Posted by: Natasha Byloo | 2018/06/19


How to talk to someone about my car accident

I have been in n horific car accident about 3 weeks ago. My son was in the car with me. He is 3 years old. He did not get hurt at all because he was strapped in his car seat. I hurt my neck and spine... I am busy recovering and it takes time. Now my question is... I have been told to talk to someone about my car accident to help me process the whole incident. And because I am having a hard time sleeping because I keep on getting nightmares about the accident... So now my question is how do I talk to someone? What do I say? I have decided to talk with my husband. But don't know how. Please help me? Thank you so much for your help before hand

Expert's Reply


Depression expert
- 2018/06/20

Hello Natasha,
Having been seriously damaged in a multiple car pile-up some years ago, I genuinely do understand such situations. Good news that your on was in his car seat, and a good reminder to us all about how important that is. 
As for yourself, these are early days, both physically and psychologically.
In both areas your symptoms are likely to improve, but as you say, it takes time. 
Psychologically, any intelligent person will feel distress after such an experience. Some of us develop what is called an Acute Stress Disorder, n It tends to develop within a month of the incident, and can last for around a month, sometimes less. It typically includes sleep problems, irritability, nightmares and/or flashbacks ( when one briefly feels as though it is happening again ), anxiety, changeable mood, and wanting to avoid reminders of what happened.
Usually these symptoms fade and we recover. Sometimes the symptoms continue and last, and we have PTSD ( Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ).
Remember, by the way, that there is no such thing as "Post Traumatic Stress", an illiterate term used only by people who are truly ignorant about the matter.
If one has reached the stage of PTSD, some medications may help ( I am not convinced that medications before PTSD has developed and has been properly diagnosed, are useful ) ; and counselling of the CBT format ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) can be very useful. 
So : what about talking about the experience ? Some of us have no need at all to do so : it is not essential for us to "process the incident" ; some of us feel better if we can chat about it to someone sympathetic, a family member, friend or counsellor. My firm rule is that people should be allowed to talk about it if and when thy want to, and also must be allowed NOT to talk about it if and when they don't want to. 
People sometimes unhelpfully try to discourage you from talking about it when you want to, saying, sincerely but mistakenly that it will only upset you.  But you shouldn't be pushed into talking when you don't want to do so. 
What one should avoid is a for of quack therapy that is sometimes fiercely marketed by people who should know better, called CISD,  Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, sometimes called Debriefing for short.  Some people have become rich by persuading stupid companies to provide this for everyone whenever something upsetting has happened. All sorts of fake claims are made for how wonderful this is.  In fact, really good research has established that : nobody benefits from it ; nobody needs it, and it is in fact likely to make people worse
If you feel like chatting to your husband or anyone about what's happened, and how you feel : fine, go ahead. There's no wrong way to do it.  If you cant think of anything to say, maybe you don't at this moment have anything you need to say.  Relax, don't worry about having to do something until you're ready to do so.

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