Sunday, November 22, 2015

Don't Cross that Yellow Line

     How long did it take you to drive after your collision?  That is a popular question I have after speaking or in general.  

     A more recent question, one I have never been asked by until recently is
" How are you not scared to be in a car or think about it all the time?"  

     A student sent this inquiry to me along with a story of his own.

     I could not drive much until my third year of recovery, so I had been a passenger most of the time I was in a vehicle.  But when it was time that I was allowed to begin making short trips to town, I really had to think about how I was going to handle getting behind the wheel again. 

     We had four children who were involved in all kinds of activities.  Since we live out of town, it's not a small feat to find someone to transport them from our home.   I wanted to drive just so I didn't have to put that strain on others and I desperately wanted my independence back. 

     My ankles had to be strong enough to hit the brakes in an emergency case, my mind had to be able to focus and I had to make sure I had my emotions under control. 

     Beginning just like a teenager again, practicing was necessary.  Initially I just drove up the drive to pick our children up from the bus and graduated to traveling our gravel roads until I made a full circle back to our home with a short stretch of highway. 

     Eventually I decided I was ready to drive them to practices, games, etc.  I was missing out on their lives and that was my most powerful catalyst. 

   I subconsciously hug the white line because I want to be as far away from the center line as possible.   I have had flash backs while driving as someone will hit their brakes and BAM!  I'm right back at the scene as it's unfolding.  I've always been able to bring myself back to reality, but it leaves my body full of adrenaline.

     When a vehicle nears that yellow line or crosses it, my heart constricts to the point that I cannot breathe and it is pounding in my throat.  I'm not sure I show a single sign on the outside of my body, but inside I'm screaming, "God, no!" 

     I calm myself immediately as a confrontation is avoided, but I do not believe that knee-jerk reaction will ever stop.  

     As for my response to that particular gentleman who questioned me. 

        "I think about it each time I get behind the wheel
& any time someone gets close to the center line my heart
beats in my throat. I've consciously made a choice not to let it control me, I want to live freely without my situation holding me hostage .  It's not that I will ever forget but I make sure I've learned from it." 

     I don't know anything else to do.     This collision was not my fault.   I have to live with the knowledge that I am not in
control and it could happen just as easily as it did before. 

     But I will not be a prisoner of it.  Having a great many years to live and create enjoyable memories is my priority and I cannot do that if I am constantly afraid.  

     So I choose to saddle up and conquer my fear.  I will not idly stand by as I watch life unfold around me.  I am going to live it.  

     Somewhere along in my life I have stopped reacting and have begun initiating.   That is where I find my control.

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