept and embrace. After every medical test known to mankind showing I’m “perfectly normal”, my wise and dear friend Dave Covey suggested I may be suffering from PTSD.
“Post-traumatic stress disorder?!?,” I asked, baffled. “I thought that was only for people who had been to war.”
Naiveté aside, I now recognize the 24/7/365 punishing stomach pain could indeed be attributed to PTSD. A disorder so intense it was was gut-wrenching — literally.
I back-tracked the start of my stomach ails to the time period when I made the decision to move back ‘home’ to upstate New York. I’d left the great Adirondacks when I was basically still a child (at least 22 seems like a child now that I’ve crossed into my 40s). With the mind of a child was the only way in which I’d processed the tragedy of the accident. I hadn’t upgraded my processing equipment. I didn’t even know I needed to.
I hadn’t lived in the physical arena of the car accident in nearly 20 years and had no idea a move ‘home’ would affect me so dramatically. But it did.
Nearly tore my guts out.
I needed a new, “grown-up” version of how to cope with the fallout from that day. One not of despair and hopelessness but of courage, strength, and survival. It’s sharing that journey together that breeds the most healing.
TO READ MORE ABOUT THE CAR ACCIDENT DONNA REFERS TO…
Visit The You Evolution’s blog category “The Accident” HERE